ANSWERS: 1
  • Converting a pool to saltwater is attractive for a number of reasons. Salt in the density of saltwater pools can barely be tasted, but it softens the water and replaces the harsh chemicals that can irritate a swimmer's skin. Salt systems create their own chlorine naturally, so maintenance on a salted pool is reduced to adding small amounts once or twice a year according to the Australian Greenhouse Office. Salt is less expensive than chlorine; a pool can pay for itself in three or so years.

    Equipment

    Saltwater pools convert salt to chlorine with a salt chlorinator. You will need one that can sustain a chlorine level of 2,500 to 3,000 parts per million (ppm). A salt cell contains a series of metal plates with opposite charges. When pool water flows through, electrolysis separates it into chlorine and saline. After the chlorine gas purifies the water, it rebonds with the saline and the process repeats.

    Converting to Salt

    Match a chlorine generator system to the size of your pool. Plumb the salt generator into your pool line and wire the controller to the timer. Add 200 to 400 pounds of granulated salt to the deep end of the pool. Add a stabilizer such as cyanuric acid at 60 to 80 ppm to prevent the sun from burning off and depleting the chlorine. Test the pH level and add acid as you would in a chlorine pool (some salt systems test and balance the pH automatically). Use a test kit to verify the saline readings on your control monitor and add salt before it gets too low. A cell makes chlorine at a certain rate, it cannot speed up. Ensure that you have enough time for it to replenish the chlorine level after pool parties or heavy rains. Some units self-clean by reversing the polarity of the voltage. For regular units, soak the cell and plates in an acid solution to remove all of the scale deposits. If you have stainless steel pool equipment, check your pump filter and heater warranty to ensure they are covered for salt water.

    Creating New Saltwater Pools

    The biggest cost for any pool is the shell, according to EcoSmartePool.com. For in-ground pools, a concrete base costs between $15,000 and $50,000 depending on the size and shape. fiberglass ranges from $15,000 to $25,000 and vinyl liners are the least expensive at $15,000 or less. Aboveground costs are between $2,000 to $5,000 depending on size. Basic equipment for a 25,000 gallon in-ground pool with heater would run $1,700 and up. A chlorine generator system would add around $868.

    Comparing Saltwater Costs

    A well maintained saltwater pool should pay for itself in two to three years by saving on chlorine chemical costs. Most pools use less than $20 of salt per summer while chlorine costs around $500. The cost of stabilizers and test kits is about the same as for a chlorine pool.

    Source:

    The Australian Greenhouse Office.

    Ecosmarte Pool

    Fire the Pool Man

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