Over the years “Salt” pools or hot tubs have become more popular. As with anything there are misconceptions. Here are some that I personally heard over the years. “This is a safer alternative”, “I don’t have a chlorine or bromine pool or hot tub, it is salt”, “I don’t have to shock or balance my pool” just to quote a few. If you already have a “salt” pool and/or hot tub or are considering converting to “salt, my hope is to help educate and give some understanding of this type of sanitation. ”
First let’s start with “It’s a safer alternative.” Having a “salt” pool is no less harmful or more harmful than a traditional chlorine or bromine pool and hot tub. It is still generating the sanitizer. Some may try to sell “it’s more natural” or “Safer”. As with any purchase, do as much research as possible.
Some people think that “salt” pools or hot tubs do not contain chlorine and /or bromine. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A salt pool sanitizes the water with chlorine just like other pools. The difference between them is in how the chlorine is added to the pool. Salt chlorine generators convert sodium chloride (NaCl) into chlorine. These salt generators, also called salt cells, work by electrolysis. The salt water is electrically charged, which splits the salt molecules and generates chlorine (Cl). Subsequently as does sodium bromide to bromine.
Balancing your “salt” pool or hot tub, doesn’t give you a “maintenance free” body of water. Balancing the water is a must. You will still need to check the chlorine / bromine level. The pH, Alkalinity, hardness and cyanuric acid will still need to be in the acceptable levels. You may need to add cyanuric acid (stabilizer) to help maintain proper chlorine levels. You may also need to shock the pool depending on weather, bather load and water condition. Some generators have a “super chlorinate” mode to help “Shock” but it may not be enough. You will also need to check the sodium level. Some generators will let you know when it is too low or high. In most cases, the sodium level needs to be between 2700 to 3400 ppm (parts per million).
Last thing I would like to touch on with “salt” pools. The equipment needs to be properly installed and properly maintained. It will be an investment and you want it to last for years. Having a pool professional supply and perform the installation will insure proper operation. Also you will receive a manufactures full warranty when you have a professional install the generator. I hope this has clarified some things for all of you. If you have any additional questions please direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org.