Do you have sensitive skin? Do your eyes or skin burn when you are in your swimming pool? Have you given any thought to adding a salt chlorinator to your current pool system? A great advantage of using a salt water chlorinating system for your pool is that it reduces the use of harsh chemicals. They are also eco-friendly and cost-effective. There are a few options of salt chlorinator systems available in the market, each differs slightly and some may have more advantages than others. So which one is the best option for you?
In this guide we have put together a few reviews looking at different brands and the different systems available. We compare various aspects such as material construction, ability to oxidise water and the pump rate of the system to give you a detailed overall view of the available systems in order to help you make your choice.
Read on to find out why our top choice is the Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump for above ground pools.
How does a pool salt chlorinator work?
Chlorinator systems keep your pool well sanitized, clean and algae-free without using harsh or dangerous chemicals. They work by producing chlorine from affordable, ordinary table salt. And they do this automatically in a safe and effective manner.
So how do they achieve this?
To fully grasp the process you must first understand how the main components of the chlorinator function.
Salt Cell – This is also known as the salt chlorinator. It operates to covert the salt into chlorine. Water passes through the spaces between the cells, which are usually coated with titanium, and, using a process known as electrolysis, generates the chlorine.
Water flow sensor – This component ensures the water flows consistently through the salt cell. If the water level is too low it cuts the power.
The control box – this component controls the flow sensor and cell or chlorinator’s performance. It informs the chlorinator of when it is time to start and the amount of time it should remain in operation.
Power supply – a transformer that supplies the salt cell with DC current with the aim to keep the current at 27 VDC
Once you know what the main parts of a salt chlorinator do, you can begin to understand how it works. The equation below explains the process:
H20 + NaCl————>HOCl +NaOH
In other words:
Water + Sodium Chloride (table salt) ————> Hypochlorous Acid (chlorine) + Sodium Hydroxide
Hypochlorous acid is the same as the chlorine used in your swimming pool. Sodium hydroxide, a by-product of chlorine production has a high pH level that raises the alkalinity levels.
What to Consider Before Choosing the Best Salt Chlorinator System
The Cell or chlorinator
As this is the all-important hub of the conversion procedure, make sure you choose one that is well-built and is made from a hard-wearing metal. The gallon rating which appears on the chlorinator will give you an idea of the pool size it can accommodate. Always check to see that your pool pump is well-matched to the chlorinator you choose.
The Control Pad
Some models include a control pad. If the chlorinator you choose does not already include a control pad, then you may have to buy it as a separate component. See if you can get one that is simple to use, and has easily navigable buttons. Some newer control pads are Wi-Fi enabled, allowing you to control your chlorinator system even when you are away from home.
A salt chlorinator helps to reduce maintenance time by monitoring the chemical levels in your pool for you. There will no longer be a need for you to carry out strip tests. Some chlorinators measure the pH and chlorine levels in your pool and others can also monitor alkaline levels and hardness.
Some models include timers that automate the on/off controls of your pool pump. Adjusting the timers on your pool pump adjusts the capacity of your salt generator if required.
The best chlorinator systems are equipped with self- cleaning functions which means you will not have to worry about maintaining the system, saving you time. It uses a system of reverse polarity to clean out the cell removing the need to soak it in order to remove any calcium deposits. This is an automatic built-in function.
Tips to maintain your Chlorinator System
In order to prolong the lifespan of your chlorinator, there are few things you will have to do to maintain it.
Try to maintain proper salt levels, around 2700 – 3900 parts per million at all times.
Many manufacturers recommend cleaning the cells at least once a year to prevent calcium scale build-up. Maintaining low calcium levels in the pool is also advisable.
Check the instruction manual for your system to find specific instructions for how often you should clean your cell.
Switch off the system in stormy weather, thereby reducing the hazard of power surges that can affect the chlorinator.
Do not purchase a standard salt chlorinator if you want to avoid calcium build-up in the system.
A chlorinator that is fitted out with a reverse polarity function will be a better investment if you want to minimise a build-up of calcium on the cell.
There are three types of chlorinators to choose from: mined salt, mechanically evaporated salt and solar salt.
Mined salt is obtained from the ground and is salt in its purest form.
Mechanically evaporated salt comes from the sea but is evaporated mechanically and may contain elements that can damage your pool.
Solar salt also originates from the sea but it is evaporated naturally by the sun. It often contains impurities like brine shrimp and bacteria which can impair the operation of your chlorinator and the filter.
A well –maintained system will run for a good few years, usually between three – seven years. Replacement of the cell or board will set you back around $1,000. This will depend on your model and which specific part needs replacing. The higher priced models can last even longer.
Over cleaning the unit or incorrect cleaning of it can cause unforeseen issues which may lead to you having to replace parts sooner than you might have thought necessary.
Like with any other type of electronic device, the circuit board can get burnt out. In most cases though, it can last for many years. To prevent possible outages a safety tip would be to cover the device in bad weather, especially during electrical storms.
What exactly is a pool salt water chlorinator?
Salt water chlorinating systems work to turn ordinary salt into chlorine, thereby, eliminating the need for regular pool chlorine to maintain your pool.
How much salt will my pool require?
This will vary according to the size of your pool as well as the type of chlorinator that you install. The manufacturer’s instruction guide will specify the correct amounts to use.
Do an outdoor pools use the same amount of salt as an indoor pools?
Outdoor pools require more salt because they lose well over 80% of their chlorine. This is due to sun’s UV rays and evaporation. Indoor pools need less salt because they lose less chlorine to evaporation.