Did you know you can have a saltwater pool? Contrary to popular belief, these pools aren’t filled with ocean water. Instead, they use a saltwater generator to create chlorine right in your own backyard. All you need is salt and electricity! No more having to buy liquid, granular, or tablets of chlorine. Learn why making the switch to a salt chlorine generator might be the right option for your pool.
How Does It Work?
A salt chlorine system harnesses the power of electricity. Water and salt (sodium chloride) are pumped through a manifold, sometimes called a salt cell. This device contains metal blades that are charged with an electrical current. This process is called electrolysis, and it causes the sodium chloride to split into separate molecules. The chloride is now free to clean your water, where it will attach to and neutralize containments.
What’s The Advantage?
Both traditional chlorine pools and pools using a salt chlorine generator rely on the same type of sanitizer – chlorine. No pool is ever free of chemicals. What changes with a salt chlorine generator is how the chlorine gets into your pool. The system produces its own chlorine from food-grade salt and circulates it through your water. This means you won’t need to:
- Order an entire season of chlorine
- Deal with supply shortages, price increases, or shipping delays
- Transport, store, or handle chlorine, which is a corrosive material
Another benefit is that salt has an infinite shelf life – it doesn’t expire or go bad. It doesn’t even evaporate out of your pool. Chlorine only lasts 2-5 years before it’s no longer effective. That means that even if you have a place to stockpile chlorine supplies, the chemicals won’t work after a few seasons.
With a salt generator, there’s also no need to order a special type of salt. All you use is common sodium chloride, which is typically available in bulk as 40-pound bags. You’ll find these at big-box retailers rather than the grocery store. Bags can be stored in the same way as sidewalk salt, usually stacked in a garage or shed.
Is My Water Chemistry Different?
Nothing significant will change with a salt chlorine generator. Your chlorine levels need to remain the same – the ideal is 3,200 ppm (parts per million). You also need to follow the same weekly testing schedule to monitor water quality. Most systems have a simple indicator light when your water’s salinity (which is the concentration of salt) is low. There are also saltwater test stripes.
When using a saltwater generator, keep an eye on your pH. Salt might cause your acidity to rise above the recommended range of 7.4-7.8. When that happens, your chlorine effectiveness is reduced and calcium issues such as scaling or cloudiness can occur. Have a pH balancer on hand in case you need to adjust.
Does My Maintenance Change?
A saltwater generator is fairly low maintenance. You will need to periodically clean off the salt cell as the blades can accumulate buildup. The metal parts are usually coated with a conductive material, so this is not a job that requires hard scrubbing. Soak in muriatic acid instead.
Also be aware that a saltwater system has several electrical components. There’s the salt cell plus a control board. Like any technology with circuits, these parts can fail over time or short out after a surge. The good news is that they can be replaced individually, ensuring the entire system runs for years on end.
You can absolutely convert an existing pool to a salt chlorine generator! We can add these systems to a new pool as well as older ones. Call today to learn more: (319) 200-7665.
Not looking to upgrade to a salt chlorine generator? Learn how to make the most of your pool chlorine (3 ways to maximize your chlorine).