I don’t own a swimming pool, but I’ve swam in many pools around the world. The best and worst pools I’ve been in have interestingly been in the country of Cambodia. The worst pool was in an apartment complex that my friends and their children lived in located at the heart of the capital city of Phnom Penh. It was way over-chlorinated and left our skin horribly smelly and itchy. The best pools I’ve been in is in the hotel called Veranda Natural Resort in the small bay-side town of Kep. They have a public pool for the outside guests and a private one for the ones who stay at the resort. We’ve asked what pool system they use, and their workers say that their pools are saltwater pools.
Don’t let the name saltwater pools fool you as the saltwater pools also have chlorine in them; however, you don’t need to add a lot of chlorine in saltwater pools. The chlorine is made by a special saltwater generator that uses the process of electrolysis to convert salt into chlorine which is needed to keep the water in saltwater swimming pools clean. So you still have chlorine in your pool – the only thing different is the process by which it is added to the water.
What made the saltwater pool at the resort more enjoyable for me? It was really gentle on my skin. It didn’t get too dried out and my eyes (I wear contacts in the water) were fine even after getting splashed with it. I didn’t open my eyes in the water for fear my contact lenses would fall out. It’s gentler on the skin and eyes due to the chlorine being made naturally.
If you’re a pool owner and you’re wanting to install a saltwater chlorine generator, make sure you buy one that’s big enough to clean the amount of water in your pool. A pH that ranges from 7 to 7.5 is ideal for the water. The water should be clean with less than 2000 parts per million of solids in the water. Installation should be done by swimming pool professionals like Eco Pool Solutions. Check out their website at https://www.ecopools.com.au for the services and pool systems they offer. They can also tell you if the existing pool filtration system you have needs to be changed or adjusted to accommodate the saltwater. The installation of the generator can be tricky and if not done properly can damage the expensive machine. The electrical also needs to be set up right and properly protected.
It is better to start with fresh and clean water to begin the saltwater turnover if you’re replacing the regularly-chlorinated water. You can drain the old water and put in clean fresh water. Before installing the saltwater generator and putting in the salt, examine your pool fixtures and lighting and check to see if you need to change them to anti-corrosive ones if they’re not already ant-corrosive. Some metal stairs, ladders, or diving board stairs and handles might be affected by the salt so take those out and put in ones that can withstand the salt over time.
Your pool professionals will tell you the best salt to put in which has no extra chemicals that will hurt the generator or is harmful to the water. Put the recommended amount of salt in the water and move it around to dissolve it. Once all the solid salt has fully dissolved, you can turn on the generator. The special cell in the generator will use the process of electrolysis and split the elements in the salt particles to make chlorine which makes bacterial growth inhospitable in the water. After two days, check the salt level in the water. Ideally, it should be about three thousand parts per million. Test the water to make sure there is enough chlorine being made and adjust the generator if it’s producing too much or too little chlorine.
To make sure it’s not overly salted, add the salt gradually until you’ve put in about three quarters of the recommended salt for your pool water. Check the salt level and the chlorine level and add more salt until the desired pH and chlorine level is reached. To make sure the generator is working as it should, test the water often. There are several saltwater to chlorine generators available out there. Some have built-in systems that will tell you if there is an imbalance in the system to let you know what needs to be adjusted. Some machines don’t require manual adjustments and automatically changes what it needs to do to make the water balanced.
What’s great about the saltwater generator system is that you reduce the amount of harmful chemicals needed to maintain your swimming pool. It just might need to be chemically shocked once in a while for extra deep cleaning. The salt will last forever and only will need to be replenished if a lot of the water has evaporated or has been splashed out of the pool and you’ve replenished the water and it has become diluted.
At first, it can put a big dent in your wallet when putting in a saltwater generator to convert the salt into chlorine. Your electric bill will also be higher as the generator will be working almost all day at a maximum of 12 hours in general. Just look the generator manual for exact instructions of how to run it and also consult with the generator installer to make sure you’re running it at its peak for the size and volume of your swimming pool. In the long run, having a saltwater swimming pool will save you as you won’t need to buy expensive and more toxic chlorine chemicals regularly like you would a normal chlorinated pool. Maintenance is easier as most generators do the checking of the salinity and chlorine balancing automatically.
Of course, like with all other pools, you will need to keep leaves and bigger debris out. Depending on it’s use, a saltwater swimming pool needs to only be cleaned yearly. This means taking out all the old water, replacing all the filters, washing, scouring, and maintaining the generator. You should hire a knowledgeable and expert saltwater pool cleaner to help you with that massive cleaning job. They’ll know what to look for in case something needs to be fixed or maintained.
After installation, you will also get a list of things you need to maintain to keep your saltwater generator running smoothly and swimming pool in tip top shape. Keep a close watch on the acidity and alkalinity of your swimming pool water. Though the generator keeps the swimming pool water cleaner for longer periods of time when compared to regular chlorine pool water systems, the frequency of pool use affects the chemical balance of you pool and will eventually weaken the cleaning effects of the saltwater chlorine over time. If there is an overwhelming amount of human excretions in the pool, it might have to be given a shock treatment to kill the bacteria and make the pool crystal-clear again. Here’s what saltwater pool owners have to do on a regular basis:
Salt Water Pool Cleaning and Maintenance Checklist
Skimming for larger debris like grass, leaves, sticks, or pebbles that have fallen in.
Check the pH balance and chlorine amount in the water to make sure it’s at a level required for your water. You can put in the necessary chemicals that are needed to keep everything at the desired levels.
Have a look at the level of salt in the water. If there is not enough salt in the water, add a little bit at a time until you have the perfect amount as stated in the maintenance manual.
Examine the saltwater generator cell and check for accumulation of dried salt or other sediment that went through the filter. Sometimes machines will indicate the need for examination automatically. If it’s free of any debris, you can put it back again. If there are debris, you will need to take the cell out and wash it. Use a nonabrasive cleaner to take anything that has accumulated off. A special acid solution designed for removal of debris can be used if necessary. Just make sure you read the cleaning manual for the cell to get the solution and cleaning process correct. Always follow safety precautions as well when dealing with pool chemicals so you don’t hurt yourself or pollute the surroundings. You should check the filters and pump of the generator. Make sure the water is not being held back by debris or buildup in the filter as water flow will be prevented and the generator will not be able to work at full capacity.
Full swimming pool clean and scrub. Drain and replace the water with fresh water. Add the salt and start the cycle of the saltwater chlorination again. If the weather calls for you to winterize your swimming pool yearly, you will have to remove the cell and flow detection switch if they’re not designed to withstand certain cold temperatures. If you live in an area where freezing temperatures can happen, the saltwater generator can be damaged. Have all water taken out of the generator system including and make sure to also drain the pump, filter, and piping. If frozen, the water will expand and destroy the generator and lines. Get a winterizing kit that has all the necessary materials you need to remove vulnerable pieces and cap lines.
Though there is a lot to think about and though it’s a bit more expensive to run at first, you won’t regret having a saltwater pool in the long run. A lot of pool owners have switched to saltwater pools due to the low maintenance and low running costs over time. It’s great for commercial swimming pools and residential swimming pools. I find it’s the best kind of pool water to swim in and the most relaxing.