Traditionally, the most common form of pool water sanitisation has been through the use of liquid chlorine. By administering liquid chlorine on a daily basis, bacteria and algae were kept under control and the water was safe to swim in. This also applied to spas and hot tubs as the preferred method of sanitisation.
The benefits of chlorine type pools stemmed from chlorine being relatively cheap and simple to apply – no dissolving is required and the correct dosage could be simply added to the water.
However, chlorine based pools posed several disadvantages – chlorine can have some undesired effects on swimmers including irritated skin, discoloured hair, fading to swimming costumes, and we all will never forget the red and stinging eyes.
Largely popular in Australia, a salt water chlorinator implementation will eliminate the use of liquid chlorine and maintain the sanitisation of the water.
Although requiring an initial upfront investment and installation, a salt water chlorinator will prove its benefits by itself after a short time of operation.
Just to explain quickly – a salt water pool will still contain chlorine, but since the chlorine is being constantly generated as it is being consumed, the levels of chlorine in the water are very low and mostly never noticeable. The chlorine is produced by the salt water chlorinator, and is generated as a result of a chemical reaction from the salt in the pool.
Converting your chlorine based pool to a salt water pool is pretty straight forward, and even if you are a little bit handy you can do it all yourself.
Begin by finding the right chlorinator to suit your circumstances. A great resource for product and purchase information is this salt water chlorinator website.
Refer to the manufacturers installation instructions and install the chlorinator appropriately. A word of caution – some manufacturers will reduce their warranty period if the chlorinator is not installed by a qualified technician.
After installation of the chlorinator (or during), salt needs to be applied to the pool and dissolved in the water. Please check with your chlorinators instructions on the dosage level required as most manufacturers will have a safe minimum and maximum operating range so as to not cause damage to the chlorinator cell.
Generally speaking though, the average dosage amount is roughly 3000-4000 ppm – that’s parts per million. Put another way, a 40,000 gallon pool will require approximately 25 x 40 pound bags of salt. But again, check first with your chlorinator manufacturer as getting this wrong could cause damage to your unit and they won’t cover it under warranty.
The salt used in salt water pools, hot tubs and spas is ordinary table salt. That’s not to say you need to go down to your local supermarket and purchase thousands of salt shakers to add to your pool. Your local pool shop will have plenty of stock of bags of salt designed for use in your swimming pool.
Once you’ve applied the salt to the water and ensured it has been dissolved (recommend just using your pool brush to swish the salt around constantly until it is dissolved) then test the water or have it tested for the salt levels ensuring it is in the range of your manufacturers recommendations.
Now your ready to start operating your chlorinator and begin enjoying your swimming pool. Check operation daily for a week or so, then have your water tested on a weekly basis for a month and adjust your chlorinators’ output and run times accordingly.
Your water will begin looking crystal clear in no time and everyone will love the feel and comfort of the salt water pool.