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Salt Water Generators

Does Salt Water Damage My Swimming Pool?

In a word, yes. Salt water chlorination systems are not new technology despite their recent popularity. Their popularity is essentially a result of good marketing as they are one of the most requested products for swimming pools however there are a number of specific negative points to installing a salt water generator on your pool. Specifically the salt, in part of a chemical reaction called galvanic corrosion, will cause oxidization damage to any metals in your swimming pool including stainless steel handrails, light flanges, galvanized steel walls in vinyl liner pools and nickel / copper heat exchangers in pool heaters.

The biggest problem is that there are a few preventative measures you can take to protect your salt water pool, however a lack of industry knowledge has lead to most pools not employing these measures. Every salt water pool must be bonded properly, including the heater casing which must be bonded or else the heater can fail in as little as 1-2 years. Additionally you will need to install a check valve (one way valve) in between the chlorine generation cell and your pool heater to prevent concentrated chlorine from traveling backwards through the system and damaging the heater. The primary weapon against galvanic corrosion in swimming pools in unfortunately something you hardly ever see installed in the field, and that is a sacrificial anode. This serves to absorb the brunt of the corrosion damage by adding zinc discs to the pool which become the weakest metallic link in contact with the pool water. As long as you keep replacing the zinc discs as they deteriorate you will prevent the majority of damage to your pool from salt water.


What Is The Difference Between Salt Water And Chlorine In Swimming Pools?

One of the biggest areas of mis-information in the swimming pool industry is in regards to how salt water works in swimming pools as a replacement for chlorine. a salt water swimming pool and a chlorine swimming pool are exactly the same thing. A salt water generator, more accurately called a chlorine generator, uses the base ingredient of chlorine, which is salt, to create chlorine on demand via an electrolysis process. The end result is chlorine in the pool water - the only difference is instead of buying chlorine regularly, you buy salt which you use to generate chlorine. The medium of chlorine delivery changes but everything else is the same.

Much like an epsom salt bath your skin will feel silky and smooth after swimming in a salt water pool. This, along with less skin irritation, being easier on the eyes and bathing suits, are the main advantages of a salt water chlorine generator. That and of course not having to pick up large containers of liquid chlorine with your vehicle which is obviously a huge benefit also. If you have a sensitivity to chemical sanitizers like chlorine switching to salt water will not likely help your situation. On the bright side most people who think they are allergic to chlorine are actually not, but instead are sensitive to changes in pH which is a much more common problem with reactions to swimming pool water.





What Is Galvanic Corrosion In Salt Water Swimming Pools?

Galvanic corrosion is the damaging process that can result in any swimming pool but is a major concern in salt water pools due to the higher sodium levels in the water. Your swimming pool can be likened to a battery as you have a body of salt water that has dissimilar metals submerged in it. Dissimilar metals submerged in salt water can create a potential difference, or voltage, across metal components in the water.

The electrical voltage causes advanced oxidization and corrosion of weak metals in the pool. The higher the level of salt in the water, the more advanced these damaging processes can be. Having proper bonding of the pool and all pool components is critical in minimizing this damage but even this is not enough. Adding a sacrificial anode to the pool will help to absorb the brunt of this damaging process. A sacrificial anode introduces a weaker metal to the pool system, usually zinc, which will deteriorate instead of other metals in your pool such as the heat exchanger in your heater.


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