Salt Water Pool Filter
Salt Water Pool Systems Maintenance & Common Problems

There really is no mystery behind how a salt water pool filter works, yet many people believe there is.

salt-water-pool-filterFor ages, we have been putting chlorine tablets into our swimming pools, not knowing there is another option available. That other option is known as salt water filtration and this article takes a closer look at how this process works.

One of the first things to get out of the way is the myth that the salt water pool system is entirely free of chlorine. As you will see later on in this article, these pools do have chlorine in them but this chlorine comes from the salt that is used in the filtering system instead of from chlorine tablets.

Salt Water Purification: The Basics of Salt Water Pool Systems

Both public and private swimming pools need to be disinfected on a constant basis.

filter-salt-waterThis disinfection is most effective when it is accomplished with some form of chlorine.

In order to provide safe water for bathers, some of the applied chlorine is used up immediately as it kills off harmful organisms and bacteria. Another level of chlorine, known as residual chlorine, must be maintained at all times to kill off newly introduced organisms as they enter the water.

In salt water pool filter systems this chlorine is provided by the salt that is used within the chlorine generator. Water from the pool will flow into the generator, and then over the salt media. As it does this, the salt breaks down and forms hypochlorus acid as well as sodium hypochlorite. These chemicals are effective in killing bacteria and organisms.

How Much Salt Is Needed to Disinfect Pools?

The answer to this question is a two-parter. The first part of the answer depends on the type of chlorine generator that is being used. The second part of the answer depends on the level of protection one wants in the pool.

A good-quality chlorine generator can work effectively with salt contents in the neighborhood of 3,000 parts per million (ppm). Lower-quality generators may need as much 6500 parts per million to deliver the same amount of disinfection power.

The more ppm's required to disinfect the water, the more salt one has to put into the system.


Swimming Pool Chlorine Video Interview
Salt Water Pools & Chlorine Generators Facts

Do Salt Water Filters Cause the Water to Taste Salty?

This is an excellent question and the answer is: it depends.

Studies have shown that humans begin to taste salt when the level within water hits about 3600 ppm's. As mentioned above, a good quality salt water generator can perform at about 3000 ppm's which is below the threshold for human taste. So, humans would not taste salt in the water in this case.

However, poor quality generators must operate at much higher levels, often as high as 6500 ppm's. In this case, humans would taste salt in the water.

With a properly maintained, good-quality generator, owners can expect to pay between $20 and $50 for the salt needed to run a swimming pool salt water system for the entire summer. This is far less than what chlorine tablets cost for a normal swimming season.

Salt Water Pool Maintenance

It is actually easier to maintain a salt water pool filter system than a traditional chlorine-based system. For the most part, the generator will run itself as long as owners keep the system charged properly. Most good-quality generators will have a timer included with them so they can perform automatically.

Salt-Water-Pool-systemsCaution Areas for Installing Salt Water Pool Filters

For those planning to switch to salt water purification, please understand that there is a major drawback to this type of system and that drawback is corrosion.

Water that has high-sodium content becomes corrosive when it comes into contact with certain types of metal, such as what is often found in many ladders and handrails.

It is always best to check the metals that may be in your pool to ensure that they can withstand the effects of corrosion when you filter salt water for the pool.

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Updated December 7, 2010