All About Salt Generators
April 5, 2021
Did You Know?
One of the most common trends over the past couple years has been saltwater pools. Many questions have been asked and I hope the following
What actually is a saltwater pool?
A saltwater pool is a pool that has a certain purification system (chlorine generator) that provides continuous production of chlorine. No, it is not a “chlorine-free pool” as many people believe this. These generators will reduce the need to add chlorine to your pool. Instead, you will add salt
which then will be converted into chlorine.
How do these systems work?
The salt is added to the pool, will then pass through the cell, and turns into hypochloric acid also known as the killing form of chlorine. Meaning saltwater pools still use chlorine sanitization. Saltwater pools must also be tested in order to maintain proper water balance.
Pros on saltwater pools:
The #1 reason people choose to go with this system is convenience. Less
chlorine maintenance is required. Meaning there is no need to purchase,
store, or add chlorine chemicals. (There are some situations that may require an extra addition of chlorine such as generator not producing enough chlorine, very high water temperature, heavy swimming, rain, etc.)
Many say they have no burning of the eyes and the water has no chlorine
The biggest advantage with using a saltwater generator is the feel of water on the skin. It provides a smoother/softer feel. A good choice for someone who has skin sensitivities.
Better water clarity is maintained because the generator is continuously
running and providing a chlorine level.
Cons on saltwater pools:
The #1 reason people will shy away from a saltwater generator is the cost of
the system. They are often sold as a cost saving system which is not entirely
true. The systems usually will range from $1,300 $2,000. True you no longer have to purchase chlorine and salt is less expensive but in comparison, you could purchase 58 years’ worth of chlorine for that price. The systems are a machine and with any machine parts will have to be replaced. The most common part replaced is the cell. Typically the cell will last 35 years (with proper maintenance). A cell price can start around $500 depending on the brand.
Salt can be corrosive to many parts of your pool. Example: decking, stone
waterfalls, any metal such as pool ladders, poolside furniture, pool coping, etc. To help slow the corrosion process we recommend rinsing off your decks, metals, etc. with fresh water after pool use. (A cell protection or cell
cleaner should be used seasonally)
Salt is not environmentally friendly to most plants. Most owners have to
reroute or restrict the backwashing/ draining of water.
A “saltwater pool” is still a chlorine pool. Many times owners believe this system will provide complete care of the water. I’m sorry to say they don’t. Water testing and cell maintenance are still very much required. The generators produce only chlorine. We recommend testing the water weekly in order to maintain these proper ranges:
Salt – 2500 to 4000 ppm (Much less than the ocean which is 35,000ppm –
Check proper level with manufacturer)
Chlorine – 2.0 to 4.0
Ph_ 7.2 to 7.6 (important to know that as the chlorine is generated the ph tends to rise – Chlorine is more effective with ph around 7.2)
Alkalinity – 80 to 120
Hardness – 200 to 400
Cyanuric Acid – 70 to 90 (also known as stabilizer, is added to the water
to help stop the UV rays from breaking down the chlorine that is being generated)
A/G pools should not use a true salt generator. Again very corrosive and in
most cases will void any warranty you have on the pool or filtration system.