In my continuing travels to dealers, shows and meetings I am frequently asked, “Does the moss work in a salt water pool? “ Or “why do I need moss since my pool doesn’t need chlorine since it is a salt pool?” So this blog is about the science and chemistry of salt-water pools.
First, definitions: I’m going to talk about pools where the sanitizer is made from salt by a generator – not about the very few pools that actually have salt water similar to that in the ocean. Second, when I talk about green pool products I’m using the word to describe a product that is sustainable, with no artificially made chemicals, that doesn’t introduce toxic chemicals to the air, water or ground.
How does a salt water pool work?
Salt is usually sodium chloride or potassium chloride. When these chemicals are in water they become positively charged sodium or potassium and negatively charged chloride ions. In a salt pool, solid or crystalline salt (like table salt) is passed through a generator that produces hypochlorous acid and delivers it to your pool.
This is the exact same chemical that results when you place chlorine in your pool. Salt generated chlorine doesn’t add cyanuric acid in addition to the chlorine, which is added when “stabilized chlorine” such as dichlor or trichlor are used.
So a salt pool is simply a different way of delivering chlorine to your pool to make hypochlorous acid. It is no greener or different than using liquid or solid chlorine. Again, the end product that works to kill bacteria in water is hypochlorous acid and whether you produce this from salt, or deliver it to the water as chlorine, it is all the same thing.
Is a salt pool greener?
The short answer is no. People who sell salt generators want customers to think it is green since it uses salt that doesn’t have a bad name vs. chlorine that had a bad reputation. The end result of each method is the same production of hypochlorous acid that causes the exact same problems with pool water regardless of how the chlorine is delivered to the water. Salt-water generation of chlorine is no greener than adding bleach or granular chlorine to the water.
Does moss work in a salt-water pool?
The short answer is yes. It works the same way whether the sanitizer is added chlorine, bromine, cooper or silver salts, or ozone. It has the same positive effects with all types of sanitizers (except biguanides).
In our customer’s experience using moss with a salt generator, the amount of salt consumed by the generator decreases by 80-90% to keep the free chlorine in the pool between 1-2 ppm. This puts much less strain on the salt generator and results in less chlorine being added to the environment. The other effects of moss, such as pH stabilization and organic contamination effects are the same.