Salt water swimming pools with chlorine generators are become increasingly popular. And for good reason… Swimming in a mild saline solution is much like taking a bath or shower in soft water. Unlike chlorinated pools that can leave your skin feeling dry and showing a white residue, swimmers in properly maintained salt-water pools report their skin feeling softer, smoother and feeling more refreshed. You also have the financial and health benefits of not needing to buy chlorine or experience any of the side effects of it.

Salt-water swimming pools do, however, require specific maintenance and upkeep. Some service technicians may treat pools with chlorine generators just like any other pool—causing some major problems for the pool owner.

Here are some very important things to keep in mind for the proper maintenance of your salt-water swimming pool.

  1.  Water level must be properly maintained or the generator won’t produce any chlorine. You must make sure that water is flowing continuously through the generator.
  2. A byproduct of the chlorine generator is sodium hydroxide, which tends to push up the pH level of your pool. It is important to constantly monitor the pH and alkalinity of your pool. Keep a log and make sure you have a quality pH meter available.
  3. Watch salt levels and water temperature. If the temp drops below 55 degrees, the chlorine generator will not work. Salt levels should be kept between 2,500 and 4,000 parts per million.
  4. When you add salt, be sure to spread it around so that you don’t damage the plaster on your pool. Salt is corrosive—if not mixed properly the pool can deteriorate in the area where salt sat too long.
  5. Be especially cautious if your pool is newly plastered. Wait one month before adding salt.
  6. Letting your pool’s alkalinity get too low can also cause damage to the plaster. Again, a carefully maintained log will help you see the fluctuations of your pool’s levels so that everything stays properly balanced.
  7. Salt can also damage the concrete around your pool. Be sure to wash off the concrete decks and use a sealant.
  8. It’s critical to properly maintain the chlorine generator itself. Clean it periodically with a mild muriatic acid solution and replace the cells every three to four years.

Properly maintained, salt water swimming pools can be a healthy and cost-saving alternative to chlorinated pools. You just need to be prepared to care for them.

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