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. They are not an alternative to chlorine,
but actually make their own chlorine
from regular table salt. The pool water passes
through a generator cell that creates the chlorine
within the pool water.
Does It Work?
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 component 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, creating a safe and sanitary
OK? How does it really work?
mild, pleasant saline water is sanitized through
the process of electrolysis, as mentioned above.
The electrolytic cell, through the use of
a small electric current, breaks down the water
into its basic elements, Hydrogen and Oxygen.
By adding small quantities of granulated salt
(much like household table salt - NaCI), Hypochlorous
Acid (common chlorine) is produced. During
the process, the Hypochlorous Acid (Chlorine)
is ultimately converted back to salt. Thus,
the salt does not get "used up".
Salt 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.
in My Pool?
salt level required to maintain a safe, chlorinated
pool is about 2500 to 4000 PPM (parts per million).
The human body 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, there is no need to add salt on
a yearly basis 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. Chlorine generator
users also report the water is softer, leaving
a more refreshed feeling after swimming.
There Any Maintenance Required?
generators require very little maintenance.
We at Poolcenter.com recommend the generator
cell be removed and cleaned on a yearly basis,
usually at start up. Remove the cell from the
pool plumbing and run a plastic brush through
the cell. For calcium deposits, a mild solution
of muriatic acid and water will do the job, or to be careful, use the Lo-Chlor Green Cell Plus.
The power supply unit requires no regular maintenance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Type of salt do I add?
Avoid Rock Salt
as it contains too many impurities! Acceptable
salts include Food grade salt, Water softener
pellets, Solar salt flakes, Water conditioner
salt, or Brine blocks.
Make sure that your salt contains no iodine and is as pure as possible. Sure Soft Pool Salt is accepted by all Chlorine Generator manufacturers.
do I add the salt?
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 adding 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
salt, 60 - 70% will have dissolved before hitting
bottom. The remaining salt can simply be brushed
into the drain which will then complete dissolution.
With all other forms of salt, it will take
longer to dissolve but the same process will
accelerate the dissolve rate. Simply brush
the salt in a pyramid pattern over the drain to increase
much salt do I add?
for 4000 ppm (parts per million) as a starting
point. So depending on the initial salt level
of your water, you only add the amount needed
to establish 4000 ppm. For new pools or freshly
filled pools, the salt level will most likely
be zero. In this case, 50lbs of salt per 2,000
gallons of water will establish 4000 ppm. For
existing pools, the previous usage of chlorine
bleach or tablets will have already introduced
a level of salt into the water. Have the water
tested first then add the appropriate amount
to establish 4000 ppm.
You can test the salt level of your pool using salt test strips, or your local pool store may have the ability to test a sample for you.
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 bodies natural
salinity level, making it more comfortable
to swim in. If it is too excessive (over 6000
ppm), you can sustain corrosion damage to metallic
equipment such as stainless steel handrails,
ladders and filters, light rings, or copper
heat exchangers. To reduce the salt level,
dilution is the solution. Drain some water
and refill with fresh water.
will I need to add salt?
After the initial dosage of salt,
you will only need to add salt when necessary.
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 increases
the concentration. The make up water added
to bring the water level back to normal will
then reduce the salt concentration back to
4000 ppm. Most chlorine generator units have
low salt indicators, with Digital Units going
further to provide the user with the proper salt amount needed
to reestablish 4000 ppm.
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
are needed re-balance the water. Poolcenter.com
recommends periodic (weekly or bi-weekly) testing
of stabilizer levels (60 - 80 ppm), Free Chlorine
(2 - 4 ppm for pools and 3 - 6 ppm for spas),
pH (7.2 - 7.6), and salt levels (2500 - 4000
ppm). Since salt generating chlorine systems
do not affect the Total Alkalinity or Calcium Hardness, a
monthly check is sufficient. In some cases, you might still need
to add chlorine for shocking purposes due to extremely heavy
bather loads, rainstorms, or accidents, (fertilizer, excessive
organic debris or human waste). Shocking the pool will not affect your chlorine
I have to run my equipment more?
Your chlorine generator does not
rely upon a higher salt level AND 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 regions that have
short circulation times, you can increase the output power of
the generator to compensate.
will the cell last?
The residential cell is 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.
Proper water chemistry is the key here.
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 cell degradation.