Salt Water Chlorinators and Calcium Hardness

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If you have a salt water chlorinator it is going to be challenging to use if your calcium hardness levels are high. When it comes to having them, they can definitely make the quality and clarity of the water better but if you’re not disciplined enough to make sure your calcium hardness and pH levels are within the set limit, you’re going to struggle with them. One of the factors that we like to discuss first is calcium hardness. In the San Diego area, the water coming out of the tap is moderately hard. In some areas, we have seen it as high as 400 parts per million (ppm). This is usually on the high end of what is recommended for your salt cell. A majority of saltwater systems prefer your hardness to be between 200-400ppm. When levels climb above 400ppm the calcium will scale the electrode plates rendering them ineffective. Trust us when we say, we have seen a ton of salt systems unplugged and homeowners using chlorine¬†instead. The purpose of this blog post is to discuss how to get your system to work regularly and how you can prolong the lifespan of your investment.

As stated above, the water coming out of the tap is moderately hard and when you drain a swimming pool you will typically fill it up with water that is too hard for your system. The alternative to this that every saltwater pool owner should use is Reverse Osmosis (RO) filtration. At Pool Services Technologies, we offer mobile filtration for your commercial or residential swimming pool and we recycle the water instead. The biggest difference is going to be your end product. An example of this can be shown with the following 32,000-gallon swimming pool that we recycled last week!

Initial Chemistry

Calcium hardness – 760ppm (too high)

Total Dissolved Solids – 5768ppm (within range)

Salt – 3833 (within range)

CYA – 85ppm (moderately high)

Due to the fact that their calcium hardness was too high for their salt water chlorinator, it wouldn’t generate chlorine. Due to excess calcium scaling on the electrode plates they had to change out the water in their swimming pool. After recycling this swimming pool for 23 hours we were able to conserve 85% of the existing water in the pool and leave them with the following results:

Calcium hardness – 160ppm (this level of calcium can’t be achieved with a drain and refill)

Total Dissolved Solids – 989ppm

Salt – 732ppm (additional salt will be necessary)

CYA – 0 (additional conditioner will be necessary)

As you can tell RO filtration lowers the above but it can also tackle phosphates and waterborne diseases too. Please note that if you have a salt system and want it to work, you should plan on purifying your pool water using our Puripool Process at least every two years.

If you should have any questions on how this system works, please contact us today! If you’re looking for recommendations on salt systems that can handle higher levels of calcium hardness, CLICK HERE!


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