How Salt Sanitizers Work
Saltwater pools have soft water which makes them very soothing but they have other advantages as well: the water is sanitized with no harsh chemicals, and they are easy to maintain.
There are however, some misconceptions around saltwater pools. The facts are that chlorine is still at work and pool damage is still possible.
While it is true that the pool owner merely adds salt to the water and saltwater is not pleasant to drink, salt does not sanitize the water. Chlorine does. In a saltwater pool an electrolytic chlorine generator (ECG) produces chlorine by electrolysis.
Different Grades of Salt Sanitizers
Salt is rarely sold absolutely pure. The impurities can affect both the water and surfaces around the pool.
Solar salt is created by evaporating sea water. Organic contaminants are common and can make it difficult for the ECG to do its work. Inorganic contaminants may also be present and lead to staining and scaling.
Rock salt is mined and may contain other trace minerals including sulfates, metals, and calcium. These can stain surfaces and make the water look murky.
Mechanically evaporated salt results from brine that evaporates under controlled conditions with few impurities. It is similar to table salt but without the added iodine and anti-caking ingredients. This is the best salt for saltwater pools but even so, it may contain contaminants.
Caring for Your Pool
It is still necessary to test water quality and to keep an eye on the clarity of the water. You should
- perform weekly pH and chlorine tests
- monthly tests for alkalinity, calcium hardness, dyanuric acid, and metals.
- monthly tests for salinity