Is it a salt water pool, or is it a chlorine pool?
We have lost count of how many times a customer has said:
- “I don’t use chlorine, I have a salt water pool.”
- “We don’t use any chemicals, we have a salt pool.”
- “My [insert familial relation here] is allergic to chlorine so we use salt instead.”
While salt chlorine generators are becoming more popular, the misconceptions abound.
Yes, Virginia, your salt water pool does indeed contain chlorine.
You have produced it from salt with the help of your salt chlorine generator. The short version of the story is that you put salt in your pool water and as it travels through the salt cell it is converted to chlorine which sanitizes your pool. As the chlorine is used up, it reverts back to salt, in effect recycling your salt.
The level of chlorine produced by the generator is low and constant so you avoid the spikes and total lack of chlorine that typically happens when you have to manage the chlorine on your own. Usually you dump in a bunch of chlorine and then your level is high. It tapers off until you notice there is no more chlorine (and maybe algae forming on the walls) so you dump some more chlorine in and have another spike in the chlorine level. A salt chlorine generator will manage the chlorine level for you and keep up with the sanitizing so that the yo-yo chlorine level is avoided.
You really do need to add some chemicals to your salt water pool.
A salt chlorine generator is a wonderful thing, and it will make your water feel soft and inviting. It’s not magic. You still need to balance your water and monitor it for proper alkalinity, pH, hardness and stabilizer levels. You also need to check to be sure your salt generator is producing chlorine and make sure your salt level is adequate. The chlorine generator is taking care of the chlorine, you need to give it some help.
It is highly unlikely that anyone you know is genuinely allergic to chlorine.
Some people have more sensitive skin which reacts to poor water chemistry. Skin and eye irritation is most often the result of unbalanced pool water. The water should be tested for Total Chlorine, Free Chlorine, Alkalinity, pH, Hardness, and Cyanuric Acid (stabilizer). If the water is not in the proper ranges then the water is not going to feel comfortable, and sensitive skin is more likely to react.
The good news is that a salt chlorine generator will make your pool water feel better and save you time.
People who come to visit commonly remark on how soft and smooth the water feels in a salt water pool. The chlorine level will be low and constant so the chloramines (that stinky, used-up chlorine) will be controlled. As the water passes through the salt cell, it is super-chlorinated right in the cell and is returned to the pool clean and fresh. You can spend more time enjoying your pool and less time messing around with chlorine.
The benefits to a salt water chlorine generator are many:
- You don’t have to buy chlorine
- You don’t have to store or transport chlorine
- You kids and pets won’t get into the chlorine
- You won’t get bleached spots on your clothes and in your car from handling chlorine
- Your chlorine level will stay constant so the water will stay sanitized and be much less likely to get cloudy or grow algae
- The low level of chlorine won’t bleach your bathing suits
- You don’t have to daily test the chlorine level or add a weekly shock
- This form of chlorine is very natural, and does not have the normal byproducts you will find with other types of chlorine – itchy skin, red eyes, strong odor, etc.