We will be closed 12/23 - 1/5 for our annual holiday break!

Salt Chlorine Generators: Dispelling the Myths

The salt chlorine generator automates the delivery of chlorine, providing a steady sanitizer level and removes the burden of transporting chlorine products to the pool. Many consumers say the water in a salt pool feels better on their skin. That is the pro. The con is that many pool owners don’t fully understand how to properly care for a salt chlorine generator pool, resulting in early and significant corrosion of equipment, pool surfaces and even metal patio furniture in close vicinity to the pool.

There are many opinions and misconceptions about the choices pool owners and future pool owners have to keep their pools clean and clear. When it comes to traditional chlorine versus salt pools, it’s not as simple—having all the facts can help you make the right choice for you and your family.

The following information is provided by Lonza, one of the largest chemical manufacturers in the pool and spa industry.

Top 5 Myths about Saltwater Swimming Pools.

1. A salt-water pool is chlorine free. Salt chlorine generation is simply a different way of producing chlorine. The salt chlorine generator produces chlorine from salt, rather than adding the chlorine tablets, sticks, granules or liquid to the pool. Pool owners still have to maintain 1-3 parts per million (ppm) of chlorine in the water at all times, per EPA guidelines. If you want a pool that is completely chlorine-free, you would use Baquacil® pool care products.

2. A saltwater pool is easier to own. Pool owners need to understand that a salt chlorine generator only takes the place of the daily sanitization requirement of the pool. It replaces tablets, sticks or whichever chlorine form you would otherwise use to sanitize your pool water. Having a salt chlorine generator does not eliminate the necessary ongoing tasks of testing and maintaining pH, alkalinity and calcium. All these other water balances need to be tested and adjusted weekly regardless of the type of sanitizer. A maintenance algaecide is also strongly recommended.

3. With a saltwater pool I won’t have to carry hazardous chemicals around. You won’t have to carry chlorine for sanitizing, but you will still need to carry muriatic acid (or dry pH Minus), shock products, or other chemicals required to maintain the pool. Many of these chemicals require larger volumes to treat and are therefore heavier to carry than more modern chlorine options such as poolife® MPT Extra™ tablets or poolife® NST® sanitizer. A saltwater pool tends to have a higher pH than traditional chlorine-sanitized pools, and, as a result, more muriatic acid or pH Minus use than traditional chlorine-sanitized pools. In addition, many pool owners don’t realize the sheer volume of salt necessary to operate a salt chlorine generator. Upon conversion, roughly 250 – 350 pounds of salt must be carried and added into the pool for each 10,000 gallons of water. After that, the pool owner will still have to carry and add as many as half a dozen 40-pound bags of pool salt to the pool every year depending on pool size.

4. Having a saltwater pool is less expensive because you don’t have to buy chlorine. Consumers indicate they save little or no money over a 5-10 year time period as the cost of buying the salt chlorine generator system, maintaining it, replacing generator cells and making repairs may outweigh any savings. If you add up the costs over time, it is possible that a pool owner may spend more on a saltwater pool.

5. The water in a saltwater pool feels better on the skin, hair and eyes. A saltwater pool is a chlorinated pool, so any difference in the water’s feel is due to the added salt. It’s important to note, however, that salt can have negative effects such as accelerated corrosion of pool equipment and cement, stone and stainless steel surfaces in and around the pool. A softer feel to the water can also be achieved by using more advanced systems such as poolife® Brite Stix® sanitizer, which includes a water softening agent, or non-chorine systems like BAQUACIL® or bromine. And additives like Ultima® Endure® water conditioner not only make the water feel softer but they also enhance sanitizer performance.

At Pettis, we proudly carry the full Lonza line of pool care products, stop in and talk with our experts to find out the best solution for you! We want to make owning a pool and caring for it easy for you!