The reasons why salt chlorine generators are coming under a lot of criticism lately: the expensive high amperage process of creating pure concentrated chlorine in its acid form in a pool’s return line has come under critical review quite a bit in recent studies. There are a lot of misconceptions and misinformation in the marketing of these corrosive systems.
Let’s establish the basic facts of operating this type of chlorine generator. First, very high concentrations of corrosive salt are added to water. (Usually 40,000 times more chemical product than healthy alternative systems). The potential for scaling, staining, corrosion to heaters, pumps, pool equipment and surfaces is a serious problem. The reaction necessary to break down the salt into hypochlorous acid chlorine and caustic soda uses expensive amounts of electricity and creates a breakdown of electrodes (replacement frequently costing upwards of half original equipment cost!) Caustic soda (NaOH) or sodium hydroxide is the other byproduct of this chemical manufacturing process. This caustic chemical is the main ingredient in Drano or Liquid Plumber, etc that is used to breakdown hair clogs in plumbing in sinks and drains. These chemicals breakdown fats, skin cells, damage hair, swimsuits etc… Add to this the drying salt water and ALL the well publicized problems of toxic chlorine and its byproducts and you clearly understand some of the criticisms brought up recently.
The support of this technology is problematic and requires dosing of shock, use of chlorine stabilizer – cyanuric acid – (also causing additional damage to pool equipment), algaecide, clarifier and sequestering/chelating agents. All expensive, time consuming maintenance, testing etc…associated with any standard chemical program. Draining of salt water to drains, lawns, plants and the environment only add to the above problem. Safe, economical automatic and healthy options are widely available that are far more effective and avoid all of the toxicity, corrosion and expense.
As sales continue to grow exponentially, some builders have questions about salt chlorine generators. Some report problems with stone copings on these pools and suspect that the salt is causing them to degrade.
Meanwhile, manufacturers of salt systems are meeting with builders and researching the issue.
Pool construction firms in Texas seem particularly vulnerable to this deterioration of the stone. They see it happening mostly on softer types of rock, such as limestone. But builders outside of Texas are witnessing the condition as well.
Buzz Ghiz, president of Paddock Pool Construction Company, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based Pool and Spa News Top Builder, said that his company noticed flaking on coping, decks and even rock waterfalls. “We found over the past three to five years that we’re having warranty issues on items such as decking, rock waterfalls and some equipment”, he said. “But most of the time, the problem is outside of the pool. We tracked it back to (the fact that) all these pools have salt chlorinators.”
Salt chlorinators have been increasing in popularity due to the many benefits they provide, particularly in maintaining chlorine levels and in the more pleasant feel of the water.
In making the decision to purchase a salt chlorination system, it is necessary to consider certain facts. Read the full disclaimer before making your purchase.
There are common misconceptions about alternatives to chlorinated pools. Many are turning to salt water pools in a belief that it will be less expensive and lower maintenance. These assumptions are totally false. If it is sodium hypochlorite pool you desire you can save money, many headaches and a great deal of time by just using bleach. Bleach is usually 6% sodium hypochlorite.
A saltwater pool is a sodium hypochlorite chlorine pool rather than calcium hypochlorite pool. The difference is that you make the chlorine yourself. Technically, a Salt Water Chlorinator works by using electrolysis to release chlorine gas from the salt in your pool water. Two to five hundred pounds of salt is added to the pool water to achieve a saturation of approximately 3200 parts per million. The salt water is then passed though a chlorinator cell that is electronically charged and this process releases chlorine gas from the salt. The chlorine gas then combines with the pool water to create liquid sodium hypochlorite chlorine.
If you are considering such a Salt water Chlorinator, there are a few things you will want to be aware of before you buy. Many pool stores and builders tend to only mention the pros of these units. You should know what common problems usually arise and the reason for them so you can avoid unnecessary disappointment with this new investment.
Get the answers to these common salt water myths.
There is also a growing body of evidence that salt – through chloride damage – accelerates the destruction of stone and cement.
Corrosion damages is becoming a concern for pool owners. Steve Riley’s company cleans and maintains pools in Dallas. He says he’s finding rusted and deteriorated stainless steel components in the growing number of pools in North Texas with salt-water filtration systems. Proponents say salt pools are better than traditional chlorine. They say it leaves the skin feeling soft and reduces eye irritation. But Riley says many pool cleaners believe there’s a problem with salt and he’s certain it’s causing problems for his clients.