Knowing your swimming pool's Salinity Level often referred to as the pool's “Salt Level” is very important in insuring a Salt Water Pool is properly sanitized. If the salt level is too low the salt cell will not produce chlorine or will produce it at a much lower level. So proper testing at the beginning of the pool season and during the season is critical.
If you have a salt system that displays the salinity level of the water, generally that reading is accurate. But there are a few things that could give the system a false salt level reading. If the salt cell has a lot of calcium build up on the plates inside of it, a false salinity level is often displayed. I suggest inspecting the salt cell monthly and cleaning it when needed. Some systems will indicate when the cell is dirty and needs cleaning. So a salt cell with a lot of build up can give the system a false salinity level.
If the salt cell is old and near the end of it's useful service lifespan, a false salinity reading can also be displayed. The salt cell just is not working correctly anymore, which also effects the salinity displayed on the control panel. Likewise, if the control center or power unit also has a problem, it can display a false salinity level. Very cold water can also throw off the salinity reading giving you a false low salt level reading.
So just relying on the salt system to display the salinity level for you can be problematic in the above listed situations. That is why I suggest using an alternate method of checking the pools salinity level. You can do this with a digital salinity tester, sodium chloride test strips or taking a sample into your local pool store for testing.
My preferred method of checking the Salinity Level is with a digital salinity tester. This is the most accurate and reliable method, as well as the easiest. There are many testers available online, some as inexpensive as $25.00. I prefer using the HACH or LaMotte brands, but of course the price is higher but the reliability and workmanship are factored into the higher price.
Here are the two I use on my pool route which are priced around the $90 range:
Salinity Tester (Salt level) #9531600 by Hach®:
TRACER PockeTester with Carrying Case by LaMotte – Salt/TDS/Temp:
Simply dip the tester in the water sample and the pools salinity level is displayed on the screen. The results are accurate to +/- 1%. So the results of the test are quick and reliable every time.
The next method is with test strips, like the AquaChek 561140A Salt Water Swimming Pool Test Strips.
This method is fairly easy but you only get a ballpark reading and there is also user error since you have to watch for a color change in the strip. The test takes about 3-4 minutes and the results are accurate to a point. You will at least know within a margin of error the salinity level in the water. The strips are very inexpensive, around $10.00:
The last method is to take a water sample in to your local pool store and they will test the salt level for you. There is nothing wrong with this at all, except that you are going into a pool store and will likely walk out with products. But your local pool store would be happy to check your salt level for you. This method is usually free so utilize your local retail store and support small business in your area.
So these are the methods you can use to check your pools salt level. Check it often to make sure your salt system is working correctly and that chlorine is being produced to sanitize your pool.
Visit my Website: http://www.swimmingpoollearning.com/