Swimming Pool Guides & Reviews by Certified Pool & Spa Operator®
The Best Type of Pool Salt for Your Pool
Did you know that millions of people are installing saltwater pools in their backyards? The salt of the water reduces the cost of chemicals and causes less irritation to your hair, skin, and eyes.
Before you upgrade or install your pool with salt, you must educate yourself about pool salt. Learn about what the salt does in the water and which type of salt is best to use in your particular pool.
Is pool salt the same as table salt?
Pool salt is technically the same as table salt because they both contain the same chemical compound. However, the difference with pool salt is that its ground to be coarser so that it can adapt better to the water. Also, you can purchase pool salt in bulk quantities to save time and money. Otherwise, you’d be pouring little bottles of table salt into the water all day long.
What does it do?
Okay, so what is the point of putting salt in the pool water? Does it turn the water into ocean water? Well, salt can help keep pool water sanitized and clean, but you must also use a salt water chlorinator too.
Sodium chloride is the main chemical compound of salt. Through an “electrolysis” process, the salt water chlorinator separates the sodium and chlorine so that the chlorine can clean the water.
Are these types of pools actually popular?
Salt water pools are not just a trend like waterbeds were 30 years ago. According to statistics from July 2018, about 10.4 million American homeowners have swimming pools on their property. Out of these homeowners, around 35% of them own saltwater pools. This percentage is increasing by the month.
Some people purchase new saltwater pools, while others upgrade their existing pool into a salt water pool. So, it is not an uncommon thing at all.
The Main Types of Salt Water Pools
There are several types of salts on the market, such as Epsom salt, Kosher salt, and Himalayan salt. Are they all the same? Is one better than the other?
Salt is salt. No matter what type of salt you buy, salt will always be salt. However, the difference between these types of salts has more to do with the way they’re obtained and produced. This determines their effectiveness as well as their cost to consumers.
Solar salt doesn’t mean it is salt that comes directly from the sun. Instead, solar salt is produced with the help of the sun. Producers will gather seawater and position it in an open area which has a lot of sun exposure. The water will start to evaporate, while the salt remains behind. This is probably the easiest and cheapest way to generate salt. No machines are needed. The sun does most of the work.
Unfortunately, you must worry about the bacteria that is in the seawater too. Plus, millions of very tiny brine shrimp are in the water too. Even when the water is evaporated, the salt has impurities in it from the shrimp. The more evaporation that takes place, the more impure the salt gets.
As the water leaves the salt through the evaporation process, the bacteria and brine shrimp begin to die off. They cannot survive in an environment with just salt and no water. This means you have lots of tiny carcasses of brine shrimp and other organic impurities left behind.
The only way to remove these impurities is to use a pool filter and sanitizer in your pool water. They will remove the carcasses and contaminants after you add the salt to the water. But the only problem here is it puts more pressure on your filter and chlorinator to remove all these contaminants.
Therefore, solar salt is not recommended as the number one choice.
Mechanically Evaporated Salt
Mechanically evaporated salt is produced by using heat that is artificially generated rather than solar generated. The benefit of artificially generated heat is that you can adjust the temperature to suit your needs. If you increase the temperature, the bacteria and brine shrimp are killed faster.
More organic impurities are eliminated too, but not all the impurities. Some are still left behind in the salt. These impurities are actually minerals like magnesium, copper, calcium, iron, nitrates, silicates, and phosphates. Calcium increases can increase your pool’s calcium hardness. Copper and iron tend to stain pools which are not compatible with these minerals.
The source of the pool water determines which minerals are left behind from the mechanical evaporation process. Even though the dead brine shrimp and bacteria will be gone, it may still be difficult to chemically balance the pool water at a consistent rate.
Be aware that calcium and certain other minerals can cause problems for your pool equipment, pool water, and chlorinator. Your filter can only block so many of these minerals before it gets to be too much for it.
Overall, mechanically evaporated salt is better than solar salt. If you don’t mind the extra work involved, then try out this salt.
Have you ever heard of mined salt? It is called mined salt because it is salt harvested from mines. This is the same place where diamonds and rock salt come from too. Most Americans put rock salt on just about everything, such as food, pool water, and icy roads. There is no salt purer than rock salt at the store. It contains between 95% and 99% of sodium chloride.
Mined salt is the best form of pool salt. Since it comes from the mines, it is extremely pure. Make sure that when you go shopping for pool salt, you look at the labels for the words “pool salt.” This indicates it is pure and sized properly for your pool’s chlorinator. This is the cheapest and easiest option too.