If you want to build a new swimming pool or improve an existing one, consider a saltwater generator to replace traditional chlorine. The chlorine used in freshwater pools can be quite irritating to skin and eyes, and your pool should be a personal oasis, not a source of anxiety about exposing yourself and your loved ones to harsh irritants. A salt generator can create sanitizing chemicals that are gentler and easier to manage.
How Do They Work?
When a salt generator is added to a pool, salt is poured across the pool's bottom surface and then scraped around with a pool brush until it dissolves completely. The salt generator, which is made of parallel titanium plates, electrolyzes the dissolved salt to produce chlorine. This process is similar to how chlorine tablets are made. This means that a saltwater pool isn't a chlorine-free pool. However, since the chlorine is produced in the pool rather than added separately to the water, the chlorine in a saltwater pool does not cause the irritating components to eyes and skin for which traditional chlorine additives are infamous.
How Does It Differ From Traditional Chlorine?
When you add chlorine to a pool, it can react with contaminants in the water, causing irritation to skin and eyes. These harsh reactions are generally due to an insufficient amount of free available chlorine being added directly to the water. Estimating how much chlorine a pool needs to do its job but not cause irritation can be difficult and confusing.
In a pool that uses a saltwater generator, free chlorine is continuously being produced, and the electrolysis eliminates the chlorine reaction to contaminants. There's no longer any guesswork because the generator takes care of the appropriate levels of chlorine.
Some maintenance may be necessary when using a salt generator. The chlorine levels still need to be monitored and maintained, and outside forces such as sun exposure or mechanical issues can cause low chlorine levels. You also need to look out for calcium buildup because the process of electrolysis naturally attracts calcium to the solid plates, but you can easily remove this calcium by cleaning with a mild acid solution.
Disadvantages of a Salt Generator
Pool owners who use salt generators claim that there are few, if any, disadvantages. One possible caution is the corrosive damage salt can have on swimming pool equipment. When properly maintained, this should not be a worry, but if the salt concentration becomes abnormally high, it can have a negative effect on handrails, lighting features and pool liners. This potential problem can be avoided completely if splash out pool water is rinsed with fresh water rather than allowed to sit and evaporate, leaving only the salt behind. Since salt generators are not chlorine-free, you must also be aware of any allergic reactions to the small amount of chlorine that is produced.
Benefits of a Salt Generator
Salt systems are attractive because of their convenience and the continuous production of a chlorine-based sanitizer. They tend to reduce the irritating reaction that traditional chlorine tablets cause, so if you have a sensitivity to chlorine, a salt generator is a good choice. Using a salt generator makes the pool water feel softer because of the hundreds of pounds of salt in the water.
As with most products, a salt generator has pros and cons, but if you're looking for lower maintenance and less irritation from traditional chlorine methods, a saltwater pool can provide far more benefits than hassles.