Types of Pool Salt

3 Common Types of Pool Salt to Use

Saltwater swimming pools have become very popular nowadays because of their amazing health benefits. However, their prevalence has led to numerous questions, some of which even swimming pool companies are unable to answer because there’s still very little information about saltwater pools. One of the most common concerns about saltwater pools is the various types of pool salt to use.

If you’re having the same concern, this article offers you the 3 most common types of pool salt that you can use in your swimming pool.

What Is Pool Salt?

Pool Salt

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Pool salt is a natural disinfecting agent added to swimming pools to keep them clean and prevent bacteria and algae from flourishing. Previously, most swimming pools – in-ground and above-ground – used chlorine as their main sterilizer. But unlike chlorine, salt is standard NaCI, sodium chloride.

This means that pool salt is just the normal table salt in a different form. While table salt comes in tiny, smoothly ground pieces, pool salt’s cuts are larger in size and rougher. Pool salt is made up of two main chemical elements: sodium and chlorine.

When the salt is added to the swimming pool, it’s broken down into chlorine and sodium ions and finally dissolves in water. As the chemical reaction continues, the pool water converts the free chlorine ions into hypochlorus acid, which has much less stench than the traditional chlorine tablets. Moreover, chlorine tablets are known to cause skin and eye irritation, but pool salt doesn’t.

Since chlorine contains chloramines, they’re likely to cause skin irritation, especially if your skin is already sensitive. This doesn’t happen with pool salt because its main components are free chlorine and sodium ions, which don’t have chloramines. Another reason why pool salt has become so popular is that it contains an essential component known as cyanuric acid.

Chlorine ions and hypochlorus acid are easily degraded by UV light but cyanuric acid in pool salt thwarts this degradation. This acid is also part of the steady chlorine in granulated chlorine and chlorine tablets. Cyanuric acid must be added physically to saltwater pools.

Converting your chlorine pool into a saltwater pool is quite expensive, but after this expenditure, the cost of maintaining it goes down significantly. One of the main concerns about saltwater pools is the fear that the salt will damage pool filters and other fittings. But pool construction companies have discovered new technologies to prevent these damages. Therefore, the cost of maintaining your saltwater pool will remain friendly.

3 Common Types of Pool Salt to Use in Your Swimming Pool

Salt

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While there are many types of pool salt on the market today, only three types are highly recommended for swimming pools. These types include solar pool salt, mechanically evaporated salt, and mined salt. You need to choose the right salt for your swimming pool to avoid future disappointments.

The type of salt you choose for your swimming pool will determine how costly its maintenance will be. It will also determine the effectiveness of your pool in maintaining perfect water chemistry as well as the lifespan of your pool’s salt generator. It also determines whether your pool and its accessories will suffer damage, including stains.

Highly purified pool salt will give you less trouble while the one with too many impurities will spell serious trouble for your swimming pool and salt cell.

1. Solar Pool Salt

Solar pool salt is seawater that has been diverted to a holding area where the water is evaporated by the sun, leaving sea salt. The seawater contains brine shrimp and bacteria that survive on the salt present. But as the water evaporates, the salt level increases, killing the bacteria and brine shrimp.

Also referred to as the Sea Monkey, brine shrimp is the tiny element you put in water and watch it proliferate and thrive. In the swimming pool construction industry, these bacteria and brine shrimp are commonly referred to as impurities. Therefore, your salt generator must work extra hard to form chlorine to remove these impurities.

Therefore, you’ll end up having high levels of chlorine in your swimming pool, which isn’t free chlorine. Please note that free chlorine is the one that kills bacteria in the water.

2. Mechanically Evaporated Pool Salt

Although the mechanically evaporated pool salt is made in a similar way to the solar pool salt, it’s evaporated through generated heat instead of the sun. This heat evaporates the water, kills the bacteria and brine shrimp, and burns off the impurities left by the dead bacteria and shrimp. Therefore, your salt generator doesn’t have to work harder to produce enough chlorine.

This also lowers the levels of chlorine in your swimming pool. Although the mechanically evaporated pool salt has impurities, they’re more minerals than organic matter. Some of the common contaminants found in mechanically evaporated pool salt include phosphates, nitrates, copper, iron, magnesium, calcium, silicates, and magnesia.

While most of these impurities won’t affect the cleanliness of your swimming pool, they’re likely to affect its water balance and salt cell. They’re also likely to stain your swimming pool, especially if it’s a concrete pool. However, they don’t cause stains in fiberglass swimming pools.

The effects of these impurities on your swimming pool largely depend on the area you use to produce the salt. Since cement-based swimming pool finishes are constantly curing, they’ll react negatively to salt, especially if the salt has mineral impurities. That’s why you shouldn’t use the typical metal-removing agents when cleaning your swimming pool, instead; use sequestering agents specially made for salt pools.

3. Mined Pool Salt

Mine pool salt is considered to be the purest type of pool salt on the market right now. Some of it comes with sequestering agents in it. But if you’re putting it in a concrete swimming pool, there are several important things you have to do differently from adding mined salt to a fiberglass pool.

For instance, you have to balance the water in your swimming pool before adding the salt to it because the salt is likely to stain your pool if it has mineral impurities, especially when it comes into contact with plaster or unprotected aggregate.

After balancing the water, pour the mined salt into the deepest end of the pool and broom it to make it dissolve quickly. Pool salt with mineral impurities takes longer to dissolve. So, you should add your mined pool salt in several small doses.

When buying mined pool salt, get it directly from a reputable swimming pool store so that you can get the purest form. Getting it from local miners is cheaper than buying from the pool store, but it contains more impurities that will cost you an arm and a leg to get rid of. Mined pool salt from the store comes with many long-term benefits, including cheaper maintenance costs.

If your swimming pool has natural rock water features, apply a sealer to the rock features, the same way you seal your deck, before you add salt to the pool to avoid staining them. Finally, you should clean your pool’s salt cell only when it’s necessary.

Cleaning it regularly will shorten its lifespan because the acid used to clean the cell weakens the coating, which keeps the electrolysis working. Your pool’s salt system is as important as the pool itself, so you have to care about its performance and permanence.


Featured image source: Pinterest.com

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