Salt Systems: Is it time to convert?
As the first pool company to sell salt systems, beginning around 22 years ago or so, we are huge proponents of saline sanitizers, or salt systems. In fact: Over 90% of new in ground pool constructions include a salt system as its sanitizer. Furthermore, every year we convert a large number of traditional tablet-based in ground pools to salt systems. So why are salt systems becoming the dominant sanitizer method for in ground pools in St. Louis?
So you want to switch from “chlorine” to “salt,” do you?
Water chemistry consists of 3 main points of emphasis: pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer. The first thing to know about a salt system is it’s a simpler way to deliver a more consistent amount of chlorine to your pool. Yes- You will still have to monitor and balance your pH and alkalinity when necessary. But adjusting chlorine levels are now done in a much safer manner and with ease. And no- You do not have to change your filter system. You use the same filter system as they are independent of the sanitizing process.
Rather than talking to someone who started their pool ownership with a salt system, talk to someone who converted to a salt system at some point in their pool ownership: They are the ones who will truly appreciate the ease of a salt system. Gone are the days of checking chlorine tablet floaters or dispensers, handling potentially caustic Trichlor discs or inhaling noxious fumes. Instead the pool owner will add the required amount of salt in their pool to reach the ideal level (as noted by the manufacturer of the salt system) and the generator will take care of the rest.
The in-line generator takes the NaCl (or salt) in your pool and separates the atoms, leaving the Cl free to do what chlorine does. Yes, it’s more complex than that but I won’t bore you with the chemistry. Suffice it to say, you’re able to get a more consistent output of chlorine in your pool that has many advantages over a tablet-based system.
Monochlor is found in your tap water and is only 3% effective. Dichlor (granulated) & Trichlor (tabletized) can be up to 97% effective but is full of additives. Salt systems use a more pure form of chlorine and can be just as effective as granules/tablets. Salt water also tends to be softer on your skin and hair, which is never a bad thing.
Rain and pool usage tends to bring down your pH. As salt systems emit a consistent level of chlorine, and chlorine is high in its pH content, you may find that your pool keeps its pH level balanced over a longer period of time, offsetting events such as rain or usage.
Additionally, some brands have pH monitoring systems built into their salt systems. The OmniLogic from Hayward offers Sense & Dispense as an add-on to its system. Read more about it here.
What about shock?
Once a week shocking (or more) with tablet-based pools is a requirement that can be bypassed with salt systems. As the output of chlorine is much more consistent you tend to not get a lot of swings in your sanitizer chemistry. However, most salt systems have a “superchlorinate” or “boost” setting that will mimic the effects of shocking your pool.
This function is useful when preparing for bad weather or a heavy bather load, or when an impromptu pool party happens and you want to increase your chlorine level in a hurry. It’s safer than tossing in a high dosage of shock as it builds a steady chlorine reservoir over a period of 24hrs.
How do I convert?
If your pool is chlorine-based, you can convert at any point without having to drain your pool. Though you can convert any time in the pool season, it makes the most sense to convert during the pool opening season.
We sell several different salt systems and are always able to convert any pool. Feel free to contact our service department via email by clicking here or by calling us at 314.821.6660.
Happy swimming and good luck moving forward.