Saltwater Swimming Pools. It’s Time to Take the Plunge!
I admit that I was looking for a pool-related pun for this blog title and considered several options. I settled on ‘take the plunge’ because that’s exactly what thousands of happy swimmers do every year in Greater Cincinnati. Significantly, many of these swimmers are enjoying the benefits of having a salt pool. Now, let’s clarify. Ocean salt levels average around 35,000 parts per million (ppm). In contrast, saltwater pools require salt levels of just 3500-4500 ppm, approximately 1/10th that of ocean water. So, why is there salt in these pools? No, it’s not meant to simulate a trip to the shore or make you more buoyant. The salt in these pools is there to produce chlorine via an attached chlorine generator. These pool owners generally sit back and relax while those without a generator lug around bulky tablets and liquid shocks.
Chlorine generators have huge advantages over old-fashioned tablets and liquids.
We’re probably nuts to sell them because pools equipped with chlorine generators may never need tablets or shock again. But, thirty years ago we realized the benefits to our customers would be significant. Water feels softer, saltwater swimming pools require less maintenance, and there’s no messy liquids to bleach liners and clothing. Subsequently, we indeed did take the plunge, becoming one of the first builders in the Midwest to offer chlorine generators. Now, several thousand of our patrons enjoy the benefits of their saltwater pool. Of course, any product is only as good as the manufacturer that makes it. We proudly carry the iChlor® system from Pentair and it is truly state-of-the-art.
Now, I know what you are thinking: where does the salt come into play?
How is chlorine produced from salt?
To avoid dredging up bad memories of your high school chemistry days, I’ll try to keep things simple.
First, high-quality bagged salt is added to the pool. Eastgate Pools & Spas uses salt manufactured by Chemical Equipment Labs, and it is rated at 99.1-99.8% pure. That’s extremely high-quality salt! Pour it directly into the water and, being highly soluble, it will dissolve in a day or two. If you prefer, speed up the process by stirring it with your pool brush. The amount needed depends on your pool’s gallonage, but it will probably be several hundred pounds. That probably sounds like a lot of salt. To put it in perspective, it’s about like dissolving one tablespoon of salt in a gallon jug of water. Next, pool water undergoes normal filtration. But, before it is returned to the pool, it is introduced to the chlorine generator. Presto! Chlorine is made.
Now, the chemistry. Salt is a chemical compound—NaCl (Sodium chloride). Saltwater flows through the generator, whereby it passes over a series of titanium cell plates. Through an electrolytic process, the NaCl compound is broken down. The chloride (Cl) component is converted to chlorine gas or it’s dissolved form of hypochlorous acid. The chlorine produced is significantly less harsh than tablet or shock but is a great sanitizer. Most importantly, swimmers will be in clean, clear water that just feels better.
Why go with a Pentair iChlor Chlorine Generator?
There are many reasons, but here are just a few:
- Digital readout allows the pool owner to control chlorine production in very fine 1% adjustments. As the summer heats up, easily increase production.
- It operates at low flow rates of just 20 gallons-per-minute. This is important if you have a dirty filter or if you have a variable speed motor.
- With Pentair’s ScreenLogic2® Interface, you can control the system from anywhere.
- If you have an automatic cover, production is reduced when the cover is closed.
- The system automatically shuts off if the pump is turned off, thereby avoiding chlorine gas buildup in plumbing lines.
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If you are tired of transporting and using messy liquid shocks or old-school tablets, consider the iChlor chlorine generator. It is remarkable technology that simplifies life for the inground pool owner. In brief, that means more time swimming and less time fussing with maintenance. Furthermore, you’ll sleep well at night knowing your iChlor is backed by Eastgate Pools’ professional service team.
Due to higher salt levels in saltwater swimming pools, a chlorine generator is for use on an inground pool only.