is the second significant problem or issue that you need to be aware
of. Scaling of pool surfaces, especially at the waterline, heater
interior, filter media and most importantly, the ECG
itself. Scaling of pool surfaces provides additional nooks & crannies
for algae and bacteria to grow. Plus it's not easy to clean or remove.
dramatically reduces heater efficiency thereby driving up your pool
heating costs. When a filter is scaled, it also looses efficiency and
is a royal pain to clean.
More importantly, we
are concerned about scaling of the chlorine generator itself. That
cell is one of the most toxic places on planet earth. On one side of
the cell plates, the pH is close to ZERO! On the other side, the pH is
at the opposite end of the scale, about 14. Scaling is bound to
happen. "But I have a self-cleaning generator," you say. Not really;
although the polarity reverses, the scale will still build up. There
are 3 kinds of scale that will form reducing chlorine generating
efficiency: phosphate scale (almost invisible, leaves a dull patina on
the cell plates, usually not noticeable), calcium scale (a heavy to
heavier white scale), and sulfate scale (gray scale that's VERY
difficult to remove).
Where do these scales
come from? Phosphate scale is from phosphates. Phosphates come from
certain pool chemicals (ironically anti-scaling & anti metal-staining
chemicals) and environmental sources such as dead skin cells or "fly
over" bird waste (even more concentrated with highly touted "Solar
Salt"). Calcium is dissolved in water everywhere! Heck, our bones are
largely calcium. If you have a plaster or gunite pool, calcium is in
the plaster and grout. Sulfur? From sulfates. Certain pool pH reducing
chemicals (granular ph decreaser) contain sodium bi-sulfate.
qualities of pool salt contain less contaminants, including heavy
metals as mentioned above and more "pure" salt. Even some of the pool
salt "additives" contain "high" concentrations of phosphates &
sulfates to control staining, scaling & pH (such as BioGuard Mineral
Springs, Capo Salt Saver, and other products).
don't simply trust "how good" the water looks or feels; keep a close
eye on pool water & mineral balance. And take extra care with acid
washing the cell; you will strip the protective coating from
the cells in a very short time. With many ECG costing several hundreds
dollars, shortened life due to premature scaling needs to be
corrosion & staining is difficult to describe as well as
prevent, but the effects are soon noticed by every pool owner over
time. Think of what happens when you put salt on an icy surface in
winter: the ice melts because of the lowering of the water's freezing
point, but over time you notice that the surface pits & crumbles.
One of the
interesting things that happens when salt is added to the pool water
is that the water becomes better able to conduct electricity. It's
kind of like putting a fine "chemical wire mesh" in the water. Stray
electrical currents "flow" through the water attacking metal surfaces
& finishes, including stainless steel.
ladders and rails loose their "shine" and get this patchy black or
gray look. Aluminum ladder or slide anchor sockets corrode completely
(5 year old anchors next to a salt/chlorine pool).
Pitting of aluminum coping on inground vinyl pools. Concrete deck
finishes pit & become grainy. Excess salt clinging to pool bio-films
on the pool's surfaces will cause staining & scaling of the waterline
that will be difficult to remove (as shown above).
Here's a question
that some don't want to answer: what about aboveground steel or
aluminum pools? The industry is beginning to see significant
degradation of pool parts due to corrosive electrolysis - especially
in pools that are not properly grounded. It's not a warranty issue,
ANY and EVERY
salt/chlorine system that is installed needs a good quality zinc or
sacrificial anode (or multiple) of some kind within the pool
operating system. Additional anodes can be used on lights, inside
skimmer baskets, and on railings. These anodes will take the brunt of
the electrolysis rather than the pool and equipment.
By the way, there are
newer, more pure brands of pool
salt and additives are available.
Pool-Salt Facts brochure.
If you still need help, here's how to
store hours): Stratford 203-377-0100
FAX: (24 hrs) 203-375-7787