To ensure the health condition in the swimming pool, you need to sanitize the pool regularly. In the traditional pool, we use chlorine periodically as a sanitization agent, whereas, Salt water Pool is a kind of pool that uses salt (Sodium Chloride) and converts to chlorine by using the salt chlorine generator which then acts as the sanitizing agent. It is called a saltwater pool because we add salt to the water at a required level to allow the machine to function, which also makes the water smoother.
The Chemical Reactions In The Saltwater Pool:
Through electrolysis, Salt (NaCl) and water (H20), are converted into Chlorine (Cl2), Hydrogen (H2) and Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH), at the time of passing through the energized salt cell of the salt chlorine generator.
When the chlorine molecule or hypochlorous acid is used up, the salt is converted back to NaCl, and the process can start again.
2NaCl + 2H2O → electrolysis → 2NaOH + H2 + Cl2
2NaOH + 2HCl → chemical reaction → 2NaCl + 2H2O
Net reaction: 2HCl → → → H2 + Cl2
The chlorine gas will then rapidly hydrolyze in water to form hypochlorous acid according to the following reaction.
Cl2 + H2O → → → HClO + H+ + Cl−
This creates Hydrogen ions, which then provides the HCl for the first equation.
Mechanism of Saltwater pool:
Fig 1: Adding salt to the pool
The salt chlorine generator usually comes with a digital screen and a sensor to show the time and amount of adding salt to the water. If it does not have it, then we would need to get saltwater test strips. We can measure the Sodium Chloride level in the water with the test strips. The threshold salt level is 3200 ppm (parts per million), and the range varies from 2700-3400 ppm (parts per million), we need to add 40 to 50 lb. of salts for every 2000 gallons of water.
Before adding salt to the pool, it is necessary to check the salt level of the pool water. Every swimming pool usually have a pool pump, when adding salt to the pool, we need to keep the pool pump on and the salt chlorine generator off. The pool pump will circulate the salt in the pool water and distribute it evenly throughout the pool. While pouring the salt, we need to add it around the deep end, the salt might take around 24 hours to dissolve fully, but as per the experts, it is safer to wait a minimum of 20 minutes after adding the salt, before jumping into the swimming pool.
When the salt is dissolved, we can turn the salt chlorine generator on, and after a few hours. We can measure the salt level by looking at the display or using a test strip. We need to check the quality of salt before adding it to the pool water, the recommended quality of the salt is 99% purity or more. The quality of salt will make the pool and it’s components to function efficiently.
The Chlorinated water in the traditional pool is harsher in comparison to saltwater pools, as the chlorine level in the water is much higher in those pools. So it is implied that salt is much safer than chlorine.
You also need to read: Saltwater chlorinator | You Mustn’t Ignore Its 5 Advantages
Winterizing the Salt Water Pool:
In cold winter seasons, or in cold countries, the saltwater pool needs to be winterized. The following are the steps of winterizing.
- Clean: clean the pool, and remove all debris thoroughly.
- Testing the level of salt: Manually test the salt level and make sure it is not over 3200 ppm.
- Balance Chemicals: Before closing the pools all the chemicals should be balanced and the ph level should be around 7.2 to 7.8 and the alkalinity should be between 80 to 220 ppm
- Add Chemicals and Enzymes : Add winterizing chemicals which are specifically made for saltwater pools, also add enzymes to remove contamination in the water
- Winterize the Salt Water Generator, Filter, Skimmer, and Plumbing: Empty and clean the saltwater generator and all the filters. Also, drain all the water from the SWG and finally unplug it.
- Cover the pool for the winter: Cover the pool, and before covering it, put an air pillow above the cover as it will prevent ice sheets from forming over it.
Shocking a Saltwater Pool:
The saltwater pool is shocked to remove chloramines, algae, and contaminants. Despite the chlorine, those can occur in the pools. To shock the pool water, firstly, the chemistry of the pool is balanced by testing and adding different chemicals (this means a pH between 7.4-7.6, total alkalinity of between 80-120/ppm, and calcium hardness of between 200-400). Once the chemicals are balanced, then we can add the shock of our choice, but we need to add it to the right amount.
Benefits and Drawbacks of the Salt Water Pool:
- The lower level of chlorine in the water is gentle on skin and eyes, and especially it is beneficial for young children and swimmers who are exposed in the water for a longer period of time.
- The chlorine in the saltwater pool disinfects the water, but it is safe for expensive gears.
- The chemical exposure is much lower than the traditional chlorinated pool.
- As salt is significantly cheaper than the chemical chlorine, so the saltwater pool is cheaper to maintain throughout the year.
- The initial set up cost is higher.
- The saltwater pool system is more complex in comparison to traditionally chlorinated pools.
Frequently Asked Questions | Salt water Pool
1. Is a saltwater pool system chlorine-free?
No, a saltwater pool system has chlorine in the pool water.
2. How does salt water sanitize a pool?
Salt water pools sanitize by generating chlorine.
4. Can I convert my existing pool to a salt water pool?
Yes! By adding a salt-chlorine generator.
5. Is it just like swimming in the ocean?
Salt concentration in the ocean is about 35,000 parts per million, and in a salt water swimming pool, it is kept around 3,000 parts per million. The salt level is so low it’s still classified as freshwater and you can’t taste or smell the salt in a properly balanced pool.
Finally, we can conclude that a salt water pool is a modern concept in comparison to a traditional swimming pool. It is safer in so many ways, but has its own drawbacks also.