A recent advertisement on local radio stations about salt system (chlorine generators) is very misleading to the consumer.
The ad claims “install it, set it, and forget it.” http://www.recwarehouse.com/
We have written about this before, on this site, and previously explained why it is not necessarily true. ReadHere .
With a salt system, you may not have to lug 2.5 gallon jugs of chlorine/bleach back to your pool. Now you will just have lug 40lb. bags of salt back and forth!!!! Maybe not as often, but keep that account open at the pool supply store! It will also be important to keep a close eye on PH and Alkalinity, since the chlorination process via the cell makes that part of your water chemistry even harder to manage than if you were using traditional chemicals. This, along with stabilizer to lock the chlorine in, will have to be tested for and adjusted using the same store-bought chemicals that you were probably using before.
More importantly, the rate of output on the chlorine generator will always have to be adjusted up and down, as the weather conditions and bather load change. “set it and forget it” will almost certainly lead the cell being run too much or not enough. So, periodically you will still need to test the chlorine level in the water to decide if you need to increase or lower output.
Also, the cell needs to be removed and cleaned after a certain amount of run time. Make sure that is a responsibility that you can handle!!
Finally, you need to watch your salt level. Too low will make the cell shut down and not produce. Too much will again shut down the cell to keep it from being damaged by the high salt content. It takes some diciplined monitoring to stay within this range. I’ve gone out to salt pools before that were green. There was no chlorine. I told the homeowner that the salt level was too low. Their answer was “I have to add salt?”
Now that salt pools are more common, many side effects have come to the forefront, mostly related to staining. There are things that you can install with the salt system to prevent certain types of staining, but most of the staining happens when people don’t understand what they are dealing with.