As saltwater pools become increasingly popular due to their low maintenance requirements and high water quality, understanding the right type of salt to use is crucial. But with so many options available, how do you know which one is the best? We’re here to help you navigate these murky waters and ensure you make the best choice for your pool.
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Why Choose Saltwater Pools?
In the 21st century, more and more pool owners are converting to saltwater pools. In fact, while only 14% of the pools in America are currently saltwater pools, over 50% of new pools installed last year in the U.S. included a salt generator.
The popularity of saltwater pools has increased 50 to 70% in the last five years, particularly in Florida, due to the year-round swimming season and the large population of retirees seeking low-maintenance pool option.
The Importance of Salt Choice in Saltwater Pools
When it comes to saltwater pools, the choice of salt is not just about making the water salty. It directly impacts your pool’s water chemistry, the longevity of your salt generator, and even the potential for staining and damage to your pool and its accessories.
Therefore, it’s crucial to choose a salt that’s high in purity and suitable for use in a pool with a salt chlorine generator. Ideally, you should use mined salt that’s 95% pure or more.
Types of Salt for Saltwater Pools
There are three main types of salt you can use in your pool:
- Solar salt
- Mechanically evaporated salt
- Mined salt
Each of these types has its own characteristics and potential impacts on your pool’s health and maintenance requirements.
1. Solar Salt
Solar salt is seawater that’s been allowed to evaporate, leaving behind salt. However, this process also leaves behind organic impurities, including dead brine shrimp and bacteria. This results in your salt generator having to work harder to create chlorine to eliminate these organic impurities, potentially affecting your pool’s chlorine balance.
2. Mechanically Evaporated Salt
This type of salt is created using heat to evaporate the water, similar to solar salt. But unlike solar salt, the heat also burns off the organic matter. However, mechanically evaporated salt can contain mineral contaminants such as phosphates, nitrates, iron, copper, magnesium, silicates, calcium, and magnesia. While these will not affect the cleanliness of the water, they can disrupt the water balance, affect your salt cell, and even stain your pool, especially if it’s a concrete pool.
3. Mined Salt
Mined salt is the purest of the three types and is the best choice for use in a pool with a salt chlorine generator. It’s less likely to stain the pool or damage the equipment. It’s worth noting that if your pool is made of concrete, you should balance your pool water before adding the salt, then pour it in the deep end and broom it to help dissolve the salt.
Tips for Maintaining Your Saltwater Pool
To extend the lifespan of your salt cell, only clean the cell when necessary. Cleaning involves using acid, which removes some of the coating that allows electrolysis to work, thereby slowly shortening the lifespan of the salt cell. Therefore, the quality of your salt system, much like the quality of your pool, is crucial to its performance and longevity.
When and Why Should You Add Salt to Your Pool?
Typically, salt is added to a pool at the beginning of the swimming season or after a significant amount of water has been replaced. If your saltwater chlorinator indicates low salt levels, or if your pool water tastes less salty than tears, it might be time to add more salt.
How Much Salt Does Your Pool Need?
The amount of salt your pool requires depends on several factors, including its size, the amount of water it holds, and the type of salt system you use. As a general rule, a good starting point is around 2,000 to 3,000 ppm (parts per million). However, always refer to your saltwater chlorinator’s manual for specific instructions.
Salt Calculator for Saltwater Pool
Selecting the right type of salt for your saltwater pool can significantly impact its longevity, maintenance needs, and the overall enjoyment you get from your swimming experience. By understanding the differences between solar salt, mechanically evaporated salt, and mined salt, you can make a more informed decision that aligns with your pool’s needs.
- The choice of salt directly impacts your pool’s water chemistry, the longevity of your salt generator, and even the potential for staining and damage to your pool and its accessories.
- Solar salt, while a viable option, has organic impurities that can affect your pool’s chlorine balance.
- Mechanically evaporated salt can contain mineral contaminants that might disrupt your water balance and stain your pool.
- Mined salt, being the purest, is the best option for saltwater pools, particularly those equipped with a salt chlorine generator.
- Maintaining the right salt level and cleanliness of your salt cell is crucial for the longevity and performance of your saltwater pool.
By following this guide, you can maintain a healthy and beautiful saltwater pool for years to come. Happy swimming!