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Getting familiar with chlorine generators

By Marcelle Dibrell

While chlorine generators continue to rise in popularity nationwide, there remain service technicians who are divided on their merits.  

Though many are excited about the reduction in chemical handling, there are those who feel that this benefit is overstated, as the pools still require frequent pH adjustments. While some argue that less maintenance is involved, plenty want it remembered that the generator’s cell plates are not maintenance free.

There are those who argue that generators save money over time, though many claim that the initial investment and ultimate replacement costs will even out the chemical savings. And while some say that the salted water creates a corrosive environment, others note that the fault lies more with exceptionally high chlorine levels and inadequate testing.

Salt water chlorine generators are becoming more popular every year for a lot of good reasons, and a few bad reasons too.  

One of the bad reasons includes the misconception that the systems do not add chlorine to the pool. Others people are under the impression that these systems require no maintenance. One good reason to use salt water chlorine generators is that the high chlorine content can minimize chloramines, and the associated pool odor.  

Furthermore, chlorine generators do help to reduce the quantity of chemicals other than salt being added to the pool. Also, the increased salinity can improve the feel of the water. Chlorine generators produce chlorine from salt. Using low voltage direct current, they transform the chloride ion from sodium chloride into chlorine. This reduces the need to store and transport chlorine chemicals.  

The two popular types of chlorine generators are in-line and brine tank.  In the in-line, or in-pool configuration, the salt is added directly to the pool water at concentrations between 3,000 and 5,000 ppm. Low salt levels reduce the efficiency while high salt levels can cause the units to shut down, and also give the water a salty taste.

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