Misconceptions About The Running Cost And Maintenance Of Saltwater Pools
There is a misconception about the running cost and maintenance of saltwater pools. Saltwater pools are fundamentally no different than halogen (chlorine/bromine) pools except that they generate free available chlorine (FAC). Water quality is easier to maintain because the generator is constantly producing chlorine, but it is not maintenance-free.
As the saltwater pool (sodium chloride) generates chlorine, the water’s pH increases over time. The chemical reaction to produce hypochlorous acid (HOCL) in the chlorine generator produces sodium hydroxide (NaOH), which has a pH of 13.5 (neutral is 7.2). This requires a weekly application of a pH decreaser (acid).
Saltwater pools are, in fact, chlorine pools. The sanitizer is no different than adding chlorine tabs or liquid. They all form hypochlorous acid. (HOCL kills bacteria and algae). Saltwater pools slowly add chlorine and if the chlorine generator is not run long enough or is undersized or is coated with a scale on the cells, then the water can lose its balance resulting in cloudy water and algae. Adding more salt doesn’t help because the generator cannot keep up.
Scale on cells
The more scale that builds upon a cell, the less chlorine is produced. A scale inhibitor is imperative. If calcium phosphate builds up, a phosphate remover is necessary. Adding more salt will not solve the problem. An improper salt level can damage the cells. The age of a cell will impact negatively the production of chlorine.
Saltwater pools are susceptible to algae in part due to a CO2 rich environment and out of balance water. Algaecides should be routinely added. We recommend C*Pool&Spa CLEAN & CLEAR as the best algae inhibitor around. An algae bloom cannot be handled by the generator because it produces chlorine too slow. It requires a chlorine shock.
A saltwater pool is an expensive luxury. An installed system can cost about $8,000. Its generator lifespan is around 7 to 8 years. For people that boast that they do nothing but add a few bags of salt per year, the lifetime is 5 to6 years. That’s $1,000 per year! Compare with C-Poolandspa at $89 PER YEAR to get the same, if not better, results.