Swimming Pool Blog
by Rob Cox, July 16, 2010
Salt Chlorine Generators - Peak Performance
Salt water Chlorine Generators are gaining popularity in many parts of the country. According to Service Industry News, it is the fastet-growing sanitizer system in the pool business. Over the past 4 years, Service Industry News (SIN) has asked their readers how many of their customers use a Salt Generator to create their own chlorine. Nationally, the average of Salt Water Chlorine Generators in use is just under 17%.
Certain regions have had a more rapid adoption of the relatively new technology. The Southeast peaks at 22.4%, with Florida and So. Calif. topping 20%. Lowest reported usage is in the Midwest, with only 4.6% of pools being equipped with a Chlorine Generator.
Saltwater Chlorine Generator Care & Repair
One of the best things about a Chlorine Generator is that you don't have to think about it. Hook up the device, which usually involves mounting the control board and plugging it in, and plumbing in the salt cell manifold (shown above). But you do have to maintain a few things to keep your saltwater generator operating at peak efficiency.
- Maintain your salt level between 2800 and 3400 ppm. Your system will tell you when your system needs more salt, and it would be wise to double check it with salt test strips to make sure they agree. Usually, salt needs to be replenished every 3-6 months, replacing splash out, drag off and backwash water.
- Maintain a Cyanuric Acid level of 40-80ppm. This will reduce the demand on your salt cell, extending it's life. Cyanuric acid, like salt, does not evaporate, so it only needs checking and replenishing every 3-6 months, replacing what's lost due to splash out, drag off and backwash water
- Maintain your water balance in the pool. Your pH and Alkalnity help control scaling and corrosion on your expensive to replace salt cell. If your water hardness gets too high, scaling can more easily occur on your salt cell or deposit itself on other pool surfaces. Check and balance your water every week at least.
- Inspect your salt cell every 3 months. If deposits are visible, use a high ressure hose to flush scale off. If ineffective, use an acid like Acid Magic or pH Decreaser. Don't scrape off the scale, you could damage the cell, and using stronger acids may pit or corrode the cell.
- During installation, be sure to plumb in at least 1 foot of straight pipe in and out of the cell manifold. This prevents turbulence which can cause vortexes and air induction which can reduce the life of your salt cell.
- High levels of Phosphates in the pool water can make a salt generator very ineffective, to the point where it cannot produce enough Free Chlorine to keep up with demand, according to Terry Arko, from Sea-Klear. Levels of 500 ppb or more of phosphates in the pool can cause real problems. Use of a phosphate remover will keep your water primed for sanitation.
- Use a Sacrificial ZInc Anode to prevent corrosion to chrome light rings and ladder rails, pool cleaner and in floor cleaner parts. Clamp it on to a ladder or hand rail, and it Sacrifices itself to protect your other metals in the pool, even your kid's braces!
For more information on Salt Chlorine Generators and how they work, visit our previous blog post on SaltWater Chlorine Generators.