Do I Need to Use a Stabilizer in a Salt Water Pool?

Saltwater pools have become increasingly popular because of their ability to generate low levels of chlorine and maintain an algae-free pool without a regimen of caustic chemicals common to the traditional chlorine pool. Nonetheless, you may need to use a chlorine stabilizer even with a saltwater pool, but in much lower amounts.

Chlorine Stabilizer Defined

Chlorine stabilizer or conditioner is actually a derivative of cyanuric acid and is used to protect the pool's existing chlorine from being broken down by the sun's ultra-violet rays. More often than not, you can determine how much cyanuric acid to add to your pool by conducting a simple chemical test of your pool water. Levels of about 20 to 40 parts per million (ppm) of cyanuric acid are good for a pool in the northern part of the United States; levels of 40 to 80 ppm are needed for pools that receive much more sun.

Saltwater Pool Advantage

Saltwater pools replace the chlorine with salt. You can use the typical pool electrical system, but you will need to add a chlorine generator to the pool's system that works in concert with the salt you add to your pool. Saltwater pools with a chlorine generator have much lower amounts of chlorine and other harsh chemicals. By generating its own chlorine, a saltwater pool is much more effective at maintaining a balance of chlorine in the water and reducing the amount of cyanuric acid required to protect the chlorine. This provides for a much more comfortable swimming environment and puts less strain on your pool equipment. More importantly, saltwater pools are more cost-efficient with respect to chlorine stabilizers because you have to use much less to achieve comparable results.

Amount Required

In a traditional pool, if you had low levels of chlorine you would have to add the chlorine and add additional cyanuric acid to protect the added chlorine. Low levels of chlorine in a traditional pool are about 3 to 10 ppm, whereas saltwater pools can function with .5-1 ppm of chlorine. This means less cyanuric acid in the pool because there is less chlorine to "protect."

With the traditional pool you are likely to add about a pound of stabilizer with every two pounds of chlorine. With a saltwater pool, you only need to add stabilizer on an as needed basis, and this is infrequent because your chlorine remains effective at lower levels.