How do pool chlorinators work?

Pool chlorinators are nifty little devices that automatically maintain the chlorine levels in your pool with minimal intervention on your part. While they cost a little bit more than manually adding chlorine to your pool, pool chlorinators will never scratch their head and say “oops, I forgot to add the chlorine now we have an algae bloom problem.”

Types of Pool Chlorinators

There are three main types of pool chlorinators: dispensers which are basically vessels in which you put in chlorine pucks, automatic pool chlorinators, which are attachments to your filter system that doses the pool with chlorine at a set amount and interval, and salt water chlorinators, which converts saltwater into chlorine for your pool.

Chlorine Dispensers

These are fairly simple devices, pretty much just a housing for chlorine pucks and they float around your pool providing a constant stream of chlorine to your pool water. They're relatively cheap and they practically last forever. A downside to these floating dispensers is if they get stuck at a corner somewhere and you’ll end up with one area of your pool being heavily chlorinated, but if you have an adequate pump system then it really shouldn’t be a big issue.

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Now you might be asking what’s the difference between placing the chlorine puck in a floating dispenser and not just directly into the pool skimmer, the answer to that is simple. Chlorine pucks take up space, which means that instead of skimming the debris from the water, the skimmer is filled with chlorine pucks.

Another reason why we don’t like chlorine pucks in the skimmer is because this will cause an unusually concentrated amount of chlorinated water to go through your pump and filter system. Chlorine is fairly corrosive so this may damage your pump or filter components in the long run.

Automatic Pool Chlorinators

These are automatic dosing devices that are attached after the filter. These are very convenient devices that feed chlorine to the filtered water before it is jetted out into the pool. Since these automatic pool chlorinators add the chlorine when the water is on the way back to the pool, you’re reducing chlorine corrosion of your pump and filter system.

While this is convenient, you have to take extra care when refilling the chlorinator with chlorine. The chamber where the chlorine is stored is sealed and when you open it for refilling, you might get a face full of chlorine gas, which is not only unpleasant but it can cause irritation if you’re sensitive to it. You should also check the O-rings for your automatic pool chlorinators every time you refill it as these are prone to degradation.

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While we currently don't carry automatic pool chlorinators in our online store (although this may change in the future), we do have some automatic dosing equipment like the Astral Hurlcon Rola Chem Chlorine Acid Dosing Machine 20/5 RC9 Series that not only dispenses chlorine, but also all the other chemicals needed to keep your pool water in top condition. Check out the button below for more information.

Saltwater Chlorinators

Saltwater chlorinators are our favorite type of pool chlorinators for the single reason that it frees us from the task of handling chlorine. To be really honest, I can’t stand the smell of undiluted chlorine, and with saltwater chlorinators, I never have to handle it unless I have to shock the pool.

A saltwater chlorinator consists of two parts, the control box and the salt cell. As the water passes through the salt cell, the control box sends a safe electrical pulse to the salt cell, breaking down the salt in the water into Hypochlorous Acid. Now don’t be scared of having “acid” in your pool. This is the exact same thing that happens to chlorine when it dissolves in water. This process is all automated through the control box and as long as your salt levels are adequate, then it’s pretty hands-off from there.

“Refilling” a saltwater chlorinator is very simple. Just dissolve some salt in your pool water (be sure to note down the required parts per million or PPM) and you’re all set! You no longer have to worry about handling chlorine or dealing with that astringent smell. You only need to top off your pool with salt maybe 2-3 times a year depending on the size of your pool. Remember to only use salt that is formulated for pools to minimize the addition of other minerals to the pool. While other salt types with different minerals are great for cooking and food, they're no good for your saltwater cells.

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Another plus to having a saltwater chlorinator is that the water is less harsh on the skin and has less of that “pool water smell” than using traditional chlorine pucks or chlorine solutions.

Conclusion

Pool Chlorinators are there to make your pool maintenance life simpler. They have their pros and cons (the con will usually be the price involved) but for sheer convenience and safety, nothing beats having a saltwater chlorinator like the Water TechniX Atomic WTA25 Salt Water Chlorinator to keep your pool water sparkly and fresh without having to deal with liquid chlorine or manually testing and adding chlorine to your water.

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Do you have any questions about this topic or the featured products? No worries, we're here to help! Drop us a question down below and we'll get back to you ASAP.

Happy swimming :)

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Post author:

Tom Hintze

Head of eCommerce & Operations at Mr Pool Man,
Co-Founder at Water TechniX

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