Saltwater chlorine generators for commercial pools

I work for a swimming pool management company and we currently chlorinate our pools with vantage tablets and stick chlorine. We are looking into switching to saltwater chlorinators, but don't know much about them when being used on large public pools (most around 100,000 gallons of water). Can somebody help me with getting a better understanding of the pro's and con's of using salt. Also, I'm looking to find out the cost to purchase and install and average monthly chemical usage. Any help would be greatly appreciated.Thanks,
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  • stick with liquid chlorine, it works. salt systems destroy everything over time.
  • Having worked in Orlando Florida for a commercial company that had 1200 commercial accounts, ive had the opportunity to see salt generators is use on pools from 75,000 gallons up to 1.5 million gallons. I would have to not reccomed them on commercial pools.

    They just dont do the job for large pools, ive been to countless emergencys where the health department has shut down resorts because of low santizer levels, due to salt machines not keeping up with demand.

    I would reccomend a CAT with stenners using liquid chlorine and muriac acid.

    Last word is you do get a salt machine be carefull if you lease it, you might have to pay for numerous service calls to clean the cell and so forth.

    best of luck
  • I guess I would have to disagree with Rick! Salt content in pools is around 3,000 ppm, and you need to be at 7,000 ppm before it becomes corrosive. While I will agree that it is damaging to coping (especially softer material like flagstone), I would not be concerned with it affecting steel and gunite, or probably even plaster for that matter.

    For the record, I have had three SWCG in my pool in the past (not at the same time of course!) and I currently have none, so I am not a big fan! I use bleach (or chlorine, as the pool guys like to call it and charge more!) in liquid form, and have an erosion feeder for chlorine pellets also. I would rather add liquid and maintain my pool that way than deal with the cell cleaning due to the hard water conditions, and lack of chlorine production when the cell calcifies.
  • Rick has a point about the salt systems being maintenance intensive. Stick chlorine is hard to beat, if you run the numbers. Cell replacements, cleaning the cells, additional salt and stabilizer are costs not seen with straight chlorine erosion feeders. In selling in the residential market, I explain the pros and cons of salt chlorination systems. The biggest con is at the 5 year mark
    . The cell needs to be replaced (500.00) add that to the original cost of the unit (1800.00). You can buy alot of chlorine sticks for 2300.00. BUT..Most people opt for the convenience of the salt chlorine generators!
  • As for controllers I would recommend BecSys.
  • Thank you for your responses below. I have found both to be extremely helpfull.
  • I will give you just the opposite recommendation. I love the benefits of salt, but the disadvantages seem to out way them. Of great concern is the fact that with the hard water conditions in many areas the cells do not last past 2-4 years (expensive even if spread over multiple years), and are extremely expensive to replace. There is a decent amount of maintenance needed in order to keep the cells clean, which does not always get done, you will still need to add stabilizer to the water. And the worst downfall we have found with salt is the destruction and damage caused to natural surfaces, concrete surfaces and outdoor fences, furniture etc. We are currently remodeling a pool for a resort that will only operate their pools on salt. They just finished replacing their 4 salt generators ($30K), And we are replacing 100 % of the natural stone coping and concrete decks bacause of the damage salt water has caused to the surfaces. (the coping and deck on this pool are 7 years old) . Salt water is much more aggressive than chlorinated water alone. I would have to recommend you install a very good Chemical control system that will balance chlorine and ph for you, and will cost quite a bit less. The scariest question I have is that since most of us are of the opinion that most pools leak at least to some extent, what is happening to entire pool structure (concrete and steel) that is now under salt water. Salt water and rebar are not a good mix. I am not sure it is worth that risk.
  • Rich,

    We have been installing salt systems on commercial pools in Atlanta for the past 5 years and could not speak more highly about it. We have reseached many of the saline systems and I can tell you that they are no all considered equal. We have found the best results using Auto Pilot. You can check their website out at Please feel free to contact me to discuss more about them and to talk about salt systems in general. Being in North Carolina there are a couple of things you need to be aware of with your competition right now. You can reach me at 770-939-5757 x101.
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