My friend asked me the other day, “What is the deal with a salt water pool?” She proceeded to tell me that her in-laws were interested in building a pool but didn’t want to use chlorine. I know there are a lot of questions and misconceptions about “salt water” pools, so hopefully we can clear a few of them up.
A salt water pool is actually a pool using a salt chlorine generator system. It is a very popular alternative to using a regular chlorine sanitizer because the need to buy, transport, store, and handle chlorine is eliminated.
A salt water pool however, is NOT a chlorine-free option as many people think; a salt chlorine generator is actually being used to convert common table salt into chlorine.
How Does it Work?
A salt chlorine generator uses what is known as a “cell” to make chlorine. As water from your swimming pool is moved through the generator cell by the swimming pool pump, it turns salt that has been added to the water into hypochlorous acid through a process called electrolysis. The hypochlorous acid is the same element that is made when any form of chlorine is introduced into water. Therefore having the salt converted into hypchlorous acid allows it to work as chlorine to kill bacteria and microorganisms in the water.
How Salty is a Salt Water Pool?
If you are wondering if you will taste the salt, and feel it stuck to you like you do after swimming in the ocean, the answer is no. The salt content in the ocean is about 35,000 ppm (parts per million). Salt chlorine generator systems for a swimming pool normally require salt levels to be maintained between 2,500-6,000 ppm. We recommend a unit that keeps salt less than 3,500 ppm as that is the taste threshold for humans, so being able to keep your residual levels below will eliminate any salty taste in the water.
Why Do People Choose a Salt Water Pool?
Many people compare swimming in a salt water pool to showering in soft water. Salt water pools should cause very little to no skin and eye irritation.
Maintaining proper salt levels also tends to be easy as you add salt when initially setting up your system but then you would only need to add additional salt to make up for splash out, as the salt does not evaporate and is continuously reused in the pool.
Is it Dependable?
A salt chlorine generators success depends on a few important things.
- It is imperative to keep the “cell” free of calcium and mineral buildup. The salt chlorine generator cell is made of precious metals that must be maintained and cared for in order to properly produce chlorine and allow it to do the job of keeping your pool clean and healthy.
- It is also very important to make sure and maintain properly balanced chemical levels in the pool, as often unbalanced chemicals can lead to scale and calcium build up. pH levels being maintained in the proper range is crucial.
Most salt chlorine generator systems have proven to be reliable when they are maintained properly and many people prefer them due to the benefits of having little to no skin and eye irritation, no handling of chlorine, no chlorine smell, and fairly low maintenance requirements.