If you own a salt chlorinator and deal with high calcium hardness trust us when we say, you’re going to have major problems. The benefits of salt chlorinators in your swimming pool is that the pool owners do not have to handle the chlorine in its liquid, powder or tablet form. There is no storage of chlorine on your residence and no buying chlorine tablets or shock on an ongoing basis. In fact once the salt system is up and running and reaches normal balance levels within the water, there is generally less interaction with the chlorine. Even though this is still a chlorine pool, the water will feel much softer than pools with a traditional chlorine system. Another benefit is that when the salt is added to the water and salinity is at the optimal level it will save you money by not having as many trips to the pool store to get chlorine or shock to keep chlorine at optimal levels. Please note, that even though chlorine might not be necessary you will need to monitor your pH more frequently because salt pools will cause the pH to rise.
But, one way you will end up in the pool store buying shock and tablets is if you don’t keep your Calcium Hardness (CH) levels down. Higher levels of CH (above 600 parts per million) will cause scaling on the electrode plates and prevent it from functioning properly. One other thing to keep in mind if you are in the market to purchase one is anytime splashing occurs or when people are walking around the pool with dripping water from their bathing suits onto the deck, it may cause some issues especially if the decking is non-salt friendly such as travertine or flagstone. As the water evaporates it can leave a million parts per million (ppm) of salt residing on the deck. Trust us when we say this isn’t a site you will want to see!
As for handling the CH, most salt chlorinators want you to maintain a calcium level between 200-400ppm. This can be challenging to do in our area that is why we recommend Reverse Osmosis (RO) filtration every 1-2 years. This will lower your CH to approximately 150ppm in your swimming pool which is much lower than tap and keep your salt chlorinator working great. Please keep in mind you will need to keep adequate salt, Cyanuric Acid (CYA), and your pH within normal ranges to keep it functioning but without a doubt one of the main reasons why salt chlorinators won’t function is because of high calcium hardness levels.