Are Salt Water Swimming Pools Truly Maintenance Free?

Are Salt Water Swimming Pools Truly Maintenance Free?

Scale Problems In Saltwater Pools

From Aqua

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld, while describing the lure of a friend’s offer of a “lift”,  inadvertendtly used the perfect simile to describe the lure of saltwater pools: “Like the lure of the siren’s song. Never what it seems to be, yet who among us can resist?”.  The lure of a maintenance free pool, which is how the salt water chlorine generator has been disingenuiously presented to the general public, has caused innumerable issues for both the swimming pool owners and for the equipment manufacturers.  So what is the truth about salt water pools?  This post from Aqua magazine addresses one major component of these types of systems that causes ongoing and potentially harmful results.  Luckily, this issue can properly be dealt with, but that would require attention, which seems to be something that certain salt water pool owners aren’t necessarily willing to give.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

ver find little white flakes on the bottom of the pool near the return? These are little pieces of calcium carbonate that have broken off and traveled through the system. If it’s a saltwater pool, they very likely came from the electrolytic chlorine generator (ECG). They formed around the blades or plates in the ECG and then chipped off, and were swept through the piping and into the pool. They may seem like a minor irritation, but mineral deposits are the No. 1 enemy of salt chlorine generators.

Finding scale in pools is nothing new; we’ve seen it from the beginning of the industry. Almost any vessel that contains water, whether it’s a pool, spa, boiler, hot water heater or even a saucepan, will become encrusted with minerals at some point, but the problem takes on a special significance in pools with salt chlorine generators.

Scale is one of the most common and serious challenges in saltwater pool maintenance, partly because it typically forms first on the cell plates inside the ECG where it can remain undetected until the problem is well advanced. Once it has formed, it hampers the effectiveness and life span of the ECG, which wastes the customer’s money and can lead to premature replacement.

Salt chlorine generators, by their nature, create ideal conditions for the formation of scale, and despite the efforts of engineers to design these systems to prevent the scourge, it continues to cause damage and early failure in ECGs on a wide . . . scale.

Eternal Annoyance

The history of scale is as old as hot, hard water; assuming the laws of chemistry have been evenly enforced throughout the ages, scale must have coated the cooking pots of Roman legions and been an annoyance to Nebuchadnezzar’s chef.

Scale is simply the term for minerals falling out of solution and forming mineral deposits. Calcium is the mineral with which most people are familiar, but other ones common in pools are phosphates, silicates and sulfates.

It’s a natural, and to some extent, an inevitable process. It has become a greater concern in recent years, however, due to the fact that it degrades the growing number of chlorine generators.

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