Salt-water pools began in Sydney Australia. This post concentrates on some of the fundamental advantages and disadvantages of each pool maintenance method (standard chlorination vs. alternative chlorination) and refers to choices that can be the best of both world s when it comes to swimming pool sanitation. Salt-water pools have become increasingly popular over time, and the debate has raged on whether they are a better alternative to standard pool chlorination methods or a whether they present a significant step backward.
Time for a Summer Swim
Summer weather is always an amazing to take a swim. Despite the fact that the climate may be appropriate for an evening in the water, the water might be unsuitable for an evening dip. Among the most frequent issues with pools is the growth of algae and germ pathogens. Chlorine traditionally has been the most common which is used to sanitize pool water destroying pathogens and preventing undesirable algae growth.
The problem with standard pool chlorination methods is it sometimes also destroys the quality of the water we most seek to enjoy. Burning eyes, itchy skin, breathing irritation, faded fabrics, and funny colored hair is just a few of the factors that can spoil even the most beautiful summer swim.
Saltwater Pools are not Chlorine Free Pools
Many people assume saltwater pools are chlorine free pools and that assumption is erroneous. With standard pool chlorination methods chlorine in either, liquid, gas, or solid tablet form is added to the pool water by owners or pool care professionals. Most commercially available chlorine products are not pure chlorine products. In fact, as much as 90% of the product sold as pool chlorine or pool chlorinator is stabilizers and other ingredients necessary to preserve that chlorine and keep it in a form you can use for your pool water.
How Salt Chlorinators Work
Salt water pools or salt chlorinator methods use salt and water and a process called electrolysis to separate common salt and free the chloride from the molecule to chlorinate the swimming pool water. Salt water pools and salt chlorinator methods can vary, but this is the basic premise.
Benefits of Salt Chlorination Systems
One significant advantage to salt chlorination methods is the chlorine liberated in the reaction (electrolysis) adds pure chlorine (additive free) to the swimming pool water. That chlorine is free of the additional irritating chemical compounds found in commercial chlorine sources. It is primarily the additives (other ingredients) in commercial chlorine products that produce the noxious smells, skin irritation, burning eyes, and general discomfort many associates with standard chlorination methods.
Simple Salt and Water
Another significant benefit to salt chlorinators is there is no handling, storing, transporting, and potential accidents from commercial chlorine products. In fact, with a salt water pool or a salt chlorinator system, there is only salt and water.
The Pool Chlorination Roller Coaster
Another benefit of these non-traditional chlorination methods is the potential to keep chlorine levels consistent and optimal in the pool environment. With good salt chlorination systems, you eliminate the radical peaks and valleys standard pool chlorination methods. There is no chlorine rollercoaster ride.
Peaks are periods of times after manual chlorination when chlorine levels are very high. Itching skin, burning eyes, an excessive odor is all common during peaks in pool chlorine levels. Well maintained salt chlorinated pools are far more comfortable to swim in than standard pools. The comfort of the swim is one of the big benefits of the system.
During chlorine valleys or periods of under chlorination during the standard maintenance cycle, chlorine levels are inadequate to provide proper biological protection from germ pathogens and algae. In essence, you are under protected from the hazards. These peaks and valleys are constant with a lot of standard chlorination pool maintenance routines and are a real drawback and potential danger.
Legal Requirements and Pool Water Regulation
Due to legal requirements, many commercial and public pools are continuously over chlorinated to avoid the liability of chlorination valleys that would otherwise put the pool owners at risk and possibly face being closed by local health authorities. See article Chlorine Genie FB POST.
Simplified Chlorination and Maintenance
Salt Water Pools and other Salt Chlorination systems offer the potential for “set it and forget it” type automatic pool chlorination, which can significantly reduce pool maintenance hassles, chemical dangers, and costs.
Drawbacks to Salt Chlorine Generator Systems
Drawbacks to Salt Chlorine Generators can include the initial system costs vs. a bucket of chlorinator tablets. Also depending on the system you are using other potential dangers, expenses and upkeep costs can present themselves.
Not a New Technology
Salt-water pool systems are not new. The earliest systems were more of a novelty and didn’t work very well. As a new and evolving technology it has had its growing pains and even today it is not a trouble-free method of pool sanitation. No pool system is. They all have distinct advantages and disadvantages to consider.
Salt in the Pool Problems
A big drawback initially and that has persisted is that most salt chlorine generator systems employ “salt in the pool” technology to provide the salt cell with adequate salt and water for the reaction to take place at the electrodes. Putting salt in the pool creates a host of problems and requires almost constant pumping to recirculate enough salt and water to keep the salt cell producing chlorine for the pool. It is inefficient and adds to increased electrical and wear and tear expenses. Other problems include salts corrosive nature and the fact that it conducts electrical charges better than fresh water. There is one company in particular manufacturing a unit designed to overcome the short comings of salt in the pool systems by isolating the salt reaction outside the pool. See reviews on their Chlorine Genie Yelp Page.
Avoiding the Problems with Salt Water Chlorine Generation
What most people fail to realize is that problems of salt water chlorine generation can be prevented, and yet all the incredible benefits retained, by employing methods that isolate the salt chlorinator cell and salt water from the pool water. Efficiency is increased, constant pumping is not required, and all the bad elements stemming from hundreds of pounds of salt in your pool water disappear. You are left with all the benefits of luxurious clean safe comfortable simple to maintain pool water.
So is the Jury Still Out?
So is the jury still out on salt water pools? Yes… many get into salt water pools thinking they will be something they are not. Expectations, marketing hype, and misconceptions about salt water pools can often overshadow the reality of owning the standard “salt in the pool” systems. But there are advances in salt water chlorination systems aimed at alleviating the drawbacks and capitalizing on all the benefits. The Chlorine Genie Pool Water Management system is just such a system and worth looking into for anyone considering a saltwater pool or alternative pool sanitation system. See more on the Chlorine Genie YouTube Channel.
New Advances in Salt Water Chlorinator Systems
In fact, advances made by Chlorine Genie may indeed be the end of salt water pool systems as we know them and the birth of a salt chlorination method that lives up to the promises and hype that have propagated the Salt Water Pool Phenomenon.