Salt water chlorination is a treatment method in which chlorine is obtained directly from the water to be treated thanks to an electrolytic process. This technique avoids the use of added chemical products and is especially adapted to the treatment of swimming pool water, providing numerous advantages over conventional chlorination. In particular, the water treated with salt chlorination is of superior quality and has a characteristic transparency. The system works automatically and avoids the purchase and handling of chlorine products.
How does it work?
The system generates chemically pure chlorine, Cl2, from the chlorides present in the water through an electrolysis process. This transformation takes place in an electrolytic cell that is installed directly in the pool's circulation system. The chlorine in the cell is present at very high concentrations, immediately triggering a highly efficient disinfection process. Once this disinfection process is complete, the chlorine changes back into salt in the pool, completing a renewable chemical cycle. While fresh water always contains a certain amount of naturally occurring chlorides, to make the electrolytic process more efficient, the chloride content is increased by adding common salt to the pool. The salt concentration required is very low, it is not consumed in the process and provides one of the most widely appreciated advantages of salt electrochlorination: the water remains in osmotic balance with the skin and the eyes. This balance stops your skin feel dry after swimming and avoids the discomfort caused when opening your eyes under water. The slight saline character of the water also gives it an antiseptic effect. Unlike the chlorine supplied in different formulations, the chlorine produced by a salt water chlorinator is pure and, therefore, much more powerful. It does not contain additives or preservatives, it does not generate harmful by-products in the container and it does not degrade when stored. All this results in an extremely effective treatment and especially crystalline water, free from accumulated chemicals. The system also avoids the handling, transport and storage of hypochlorite and the associated costs. Pure chlorine is generated in a renewable chemical process in which no product is consumed. The chlorides in the salt are converted to chlorine in the cell and, after the disinfection process, turn back into salt again in the pool. The only maintenance required is to replace the cell electrodes every few seasons due to wear.
What are the main advantages of salt chlorination?
Natural and healthy.
The system produces chemically pure chlorine, something quite different from the formulations that are commercially available. There is no accumulation of chemicals in the water since no external chemicals are added. After the disinfection and oxidation process finishes, the pure chlorine generated is transformed back into salt in the pool. The generation of harmful chlorine by-products, such as the chloroforms and trihalomethanes that appear during the storage of high-concentration packaged chlorine formulations, is minimised. Furthermore, the strong oxidation conditions in the cell are capable of destroying the chloramine compounds that are not easily eliminated with conventional chlorination. These compounds are responsible for skin and eye irritation and produce the characteristic chlorine smell in commercial chlorine-treated pools. The low salt concentration in the pool water acts as a natural antiseptic that hinders the formation of bacteria and algae and provides a gentle balance with the swimmer's skin and eyes.
The disinfecting power of the pure gaseous chlorine (Cl2) that the system generates is far superior to that of packaged hypochlorite formulations. This chlorine dissolves completely in water at a constant and precise rate and contains no derivatives or preservatives. The high chlorine concentration that is reached in the cell destroys the contaminants that cannot be eliminated by the addition of commercial hypochlorite such as chloramines and the organic residues from body lotions. A second disinfecting effect is provided by the strong electric field in the cell. The result is a double and highly powerful disinfection process. By operating continuously, the system provides exceptional water quality without the need to maintain the residual chlorine in the pool that conventional chlorination requires. This is evident in the special transparency of water treated with salt water chlorination.
Chlorine is generated and transformed following a renewable chemical cycle at the end of which it returns to its initial state in the form of salt. No other chemicals are added to the water to be treated, nor are preservatives or stabilisers used. As the chlorine is produced in a small cell this prevents CO2 emissions and avoids the energy consumption required to distribute it through the water.
The low salt concentration provides a special feeling of comfort when in contact with the pool water as it acts as an isotonic solution. Your skin does not swell or become dehydrated, your hair does not dry out and you can open your eyes under water without discomfort or irritation. There is no need to shower immediately after going for a swim and your skin does not smell of chlorine. The iodine content of the salt also helps tanning.
The chlorine is produced and dissolved in the water automatically. There is no need to handle or store dangerous chemicals, eliminating the associated risk. The corrosive atmosphere and bad odours in the treatment plant disappear, allowing safer access and improved equipment maintenance.
The system eliminates the expense of buying packaged chlorine and the costs derived from its storage and handling. Once the equipment has been paid for, the production cost is practically zero compared to that of a conventional chlorination system as it is limited to the minimal electrical consumption of the equipment. Installation is very simple, even in large swimming pools, and does not require civil works.
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