Saltwater Chlorination and Variable Speed Pumps

A lot of pool old-timers (no offense intended!) will argue against the usage of salt water chlorinators simply because they’re hard-set in their ways or there will be things that they simply don’t understand when it comes to variable speed pumps. We’re here today to clear up some of these issues so that when it comes time to replace your pump, you’re armed with all of the information you’ll need to make the jump into switching to a variable speed pump!

The Warranty Card said “Not for use with Salt Water”

This is probably the most common thing we hear about when people say they stay away from variable speed pumps is that the warranty cards say that it is not for use with salt water. It’s understandable why anyone would think that you can’t use it with a salt water system because, well, it does say not for use with salt water right? The misunderstanding basically comes from this line. This warranty statement actually refers to SEA WATER and not salt water chlorinated pools.

P.S. Many newer variable speed pumps no longer has this statement on it, but if it does, now you know what it means!

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What’s the difference? Well, sea water will have around 25,000 ppm of salt while a pool that uses salt water chlorination will only have 2,000 ppm to 3,000 ppm of salt. If you really think about it, almost all consumer-grade or home-grade pool equipment (from automatic pool cleaners to pool heaters) will get damaged when used with actual sea water!

Salt water systems will reduce the life of the pump

This is partly true, but before you jump out of the page, hear us out! The main reason for why salt water systems will reduce the life of the pump (or other types of pool equipment for that matter) is not because of the salt in the water (since pumps don’t really have any exposed metal parts prone to corrosion) but because pool chemistry does change dramatically from traditionally chlorinated pools and many users fail to account for that!

Biggest Culprit: pH levels

Salt water chlorinators will usually increase the pool’s pH levels due to sodium hydroxide, which is the byproduct of salt water chlorine generation. This is actually a symptom that your salt water chlorinator is set too high! Too high a setting won’t give the chlorine gas produced enough time to dissolve back into the water to bind with the sodium hydroxide which in turn will lead to your pool’s pH levels to rise. The fix for this is simple, just fine tune your chlorinator’s output to the right levels and your pH levels should remain optimal. And of course, there’s playing catch up with your pH levels by lowering the pH of the pool, at the end, as long as your pH levels don’t remain at high levels for extended periods of time then there’s really nothing to be worried about.

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Bottom line: It’s not really an issue with salt water chlorination but more on balancing your pool water properly, something which we should be already doing on a regular basis!

Variable speed pump flow rates

Flow rates are something that single-speed pump owners do not need to take note of is the flow rate of their pump when it comes to salt water chlorination. As a safety feature, salt water chlorinators have a flow detector that will automatically shut off the chlorinator if it detects that there is no water flow to prevent the cell from burning out.

With variable speed pumps, setting the pump’s operating speed too low will actually prevent the chlorinator from turning on properly. All this needs is a little bit of fine tuning on your part to see at which level your chlorinator can detect the flow of water.

Tip: Once you determine the minimum RPM level that your pump needs to run at so that your chlorinator will kick in, be sure to add a few hundred RPM to this to offset for other factors that may affect the flow rate like dirty filters, a dirty sensor or maybe clogged skimmer baskets! Once you get the setting down right then flow rates shouldn’t be a problem.

Conclusion

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That’s actually it! Now that you know that salt water chlorinators are indeed compatible with ECO-friendly variable speed pumps then there’s nothing really that stops you from upgrading to a variable speed pump. But if the initial cost is giving you second thoughts, don’t worry, we have that covered too! Dive on down to our Payments Page to see all of the available payment options that will allow you to spread the payments out for your new variable speed pumps in installments without any interest!

P.S. The Water TechniX Pump Dual ECO Variable Speed pump is our fastest selling variable speed pump so it may appear sold out from time to time! Don't worry though, we're constantly replenishing stocks so if you're interested in getting one, reach out to us and we'll put you on the list for the next batch as it comes in!

If you need a variable speed pump ASAP, you can also check out our selection of energy-efficient pool pumps here.

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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