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What Is A Salt Water Pool I Hear So Much About?

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

I remember the first time I saw a salt chlorine generator. Do you remember the first time you saw a CD or a DVD? How about that first cell phone? Did you say to yourself, “well that is going to change a lot of things.” About fifteen years ago, someone came into our showroom on Market street, to demo a new product. Usually it is fun to see these guys because they always have interesting stories about the pool business, and often we have friends in common. This time he had a smirk on his face and told me I should get out my checkbook. He had this tube with “Autopilot” written on it and two pieces of copper an inch across and about four inches long in the tube. The tube sat on a white base, and a “D” cell battery in the bottom. A red button was the only thing on the side of the base. He filled the tube with water and told me to put some OTO (Orthotolidine) drops in the water. OTO was used back then to test for the presence of chlorine. The water stayed clear – no chlorine present. Then he added in a salt packet from Wendy’s hamburgers, stirred it around and pushed the red button. Immediately the copper prongs began to bubble and the water suddenly turned pale yellow, and then deep yellow indicating that there was now chlorine in the water. I want one. That was my first introduction to the salt chlorine generators, and I knew at once it would change a lot of things in our industry. Since that time we have installed hundreds of Autopilot chlorine generators, and of course they are manufactured by many companies around the world. I still get people who tell me they want a “salt water pool”, or a “salt water filter”, and they are not always certain what it is, but they want one. The principle is as basic as high school chemistry. As you probably know, salt is “sodium chloride”, and the important word there is “chloride.” When salt which has been added to your pool water passes through a special cell, a small electrical charge is passed through the elements of the cell. That electrical charge breaks the chloride away from the sodium, and the chloride mixes with the water to form pure chlorine. There are no additives in this chlorine – it is PH neutral and it is 100% available chlorine. By comparison some shock purchased at the big stores is only 52% available chlorine. Because this process can be repeated over and over, your pool’s chlorine level can be kept at exactly the correct levels, usually with the touch of a button. The salt in your pool is normally kept at 3500 parts per million. By comparison, ocean water is about 35 thousand parts per million – you will most likely not taste the salt in your pool water, and it makes the water feel soft. The salt only leaves your pool through wash out, or dilution from adding water to the pool, and most people check their water just once or twice a year and add it as needed. We check salt levels, and pool chemistry for our customers at our office on Market Street at no charge. Remember, this is not a chlorine free pool – the active sanitizer is still chlorine, but you will not have to keep shocking your pool water, or adding solid chlorine tablets to your chlorine feeder or in your skimmer. It is however, a very large change in how pools are maintained, and salt water chlorine generators are wildly popular. We include a salt water chlorine generator on every pool we build.

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