If you are thinking of switching to a Salt Water Chlorinator it will be helpful for you to understand how the system works and to learn about the benefits that come along with installing the system. It is important to note that salt systems do in fact create chlorine they just use a different process to create the chlorine that goes into your pool. Below is a description about how the systems work as well as a list of reasons why you may want to think about switching to a salt water chlorinator.
Salt water chlorinators use dissolved salt as a means of creating chlorine to clean the pool. Salt water pools make hypochlorous acid (HClO) by using sodium chloride (NaCl) and electrolysis. As the salt water passes through the salt cell an electric current creates chlorine gas (Cl2) and it also forms hydrogen gas (h2) and sodium hydroxide (NaOH). Through the electrolysis process, the dissolved salt is converted into hypochlorous acid(HClO) and sodium hypochlorite which are the sanitizing agents used to clean the water of any dirt and bacteria.
So, instead of just dumping chlorine into the water, the salt system acts as a chlorine generator that continues to generate chlorine until more salt is needed.
is the part of the system that converts the salt into chlorine. When water is pumped into the Cell it flows over solid plates that are coated with ruthenium or iridium. These naturally occurring metals are charged from the control board and allow the salt to convert to chlorine through electrolysis.
The Control Board:
acts as the control center of the system. Its primary purpose is to provide electricity for the process, and it also allows you to control the amount of electricity sent to the cell, so you can increase and decrease the amount of chlorine that is generated into the pool
Standard chlorine pucks or liquid chlorine is an effective way to sanitize a pool. However liquid chlorine is volatile, loses potency extremely quickly, and is dangerous to skin, eyes and to breathe. Chlorine pucks are a much better way to sanitize a pool, however they too can be dangerous if not handled properly.
While a salt water swimming pool may need to occasionally have the chlorine levels manually adjusted you can usually accomplish this using granular forms of chlorine such as Shock so that you do not need to use liquid chlorine at all.
Salt is the base ingredient that chlorine is derived from. Since salt does not dissipate in the water like other chemicals that you use, the initial dose of salt that you put into your pool will continue to be there throughout the season and into the next. Only when you physically remove water from the pool do you lower the salt concentration levels.
The biggest benefit of a salt water pool is the fact that salt water pools are much softer on the eyes and they tend to have less drying to the skin than traditional chlorine pools.
There are a few reasons for this:
Salt in the pool water (near to 3000ppm) is soft on the skin which can actually hydrate your skin as opposed to the severe drying effect that you may typically experience with chlorinated water.
People with skin problems, or those with a sensitivity to chlorine such as red eyes, specifically notice the soothing benefits of salt water systems. You should notice less red eyes, less itchy and dry skin as well as less bleaching to clothing and bathing suits worn in the water.
It can take less time to balance and maintain the chemical balance in a salt water pool. Most of this has to do with the fact the sanitizer is basically automated through the salt water system. Much like a standard chlorinated pool the levels for pH, Calcium Hardness, Alkalinity and Cyanuric Acid still need to be balanced and maintained on a weekly basis. However since the chlorine (which is what typically causes variations in pH and total alkalinity) is automated and released into the system in steady doses you should notice less overall fluctuations in your pH and total alkalinity levels making the water much easier to manage overall.