Originally Posted by MI-Roger
What is the cost of a new cell? Isn't it $400 to $500, or more?
How much salt is required? Isn't it 3 or 4 bags of water softener salt each season? How much time is required for the salt nodules to dissolve before you can start the ionization process?
I know the advantages of the new breed of salt water pools (the old style were only found on ocean front property and cycled sea water through the pool) but the convenience seems to have a very steep price. These pools still use chlorine as the sanitizer. The difference is the chlorine is generated in situ by ionizing the weak salt solution of the pool water to free the chlorine ions, rather than by quickly adding a small amount of a chemical compound containing chlorine ions.
Do you still need to shock the pool ocassionally? How is this accomplished?
$350 (online, $800 in a pool store) - our first cell lasted 5.5 years. We spent more than that on chlorine/chemicals in one season before we got around to replacing it.
The amount of salt needed depends on many things. The size of the pool is most critical. How often the pool is covered also makes a difference. Sunlight breaks down chlorine into salt. The cell turns it back into chlorine. Supposedly, having a lot of people in the pool can increase salt content. One year we kept adding more and more salt and the levels did nto go up and then suddenly jumped way up. If I remember correctly you want between 2800 and 3200 PPM. The machine tells you the salt level and when it is high enough. Once you get that level, it pretty much stays there.
Generally we put in 4-5 bags of salt at the beginning of the season and then maybe 2-3 more during the year. Our pool is about 22,000 gallons. The salt costs very little. Pool store salt is expensive, but you can get softener salt that is 99.5% pure (pool store salt is 99.8% pure). The salt begins dissolving right away. I never really pay much attention to how long it takes, a couple of hours I think. Sometimes we put some salt into the filter skimmer basket. There is always some salt in the pool water to begin with. I have never seen it read lower than 1800 PPM.
To shock the pool you set the generator to "superchlorinate" or you can just buy shock. Chemical shock will help get the salt level up (it breaks down to salt) and will shock much more quickly, but it costs a lot.
In addition to no cost for chlorine there are a lot of advantages:
1. You do not get the build up of whatever it is from chlorine tablets that eventually makes the chlorine ineffective.
2. No work, it just does it for you.
3. No trips to the store, no running out of chlorine and having your pool turn green.
4. The mild salt levels and the lower levels of chlorine are easier on your eyes.
5. Once you get the chloinator set to the level you need, you do nto have a cycle of chlorine spikes and dips. It remains steady.
6. If you buy too much salt, you can use it in the winter to melt ice or snow.
7. You cannot cause an explosion by mixing incompatible types of salt.
We really love the system. I do not know what it cost to buy it. We bought everything as a package and I never paid much attention to the breakdown. I did compare the prices they gave us to internet prices, but I do not remember what any specific item cost (except that robot pool cleaner - that was $800 - supposedly on sale).
I was surprised to discover the salt levels are not high enough to kill plants. The area where the backwash from the filter discharges grows very well.