To Salt Or Not To Salt

Even though the salt levels are relatively low, there is a noticeable increase in corrosion of some pool equipment. Chlorine by itself can be corrosive to some metal items in an aquatic setting; add salt and there is a slight escalation of the problem. But it is manageable, requiring that you pay closer attention to the chemistry. Our biggest issue was with heater vessels. In recent years, the manufacturer had included a thinner wall on the vessel, and this was highly susceptible to corrosion with the addition of salt. We solved this issue by having a private machine shop build a thicker-walled vessel, a relatively cheap fix.

The other issue a pool operator must face when straying away from simple chlorine sanitizing is relying on the original source of purchase for any system needs, which means he or she is at the pricing mercy for the lifetime of the product. You can’t go to the local pool-supply store and buy salt cells or other replacement parts for the system. If you use chlorine tablets, you can go anywhere, including a local warehouse store to make a purchase.

If you are trying to get away from chlorine storage and find a cleaner way to sanitize a pool and still use chlorine, saltwater chlorine generation is very effective, as the cons are very workable. To salt or not to salt? It does work, but know what you are getting into.

David Cantlin is the Facility and Operations Manager for the city of Fife Parks Department in Washington. He has been involved in the aquatic industry since 1988. He can be reached via e-mail at

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