What is a Salt Water Pool?
*Kindly reprinted with permission from Jason Broswell of Pool Service by Jason
You’ve heard the term, you probably know someone that has one, but you are still not sure what a salt water pool system is. A “salt system” is a pool with salt water chlorine generation. It is a method of producing a constant supply of natural chlorine to your pool thru electrolysis. Every swimming pool requires a form of sanitization to remain healthy and clean. Chlorine has been the Industry standard for decades primarily due to its abundant supply and low cost. Now you no longer have to store harmful chemicals at your home.
Innovation and advancements in technology
have given us ECG or Electrolytic chlorine generators also referred to as SCG or Salt Water Chlorine Generation. A process where a piece of equipment ( salt cell) is installed in your pools circulation plumbing system and the introduction of salt into your pool water produces chlorine. I know what you are thinking, wait, I thought a salt water pool is not a chlorine pool? That is a misconception the pool industry has been battling for decades. For a majority of pool owner’s just simply knowing salt water goes in and chlorine comes out is efficient but let’s take a deeper look into how this process works.
The chlorine generator also known as the salt cell, or SWG uses electrical pulses also known as electrolysis which pass thru electrodes which are blades inside the salt cell coated with a metal compound called ruthenium, combined with the presence of dissolved salt in the water (sodium chloride, or NaCl) to produce hypochlorus acid (HCLO) and sodium hypochlorite( NaCLO) a chlorine gas which is mixed in the pool water returning to your pool thru the return jets which sanitizes your pool water with a continuous supply of free available chlorine residual. Anytime your pool pump is on your salt water chlorine generator is on and working to constantly sanitize your swimming pool.
Some disadvantages of converting to salt water chlorination:
Initial expense: initial equipment cost, but after installation you save money on not needing to purchase and store buckets of chlorine tablets and gallons of liquid chlorine. You save money in the long run.
More complex : the need for routine maintenance: Like any piece of pool equipment it comes with a maintenance schedule just like your car does. It’s recommended by the manufacture to clean the salt cell (de scale) with a solution of muriatic acid and water every 3 months. This is something you want a trained skilled professional to do.
Wear and tear: Salt is corrosive, some pool owners have expressed concerns of the salt and the electrolysis process prematurely wearing out other pieces of equipment in their pools such as hand rails and heat exchangers and solar water heating systems lights and the masonry around their pool deck due to salt and electrical exposure. Although this is possible, it’s not likely if your system is running properly and not OVER PRODUCING chlorine. A sacrificial zinc anode and other measures can be put in place to prevent this.
Water Balance: Management of pH level, with the addition of salt your pools water balance specifically the pH will tend to raise and will need adjusted more frequently.