What is a salt water pool?
There are some who prefer a salt water pool over a regular chlorinated pool. A salt water pool is still chlorinated; the difference is the type of chlorine being used. In a salt water pool, a salt chlorine generator produces its own chlorine; and it is this chlorine that is used to sanitize the pool.
Advantages of salt water pool over regular pools
- Salt water pool water is gentler on skin, hair and eyes and feels much softer than regular pool water.
- Chloramines are not produced in salt water pools; they are destroyed during the chlorine generating process.
- If the settings on the chlorine generator are set properly, the pool will produce the right amount of chlorine and keep the water at the correct chemical balance at all times.
- There is no need to purchase, store or handle dangerous chemicals.
With a salt water pool, you do not need to buy, add, or mix chlorine to the water. While this is the main difference, salt water pools do differ from regular pools in other ways. This does not mean a salt water pool does not require maintenance—in fact, a salt water pool requires regular maintenance as much as a regular pool does, even if it is a bit different.
How to maintain it on daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis?
- Daily tasks include clearing the skimmer, emptying the pump basket and skimming the debris from the surface of the pool water. Keeping your swimming pool filter and pool clean will save you time and money.
- Weekly pool maintenance tasks should include checking the pool water pH and free chlorine levels. You can do these tests using a test kit or test strips.
Ideal pool pH should be in the 7.2-7.6 range and free chlorine should be between 1.0 and 3.0 ppm. You can re-adjust the chlorine generator accordingly to fix any ups or downs in the free chlorine levels.
To increase the pH level, sodium bicarbonate can be used and to lower the pH level, add sodium carbonate to the pool water.
- Monthly pool maintenance tasks involve testing and balancing the chemicals and a thorough cleaning of the pool. Check salinity, alkalinity, cyanuric acid and calcium hardness.
- To test the salinity, you might need to use a salt meter or testing kit. In most cases the generator’s control panel will display the water’s salinity levels. Low salt levels can be adjusted by adding more salt but if the salt level is high then you will need to dilute the pool water.
- High alkalinity is easy to detect as it leads to cloudy pool water whereas low alkalinity can cause pool damage. Proper alkalinity lies between 80 and 120 ppm. To raise the alkalinity of water, add sodium bicarbonate and to lower alkalinity, add sodium bisulphate or muriatic acid.
- Cyanuric acid acts as a stabilizer for your pool water and a proper level will protect your pool’s chlorine from being diminished by UV rays in sunlight. Without a stabilizer, 90% of the chlorine in the water can be lost to UV rays on a sunny day. The level of cyanuric acid in a salt water pool should be 70 and 80 ppm. To lower its level, you will have to drain and then add fresh water.
- Calcium hardness needs to be balanced; proper level of calcium hardness is between 200 – 400 ppm. Flocculant is used to lower the calcium hardness of pool water.
- Quarterly tasks include checking your pool’s salt cell. To do this turn off the power of the salt cell generator. Open the unit to look for any buildup. Rinse it off and put it back. If there is buildup then you will need to clean it thoroughly.
To clean buildup you can use a brush to scrub off or spray it off with a high-pressure nozzle. You can also soak it in a mild hydrochloric acid wash.
This is a good time to thoroughly clean your pool pump, filters and skimmer.
Salt water pools are low maintenance pools in comparison to regular pools, but still require regular maintenance to provide a safe and healthy environment for swimmers.