There are many stories about saltwater chlorination out there, but which ones are true and which ones are myths? Today, we’re going to set the record straight as we demystify one of the most misunderstood advancements in pool technologies today.
Saltwater Chlorination Myths
Myth # 1 - It’s like swimming in the ocean
Absolutely not. Saltwater pools have an optimal salt level of 2,500 to 3,000 PPM (parts per million). This is roughly 10% of what seawater has at 35,000 PPM. In fact, your tears are saltier than saltwater pools since tears have 9,000 PPM of salt. So sadly, saltwater pools are not replacements for an ocean experience.
Myth #2 – I don’t like salty tasting water
The salt taste in saltwater pools is actually imperceptible. The human taste buds have a threshold of 3,500 PPM for salt. This means that in a well-maintained saltwater pool with 2,500 to 3,000 PPM, you won’t taste any saltiness in the water.
Myth #3 – Salt disinfects and sanitises your pool
Again, this is another very common myth. The salt levels in the pool aren’t high enough to render the pool water clean and sanitised. What’s doing the sanitising is your salt cell. The salt cell takes the salt from the water and converts it into usable chlorine, which in turn sanitises the pool water.
Myth #4 – Splashes from a saltwater pool will kill grass and plants
This goes back to the first myth of the water being “salty”. Splashes from the pool will not kill your plants and grass since the salt levels aren’t high enough to pose any danger to them. Although, it’s not a good idea to drain your saltwater pool water into your lawn because even though the concentration is low, the sheer volume of water will still add up to a lot of salt. Actually, even if you don't have a saltwater pool, draining your pool water into your lawn will probably kill it as well.
Splashes = Ok
Draining Pool into Lawn = Not Ok
Myth #5 – You don’t need to add any other chemicals to the pool except salt
Now this myth is more of a sales pitch made by a lot of retailers to get people to buy into their salt systems. In salt systems, the only real chemical that you’re replacing is chlorine. But don’t get me wrong, monitoring chlorine is the biggest task for anyone with a pool to ensure that it doesn’t suffer from algae blooms and making it sure that it is properly sanitised. With a saltwater chlorination system, you still need to test and balance your pool water, but just not as much as you would without a saltwater system. If I were to make a rough estimate, traditional pool balancing and testing rates at around a difficulty of 8, while with a salt system, it takes that difficulty down to 2 or 3.
Myth #6 – Saltwater Systems are extremely hard to install
Anyone with a saltwater system will tell you that is absolutely false. Installing a saltwater chlorinator is as simple as attaching it to your pool’s return pipe and plugging it in. It’s as simple as that. Turn on the unit and set it to your required chlorination levels and you’re good to go.
Saltwater Chlorination Truths
Not everything we hear about saltwater chlorination is a myth though. Here is a list of things that people say about saltwater chlorination that’s actually true.
Truth #1 – It’s suitable for all types of pools
True. Indoor pools, outdoor pools, in-ground pools, above-ground pools, cement, tile, or even vinyl, no matter what type of pool you have, saltwater generators are great for any type of application. And since power/chlorination levels can be set, there’s no danger of getting a saltwater chlorinator that is “too big” for your pool.
Truth #2 – You can save money on pool chemicals
Since your saltwater chlorinator constantly produces chlorine which sanitises the water, you’ll reduce the use of other pool chemicals for your pool. It won’t completely eliminate the need for them, but it will greatly reduce the amount of chemicals added to your pool.
Truth #3 – It is totally safe to swim in
Yes, otherwise we wouldn’t be endorsing saltwater chlorinators. In fact, saltwater pools are much safer than your traditional chemically-sanitised pools. You can even swim in the pool even while the saltwater chlorinator system is running unlike traditional pools where you have to wait a while for chlorine levels to subside before swimming in the pool.
Truth #4 – You can convert it to a mineral pool system
Yes, those uber-expensive “mineral pool hydroxinators” are basically saltwater chlorinators with a fancy label slapped on. If you already have a saltwater chlorinator then all you need to do is to swap out salt with magnesium mineral salts and you’ll have your very own mineral pool system.
Truth #5 – Saltwater chlorination is a natural disinfection system
Yes, this is true, although not in the sense that many people realize. We have mentioned before that it isn’t the salt that is doing the disinfection and santising of your pool but the generated chlorine. Salt, or sodium chloride (NaCl) gets a charge from the salt cells and releases the natural chlorine gas into the pool water for disinfection purposes. This is a lot safer than the pure forms of liquid/granular chlorine that is added to the pool in traditional pool chlorination.
There you have it. The truths and myths about saltwater chlorination all demystified. I hope we’ve been able to give you enough information about saltwater chlorination to help you make an informed decision about saltwater pools.
Now if you’re considering of upgrading your existing system to a saltwater pool, then we highly recommend the Water TechniX Atomic WTA35 saltwater chlorinators. It’s Amazing value for it’s price and it has one of the lowest requirements for salt concentrations, making pool water feel silky soft without the irritation that high salt levels brings and it's suitable for Australian pool up to 70,000 litres in volume! For more information on saltwater chlorinators, we invite you to check out our post on How Self-Cleaning Saltwater Chlorinators work.
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Happy swimming :)