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How To Use Salt In Swimming Pools

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A Pleasant Swimming Environment

How Does a Swimming Pool Salt System Work?

The salt water pool environment has much to offer swimmers that make them an attractive proposition when considering which pool system to install in your home pool. Aside from the maintenance benefits, salt water systems provide crystal clear water that is gentle on your body whilst limiting your exposure to chlorine. Children spend a lot of time under water and often suffer with eye irritation when using chlorine pools. A salt water environment helps to encourage under water swimming as it is more gentle on the eyes and helps to promote a healthy relationship with the water.

Choosing A Good Pool Shock

  • Fast-Acting Quick-Dissolving Swimming Pool Sanitizer

There are a lot of good pool shock products out there , but heres one we really recommend:

Calcium hypochlorite, or cal-hypo as it is often called in the pool industry, is the leader is shock products because is the most powerful and fastest working shock available.

This is a granular pool shock, which tends to work best with saltwater pools and its easy to use.

Its also made with pure calcium hypochlorite, which means it doesnt contain the chemicals that would normally raise the cyanuric acid levels in the pool.

Converting Your Pool To Salt Water

If you do decide to convert your pool to a salt water system, there are some basic things that will help you out.

For example, choose your salt water generator based on cost and pool size. These babies can get expensive, so dont go overboard with the biggest one when a smaller model will serve your purposes.

Make the decision upfront as to whether you’ll be installing the system yourself or hiring a professional.

Read up on exactly how its done and decide whether or not you have the time, patience and willingness to learn to get the job done right.

If you think you need a professional, get estimates and include that in your financial decision.

Know that you’ll sometimes still have to use regular chlorine.

While salt chlorinators do usually have a super chlorinate function that will give it a boost, its not a substitute for pool shock.

Usually, your pool will still need to be shocked at least once a month to keep algae at bay.

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Salt Chlorine Generators And The Lsi

Yes, here we are at Orenda talking about yet another topic tying back into the importance of the Langelier Saturation Index . Don’t forget, LSI balance is our first pillar of proactive pool care.

Related: LSI Balance and Calcium Management

Saltwater pools have to be maintained differently than non-salt pools for a few reasons. For one, saltwater pools, thanks to the salt added to the water, have a baseline TDS of at least 3000 ppm more than other types of pools. Use the free Orenda App LSI calculator and raise the Salt/TDS from 100 up to 3000 and see what happens. You will notice the LSI drops considerably. The TDS lowers the LSI, but the sodium hydroxide byproduct of electrolysis raises the LSI, and that’s what actually leads to calcium flakes and scale in the salt cell.

As water circulates at, say, 50-80 gallons-per-minute , minimal scale should form in a salt cell if the LSI of the pool is balanced slightly below 0.00 . Scale really forms most immediately after the pump shuts off, and water stops flowing through the cell.

How Much Does A Salt Chlorine Generator Cost

Repairs  Pool Services

It usually costs $600$2,000 to install a salt chlorine generator. It may seem like a lot upfront, but most folks feel its worth the initial investment because they dont need to purchase chlorine from a pool store.

A salt water system isn’t necessarily better because it’s more or less expensive. Different chlorine generating systems have different strengths and weaknesses, and the type of pool you have will always be the biggest influence over which system you choose.

A salt water pool typically costs $50$100 per year to maintain. Compare this to traditional chlorine pools, which cost $250$300 per year.

Replacing the cell unit costs $700$900 every 37 years.

Taking all the expenses into account, using a salt chlorine generator in your pool costs about the same as traditional chlorine.

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Monitor Your Ph Level Weekly

Your pool’s pH needs to be balanced, otherwise it can make your chlorine ineffective, can cause pool swimmer discomfort, and can greatly impact scaling and/or corrosion. When many people measure and maintain their pH balance, this comes down to regularly adding muriatic acid to lower the pH. If you want consistent pH balance, there’s nothing more convenient than a pH balance system.

Winterize Pool Lines And Skimmer

This is probably the most important step in the pool winterizing process. Failure to properly winterize pool lines can result in cracked pipes and expensive underground repairs. First, remove the eyeball fittings from all return lines and also remove the skimmer basket. Then use a Cyclone blower or a small air compressor to force all water from the intake and return lines. Once the water has been cleared, plug the skimmer with a collapsible skimmer guard, and plug the return lines with threaded pool plugs or expansion plugs. Once the skimmer and returns are plugged, turn off the blower/air compressor.

Done properly, no water should be able to enter the pool plumbing. Even so, non-toxic pool antifreeze is good insurance against damage in case of a faulty plug. Its also good to use if youre not certain the pool lines have been completely cleared. Follow manufacturers instructions for adding antifreeze to your pool lines. DO NOT leave antifreeze in pool equipment it can gunk up filter media and damage o-rings and gaskets.

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Can I Use Any Kind Of Salt In A Saltwater Pool

Not really, but you have several options. As a general rule, you want to use a high-purity salt. The more impurities it has, the less efficient it will be for pool use.

The good news is that pool salt is readily available and inexpensive. After initial salination, you wont need to re-salt the pool all that often.

Some types of salt you should avoid include:

  • Iodized salt

Table Salt Vs Pool Salt

Adding Salt To Your Pool

One of the most frequently asked questions about pool salt is whether pool salt can be used in foods or whether it is possible to use table salt for pool disinfection. This curiosity stems from the thought that pool salt contains chemicals.

In fact, the salt used to disinfect pools must be 99.8% pure. Pool salt does not contain any anti-clumping agents and it does not go through the same iodization process as table salt. Although many people may believe that table salt is the purest of the two, pool salt is purer.

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Different Types Of Scale In Saltwater Pools

Every time we have encountered the flakes, they turn out to be calcium carbonate . No, we have not tested all of them, but have tested some, and with our knowledge of the LSI, calcium carbonate makes the most sense.

However, there are several sources online that talk about these flakes like they are not carbonate scale, but instead, calcium phosphate . So we looked into it.3 We have so far concluded that while calcium phosphate might be possible in salt systems, thankfully, it is rarely the case. And we say “thankfully” because calcium phosphate is extremely hard to remove and clean off.

The Chemistry Of Chlorine

Pool peoples references to chlorine are pretty loose, by the way.

Theres all kinds of chlorine variants you can add to the water upfront, but when all the chemistrys said and done, whats cleaning your pool water is actually hypochlorous acid, not pure chlorine.

Science alert!

Ground zero for this chemistry is plain ol water in the pool and your chlorine additive.

Many people use liquid chlorine or solid chlorine compressed with cyanuric acid . In the case of a salt chlorine generator, you use salt .

After you pour that additive into the water and mix it all up, it goes through two different chemical reactions before it reaches the form that will kill algae and bacteria and destroy dirt .

If you like to see reactions in simple chemistry terms, this is what the equations look like on paper:

The first reaction is what the salt chlorine generator does for you. The second reaction is how the chlorine becomes hypochlorous acid and cleans the pool.

Reaction #1

First, the electrolysis of salt water produces pure chlorine.

When electricity is passed through 2NaCl and 2H20 , the atoms dissociate into Cl2 + 2NaOH + H2 .

The sodium hydroxide is happy to live its life now. It raises the pH of the water so its not too acidic.

And the hydrogen is just a normal part of pool water .

However, the chlorine is still busy and moves on to the second reaction.

Reaction #2

Second, the pure chlorine reacts with more water and becomes hypochlorous acid.

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How Do Salt Swimming Pools Work

On-site chlorine generation in swimming pools has gained tremendous popularity over the years. Reports suggest saltwater chlorine generators account for over 35% of all residential pool automated sanitation systems. Swimmers and homeowners love their salt pools. They practically sell themselves through word of mouth. Smart pool pros should love them too salt systems and the consumables associated with them do wonders for business bottom lines.

This article breaks down how salt chlorine generators work in swimming pools. These popular backyard pool chlorine generator systems are commonly called salt systems, saltwater chlorinators, salt chlorinators, salt generators and more. Whether building new pools or retrofitting existing pools, consider some important factors involved with saltwater pool chlorine generating systems.

What Is A Chlorine Generator?

In short, chlorine generators create free chlorine in swimming pool water. By doing so, chemical storage, transportation, installation of chemical feeders, and handling chemical are reduced. A qualified pool professional should install chlorine generators.

Electrolysis is a method by which chemical reactions are carried out by passing an electrical current through a substance. In salt chlorine generation, electricity is passed through the salt solution mentioned above, breaking apart the salt molecules and ultimately producing free chlorine.

Is Salt Chlorine-Free? Is Salt Better Than Chlorine?

Powerclean Salt®

How To Add Salt To My Pool

Stock tank pool complete with salt water filter system ...

Add salt to your salt chlorinator. You are going to be shooting for a 3000 to 6000 ppm concentration of salt. You will want to use NaCl, sodium chloride, of at least 99% purity.

To add salt, turn on your filter pump and add the salt directly to your pool water. Use a brush to help the salt dissolve and to prevent the salt from piling up on the bottom of your pool. Run your pump for 24 hours to help distribute the salt evenly throughout your pool. Test your salt level using salt test strips or a pocket salt tester.

Now you can start up your salt chlorine generator. Salt chlorinators make their own chlorine from salt. Chlorine kills algae and bacteria. Without it, the pool water would be green, cloudy and potentially unhealthy.

Chlorine can be lost when it is hit by sunlight. Chlorine forms hypochlorite ions in water. When ultraviolet radiation from the sun hits hypochlorite, it breaks apart, releasing the chlorine as gas to the atmosphere. Sunlight is so effective in reducing chlorine that a bright sunny day can reduce the chlorination level of a pool by 90 percent in just two hours.

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Why Buy A Salt Chlorine Generator From Us

  • We have been involved with Salt Chlorine Generators for many years and have worked with this technology both in Canada and abroad. We know how to set up pools properly with these systems and are skilled in the water chemistry specific to these systems. Total Tech Pool & Spa carries the Pentair Intellichlor systems. Our in-house service technicians will install it for you.

Determine How Much Salt Is In Your Pool

Salt test strips are the best way to test how much salt you have in your pool. Brand-new pools usually have 0 ppm, which makes the calculations much easier. Traditional chlorine pools often have around 500 ppm.

Alternatively, you can take a sample of your swimming pool water to your local pool store. Most stores provide free, accurate tests.

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Does Swimming In Saltwater Burn More Calories

Swimming in a saltwater pool doesnt burn more calories than a regular pool. Still, swimming is an excellent form of exercise. No matter which type of pool youre swimming in, wear goggles to protect your eyes and avoid swallowing water. Want to learn more? Find out how many calories you burn swimming.

Its important to regularly test a saltwater pool. Weekly, test for free chlorine and pH using a drop kit or test strips. Monthly, its important to test for:

  • salt level
  • calcium

You may need to make adjustments.

Every three months or so, you need to test the salt chlorine generator for buildup and clean it off. Also watch for signs of deposits and erosion, and perform maintenance as needed.

At any pool, its important to practice basic safety measures:

  • supervise children at all times
  • secure your pool with a fence so kids cant get in the water unsupervised
  • enroll anyone who doesnt know how to swim in swim lessons
  • enforce rules like no diving or no running near the pool
  • when swimming laps, stop and take a break when youre out of breath
  • warm up before entering the pool and stretch afterwards
  • avoid drinking alcohol when youre in and near the water

Properly Drain And Clean All Equipment

How To: Add Salt To Your Pool

Much like you did for the salt generator cell, youll also want to drain and clean all pool equipment pool pump, filter, heater, additional sanitizers or chlorinators, solar covers, etc. The power circuits should be turned off before getting started on any electrical equipment. Remove all drain plugs from equipment, and keep them open to allow proper drainage. Store the drain plugs in a safe place many pool owners like to keep them in the pump basket.

Remove the filter cartridge or filter grids from your cartridge or DE filter, and clean them thoroughly with a garden hose and/or soak them in a filter cleaning solution. While cleaning your pool equipment, this is the perfect time to lubricate the o-rings. This keeps them newer longer, and the lubricant will help prevent them from cracking over the winter. Lastly, use a shop vac, a small compressor or a blower to remove any remaining water from equipment. If possible, store pool equipment indoors, safe from harsh winter conditions.

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Where Do I Go From Here

Check out these articles to learn more about salt chlorine generators:

If you decide that a salt water chlorinator is the best fit for you, you may want to look into fiberglass pools as an option. The surface doesnt corrode or roughen with the salt, and the moderate initial price is offset by the minimal lifetime cost.

We want to help you make the best decision, with all the information. You can look over the basics of fiberglass pools if you arent familiar with them and then compare all three pool types.

River Pools is located in Virginia and manufactures fiberglass pools for distribution throughout North America. Get in touch with us today if you’re in our service area and would like a world-class pool experience for your backyard. We’d be thrilled to help you.

The Benefits Of A Saltwater Pool

When do I add salt to my Pool?

You’ll need to add salt to your chlorinator whenever your salinity levels are too low. The best way to verify this is to include a salinity measurement as part of your weekly scheduled routine maintenance and add salt as needed. In addition, you’ll want to do extra checks for the following reasons:

  • After heavy rain that dilutes salinity levels
  • In particularly hot times the sun evaporates the chlorine
  • When adding fresh water after a heavy backwashing cycle

Despite these costs, however, most owners find that saltwater pools are cheaper to own in the long run than chlorine pools. They don’t require you to buy, store, or handle a lot of chemicals and water treatments.

Consider your additives: Chlorine pools require checking your levels and adding chlorine on a regular basis. Its not unreasonable to expect to spend close to $1,000 per year on maintenance chemicals.

In contrast, a handful of dollars each year will keep a saltwater pool healthy and clean. The saltwater generator only requires just few pounds of salt initially and will keep functioning effectively for a couple years once the system is up and running.

Saltwater Hot Tubs and Spas

Keep in mind that a saltwater system for an above ground pool is similar to a hot tub saltwater system. And the benefits of salt water in hot tubs are just as plentiful.

Consider these advantages:

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Salt Systems For Swimming Pools

In the early days of modern swimming pools, adding chlorine to pool water was the only way to keep it clean and free of bacteria. Today, though, pool owners have another choice one that many have decided is the better option: saltwater. And the popularity of salt water pools continues to climb as owners learn about the benefits from low maintenance costs to few chemicals to healthy skin.

Salt As A Swimming Pool Disinfectant

How to Chlorinate Your Pool Using Salt

Salt treatment does not require routine maintenance. The device called chlorinator works continuously to transform the salt into chlorine and then converts the NaCl to its original state. This cycle repeats constantly. As a result, the chlorine is continuously renewed.

The chlorine generated as a result of this process is not as harmful as the chlorination method. It does not damage the skin and does not create a strong odor in water.

Besides, salt water pool treatment is the healthiest and most cost-effective method of disinfection continuously. It reduces pool maintenance costs by 80% and eliminates the use of disinfectant chemical products entirely.

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