Salt chlorine generators simplify the task of keeping your pool clean and sanitized. They eliminate the need for traditional chlorine products and make pool maintenance WAY easier. With saltwater chlorine generators, you don’t have to worry about constantly adjusting your chlorine levels, or dealing with that awful chlorine smell.
But those are just a few of the benefits of salt chlorine generators (also called salt water chlorinators, salt chlorinators, saltwater chlorine generators, saltwater systems, and salt generators).
In this post, we go over everything you need to know about owning one. Because if you’re not using a salt water chlorine generator right now, you’re missing out on a whole lot more than just saving money.
What are salt chlorine generators?
Salt chlorine generators are pool equipment that use electrolysis to naturally convert salt into chlorine. They’re made up of two major parts:
- The salt cell
- The control board
The Salt Cell
This is where all the magic happens — the salt cell is the part that converts pool salt into usable chlorine. The cell is comprised of iridium-coated metal plates (or ruthenium-coated plates), which are connected to the control board. As water passes over the plates, the control board electrically charges the plates, which in turn allows electrolysis to convert the salt into chlorine.
The Control Board
Without the control board, electrolysis wouldn’t be possible, and chlorine would never get made. The board is what sends electrical charges to the salt cell, enabling the conversion process to take place.
It’s also the part that allows you to adjust the feed rate, and timing of your salt chlorine generator, but more on that later.
What does a salt chlorine generator do? How does it work?
Salt chlorine generators use electricity to convert salt into chlorine. That’s the main idea, but’s let expand on it:
As the saltwater passes through the salt cell a few things happen. First, the electrically charged cells interact with salt water, creating chlorine gas (Cl2), hydrogen gas (h2) and sodium hydroxide (NaOH).
Then, while the process of electrolysis continues, the dissolved salt converts into hypochlorous acid (HClO) and sodium hypochlorite — the two active ingredients in traditional chlorine compounds.
NOTE: The truth about salt water pools
It’s important to remember that using a salt chlorine generator doesn’t make a pool “chlorine-free”. It still produces chlorine — just a safer, healthier, and more reliable version of it.
7 HUGE Benefits of Using Salt Chlorine Generators
1.) Super easy to maintain
Once you install a salt water chlorinator, you don’t really have to do much else. The only real maintenance involved is adding pool salt, and replacing the salt cell every 5-7 years.
Aside from that, the only things to remember are:
- Keep your salt level between 2,800 – 3,200 ppm
- Keep calcium hardness levels low (under 2,000 ppm)
- Clean the saltwater system at least once per season
- Turn off the chlorinator during lightning storms to avoid surges
2.) Automatically adds chlorine & simplifies daily pool maintenance
How much time have you spent adding chlorine and pool shock to your water?
And how many times have you drove to the pool store and wasted hours of your life hunting down specific chlorine products?
With salt chlorine generators, you don’t have to do any of that. It does it for you.
Saltwater chlorine generators actively monitor your chlorine levels and automatically produce the exact amount of sanitizer needed. This not only saves you a bunch time but also helps you stop wasting money on pricey chlorine products and pool shock altogether.
So without having to worry about adding chlorine, you only need to adjust pH, Alkalinity, and Calcium Hardness as needed.
3.) Spend less on pool chemicals
Yes, while salt chlorine generators do cost a bit upfront, they easily make up for it by saving you hundreds on chlorine products year after year.
The few expenses with salt chlorinators are:
- Salt cell: needs replacement every 7 years
- Pool salt: less than $100 per year
So while a year’s worth of traditional chlorine products costs anywhere from $400 -$800, you’d spend less than $100 on pool salt for the same results.
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4.) Gentler on your eyes, skin, and hair
One of the biggest reasons why salt chlorine generators have become so popular is because of their health benefits.
Traditional chlorine is known to dry the skin, irritate the eyes, and even trigger allergies in some swimmers.
On the other hand, the chlorine produced by salt chlorine generators is much softer, safer, and healthier by comparison. While it’s still chlorine, it’s made in a much more natural way (through electrolysis), so it comes out far less chemically harsh than liquid, tabular, or granular chlorine.
For many, it’s no secret that saltwater by itself offers plenty of benefits. Just think about how great your skin feels when you spend a day swimming at the beach.
That said, the saltwater produced by a salt chlorine generator is far less concentrated than real saltwater, so you won’t taste the saltiness. And that’s because while saltwater pools have an average salinity of 3,200 ppm, the water in the ocean averages at about 35,000 ppm.
BUT, even though chlorine generators produce a less intense version of saltwater, you still get a lot of the same benefits as you would swimming in the ocean.
Swimming in salt water pools can help:
- Soak up excess bodily oils
- Kill acne-causing bacteria
- Heal small cuts and scrapes
- Open up pores
- Reduce inflammation
- Ease joint pain
5.) No stinky chlorine smell, fewer chloramines produced
Ever noticed how with traditional swimming pools, you’ll sometimes get a whiff of that stinky “chlorine” odor as you get closer?
Despite what you might think, that’s not the smell of too much chlorine — it’s the smell of too little. The chlorine odor is produced by an excess of chloramines, which are the byproduct of used up chlorine. So if it gets to the point where you can smell all of the used up chlorine, then it’s probably time to test your water and add some more.
But luckily, one of the greatest benefits of using salt chlorine generators is NOT having to deal with that smell.
Since salt chlorinators produce gentler chlorine and automatically add the perfect amount, you don’t have to worry about chloramine buildup. And with no chloramines around, there’s no chlorine odor to smell. Problem solved.
6.) Let’s you do chemical maintenance on a schedule
You already know that salt chlorine generators automatically manage your chlorine levels for you. But did you know that they also let you program a custom schedule for doing it?
So with that ability, you can easily schedule your salt water chlorine generator to only run at night. Because adding chlorine at night prevents it from burning away, which helps it work better and last longer.
By doing this, you not only save on electricity but also the time you’d spend adding more chlorine. As a result, you waste less time on pool maintenance and do more of matters most.
Want to make pool chemical maintenance 10x easier?
7.) Versatile: Can be used in pools, spas, and hot tubs
Do you own a spa or hot tub?
If you do, you can upgrade it to a saltwater system too. Gone are the days of scooping powdered chlorine into your spa and dipping test strips.
Salt chlorinators can be hooked up to feed to your spa or hot tub just as easily. And that means you still get all the same benefits mentioned earlier, plus the comfort of a warm and bubbly spa.
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