Salt Systems - Review / Should I Get A Salt System For My Pool? / Can I Save Money By Getting A Salt System For My Pool?

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 Salt Cells / Systems


 COST: Salt systems come in 3 basic types, cheap, cheaper, and expensive. The "Cheap" and "Cheaper" Systems still cost close to $800 - $1000 or so with installation. (Not so cheap, right.)

Ratings: All Salt Systems are all rated by the number of gallons they treat.

Self-Cleaning ... or Not: Note: While all of these systems will require some cleaning with strong corrosives(Acids), the self-cleaning models can be cleaned as little as every 2-3 months in the summer while a non-self cleaning might require 15-20 minutes EVERY WEEK in the summer months.

The "Self-Cleaning", high quality, longer warrantee ... systems usually cost double the price of the cheaper systems.

Here's the operational difference. The cheap Salt Systems usually require the home owner to shut off his equipment, remove the wiring to the cell, disconnect the cell from the plumbing and then soak the salt cell in a corrosive acid solution for about 15-20 minutes, then reverse the entire process and reassemble the cell, plumbing ... and it will require this EVERY WEEK in the summer months. Yes, these include ALL of your cheapest systems. (The cheaper you get, the more often it will probably be REQUIRED to keep the salt system functional.)

NOTE: if the hardness levels are high and the pool wasn't drained the previous year, ... labor, costs, number of times the cleaning process is required ... can all increase substantially.)


        TIME, EFFORT WORKING WITH CORROSIVES: My question is this, if you, the client, don't want to spend 5 minutes testing and adding chlorine tabs to the chlorinator once a week, what makes anyone of you think that you are going to want to spend 15 minutes doing all of the disassembly, working with acids, and then reassembling the salt cell?

        I'll Get my Pool Man to do it: I know I don't "want" to do salt cell cleaning. It's a pain. It takes far more time (Usually about 15 minutes) than tossing in 3-4 tabs in a chlorinator, not to mention the mess, chemical burns, risk of spillage ... This is why, if you have one of these "cheap(er)" salt systems, I charge MORE for using your salt system, than I do if I shut it off, and add my own tabs. About 15-20% MORE. If you will let me shut off the salt system and use a good floating chlorinator in your pool & spa, it immediately saves you 15-20% off your pool bill, AND I AM SUPPLYING THE CHLORINE. Time and hassle is money. Get a really good system that I only have to clean every 2 months and there is no "extra" charge, and I will clean your salt cell that often for free. (No, you still don't get a discount.)


        In most cases, shutting off the salt system, putting in a floating chlorinator, and maintaining the chlorine reading with the floater is the cheapest, most cost and time effective way to go for everyone.  And in case you are wondering, I do have a high quality, "EXPENSIVE" salt system in my pool. It cost me $1200.00 wholesale in 2006. I have to clean the salt cell every other month, and other than that, my water chemistry stays perfect. No, in spite of this article, I am not "against" salt systems. I just want you to understand what you are getting, or not getting, the costs associated with your choices, and "why" you might want to, or might not want to, get it.

        I got mine because I never want to worry about my own pool, and don't like ot mess with it after working on other people's pools all day. Plus I never want someone looking over my fence or stopping by and seeing that my pool doesn't look great. AND I AM WILLING TO PAY 5 TIMES WHAT I WOULD FOR CHLORINATION THAN I WOULD WTH A FLOATING CHLORINATOR TO GET THESE THINGS. If you are taking care of your own pool, and want the same thing, for the same reasons, and understand what you are going to pay for a decent salt system, upkeep, electricity ... at least read all of this and make an informed decision. And yes, I will install one if you like. (Phoenix area only)


SALT CHLORINE GENERATION IS DIFFERENT THAN TAB CHLORINATION: THIS IS FALSE! Regardless of the "Salt System" you use,  SALT SYSTEMS GENERATE THE EXACT SAME CHEMICAL AS IS USED IN CHLORINE TABS. There is NO difference at all. None. Absolutely No Difference at all. Tabs and salt systems generate the EXACT SAME ACTIVE INGREDIENT: Chlorine.

            If you bring in a chemist to test the water, and the salt cell has been off for a year, and you have only been using tabs, the chemist won't be able to tell the difference between salt cell "Generated" Chlorine, and the Chlorine from Chlorine Tabs. The water with salt and chlorine tabs is exactly the same as the water with salt and the Chlorine Generator running. There is no difference in the water at all. That's right. None. The water is "Exactly" the same.

        Want the comfort and feel of a salt system pool for 50% less total costs? Add the same amount of salt used in the same sized salt water pool, and use the floating chlorinator I reccomend at the top of tis page. Yes, the salt acts as a buffer and makes the water more comfortable on eyes and skin at any given pH or chloromine level (See eye, skin, nose irritation under pool problems.). It's the salt that makes the difference in the feel of the water. It has nothing at all to do with having a salt Chlorine generating system hooked up and running.



        THE COST OF SALT:  If you use a salt generating system, ANY salt generating system, you will add, in cost, the same amount of salt to your pool after draining your pool and restabilizing it, as you would your TOTAL COST useing Chlorine tabs FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR. Possibly for 2 years. (If you pay someone else to add it, it will cost you more for the salt than for the chlorine tabs.) In other words, without the cost of the salt chlorinator, without the replacement / upkeep costs, without the cost of electricity to break down salt into sodium and chlorine, you are AT LEAST paying what you would have paid for a years worth of chlorine tabs or your pool. Possibly DOUBLE what you would have paid for the tabs. (Cost ratio 1-2 50 lb. buckets of tabs, at $100 a bucket, $100-$200) (Tabs Total: $100/yr., Salt System Total: $100-$200/yr.)

        ELECTRICITY: If you add to this cost, the fact that you must now use electricity to break down salt into sodium and chlorine PLUS you add to that the costs of usually needing to run your equipment (Usually 20-30% longer to generate and disperse that chlorine.), and your costs are significantly higher. (Cost ratio additional 1-2 50 lb. buckets of tabs, at $100 a bucket, $100-$200) (Tabs Total: $100/yr., Salt System Total: $200-$400/yr.)

        COST OF SYSTEM: The cheapest salt systems installed are probably about $750.00 (For a good one, usually in excess of a thousand dollars.) And add to this the costs of a replacement salt cell about every 5 years (In excess of $500.00 ... and the cost of replacing it all ever 10 years ...) Ok, a floating chlorinator usually lasts 3 years and costs about $21 for the large capacity ones. (Cost ratio another additional 1-2 50 lb. buckets of tabs, at $100 a bucket, another $100-$200) (Tabs Total: $107/yr., Salt System Total: $300-$600/yr.)

        COST TO CLEAN: I charge an additional $15-20 a month for non-self cleaning salt cell systems. So 12 months = $180 - $240 a year.
(Tabs Total: $107/year, Salt Cell Total: $480-$840/year.)

So pick one. No chlorinator in the pool and about 4-8 times the cost, or a floating chlorinator and a $107 a year. Oh, if you just want the comfort of a salt water pool, add it and keep the floating chlorinator and still save $200 - $600 a year.


        I OWN A SALT SYSTEM POOL, AND YES, I BOUGHT IT AND INSTALLED IT: Yes, I own a salt system, and I will probably put one in the next pool I own as well. Why? Why?

1.) Because I service my own pool.

            A.) Because, since I service my own pool, and I do not want to have to worry about my pool, and I want the water chemistry to be good for a couple of months straight with almost no effort. 

            B.) SO ... I spent the money on the expensive salt system. And ...

            C.) I spend the money on salt. And ...

            D.) I spend the money on electricity. And ...

            E.) I spend money on longer equipment operations schedules. And ...

            F.) I spend those 15-20 minutes every other month or so, in the summer, and once during the winter, to keep my salt cell cleaned.

Bottom Line: I own a good quality salt system. Why? :

        1.) For my reputation, (My pool always looks good chemically. Same reason I have a Polaris 180

Cleaning System, a D.E. Filter ...)

        2.) To never have to worry about Chlorine Levels

        3.) To never have to worry about a green pool (Because I maintain everything else as well.) 

        4.) To only need to test my chemicals every couple of months and my salt levels twice a year.

        5.) To always know my pool is swimmable / safe. (Again because everything else is maintained and top

quality as well.) 


        FACT: If you have a pool man, and those things above aren't worth spending 6 times the price to have, you don't want, or need, a salt system.

        FACT: If you want the feel, add the salt, but don't get the salt system. No one will be able to tell the difference if you pull the chlorinator out of the pool before they go swimming, even a chemist can't tell. 

        FACT: If you have a salt system already, and it is basically self cleaning, you may want to keep it running. If you aren't sure it runs, it doesn't hurt to add the salt, clean the cell, and see if it works, but I wouldn't spend my money on a replacement cell. If it isn't a self cleaning model, you couldn't get me to hook it up on my pool. Far too much work and expense for no return whatsoever. )

        FACT: If you are a pool man, you own a pool, and you never want to mess with water chemistry, and want to have the best looking pool with the least amount of effort, put in a high quality salt system and pay the costs to have a very low maintenance chemical system. If you are going to service your own pool, and maintain your own pool, and can't check it every single week, yes, for the same reasons, pay the price and get the best quality salt system installed.

        FACT: Yes, I sell, and install, and service, salt systems. I am also an honest person. If you have a cartridge filter system, replace that with another type of filter system "FIRST", "BEFORE" ever considering a salt system. Otherwise you will be doubly unhappy with your results. (See filter systems / cartridge systems.)


        FACT: Yes, IF you get or have a salt system, follow your drain and refill recommendations religiously. Yes, for those in the Valley of the Sun, that's every single year. Every other year at the most, but you will pay for the extra year in higher costs, more maintenance and a 25% or more reduction in quality of results from your salt system. You'll pay for it either way. But the hassles you'll deal with will be higher.


         Lastly, when I buy salt systems for "my" pools I am servicing, I not only buy the BEST quality, I try to always get the size above my needs for my pools. I can always run the cells at a lower production level. but, if I am close to the cells maximum salt production, the only option I have is to run ALL of the equipment longer and longer, increasing all of my costs and wear and tear on equipment and cleaning systems. If you don't want to do that, I'll put in a cheaper one and raise your service rates as well.


       My last salt system on my pool set me back $1200 my cost(2004 price), for a play pool. (About $1600 if you want me to do all the plumbing and wiring, and you want the same system from me.)


       Finally: Will I sell you a salt system? Yes. But I want you to make an informed decision.

        Do you want the "Best", Cheapest, Most Outstanding Chlorination and Sanitation System designed by men? If so, Click HERE!