You can use solar salt, sold for water softeners. You want the crystals in the blue bag, 99+% pure salt without any additives. Avoid rust/iron fighter/remover. Places like Lowes and Home Depot have it.
I suggest adding one bag at a time, giving it a day to dissolve, and seeing how you like it. Then try another and so on and see how things go. Another approach is to get the AquaChek salt test strips, measure your current level, and add salt to about 2000 ppm.
We added salt to our pool last season and loved the way the water felt. Our pool is 12,000 gallons and we added 4 bags of the solar salt. If you do this on a bright sunny day the salt crystals on the bottom of the pool will sparkle and you'll feel like you're swimming over a layer of diamonds. I'm looking forward to this year's 'salt day'.
Cool thanks! Would I just continue to test everything else as I usually would. And just make adjustments as needed to make sure all my chem levels are in the proper range as if I wasn't using the salt?
Salt improves the "feel" of the water. The experience is subjective, not everyone notices it, but many people like it a lot.
The disadvantages are the small extra expense and a small increase in the risk of corrosion. Corrosion is usually trivial, but some kinds of softer natural stone might be affected over a long period of time.
You can add one bag of salt at a time till it feels nice, or get some salt test strips and find out your current level and the adjust to somewhere around 2000 ppm. You can calculate amounts of salt using my Pool Calculator, see the link in my signature.
I would recommend testing your salt levels before adding any. I have a 30,000 gallong pool and was about to add a SWG, so I bought 20 -40lb bags of salt from Lowes (the pool calculator shows I needed 753 lbs). I added 10 bags to the pool and let it mix for a couple of days. I checked the salt level and I'm currently at 3100 PPM (which is good for the SWG) I'm glad I didn't add all 18 bags else my levels would have been sky high. Over the past few years my salt levels must have been high already without me knowing. That was pretty stupid not testing the salt level before adding.
Just a tip. Also my DE filter is Stainless steel and there could be potential corrosion problems with high salt so I'm rethinking whether I'm going with the SWG or not. Heck the salt is in the pool already anyway.
Not really. It gives the "Softwater feel" but does not create soft water. It's not removing calcium hardness.
A water softener exchanges calcium ions with sodium.
Adding salt makes it closer matched to the salinity level of your body, which gives it the improved feel.
I would really LOVE to do this but haven't because I was afraid to with an above ground...but I see AnnaK has! Anna, have you noticed anything different since you added the salt? Plants dying near the pool? Dry salt on the deck? Pool rusting away?! I'm from Ft. Lauderdale, and know the salt in the air is hard on the cars and such there, but couldn't tell you if the air there has more salt in it than your pool water or not.
We did this over the last couple of weeks. Got the test strips and our initial test was hard to read, near zero. Added 2or 3-80lb bags over two evenings (had my son poor into skimmer a little at a time, also placed a bag on the steps and made a large slice in the bag - 3 minutes to dissolve). We normally get 80 lbs bags of salt for the water conditioner. Next test read over 2200, but water was cold so I couldnt really feel anything diff. Added one more 80 lb bag, test read over 3000-done. Water feels much better, less eye redness even after 3 hrs of swimming, and my kids even remarked that they didnt need the gogles anymore. We do not have a swg yet.