Now you can practically manufacture your own chlorine in your own pool. Sounds great doesn't it? Phenomenal money saver, right? Well,...
Let's look at this in a holistic or complete way, especially in light of the tremendous press that salt or saline-chlorine generation has been getting.
The thought is, take common salt in the form of Sodium Chloride (NaCl) & break it into its elemental components. In layman's terms we have water (H2O) + salt (NaCl) passing through an electrolytic cell (sometimes called a turbo cell or ECG - electronic or electrolytic chlorine generator) which has specially coated plates and an electrical current running in them.
The positively or negatively charged current breaks the molecular bonds into Hypo-chlorous acid (HCl) and sodium and oxygen (specifically NaOH).
Hypochlorous acid is what we're looking for as our sanitizer.
Sounds pretty simple and chemically speaking, it is. (by the way,
that's a picture of a chlorine molecule)
As you can figure out, there's a
The "but" is that there's a bit more
to this chemistry. That ECG is also "creating" other compounds as the
water, with various dissolved minerals such as calcium, phosphorous,
sulfur, passes by. Salt-chlorine generation causes 3 main issues that
the pool owner needs to be aware of:
Difficult to manage
pH levels, especially high pH.
of pool surfaces & equipment.
adding to the electrolysis corrosion & metal staining
is always a problem with saline pools. The method of generation
continually pushes or forces the pH up. If you live in an area where
the pH of the source or tap water is low or lower, such as in various
parts of the Northeast US, that "problem" can actually help your
overall water balance. As long as you are regularly monitoring the pH
& making adjustments as necessary, you should be in good shape.
Other parts of the
country are not so lucky. Areas of "hard water" such as in Arizona or
Florida will constantly battle high pH. There are cities & towns where
the pH out of the tap is in excess of 8.0. Acid will need to be added
on an ongoing basis to maintain a "stable" pH level of 7.4 - 7.6.
These areas also typically have higher contents of dissolved heavy
metals such as iron, copper or manganese which can lead to staining.
The other high pH
pool issue is associated with virtually any concrete, tile or
aggregate finished pool. When new, these finishes will continually
force the pH level high. And when the plaster finish is brand new,
it's not unusual to see pH levels in excess of 10.0 or higher. In
fact, newly plastered pools should NEVER add salt to the pool until
30 days after being filled to allow the curing process to
begin. Neglecting this delay will cause abnormal staining or mottling
of the pool's finish & surface (which MAY not be able to be treated).
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