Gone are the days of all pools being maintained with chlorine. The pool market of the 21st century offers consumers numerous options on how they wish to maintain their pools. Salt pools (or saltwater pools) are becoming increasingly popular in the pool community. Here are a few misconceptions that many people have about salt pools:
- Salt pools do not use chlorine. Salt Pools use a cell (Electrolytic Chlorine Generator or ECG) that generates chlorine from salt. A salt pool is a chlorine pool, you just don’t have to dose the pool with chlorine as you do with traditional chlorine usage.
- Salt Pools do not need maintenance. When chlorine is generated in a salt pool so is scale and an increased pH. Scale causes the ECG cell to be less effective. Higher pH causes the chlorine to be less effective.
- Salt pools do not need water balancing. ECG’s only make chlorine, they do nothing for the other balance requirements (calcium hardness, cyanuric acid/stabilizer level, total alkalinity). Nor do they provide an algaecide or scale inhibitor.
- Salt Pools provide a ‘Set it and Forget it’ pool. Even though ECG’s create chlorine, they do it only at a steady pace, when there is rain or environmental issues (pollution, wind, pollen season, etc) or when there is a high bather load (more swimmers than normal), salt pools need to be boosted or shocked to maintain sanitized water, even needing the addition of store bought chlorine, depending on the need.
- Salt Pools are foolproof. Salt can be disruptive to the pool area, think of how salt treats your car during the winter. Pools with natural stone accompaniments are not recommended to use salt because the salt remaining from evaporated water from splash out can damage the service of the stone and make it not look as nice as you’d like it.
- All salt is not the same. Pools have their own needs and environment. Salt used for water softeners or ice melt is not conducive to balanced water and can actually cause chlorine demand within the pool which means that it can take more chlorine generation to achieve proper sanitization levels. Some salt styles also use iron based anti caking agents which, when put into a chlorine environment can cause staining of the pool surface and unnatural coloring of the water.