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How Saltwater Pools Work

As salt chlorine generators become more popular the misconception of how saltwater pools work seems to grow...
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There is no doubt that a saltwater system makes for a safer, more comfortable, easier maintained pool. Many of the benefits that people hear are entirely true, but one misconception is that when you utilize a saltwater system it gives you a chlorine-free pool. Chlorine is still the compound that does the sanitizing in a saltwater pool.

What Makes A Saltwater Pool Work?

A saltwater chlorine generator utilizes a natural process to generate pure chlorine. The electrolytic process uses a very low concentration of salt (less than a teaspoon per gallon) and generates free chlorine. The chlorine continuously kills bacteria and algae and then reverts back to salt. This indefinite cycle leaves the water feeling silky, soft, refreshing, and sparkling clear. Saltwater chlorine generators are easy to install, economical, and fully automatic.

The Benefits of Using a Saltwater System

  • No more purchasing, transportation, or storage of chlorine.
  • No more skin irritations and itchy red eyes.
  • No more faded bathing suites.
  • No more harsh chemicals in your swimming pool.

The saltwater chlorine generator takes care of the sanitation portion of the pool’s chemistry, but there are a few easily managed chemicals that are necessary to add as well. Controlling the pH and Alkalinity levels will continue to be important as well as controlling stabilizer levels (cyanuric acid). Salt levels should be maintained around 3500 ppm.

Saltwater Pools Work

Super Chlorinate Your Above Ground Pool

A beneficial feature that some saltwater generator systems have is a “super chlorinate” setting. Super chlorinating your above ground pool is useful when there has been a high bather load or there has been an excessive amount of rain. Super chlorinating boosts the total amount of chlorine generated to clean up any high amounts of contaminates that cause the pool to appear cloudy or even green in color.

Additional Features For Ease Of Use

Some salt chlorine generators come with additional benefits. For example, the Solaxx Retro Jet RJ  has LED indicator lights with simple user interface push buttons. This Saltwater System by Solaxx is the perfect choice for above ground pool owners.

Solaxx Saltron Retro Jet RJ Saltwater Chlorine Generator

Specifically made for Above Ground Swimming Pools, The Solaxx Retro Jet system produces a pure, elemental form of chlorine by electrolysis of salt added to the pool water. After the salt is converted to chlorine and bacteria has been killed, the chlorine reverts back to salt and this process is ongoing.

Leave The Chemistry To The Pros…

Once using a system with the ease of use like a salt chlorine generator, it is normal to become curious about how exactly it works its magic.  I would recommend resisting the urge to go back to chemistry class and relearning the periodic table to fully understand exactly how a saltwater pool works / functions. The major benefits of a salt system are peace of mind and ease of use. Let the system take care of the rest.

  • January 9, 2015 at 5:21 PM
    Christine Christopher

    How do maintenance costs for a season (chemicals) of the saltwater pools compare with the traditional chlorine pools?

    • January 12, 2015 at 2:42 PM

      Hi Christine,

      Seasonal maintenance costs will be much lower with a saltwater swimming pool system because a saltwater chlorine generator will make the chlorine for you so you do not have to purchase it. How much you save will vary depending on your pool size, weather, and pool usage. However, salt chlorine generators may need a replacement cell every 2-4 years which can reduce or eliminate any savings that you had during that period. Although you may save some money on pool chemicals with a Saltwater pool system the real benefit is the ease of maintenance.

  • January 26, 2015 at 12:20 PM
    Christine Christopher

    Can you explain in detail the ease of maintenance with a saltwater swimming pool?

    • January 26, 2015 at 3:54 PM

      Hi Christine,

      Saltwater systems consistently make small amounts of chlorine when you run the system so you do not get the high and low chlorine levels that you would with shock and chlorine.

      It provides a more steady chlorine residual that would prevent algae, and it’s much easier to maintain and less expensive to run than a traditional chlorine system, so you would not have to buy buckets of chlorine and shock. The saltwater system, also known as a chlorine generator will make the chlorine for you.

      Here’s a good article on saltwater pools which may help you:
      Saltwater Pools Buyers Guide

  • July 21, 2015 at 4:25 PM
    Bill Keagle

    I initially set up my pool fill it how many bags salt to I put in it? Also when do I put it in during filling or after it fills up and I am able to start the Filter

  • April 23, 2020 at 12:18 PM

    Hi….I’m Loraina. I want to convert to salt water. Can I still use my sand filter pump and reroute or use different sand or something? Or do I have to buy a new system?

  • April 29, 2020 at 10:55 PM
    mark Edwards

    Can a saltwater pool be semi submerged under ground???

  • April 30, 2020 at 12:16 PM
    ronald thompson

    ok just got a used pool it has the sand filter and pump never had one the person told me to put 4.5 bags of salt in ok so now what lol every time I read anything they always talk about a salt generator I don’t have what all do I need to test for any info would be helpful please email me

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