Chlorine Generators

Salt chlorine generators use a salt cell to create chlorine from NaOCl and H2O. The salt cell uses electrolysis to convert the salty water into chlorine. Saltwater pools are still chlorine pools, but are able to create their own 'locally sourced and organic' organic, made right on site! Here we have salt chlorinators for inground pools and aboveground pools and spas. Just add salt! Add about 300 lbs of pool salt per 10000 gallons of pool water; plumb in the salt cell, and plug in the controller and say goodbye to chlorine tablets!

Pool Info: Pool Chlorine Generators

Pool Chlorine Generators

One of the first alternative sanitizers introduced to the pool and spa industry was the chlorine generator. Chlorine generators are attractive to pool owners simply because they eliminate the need to store, buy, transport and handle chlorine.

Saltwater pools are not an alternative to chlorine, but an alternative delivery system. Salt systems make their own chlorine from regular table salt NaCl, right inside the pipe, where it immediately goes to work.

How Does It Work?

As pool water passes through, the chlorine generator cell, pumped through by your filter pump, the salt in the water is turned into Hypochlorous acid. Hypochlorous acid is the exact same chemical that is produced when any chlorine is added to pool water, whether you use sticks, tablets, granular or liquid. As the water returns to the pool, it will introduce the newly produced chlorine, preventing algae, bacteria and killing micro-organisms to create a safe and sanitary swimming environment.

OK? How does it really work?

This mild saline water produces chlorine through the process of electrolysis. The electrolytic cell (salt cell), powered by a small electric current, breaks down water into its basic elements, Hydrogen and Oxygen. Add pure food grade salt to the water, and the salt molecule is also separated. In all the confusion, hydrogen and chlorides bond to create Hypochlorous Acid (common chlorine). After the work is done, the Hypochlorous Acid (Chlorine) is ultimately converted back to salt. Thus, the salt does not get used-up, but only needs to be topped-off once or twice a year and only to replace salt lost due to water splash-out, bather drag off or filter backwashing.

Salt in My Pool?

The salt level required to maintain a safe, chlorinated pool is about 2500 to 3500 PPM (parts per million). The human tongue cannot taste salt until the PPM is around 5000. As a reference point, the ocean is around 40000 ppm. The amount of salt in the pool is usually not noticeable. Once the salt is added to the pool, only small additional amounts are needed, usually annually, unless the pool is drained or a significant amount of water is removed. Also, the salt level is low enough so there is no danger of equipment corrosion. Saltwater pool systems also make the water softer, leaving a more refreshed feeling after swimming, with less chlorine smell.

Is There Any Maintenance Required?

Acid Magic

Chlorine generators require very little maintenance. Although many systems are self-cleaning, with a reverse polarity feature that removes scale build-up, the salt cell should still be removed and cleaned on a yearly basis. Most salt system manufacturers recommend cleaning the salt cell by soaking in a mild solution of muriatic acid and water, or use Acid Magic as a safer, low-fume alternative. Flow Switches and sensor tips may also need annual cleaning in hard water areas. The power supply unit and cables require no regular maintenance, but should be protected from sun and weather extremes.

What Type of salt do I add?

Acceptable pool salts include Food Grade salt, solar salt flakes, or water conditioner salt. Do not use Rock Salt as it contains too many impurities! Make sure that your salt contains no iodine and is as pure as possible. Aqua Salt is accepted by all Salt Chlorinator manufacturers, and is the easiest to use as it will dissolve almost instantly, and does not require pre-dissolving or a lot of brushing.

Swimming Pool Salt - Maybe you should buy local...

Where do I add the salt?

What is most important when adding salt is to brush it around until it is dissolved. This is accelerated by turning your pump on, opening the bottom drain and pouring the salt over the drain, rather than walking around the perimeter while adding the salt. It is recommended that you continue to run the pump for 24 hours so the salt can spread evenly throughout the pool. With granular pool salt, most will dissolve before hitting the bottom. The remaining salt can simply be brushed into the drain. With other less soluble forms of salt, it will take longer to dissolve but the same process will accelerate the dissolve rate. Simply brush the salt in a pattern over the drain to increase dissolution. Vinyl pools should use only pool salt, like Aqua Salt, to prevent less soluble salts from laying on the vinyl for extended periods.

How much salt do I add?

Check your owner’s manual or start-up guide for the manufacturer’s recommendation on salt level range, which can vary by pool salt system. You will also need to know your pool capacity, or size in gallons, to add the correct amount of salt. For new pools or freshly filled pools, the salt level will most likely be zero.

Pool Salt Test Strips

Adding 8 lbs of Pool Salt will raise salt levels 100 ppm, per 10,000 gallons of pool water. Likewise, 80 lbs. of pool salt (two 40 lb bags of pool salt) will raise salt levels by 1000 ppm, per 10,000 gallons. For example, a pool of 20,000 gallons would need twelve (12) 40 lb. bags of pool salt to reach 3000 ppm.

For existing pools, previous usage of chlorine bleach or tablets will have already introduced a level of salts into the water. Have the water tested first then add the appropriate amount to reach the proper salt level range. Test the salt level of your pool using salt test strips, which is a good idea to do before adding all of the salt; to avoid adding too much salt.

What happens if I add too much salt?

Over-salting will not harm your chlorine generating system, but will lead to a salty tasting water. For some, this is not undesirable as it will more closely match our body’s natural salinity level, making it more comfortable to swim in. In some cases, high salt levels can promote corrosive damage to metallic equipment such as handrails, ladders and light rings, or pool heaters. To reduce the salt level, dilution is the solution. Drain some water and refill with fresh water.

Swimming Pool Chlorine Generators

How often will I need to add salt?

After the initial dosage of salt, you will only need to add salt when it drops below the recommended minimum. The most common ways salt is lost is through leaks, rainwater overflow, filter backwashing, and bather splash-out/carryout. Normal water evaporation does not lose salt; it only increases the concentration. Make up water added to bring the water level back to normal will then reduce the salt concentration back normal. Most salt chlorinators have low salt indicators, with some units providing a salt level read-out, in ppm. If your salt system does not, use sodium chloride test strips to quickly check salt level, with good accuracy.

Do I eliminate the need to add chemicals?

Chlorine generators do one thing, generate chlorine. However, the purity of this chlorine has less effect on the overall water chemistry balance; therefore, fewer chemicals may be needed re-balance the water. We recommend periodic (twice weekly) of Free Chlorine (2 - 3 ppm for pools and 3 - 6 ppm for spas), pH (7.2 - 7.6), and salt levels (2500 - 4000 ppm). Since salt pool chlorinators do not affect the Total Alkalinity, Cyanuric Acid or Calcium Hardness levels in your pool water, a monthly check is sufficient.

AutoPilot RC Cells With Unions

Will I still need to use chlorine tablets or shock?

In some cases, you might still need to add chlorine for shocking purposes for algae and chloramine removal, heavy bather loads, rainstorms, or fecal accidents, or flooding of the pool. Some salt systems do have a super-chlorinate feature, but it can be slow to react, and places a heavy demand on the salt cell. Shocking the pool or using tablets may be necessary in the event of mechanical problems with your salt chlorinator, pump or filter. Finally, salt chlorinators shut down at water temperatures of around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, if your pool is operating during colder times of the year.

Will I have to run my equipment more?

You are only creating chlorine when the pump is running. Most chlorine generators do not need extended pump run times in order to generate enough chlorine, provided the cell is properly sized to the pool. Most units allows for multiple configuration set-ups so that you can generate sufficient amounts of chlorine during your current pump circulation time. For pools that have short pump run times, you can increase the output power of the salt cell to compensate.

Pool Salt System Parts

How long will the salt cell last?

Most residential salt cells are rated for approximately 10,000 hours of operation. This typically translates to 3 - 5 years, depending on pool volume, cell size and the sanitizer demands of your pool. Water chemistry balance, salt levels and stabilizer levels are all key factors in ensuring maximum cell life. The harder you use the cell, the more you ask of it, the shorter its life span. Annual inspection and cleaning of your salt cell is one of the best things you can do to help delay salt cell degradation, but water balance and salt levels are key to preventing problems. There are other salt system parts as well, o-rings and sensors, unions, transformers, circuit boards and cables.

In Ground Pool Salt Systems

Does a Salt Chlorinator Save Money?

Salt systems are convenient, and an interesting conversation topic at your next pool party, but won’t save you money. An inground pool salt system, plus the 500+ lbs. of salt can cost over $1000. After 5 years, you’ll need to replace the salt cell at a cost of $400 or so. In the long run, the cost of using tablets and shock could be less, or about the same as using a salt chlorinator. Salt systems have many benefits, but usually cost more to buy and maintain, than traditional tablet and shock chlorine treatment.

Will Salt Water Attack my Pool Surfaces?

High levels of salt can attack metal components such as ladders, light rings or handrails, or cover reels. They can also slowly corrode soft decorative rocks or stones over time, noticeable in areas of heavy traffic or water feature spray. A sacrificial anode of zinc can be used, attached to the ladder, skimmer, or plumbed in-line, to draw away the ions that would attack metal components around a pool. Under normal salt levels however, the amount of corrosion caused by pool salt is negligible. In arid regions with little rain, rinsing surfaces regularly can prevent build-up of salts on the pool deck and coping, which could be slowly corrosive to soft stones or other pool deck materials. High value pool decks should be sealed with sealers to protect from salt damage.