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How Much Does It Cost To Install Or Convert To A Salt Water Pool?

Typical Range: $12,000 - $67,000

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Salt Water Pool Cost

Homeowners pay an average of $25,000 to install a new salt water swimming pool, compared to the cost of installing a traditional pool, which has a price tag of about $23,000 on average. Cost to build a standard, 20,000-gallon pool can be as low as $12,000 or as high as $67,000. This price includes the salt water chlorination system, which costs $500 to $2,500 to buy and install.
Unlike traditional chlorine versions, salt water swimming pools do not rely on added chemicals to keep the water clean. Instead, a chemical reaction breaks down the salt in the water to generate chlorine. The process results in fewer chloramines, reducing eye irritation and smell. It's important to monitor the salt levels. A pro can help you choose the correct system and install it properly.

Converting Chlorine Pool to Salt Water Costs

Expect to pay between $500 and $2,500 to convert a traditional chlorinated pool to a salt water system, depending on the size and type of pool you have.
Average Costs to Convert a Pool from Fresh Water to Salt Water
Item10,000 Gallon Above-Ground50,000 Gallon In-Ground Pool
Salt water system
(generator and cells)
$100-$500$400-$1,800
Installation labor$300-$500$300-$500
Salt$25-$36 for 5-6 40-lb. bags$125-$180 for 25-30 40-lb. bags
Total$425-$1,036$825-$2,480
Salt systems can feature self-cleaning and diagnostics, digital salt readouts, and the ability to control pool equipment. Lower-cost models will have fewer of these features than higher-priced ones. No matter which one you choose, you'll want to hire a pool pro with plumbing expertise.

How Much Salt Do I Need When Changing Over My Pool?

For a standard, 20,000-gallon pool, you'll need 10-12 40-lb. bags of salt at $5 to $6 per bag, for a total cost of $50 to $72.

Average Salt Water Pool System Maintenance Costs

Expect to pay less than $100 per year for the salt and chemicals to maintain your salt water swimming pool. Compare this to $300 to $800 yearly for the chemicals to maintain a traditional chlorine pool. Homeowners should budget an additional $200 to $700 every 3 to 5 years to replace the salt cell. The electricity to run a salt water system will add $35 to $50 to your yearly power bill.

Pros & Cons of a Salt Water Pool Conversion

AdvantagesDisadvantages
No need to buy chemicalsPotential pH & calcium build up
No need to manually add chemicalsSalt cell replacement
No chlorine smellMore parts that can break
Less irritation (red eyes, itchy skin)May corrode pool parts (like seals & switches) & equipment
Consult with pro when converting your pool to salt water
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Salt Water Swimming Pool Installation Cost

A salt water swimming pool averages about $12,000 to $38,500 to install. Included in that price range are things like excavating, paving, lining, filling, and ladders. Exact costs will depend on the type and size of pool you build. Small, pre-fabricated facilities will fall on the lower end of this price range. Standard-size and large pools will fall in the middle to high end.

In-Ground vs. Above-Ground Salt Water Pools

The cost to install an above-ground pool will be less than the cost to install an in-ground pool, but either option will work for a salt water system. You may also save some money on DIY maintenance with an above-ground version since plumbing and pumps are easier to access.
While maintenance costs over time are less, salt water pools are almost always more expensive up front than fresh water facilities due to the added cost of the salt system.

Choosing a Size & Location

When you are remodeling to include a pool, size and location of your salt water facility will depend on the specifics of your property. Factors to consider include:
  • Space - The size and shape of your yard will determine what size and shape pool will fit.
  • Geography - Some features may require additional site prep or hinder accessibility, increasing installation costs: sloped property, underground rock faces, large trees, floodplains, utility lines, and/or local code.
  • Personal preference - Smaller pools are cheaper to build and maintain. Larger ones can fit more people. You may also want to leave space for a deck, hot tub, or other added features.

Salt Water Lap Pools

A traditional lap pool, salt water or fresh water, runs between $50,000 and $80,000. Above-ground or pre-constructed versions cost from $5,000 to $30,000. Usually 25 meters in length, these are uncommon backyard additions due to their size and cost.

Fiberglass, Vinyl, or Concrete -- Which is Better?

Salt water pools can be vinyl, fiberglass, or concrete/gunite. Vinyl is the least expensive but can rip easily. Concrete is the most expensive option to install and maintain. Fiberglass pools are priced in the middle and include a lifetime warranty. However, they come in a limited number of sizes and styles. All three types can be used for salt water or fresh water pools. Salt itself will not cause wear or tear to any of them, but it's still important to take good care of your pool’s structural material and/or lining.

Water for Pools Delivery Cost

The cost to fill a pool with water ranges from $60 to $1,250, depending on the source.
  • City water is the least expensive and most common choice at an average cost of $0.004 per gallon. For 15,000 to 30,000 gallons, you'll pay between $60 and $120. In areas like California, where drought is common, you may pay overuse fines of up to $100.
  • Well water can be chemically unstable. You may have to use half well and half transported water to save money. For 30,000 gallons of transported water, expect to pay about $1,250, including delivery.
Hire a Pro to Install Salt Water Pool
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Pool Pump & Filter Prices

Salt water pools require the same equipment and maintenance as traditional versions.
Pool Equipment Costs
ItemPrice
Pump$150-$800
Filter$200-$1,500

Salt Water Pool Maintenance

The average cost to maintain a pool is $235. Salt water maintenance can cost as much as $700 less per year for chemicals than chlorine pools, but as much as $700 more every 3 to 5 years for salt cell replacement. Depending on when you open your pool and how many months of the year you utilize it, exact costs may vary.

Pool Heaters

The cost to install a pool heater ranges from $1,600 to $3,800. For a salt water system, you'll also need a corrosion-resistant check valve at a cost of about $70. A pro can help you select the right size and type of heater. He/she will also install your heater in the correct order and ensure the check valve is secure. Otherwise, you risk ruining your heater with damage from concentrated chlorine.

Installing Other Extras

Other features, including pool safety products, will add to overall project costs.
Get a quote from a salt water pool pro
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