Salt Water Pools
First of all, salt water pools are NOT ‘chemical-free’.
Salt is added directly to the pool and a machine called a chlorine generator installed.
By electrolysis this device acts on the salt (sodium chloride) to produce the same form of chlorine (HOCL) as when any other sort of chlorine is added to the pool. The amount of chlorine produced can usually be adjusted on the control panel and most systems have a ‘superchlorinate’ function to ‘shock’ the pool. This is more convenient than adding tablets, powders or liquids.
To prevent scaling, staining and corrosion, keeping the water balanced is especially important on salt water pools. The pH, total alkalinity and hardness must be maintained in the proper range.
Most people enjoy swimming in a salt water pool. The water has a ‘soft’ feel. It is not like swimming in the ocean. Recommended salt levels for pools vary from 1600 to 4000 ppm depending on the manufacturer of the system. Ocean salt levels are about 35,000 ppm.
If water is lost from the pool due to backwashing, splash out, draining excess rain water or a leak, the salt in the pool may need to be topped up. The pool also needs stabilizer to protect the chlorine from sunlight. Since the stabilizer and salt levels go down together, the easiest way to add both salt and stabilizer is by adding GEN-R-8 Conditioner CL. Water lost to evaporation does not reduce these levels.
We recommend the use of cartridge filters on salt water pools.
As noted, backwashing of sand filters reduces pool salt levels requiring regular additions of salt. Cartridge filters do not require backwashing.
Salt water is more electrically conductive. To reduce damage to equipment due to increased galvanic action, the equipment and the pool should be electrically bonded.
The cell that produces the chlorine will need occasional cleaning with an acid solution such as Mursatt Cell Cleaner. How often will depend on how balanced your pool water is.
Expect to replace the cell after 4 to 5 years.
When shopping for a chlorine generator, things to consider are:
- How do you control the amount of chlorine produced?
- Does the display give actual readings or just warning lights?
- What is the required salt level?
- Ease of cleaning, maintaining and winterizing?
If you are considering an automated control system for your pool, be sure to verify if your local municipality has any regulations forbidding the discharge of salt water.