Are you considering installing a saltwater pool? Or, perhaps you’re thinking about converting your existing pool to a salt water system. This blog will help you understand the equipment required and the advantages of a salt water pool.
First thing’s first, what is a salt water chlorinator?
A salt water chlorinator is basically a chlorine generator. It consists of a power supply and an electrolytic cell (salt cell, electrode). Through the process of electrolysis which is represented below, it converts salt into chlorine. It does not use up any of the salt in this process.
2NaCl + 2H2O → electrolysis → 2NaOH + H2 + Cl2
What is a salt cell?
The chlorinator cell consists of parallel titanium plates coated with precious metals ruthenium and sometimes iridium. Electrolysis naturally attracts calcium and other minerals to the plates (positive ions). Most systems are now reverse polarity or self cleaning so they automatically remove the buildup of calcium compound crystals, such as calcium carbonate or calcium nitrate as excessive buildup can reduce the effectiveness of the cell. Self cleaning systems will still need a manual clean with dilute HCl acid every 6-12 months typically.
What does the power supply do?
The power supply takes high voltage from the mains and changes it to low voltage, which energises the cell and allows it to generate chlorine. A control board lets you control how much chlorine the cell is generating – you can set the chlorine output level anywhere from 0- 100%. The higher increments may require some adjustments of the pump run times to ensure that you maintain the proper chlorine level.
Power supplies also provide warning lights or other indicators to let the pool operator know of improper operating conditions or damaged components. The ease with which you can interpret a power supply’s indicators varies from brand to brand. Whether the supply uses flashing lights, error codes, or digital displays will determine how easily you can identify such problems as low salt levels, cold temperature limits being exceeded or problems with the power supply itself.
Pictured are examples of salt chlorinator control boxes we have installed for customers:
What to consider when buying a salt chlorinator
- The pool size and your climate are important to finding the right size unit for your pool. The warmer you have your pool the higher the requirement, and the larger your pool the higher the requirement.
- Reliability of the brand. The large well known brands are the best to consider as they have the economy of scale to produce good quality products and warranty support. Even within brands there is a large range of quality products however.
- Replacement Costs – the electrode (salt cell) is your main ongoing cost, so it is important to consider what they cost for different units
- Cell Life – some cells do tend to last longer than others, this is often reflected in the warranty periods they give.
- Independence of the person selling your chlorinator
Many shops sign up to be dealers of only one brand to get the best possible price on that brand to increase their margins. This then means the customer gets recommended the only brand the shop provides and has little or no choice provided. We provide a larger range of brands than most other suppliers, this gives our customers the best price on the most brands, and you can then suit the product to your own needs. For some it will be all about the warranty period, for some the brand recognition, others the units that can provide features such as a boost function or come with a temperate sensor to improve their efficiency and so on.
Advantages of a Salt Pool
Convenience – This system is very convenient as you do not need to carry drums of chlorine, it simply makes the chlorine you require for the pool.
Safety – Many customers prefer salt pools so they don’t need to store drums of chlorine
Save money on pool Chemicals – Salt water pools area cheaper to maintain throughout the year as you normally only require salt. A salt cell is a replaceable element that needs to be purchased every few years, but that cost is still much less than buying chlorine if you look at total cost over time.
Pleasant to Swim in Salt Pools – If you are sensitive to chlorine, this method produces less irritating chloramines than traditional chlorine. Most people report they find them gentler on the eyes, skin and hair and people who use the mineral salts report being very happy with the results.
Talk to our team of experts today!
We’re more than happy to take you through the process for your distinct situation. Pop into our store or call Nicole on 0412 561 620 for advice!