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How does a salt system work?

Saltwater pools are becoming increasingly popular. The best part is that a salt system can be installed into any type of pool. It can be beneficial to learn how a saltwater pool works before having a system installed in your pool.

Two pieces of equipment are installed in your pool first: a saltwater generator, also known as a salt system or salt cell, and a control unit.

The saltwater generator turns salt into chlorine through a process called electrolysis. Electrolysis is the process of breaking down an electrolyte into the individual parts that make it up by way of a direct electric current.

In the case of a swimming pool, you have salt, which is a compound of sodium and chlorine, and water, a compound of hydrogen and oxygen. states that the salt concentration of a pool must be at 3000 parts per million for electrolysis to begin.

When the electric current is applied, chlorine separates from the sodium and hydrogen separates from the oxygen. The elements then come together to form hypochlorous acid (HCIO) and sodium hypochlorite (NaClO). Both of these chemicals are present in all types of pools. The difference is that without a salt system, the pool owner adds chlorine and other chemicals to form HClO and NaClO.

The sodium hypochlorite immediately starts dissolving in water, which becomes a gas, forming bubbles that carry the chemical out of the pool.

According to, hypochlorous acid interacts with the cells of bacteria, destroys proteins of the cells and kills the bacteria. The hypochlorous acid then converts back into sodium chloride and the process of electrolysis begins again.

The pool doesn’t need salt to be added regularly, but salinity levels can vary at any given time due to the continuing process.