A home swimming pool is a perfect refuge for cooling off on a hot summer day. Swimming is also great exercise for people of all ages, and the addition of a swimming pool may increase the value of your home.
There are numerous options to choose from when it comes to selecting the ideal pool for your family, but one of the primary choices is to go with a chlorine or salt water pool. One of the most common misconceptions people have about salt water pools is that the pool will be filled with water that is similar to the ocean and that there is no maintenance required. That's not quite how it works.
The following information will help you have a better understanding of what a salt water pool really is and what to expect when it comes to cleaning and maintenance.
What Exactly is a Salt Water Pool?
First, and most importantly, it is important to not let the name deceive you. A salt water pool is not filled with salted water, ocean water or any combination of the two. Salt water pools get their name from the chlorination system that is used to keep your pool clean.
A pool with salt water chlorination is not actually chlorine-free, it simply uses a different chlorination method to keep the pool sanitized. In a chlorine pool system, the chlorine is put directly into the pool from chlorine shock systems and chlorine tablets. Salt water chlorination systems, however, use a chlorine generator.
Sodium hypochlorite and hypochlorous are the two sanitizing agents that are used to clean the pool water. The chlorine generator uses direct electric currents or electrolysis to create a chemical reaction, which turns dissolved salts into the sodium hypochlorite and hypochlorous sanitizing agents. One of the main advantages to this type of system is that, unlike direct chlorination, salt water sanitizing will not typically cause your skin to dry out or turn your eyes red.
How to Maintain Your Salt Water Pool
Just like a standard “chlorine” swimming pool, your salt water pool requires routine cleaning and maintenance. Failing to properly maintain a salt water pool can result in damages to the chlorine generator as well as to the pool surface. Pool cleaning and maintenance for a salt water pool includes:
- Keeping the pump, filter and skimmer clean. If any of these are full of debris, it will reduce the water flow. If there is a significant reduction in water flow, the salt chlorinator will stop generating chlorine.
- Shocking the pool water. All swimming pools, including salt water pools, must be shocked regularly with pool shock. It is important to shock the pool on a weekly basis, especially when the pool gets used more than normal.
- Balancing the pH. A salt water pool still requires the addition of muriatic acid in order to keep the pH balanced. The pH tends to run high in salt water pools, so it is essential that you test the water weekly. The free chlorine level should typically be 1-3 ppm and the pH should be maintained at 7.2-7.6. If the pH is too high, adding the muriatic acid will lower the pH. Non-iodized salt will need to be added if the pool water test shows that the pH level has dropped.
- Applying algaecide. If you do not take care of your pool, especially after there are heavy rains, it will turn green. Unfortunately, the green in your pool can be more than simply algae, it also can contain E. coli and other harmful bacteria. Keep algae at bay by treating the water with an algaecide.
Let Us Take Care of the Maintenance
Your salt water pool can provide your family with hours of fun and relaxation, but proper cleaning and maintenance are essential. If you do not properly maintain your pool, you could cut the lifespan of your pool in half. However, if you continue with ongoing maintenance, your salt water swimming pool can be a family asset for years to come!
Hutchison Pool Repair Service & Retail knows how important proper maintenance is for a salt water pool, but we also know that these chores can be inconvenient for many homeowners. To ensure your pool is properly cleaned and maintained, contact us and we will be happy to provide your salt water pool the maintenance it needs. Right now, if you buy three months of pool service, you'll get a fourth month free! Give us a call today to schedule maintenance for your pool so you don't miss out on this great deal.