Salt systems have become increasingly more popular as the years go by because of how easy they are to use. Some of the reasons why swimming pool owners are interested in salt systems is because it produces its own chlorine, the water is softer and you don’t have to worry about dangerous chlorine fumes or the harmful effects of swimming in pools with high levels of chlorine. Salt systems work by electrolysis. Electrolysis is a process by which bonded elements in a liquid solution are separated by passing through two charge electrodes or plates. Salt (NaCl) is made up of sodium and chloride. When salt water passes through the charged plates of the salt cell, the chlorine, which is positively charged separates from the sodium and is released into the pool as free chlorine.
Sounds easy right? Well……..
If you live in an area where it’s possible to keep the calcium levels between 200 and 400 parts per million (ppm) which is recommended for most salt systems it’s a great investment but if you live in the Southwest U.S. where the water coming out of the tap is anywhere between 250 to 750ppm it can be a nightmare. Over time as the water passes through the salt cell it cacifies the electrode plates causing them to not work properly. It’s not uncommon to see white flakes on the bottom of salt water pools which is calcium. It literally gets blown back into the pool from the system. At this point you can acid bath the salt cell to remove calcium but it will return in a couple of days and ruin the salt cell overtime. You can drain your pool but it’s possible that the water you put back into the pool will be harder than what is recommend.
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