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A Guide to Salt Water Chlorinators and Their Benefits

Though conventional chlorination systems have their place, they’re not the only option for pool sanitization. Whether it’s for a new pool or an existing one with a planned conversion, a salt water chlorination system is a great choice. Read on to learn how salt water chlorinators work, how long they last, and for the most important reasons to choose salt over traditional chlorination methods.

How Salt Water Chlorination Systems Work

A salt water chlorinator uses dissolved salt to create the chlorine that cleans the pool. It’s important to remember that these systems aren’t chlorine-free; they use a process to create chlorine instead of requiring the user to add it to the pool.

Today's salt chlorinators make hypochlorous acid with sodium chloride and electrolysis. The salted water passes over an electrified element, creating hydrogen, sodium hydroxide, and chlorine gases. The dissolved salt is converted into a sanitizing agent that eliminates bacteria and dirt. Instead of putting chlorine in the pool, the salt water system generates it as needed.

How Long Do They Last?

A properly maintained salt water chlorination system will last up to seven years, which makes it a viable alternative to costly, difficult-to-maintain traditional chlorination systems.

Manual Chlorination is Less Frequent

Those without salt water chlorinators use tablets or liquid chlorine to maintain a pool’s sanitizer levels. While they work, it’s no fun to buy, transport, store, and use chlorine. For instance, liquid chlorine loses potency quickly, is volatile, and is dangerous to eyes, skin, and lungs. Though a salt water pool may need an occasional manual adjustment, it can usually be done with granular or tablet forms of chlorine, which are much safer.

Pool Owners Save Money on Chemicals and Other Supplies

Salt is the ingredient from which chlorine is derived. Because salt doesn’t dissolve in the water like other pool chemicals, the initial salt does will still be there throughout the season. Only when water is physically removed from the pool does the salt concentration decrease. During one season, an owner may have to add one or two bags of salt to top off the system and keep it within an acceptable range. Compare that to weekly spending on chlorine, and it’s easy to see the savings!

They’re Better for the Hair, Skin, and Eyes

One of the biggest benefits of salt water swimming pool chlorinators is that they're easier on the eyes and less drying to the skin. There are several reasons for this. A salt water concentration of 3000 parts per million is easy on the skin; it actually hydrates rather than drying the skin like chlorinated water does. Those with skin problems and chlorine sensitivities can benefit greatly from the use of a salt water system.

There’s Far Less Chlorine Odor

One of the chief complaints about chlorinated pool water is that the smell stays on skin and hair for quite some time after getting out of the water. While the smell is typically attributed to chloramine buildup and can be minimized with pH balancing and breakpoint chlorination, salt water pool users notice fewer odors than those who use conventional pools.

Less Chemical Maintenance is Required

The final advantage salt water chlorinators have over conventional chlorine pools is that it takes significantly less time to perfect and maintain the water’s chemical balance. Much of the benefit has to do with the fact that sanitization is mostly automated in a salt water pool chlorination system. Here, the user only has to focus on pH balance, hardness, and alkalinity. Because chlorine is fed into the system in small, steady, and automatic doses, users notice fewer fluctuations in pH and alkalinity levels and they find it easier to manage their pool water’s balance.

Is it Time to Make the Switch to a Salt Water Pool?

A chlorinator replacement is a great option for a pool owner who wants to minimize maintenance. However, its upfront cost is higher than that of a traditional, chemical-based system. If a user wants a chlorination alternative, this is one of the most popular options out there. When putting chemicals in the pool gets tiresome, give salt water chlorination a chance. In most cases, users find that it’s easier on them, their guests, and their budget.