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What is a Chlorine Generator?

Alison Faria
Alison Faria

A chlorine generator is a device that produces chlorine for a pool. When working properly, a chlorine generator produces constant amounts of chlorine to keep algae and water-line scum from starting to grow. Some pool owners consider it to be an invaluable pool supply because it usually eliminates the need to buy, handle, or store chlorine.

Pool generators, which are often used in salt water pools, produce chlorine via an electrolysis process. Water that passes over the chlorine generator cell becomes Hypochlorous acid, a sanitizer. The effectiveness of this process depends on keeping the generator cell free of mineral and calcium deposits. Additionally, pool owners usually need to make sure the pH level of the water remains balanced.

Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

If a salt water pool has an excess amount of salt in it, swimmers can often physically see the effects. Typically, too much salt can make a person's skin feel dry since it can absorb natural skin oils. A correctly maintained salt water pool with a chlorine generator usually has water that feels smooth and makes a person's skin feel smooth.

Some chlorine generators are manufactured with a brine unit. Some generator units require salt to be added to the pool, but this one does not—salt is usually already stored in this generator. Electrolysis produces the needed amounts of chlorine, and the chlorine is then dispersed into the circulation system of the pool. Brine units are often considered to be messy. They also sometimes produce by-products that can be difficult to clean out of the pool.

Polarity is also a concern for many pool owners because faulty polarity can affect chlorine production. A reverse polarity unit typically reverses the flow of electrons through the chlorine generator cell. This can cause mineral deposits that have grown on the generator to flake off and get trapped in the filter for easier cleaning.

Pool owners are often interested in selecting a chlorine generator that has a deck unit. The deck unit uses a convection principle. This means that the unit will make chlorine even when the circulation pump is off, which can save electricity.

Some other units, such as inline units, will only make chlorine if the circulation pump is on. In order to clean the pool efficiently, the pump usually has to be on continuously. This is known as 24-hour circulation, and this is a requirement for all commercial pools in the United States.

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