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Salt Systems For Pools & Spas

Once upon a time there was only one way to sanitize a pool, and that was with the use of chlorine. Chlorine has been the pool sanitizer of choice for nearly a century, and it has many advantages going for it. Its properties are extremely well understood, and there is a mountain of data out there for dosages, burn off times, and effectiveness. Chlorine is also ubiquitous in that it can be found anywhere from department stores to high end pool supply houses. In almost any form it comes in, chlorine is also dirt cheap. This may sound great, but if you or a family member has an allergy to chlorine or a severe irritation to it, none of the aforementioned will matter to you – you need a different solution.


There are other solutions- from exotic ionization and oxygenation systems to enzyme based pool chemicals – but none of them hold the appeal and simplicity of salt water based systems. Salt systems for pools and spas have been refined and are extremely mature technologies that should be considered by anyone with an aversion to chlorine.


The way salt systems for pools and spas work is simple. A piece of equipment is added to the pool – a salt cell. What this is essentially a box where regular salt is added (not table salt, but typical industrial salt), and where electrolysis takes place. The electric current causes the molecules of salt to split into sodium and chlorine – yes, chlorine. Many people think that salt systems don’t contain any chlorine, but they do in fact – only in much lower dosages than your typical chlorine pool. This chlorine is released in a natural form by running the salt cell for a preset number of hours each day to produce the chemical. The result is a pool that needs nothing other than the periodic addition of salt to the salt cell.


The benefits of salts systems for pools and spas are many. Firstly, one does not need to handle or purchase large quantities of chorine. Your trips to the local big box store with a trunk full of liquid chlorine are over! Secondly, a saline system produces a much gentler water system and even people that are chlorine averse can safely swim in salt system pool water without the red eyes and other irritations of traditional chlorine pools. Lastly, no other chemicals need to be added save for salt –which is dirt cheap.


There are some downsides when looking into salt systems for pools and spas. The first of which is initial cost. The salt cell and its associated plumbing and wiring will cost several thousand dollars to initially install. Of course if you’re building your pool and choose salt from the start, your costs will be less than a retrofit of an existing system. It should be noted, however, that a salt system will quickly pay for itself. Power consumption is another factor to look into, as the salt cell uses a process of electrolysis to function, and electrolysis – no surprise – uses electricity.


All in all, a salt system for pools and spas is an excellent and safe choice for the maintenance of your water system. It may be the only choice if you or a family member are committed to swimming but are chlorine averse. The technology is so well established now that salt systems are no longer considered experimental, and the water a salt system produces is extremely mild and clean. While the cost of the system is a factor initially, you’ll find that after a decade of use the salt system will be far and away the most economical – without the irritation and hazards associated with chlorine.


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