If you’ve been for a swim in a pool in the last 20 years, there is a very high chance it was a saltwater pool. Saltwater chlorinators are the most convenient, consistent, and cost-effective way to keep your pool sanitised.

There are of course different ways to sanitise your pool such as manually dosing, non-chlorine oxidisers, as well as freshwater options, however, if you want convenience and an easier way to maintain your pool, a saltwater chlorinator is the way to go.

HOW DO SALTWATER CHLORINATORS WORK?

There is a range of swimming pool chlorine generators (also known as saltwater pool chlorinators, hydroxinators, or oxidizers depending on brand and marketing), they create their own chlorine, meaning you don’t need to add chlorine to your pool manually.

Saltwater Chlorinators use a process called electrolysis to produce chlorine from saltwater. Using electricity to produce chlorine gas from the dissolved chloride (from the salt aka sodium chloride) in the water as it passes through the cell. The chlorine gas is the cloudy appearance coming off the cell you can see through the housing.

Chlorine gas then binds itself to the Hydrogen (H) and Oxygen (O) to create Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) which sanitizes & oxidises the water.

The chlorine gas then reforms dissolved chloride as it bonds again with sodium/potassium/magnesium.

This will occur throughout the operation of the chlorinator and is an extremely efficient and cost-effective method of sanitising your pool.

There are 2 main functions of a saltwater chlorinator, the first being to produce the chlorine gas, the second is for the timer function. Which is used to control when the pool pump turns on and off. Automating both the operation of the pool pump and the chlorination process leads to a much more consistent sparkling pool.

AstralPool Saltwater Chlorinator how it works

Tips for using a saltwater chlorinator

There are generally 2 warnings/notifications you get with a saltwater chlorinator, Now flow and Low Salt.

No flow is exactly what it says, a sensor in the cell detects water flow and if there is none, it turns the cell off to avoid damage. Many modern units also turn off the pump on the assumption the low water flow will cause damage to the pump as well. Read our no-flow article to learn more here.

Low salt. This is usually because the salt is lower than the ideal range set by the manufacturer.

If the salt is low, the light will come on if the cell is trying to produce at a level that it is unable to.

e.g. it’s set to 100% production though the salt level is a little bit lower than usual, so you’ll see the low salt light. If you turn the production down to 80% the low salt light may go off as it is now able to produce at that level.

The low salt light may come on for other reasons e.g. due to calcium build-up on the cell, faulty terminals, or just an old cell or control board, so it is best to get the salt level tested before adding salt.

Benefits of using a saltwater chlorinator

#1 – Use Fewer chemicals

While chlorine is present in the pool, there is a reduced need for additional sanitising chemicals. Many other chemicals such as oxidisers are also minimised, saving you money and time. This means that caring for the pool is more environmentally friendly. Plus, there is usually no strong chlorine odour around the pool.

#2 – Minimal maintenance

A chlorinator requires minimal maintenance, and you can set it to control your filtration pump and run the system automatically. The chlorine production can be controlled to suit your pool size and the bather demand. However, most chlorinators do not monitor the level of chlorine in your pool so you should still conduct regular water testing to ensure your chemical levels are in balance.

#3 – Cost-effective

Chlorinators may cost more upfront but in the long run, they save much more in costs and time, thanks to the great reduction in chemicals and maintenance.

Note: The salt cell does have a limited lifespan (roughly 3-5 years depending on the unit and use), so the cell will require replacing, similarly to tyre changes or other periodic maintenance required for a car.

#4 – Smart features

The new generation of chlorinators offer either Bluetooth or Wifi connectivity that allows you to monitor and control your chlorine output remotely, they even come with smart sensors that can automatically regulate your chlorine output in cold water to prevent excessive wear and tear on your salt cell.

What size chlorinator do you need?

Chlorinators are usually sized in grams of chlorine gas produced per hour.

To work out what size chlorinator you need for your pool work based on you need 20grams of chlorine gas per 10,000 lts of pool water per day. See our example calculations for a 65,000 lts pool would be:

  • 65,000 lts / 10,000 = 6.5
  • 6.5 x 20gms required per day = 130gms per day.
  • Divide the daily requirement by the number of hours the system runs per day. We would suggest a minimum of 6 hours/day
  • Therefore, 130 grams / 6 hours = 21.66 grams per hour of chlorine gas.

We always suggest sizing up so you’re able to run them at a lower level to reduce any strain on the system.

Some Chlorinator options we stock

VIRON EQUILIBRIUM CHLORINATOR WITH BLUETOOTH CONTROL

The AstralPool Viron eQuilibrium Chlorinator is made right here in Australia and provides a range of options to minimise changes in your water balance. It has Bluetooth connectivity and “Total Ai mode” which tests, monitors, and maintains the perfect sanitiser (chlorine) level as well as your pH balance as well controlling the Viron XT variable speed pool pump for maximum energy savings.

The AstralPool Viron eQuilibrium Chlorinator comes in 4 sizes. The EQ18 (18 gms of chlorine gas/hour), EQ25 (25 gms of chlorine gas/hour), EQ35 (35 gms of chlorine gas/hour) & EQ45 (45 gms of chlorine gas/hour). All require salt levels of 3000-8000 ppm

E SERIES SALT CHLORINATOR

The Australian-made, affordable, chlorinator with self-cleaning technology is simple to use, easy to operate. It comes in two sizes the E25 produces 25 gms of chlorine gas/hour & the E35 for larger pools produces 35 gms of chlorine gas/hour both with salt levels of 4000-8000 ppm

*sources – Zodiac blog

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