While opting for salt chlorination over a traditional chlorine pool may seem daunting, it is rather a simple process, however it is important to understand how salt chlorination works and decide whether it is suitable for your particular needs and preferences.
What is Salt Chlorination?
The idea of salt chlorination is quite simple. Salt is added to the pool water in place of chlorine. A common myth about salt water pools is that there is no chlorine involved. However, this is not true. Chlorine is not added to the system, but rather the system generates its own chlorine. The system makes use of a chlorine generator to do this.
The chlorine is necessary and acts as a sanitizer in the water, ensuring bacteria, viruses and algae are controlled, in the same way it does in a chlorine-treated pool. Salt chlorination has a number of advantages- not needing to purchase sanitizing products is one of them.
Salt pools use standard sodium chloride, which is identical to the table salt one would use on food. While the initial cost of a salt water pool may be quite high, the system is extremely cost-effective in the long run, the cost of the salt chlorinator will soon pay for itself as the price of salt is relatively cheap versus that of regular chlorine. Very little salt is required annually to sustain the salt concentration. The amount of salt needed will also depend on the rain and water loss.
Pool owners looking at converting to salt water are often concerned about the concentration of salt in the water and is often compared to the saltiness of the ocean. A high concentration of salt can be overwhelming. The good news is that the salt concentration of a salt water pool is only 1/10th to 1/12th the saltiness of the ocean, making for a comfortable swimming experience.
How does Salt Chlorination work?
Salt chlorination is a relatively simple and regenerative process:
- Salt is added to the water.
- The chlorine generator will break down the salt (sodium chloride) and convert the chloride into a chlorine gas through the process of electrolysis.
- The chlorine gas is added to the water and acts as the sanitizer.
- When the chlorine eventually breaks down within the water, it becomes salt again- making this a regenerative process.
The amount of salt needed to add will depend on a few factors: the amount of rain experienced and the amount of water loss by the use of the pool and backwashing. It is also important to clean the chlorine generator’s cells regularly to prevent calcification and corrosion, which may result in too little chlorine production.
It is clear that salt chlorination can greatly benefit any pool owner. With very little necessary maintenance and low cost of operation, salt chlorination makes for an easier alternative to a traditional chlorine-treated swimming pool.