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Salt Chlorinator: It’s Still Chlorine, But an Easier & Much Smarter Way of Dosing

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Author: Aiden Thomas

You have to be concerned of all your pool equipments including pool filters, grids, salt chlorinators, pool pumps, cartridges, motors, heaters, timers, freeze guards, lights, valves, pool covers etc to maintain your pool equipment. You should make spotless your salt chlorinator cell electrodes on usual basis to exploit chorine production and should unsoiled leaf baskets regularly. To guarantee maximum water turnover rate, you should backwash your filters.

Salt Chlorinators use small amount of natural salt (Sodium Chloride) is dissolved into the water (becoming about half as salty as a human teardrop). The system's electrolytic cell is plumbed directly in-line with the pool equipment. The power control unit is wired to the pool timer so it purifies the water when the pump is running.

The electrolysis process is achieved by passing the salt water solution through an electrolytic cell which converts salt (sodium chloride) in the water into (100% pure) chlorine gas which, when dissolved in water becomes sodium hypochlorite (liquid chlorine). So you are in fact producing your own chlorine to sanities the pool.

The Cell

The cell usually consists of a clear plastic housing containing the electrodes, made up of an anode (negative), and a cathode (positive). The electrodes are made from or coated with exotic metals like platinum and aridium. The better chlorinators available boast extremely durable coatings such as titanium.

Manual or Self Cleaning Cell?

As chlorine is produced through the process of electrolysis, calcium deposits on the surface of the electrodes. Unattended, calcium will quickly build up to the point where it bridges the gap between positive and negative electrodes. If this happens, irreparable damage will be caused to the electrodes (generally the most expensive part of a salt chlorinator).

Consequently, it's extremely important that the electrodes be cleaned every few weeks. With manually cleaned units, this involves removing the electrodes, preparing a light solution of pool acid, and bathing the electrodes until they are visibly clean. In practice very few pool owners are vigilant enough regarding this maintenance, sooner or later letting the cell go for months without checking or cleaning.

More advanced self-cleaning units boast sophisticated circuitry that periodically reverses the polarity of the electrodes. This almost eliminates calcium build-up, making the cleaning process described above redundant. Unless you plan to be fastidious in your checking and cleaning of the cell, self cleaning chlorinators are highly recommended. You end up working much less and are likely to enjoy extra years of trouble free (and economic) service from your chlorinator.


Some units come with time clocks and in-built facilities for pool lights, and other more sophisticated options. Control options that most pool owners find extremely helpful include:

• Auto-Super chlorination - Highly Recommended - which automatically boots the level of chlorine in the pool (for example, once a week) - required to break down organic compounds that build up in the pool water.

• Chlorine Output Control - All pools experience periods of heavy use (e.g. summer weekends) so the ability to quickly boost chlorine output is very helpful.

• Add Salt Indicators - salt is gradually lost from the pool water - and the chlorinator will only function properly while there is adequate salt.

• Automatic timer controls - will ideally allow you to set a 7 day cycle.

• Battery back-up - should there be a power failure, this will retain timer and output settings - important if you plan to be away for periods of time.

Selecting a Suitable Unit

A number of factors will affect the selection of a salt chlorinator.

• Size of the pool or spa - larger pools needs larger chlorinators.

• Bathing load - heavy loads consume more chlorine.

• Size of the filtration system - poor water flow will require longer running time.

• Summer water temperature - high temperature and strong sunlight cause faster loss of available chlorine.

Other Chemical Requirements

The requirements for chemical balance are the same for electrolytic chlorination, as for traditionally chlorinated pools. Total Alkalinity, pH, Calcium Hardness and chlorine levels should be checked regularly. Chlorine stabilizer should be added to the pool and maintained at approx 30-50ppm, to reduce chlorine loss due to UV rays.

You should keep checking pool waters on every other day. You can make use of DPD kits or test strips to check chlorine, pH and total alkalinity levels. Add chemicals if required. You should give shock treatments and add algaecides once a week.

About the author: Aiden Thomas is engaged in providing free professional and independent advice about Swimming Pool Products. To find more information about salt chlorinators, Zodiac Pool Chlorinator, Clearwater Salt Chlorinator, zodiac tri saltwater chlorinator and zodiac Clearwater tri-ph visit

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