Salt generation is becoming essential to the modern pool. Water cleaned with salt-chlorination is 1/10 the salinity of the ocean, soft on swimmers' eyes and skin, requires less maintenance and extinguishes the need to handle or purchase harsh chlorine. However, salt generation comes with its own set of obstacles. Here are the top six things every pool owner should know before making the switch!
1. You are Using Chlorine as a Sanitizer
Many consumers mistake salt as taking the place of traditional sanitizers like chlorine or bromine. However, when using salt, pool owners are actually generating chlorine from the saltwater. Many times we have heard confused owners claiming all they need to do is dump salt into their body of water. This is not the case. One needs a salt generator where all the magic happens. “Salt generators take sodium chloride in the water and through the process of electrolysis make sodium hypochlorite, which is powerful chlorine,” says Brandon O’Brien, Leisure Pool and Spas Service Manager for over 10 years.
2. Salt Isn’t Just Salt!
Don’t be confused, this isn’t the same salt you use on your driveway in winters. Only use pure salt designed for pool use. Salt purchased from hardware stores may have contaminants that can hurt your pool such as “manganese, copper, iron, nitrates, silicates, sulfates, [and] calcium,” according to Pool and Spa News. Impure salt provides food for algae, contributes to scaling, causes cloudy water and increases chlorine demand. This is why we carry only pure, mechanically evaporated salt you can trust to protect your pool!
3. Salt Systems Are Not Maintenance Free
Salt generation has many benefits but is not maintenance-free. Excessive scaling is the most common issue. “The chlorine production process causes calcium build up on the cell itself,” warns Brandon. Scaling on improperly cared for pools can also be found eroding decking, pool surfaces, and equipment. Pool owners must be careful to add products designed for salt-chlorinated water only. As with any chemical system, it is suggested that owners test water levels weekly. Special attention must be paid to cyanic acid and calcium levels. We recommend that a certified, skilled technician monitor the chemistry and equipment of your pool.
4. Salt Generators Don’t Last Forever
A salt generator in a well-maintained pool will typically last 3-5 years. After this time the cell itself will need to be replaced. If yours needs replaced call us for pricing!
It is essential you take special care of your generator Always consult your owners manual for the manufacturer's recommendations on care. We recommend inspecting your cell every three months for any debris and/or build-up. Check back for our next blog for tips on how to clean and care for your generator as well as troubleshooting common issues.
5. You Will Need a Zinc Anode
Pool owners with salt-chlorination may find unusual stains and discolored water. Typically, these phenomenons are caused by the process of the generator passing electricity to a solution of sodium chloride (salt water). This process causes what is known as galvanic corrosion, which occurs “when...two metals are in saltwater with an electrical current, the weaker, less noble metal will corrode faster than normal,” writes Pool and Spa News. To prevent this simply add a zinc anode to the skimmer of your pool or inline with the circulation system. Because zinc corrodes faster than other metals, this “sacrificial anode” will take the beating from the salt generator so your pool doesn't!
6. That Model Might Not be the Right Size for You!
The US is the only place in the world where salt generators are marketed based on pool capacity and not chlorine demand according to Pool and Spa News. Purchasing an incorrect sized generator could cause extreme wear and cause it to fail prematurely. Instead of purchasing the wrong size online, speak with one of our knowledgeable technicians who will determine the best model for your specific pool size, bather load, and chlorine demand!
Salt generators offer soft, beautiful water to swim in. However, the industry has made remarkable advances in the last ten years to every type of sanitation system. Pool owners are able to monitor water’s chemistry from their iPad or smartphone using salt, chlorine, bromine or minerals. Make sure you have the right products and knowledge; call us to make your switch or upgrade your current system!