Why Salt Water?
Ocean water has a salt content of around 35,000 parts per million (“ppm”). Humans have a salt taste threshold of around 3,500 ppm. Most chlorine generators require a salt content of 2500 – 6000 ppm in the pool. A unit that needs less than 3500 ppm to operate effectively is optimal. If the salt content is higher, that warm, salty water will be pretty distasteful!
Swimming in a mild saline solution is much like taking a shower in soft water. Generally, when people swim in a non-chlorine generator swimming pool (a pool with no salt water in it) they feel like their skin dries quicker upon exiting the pool. They may feel and/or see a whitish residual, chlorine flaking, on the skin. In a salt-water pool (one with a chlorine generator) the water feels smooth, your skin feels smooth and many people feel more refreshed.
What Does a Chlorine Generator Do?
It’s main function is to produce chlorine for the pool so you do not have to buy it, store it or handle it. These are big advantages for many pool owners. Salt water chlorinators, when functioning correctly, produce chlorine constantly (when the pump is running) with most units. This keeps a residual of chlorine in the pool that prevents algae from growing. The secret is keeping the cell free of calcium and mineral deposits–the cell itself is made up of precious metals-it must be maintained so it can continue to make chlorine.
Through the process of electrolysis, water passing over the chlorine generator cell produces chlorine that is instantaneously transformed into Hypochlorous acid. When any type of chlorine is added to water it all makes the same thing: Hypochlorous acid. It does not matter if it is Sodium Hypochlorite (liquid chlorine), Tri-chlor and Di-chlor or Lithium based, Cal-hypo or even gas chlorine–it all makes Hypochlorous acid. Hypochlorous acid is the active sanitizer; this is what kills algae and other harmful stuff in the water. Its effectiveness is totally predicated on balanced water conditions and, more importantly, proper pH. So, with a salt water system, you still must maintain your water balance (pool chemistry) properly. As long as you do this, a chlorine generator is a good choice.