Never owned a pool before...

happycthulhuMay 21, 2012

I decided to get a small (5500 gal) above ground pool for small back yard this year.

I keep hearing about salt water pools, but haven't been able to find out a lot without seemingly having to have a degree in chemistry.

Can some one please help a newbie out?

People I work with have told me that all I really have to do is add several bags of rock salt and that's all there is to it.

That just seems too easy.


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Rock salt might work if the pool was frozen.....haha.

You need a chlorine generating system and granular pool salt. Telling you to "add several bags of rock salt" is bad info. Click the link below for some web info.

Here is a link that might be useful: Web Info for Above Ground Salt System

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 5:24PM
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Salt water is used to sanitize but will not oxidize organic
contaminants such as body oil,perspiration,urine,or sunscreen as chlorine will. To do that you will need a U.V. lighting system. I'd stay with chlorine. Works for me. DON'T use the little paper filter that comes with the pool ( if it does ). They are a piece of junk. Get a sand filter. You have a small pool so i wouldn't go too nuts. I have a medium pool 16,000 gals. Takes 7 gals of chlorine just to shock it for summer start up and 3 weeks to clean the water with a sand filter. thejimbar is right you have to use the proper pool salt.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 6:00PM
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Did a google search and found out that a salt water generator is and costs.
I'm just going to go the regular way with chlorine.
The pool package has everything to start it up, so that shouldn't be a big deal
Thanks for the help though.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 11:14AM
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"People I work with have told me that all I really have to do is add several bags of rock salt and that's all there is to it."

The people at work must have a pond, not a pool.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 11:42AM
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Rock salt generally contains contaminants like dirt and such. Water softener salt without anti-caking and without iron remover are suitable substitutes but are usually a little more work.

@kalining - Free chlorine DOES oxidize oils, lotions, etc... Salt pools are a misnomer. The salt is where the chlorine comes from. UV does NOT oxidize though, with a large pool and a heavy bather load, can reduce its chlorine demand. Shocking a process. How much liquid you need is dependent on the stabilizer level, the potency of the liquid, and the size of the pool. Even 7 gallons of Clorox would be too much for what this person is considering in a pool. Lets not waste money.

In its simplest terms, a salt cell is more accurately described as a salt water chlorine generator(SWCG)). Saline passes through the cell. The cell has electrically charged plates. As the saline passes through, the charge splits the salt molecules into it atoms of sodium and chlorine. There is also some additional chemistry going on but I want to keep it simple. Back in the pool, the unused chlorine finds the sodium and reforms.

Using tablets will cause the stabilizer level to rise. Stabilizer doesn't break down. The only way to remove it when too much is creating a problem is via dilution or, if you are in the San Diego area, having a reverse osmosis service come by. In that area, it is like calcium.

Using a SWCG will result in the following:

Less dryness of the skin.

No more hefting 25/50 pound buckets of tabs.

No more chlorinator feeder wiffs in the face when the top is removed.

Salt in the water tends to draw less salt from your eyes. In a properly balanced pool, this further reduces redness.

Properly sized, cells cost less in the long run.

When a cell is making chlorine, its doing the same thing as making bleach like you buy in the supermarket but on a different scale.

Lye is generated in small quantities in the pool when the cell (part of more in depth chemistry that is happening) is on so a pH reducing agent is needed while tabs tend to reduce the pH and need an elevator agent. But tabs also add stabilizer (unstabilized chlorine does the work, btw) and granulars can add calcium or more stabilizer and often, limits are reached on both and actions are needed.
The salt can only be diluted or removed via reverse osmosis. It stays in the pool once it is in. A 40 pound bag is, at worst, $10. A 25 pound bucket of tabs is about $60. Most pools burn through a bucket every couple months. After the initial addition of salt, it might cost $30 a year.


    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 7:52AM
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Our pool is about that same size.

Easy to maintain with bleach using the BBB method. (Add stabilizer at beginning and then muriatic acid when pH gets too high.)

We normally add 80lbs of salt for feel and for less eye irritation. We do not have a salt water chlorine generator.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 12:28PM
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