Salt Chlorine Generator or Mineral System?
Any good pool owner knows that the key to a happy pool is keeping it properly sanitized. Of course, for years, the dominant method for accomplishing this task has been the use of chemical chlorine, typically in the form of tablets and powders. However, as time has gone on and technology has improved, other options for sanitizing pools have cropped up. And while they still use some chlorine, they do so in different forms and amounts. Today, we're going to be comparing salt chlorine generators and mineral systems, two extremely popular ways of creating a safer, less irritating pool environment. Ultimately, the goal is not to identify which is best but to help you identify which is best for your needs.
A Basic Understanding Of Both Systems
Salt chlorine generators are the driving force behind the recent salt-water pool movement. These unique devices use salt that you deposit into your pool to power the sanitation system. This occurs via a process known as electrolysis, in which the salt generator electrically charges naCl (sodium chloride) to create a more natural, less irritating form of chlorine. Mineral Systems use elements like silver, copper, salt, and zinc to sanitize the water. To use such a system, you would simply install the mineral basket overtop your skimmer, and the minerals will automatically be released into the water as your pool cycles. Though the resulting mineral solution is far less harsh on the skin, eyes, and clothes of bathers, it doesn’t completely eliminate the need for chlorine.
Both Mineral Systems and Salt Chlorine Generators still require help from chlorine. However, while mineral systems allow pool owners to use less chlorine during the process, the salt generators produce a purer form of natural chlorine.
Mineral systems still need some chemicals to support sanitation, but they generally result in a much clearer, cleaner, and healthier pool if you can pull it off. That said, most pool owners love the slightly-salty, all-natural water they get from a salt generator, which is also much healthier than traditional chlorine.
To install your mineral system, you need only place the mineral filter over your skimmer or purchase an inline system. Depending on the model you choose, it can last between several weeks to several months before it needs to be replaced. On the other hand, Salt chlorine generators will only need to be topped up when it rains or if the salt is diluted in any way. Some pool owners go a whole summer on one helping of salt!
A mineral system can help keep a pool healthy with a chlorine content of only 0.5 ppm (parts per million). This allows for minimal irritation and discomfort, which even sensitive swimmers won’t notice. With salt chlorine generators, the chlorine levels will remain at around 50 ppm, which can still be slightly irritating to some.
There's no "right" or "wrong" answer to whether a mineral system is better than a salt-chlorine generator. It merely depends on what sort of pool environment you want to have and just how concerned you are about chlorine content. Ultimately it's about safe clean clear pool water. If you want to give a mineral system a try, you need to purchase a system and install it on your current pool. But my experience in Florida has been that a mineral system just isn't going to be worth it. High water temperatures and long swim seasons will push the envelope of what a mineral system can do. You'll likely spend more money on chemicals then just using traditional water sanitizing methods of chlorine or even a quality saltwater system.