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July 27, 2007

Alpharetta, Ga., July 27, 2007 — Many pool owners have heard about using salt “instead of” chlorine to help keep their pools clean and safe. A word of caution: the salt is being used to generate chlorine — not to replace it.

This increasingly popular technology, known as electrolytic saline chlorine generation, uses salt and a device called a chlorine generator. The device, when working properly, produces chlorine right in the pool. The salt itself does not sanitize the water.

Chlorine formed when the salt is divided into its chemical components (salt/sodium and chlorine) is the sanitizer. And this chlorine is chemically identical to the chlorine traditionally used to treat pools, explained John Puetz, vice president of research and development at Advantis Technologies, a manufacturer of pool supplies. The big difference is that a device makes the chlorine on site.

Thus, it elminates the need to periodically buy, haul, store and pour chlorine (or fill your chlorine feeder). “However, it is important to realize that these units generate chlorine and only chlorine,” said Puetz. “Nothing else really changes.”

A properly functioning generator will provide the sanitizer needed to keep the water clean, but it is essential to see to other aspects of pool care. The regular application of a clarifier will add sparkle to the pool and help attain maximum performance from your filter. Routine water balance checks and the occasional use of pH and alkalinity adjusters must also be considered. (In fact, generators can increase pH, so keep an eye on it.)

A sequestering agent will prevent stains and scale buildup that can make the pool walls and floor look unattractive, and the weekly application of a small dose of algaecide will prevent even stubborn algae from gaining a foothold.

Finally, an occasional shock treatment with a non-chlorine shocking agent will greatly reduce chlorine demand and help assure that the chlorine produced by the generator is always available to sanitize the water. Your professional pool dealer can help guide you on all aspects of proper pool care.

As you consider whether or not a salt chlorine generator is worth the investment, keep in mind that while the well-designed ones do work well and can simplify one aspect of pool care, they eliminate only the need to buy, transport and manually apply chlorine.

Media contact: Elissa Pollack, 608-238-2533, elissa@tds.net