Salt Pools Myth or Fact #4 – “All Salt is Not Equal”
We often get asked the question, “What kind of salt should I add to my pool?” The answer if you are avoiding added chemicals is as pure as you can find it. It should be at least 99% sodium chloride. It is always safest to purchase Pool Salt from your local pool company. Pool Salt is made specifically for adding to swimming pools; it is low in impurities and anti-caking agents. Some pool salts, even from a pool store, will be marked Food Grade; as long as there is nothing added to it, this is fine.
Surprisingly, clumps in your salt are likely a good sign.
When customers pick up a bag of pool salt, they can be put off at times if the bag feels like there are lumps or it is solid. In reality, this can be a good thing, because it means anti-caking agents have not been added, so you won’t get extra “stuff” in the pool that will potentially cloud the water or at the very least cause higher TDS levels. If you are concerned about it dissolving, dropping the bag on the floor will generally break the pool salt back up.
Even small traces of impurities can add up to big water issues when dumping in 30 bags of pool salt.
Some salts can contain impurities such as iron or organic material. Even though these impurities may be present in only trace amounts, once enough salt is added to reach the recommended level, these impurities can build up enough to cause problems. If anti-caking agents have been added, they can discolor certain pool surfaces as well. Another thing to watch for in pool salts is the grain size. Pool salt is more fine than water softener salt, for example, so it will dissolve much more easily in the water. This is an issue especially in Spring start-up in colder climates or fresh water additions where the water has not warmed up yet.
So what kind of Pool Salt do we recommend?
There are a couple options for salt that performs above and beyond standard pool salt. It is generally more expensive on the upfront cost, but the benefits can be huge. For example, BioGuard Beginnings is a blend of specially purified minerals required to produce hypochlorous acid for sanitation. It contains SilkGuard® which will soften the water and control scale build up and SunShield® which protects chlorine from sunlight degradation. It is also formulated with ultra pure salt. BioGuard has performed rigorous testing on the salt that goes into Beginnings to be sure that it is of highest quality and will not add unwanted ”extras” to the pool water. All of the added ingredients are included because they are often what is left out of a normal salt pool, even though they are important to have.
Another great product is Pristiva Premier Salt, if you want a pure salt and are planning to add Scale Inhibitors or Cyanuric Acid later.