One in-ground pool option that has been increasing in popularity the last few years is the salt water chlorine generator. Salt water generators have been around for a while but advances in the technology have made these systems more affordable for pool buyers.
The first thing I should clarify is that a salt water pool is not a chlorine free pool. A lot of customers looking for a chlorine free solution ask about salt water generators, but a salt water generator actually makes chlorine in your pool.
The biggest advantages of a salt water generator is that due to the unit producing chlorine within your pool you do not need to buy, handle, or store chlorine at your home. Chlorine is nasty stuff as we all know, and the less you and your family have to be exposed to it the better.
How does it work?
The way a salt system works is using a process called electrolysis. When the salt water passes over the generator cell it creates chlorine gas which is instantly transformed into Hypochlorous acid, this chemical is what is used to actually sanitize the pool water. It is the same chemical reaction that occurs when you shock your pool with liquid or granular chlorine, adding chlorine to water no matter the type creates hypochlorus acid.
“But will my pool taste like the ocean?”
With a salt water chlorine generator you will be adding anywhere from 200- 600Lbs. of salt to your pool. Humans can taste salt in water when it reaches approximately 3500ppm (parts per million). The average chlorine generator requires a level of 2500-6000ppm. We generally try to keep the levels below 3500ppm to avoid the sea water affect.
Salt water pool maintenance
Because the generator cell is made up of precious metals it is absolutely crucial that the pool water is properly balanced and maintained. You should be checking your PH, Total Alkalinity, and calcium levels regularly. The cell itself can build up calcium and mineral deposits which will hamper its ability to generate chlorine, so this cell should be checked and cleaned on a regular basis. Proper water chemistry will help keep the cell clean longer.
There are some generators that will say they are self cleaning. These are what we call reverse polarity units. The reverse polarity units allow you to reverse the electron flow within the cell to flake off calcium deposits so they can be filtered out by your filtration system. These cells are a little more money but require less cleaning, notice how I said less, not ‘zero cleaning’.
How much do salt water generators cost?
Generator cells can cost anywhere from $1,500 all the way up to $4,000+. We have been installing the Hayward Goldline Aquarite systems on our new in-ground pool installations and they run about $1,800 – $2,300 depending on the size of your pool. It is a bit of an upfront investment but the cost savings long term make it a smart choice. Chlorine prices continue to go up, so being able to make your own chlorine will save you hundreds of dollars a season!
Thanks for reading and visiting the blog I hope this article has been helpful. If you have any questions regarding salt water systems, please feel free to comment below or send me an email at: [email protected]