Demystifying Swimming Pool Chlorine Generators: How They Work and Why You Need One

Mark Larm Aug 19, 2023
2 People Read
Swimming in a clean pool

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. This site is not intended to provide financial advice and is for entertainment only. 

Demystifying Swimming Pool Chlorine Generators: How They Work and Why You Need One

Summertime and swimming pools go together like peanut butter and jelly.  But maintaining that crystal-clear water can be a bit of a puzzle.  Enter swimming pool chlorine generators - your pool’s not-so-secret weapon for hassle-free maintenance.  In this blog, we’re breaking down the science behind these ingenious devices and explaining why they’re a game-changer for pool owners like you.

  1. The Science of Chlorine Generation:

Let’s start with the basics.  Chlorine generators take the ordinary salt in your pool and transform it into chlorine using a process called electrolysis.  It’s like turning a superhero’s alter ego into their crime-fighting persona - but without the capes.  The key players?  A salt cell, an electrolytic cell, and a bit of clever chemistry.  

Imagine your pool as a mini-ecosystem, complete with its own chemistry.  One of the key components of this chemistry is chlorine, a powerful disinfectant that keeps the water free from harmful microorganisms.  Traditionally, pool owners have used chlorine chemicals to achieve this cleanliness, but chlorine generators have introduced a whole new level of convenience and efficiency.  

Here’s how it works:

  1. The Salt Cell:

This unassuming component plays a pivotal role in the process.  It’s essentially a chamber that houses metal plates and a steady flow of saltwater from your pool.  Yes, it’s the same salt you might sprinkle on your food - the very same salt that’s about to become a sanitizing superhero.  

  1. Electrolysis: The Chemical Transformation:

Imagine the salt as your pool’s very own science lab.  As saltwater flows through the electrolytic cell, a low-voltage electrical current is applied to the metal plates within the cell.  This electrical current causes a fascinating chemical reaction.  Salt molecules (sodium chloride) in the water are transformed into their individual components: chlorine gas and sodium hydroxide.  The chlorine gas is what you’re after - a powerful disinfectant that will ensure your pool water remains free from unwanted organisms.  

  • The Birth of Chlorine:  The chlorine gas produced in the electrolytic cell doesn’t remain in its gaseous form for long.  Instead, it rapidly combines with water to form hypochlorous acid, a powerful and effective sanitizing agent.  This acid is what does the heavy lifting in keeping your pool water clean and safe for swimming.

This entire process happens within the confines of the chlorine generator, transforming ordinary saltwater into a powerful disinfectant right before your eyes.  It’s a bit like having a miniature chemical factory within your pool system - a factory that works silently and efficiently to maintain the optimal chlorine levels without the need for you to manually add chlorine chemicals.

  1. Efficient Dosage Control:

Now that you have your freshly brewed chlorine, it’s time to manage its dosage.  Modern chlorine generators are smarter than ever, equipped with sensors and controls to maintain consistent chlorine levels.  This means no more guesswork or chemical calculations - just crystal-clear water ready for a splash.

  1. Integration with Pool Circulation:

Chlorine’s generated and it’s dosed - but how does it get evenly distributed throughout the pool?  This is where your pool’s circulation system comes into play.  Picture it as a gentle current guiding the chlorine to every nook and cranny, ensuring a thorough clean without any extra effort on your part.  On that note let’s talk about dead spots.  Dead spots are where the water is not circulating and the chlorine can dissipate leaving an ideal formula for algae to thrive.  If you have adjustable return valves make sure they are not aimed too high that they just hit the top of the water causing the top of the water to spin without circulating the bottom of the pool causing dead spots.  Aimed to high causing bubbling causing aeration creates a higher PH level which creates a higher acid demand.  Also, for those of you with an elevated spa and love the sound of the waterfall, turn it down.  If you leave your return set to the spa then you are causing multiple problems, first of all dead spots, second excess evaporation, and third aeration. 

  1. Why You Need a Chlorine Generator:  

Alright, let’s talk perks.  First up, say goodbye to storing and handling bulky chlorine chemicals that pets and kids can get into.  Most importantly, say goodbye to most of your green pool problems.  Let’s face it, what I hear most from people with green pools is that they knew they were out of chlorine and needed to pick some up, and about three weeks later when they wanted to go out and swim and noticed the green pool that they remembered, oh ya, I need to get some chlorine.  Lots of chlorine.  With a chlorine generator, you’re producing chlorine on demand, reducing storage needs and risks associated with chemical handling.  Plus, your skin and eyes will thank you for the gentler water quality - no more post-swim irritations.  

  1. Easy Maintenance and Care:

Chlorine generators are low-maintenance, but a little TLC never hurts.  Regular cleaning of the salt cell and monitoring salt levels are all it takes to keep your generator humming happily.  It’s like having a low-maintenance pet that rewards you with a consistently inviting pool.  

  1. Addressing Challenges: 

Even the best inventions have their hiccups.  Scaling and mineral buildup might occur in the salt cell, but a periodic cleaning routine can keep those issues at bay.  And if your chlorine levels seem off, a quick adjustment can usually set things right.   If you run into a problem with heavy calcium buildup or white flakes in the bottom of your pool or spa you can pick up some  Orenda CS-1000 to help eliminate scaling.  


And there you have it - the mystery of swimming pool chlorine generators revealed.  No magic wands, just smart science and efficient technology at work.  With their ability to transform salt into sanitizer and their user-friendly benefits, these devices are a true ally for pool owners seeking an easier, more enjoyable pool maintenance experience.  So as you dive into the refreshing waters of summer, remember that your trusty chlorine generator is right there with you, silently ensuring your pool stays in tip-top shape.  If your a DIY type of person and are considering installing your own Chlorine Generator might I recommend the CircuPool Core, it's warrantee includes home owner installs.

Feel free to read more on Chlorine Generators in my blog “7 Benefits of Owning a SaltWater Pool.”  Also, check out my YouTube page @HappyPools where I show you how to install your very own Chlorine Generator.

Thanks for reading

Have a Blessed Day

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. This site is not intended to provide financial advice and is for entertainment only.