Having an inground pool brings joy on hot summer days but also comes with maintenance responsibilities. One crucial task is ensuring proper and consistent chlorination. While daily manual chlorine dosing is an option, many pool owners opt to automate chlorination. An automatic chlorinator makes maintaining safe chlorine levels in an inground pool easy.
But with different types, features and brands available, choosing the best automatic inground pool chlorinator requires some research.
Determine Your Pool Size and Flow Rate
Step one when selecting an automatic pool chlorinator is calculating your pool’s square footage and volume in gallons. Also identify the flow rate of water through your plumbing with gallons per minute. This helps match chlorinator capacity to the size of your inground pool.
With measurements in hand, compare chlorinators based on their maximum gallons capacity. Pentair and Hayward build reliable automatic chlorinators for pools up to 40,000 gallons. Other brands like Duraswim offer extra large capacity for pools over 60,000 gallons.
Measure Length, Width and Average Depth
Calculating your pool’s square footage is essential for proper chlorinator sizing. To find square footage, measure the length and width and multiply them. Then measure average depth and calculate the overall volume in gallons.
Consider Peak Flow Rates
The pool’s plumbing flow rate through the filter system also impacts chlorinator performance. Gallons per minute indicates how much pool water passes by for chlorination contact. Peak flow rates occur after cleaning cycles. Consider these maximum GPMs when choosing a chlorinator.
Evaluate Types of Automatic Chlorinators
Understanding the differences in automatic chlorinator types enables choosing the best option for your inground pool. The two main varieties are inline and offline units:
- Inline chlorinators connect directly to pool plumbing to chlorinate as water flows through.
- Offline chlorinators divert water flow through the unit to dispense chlorine then back to the pool.
Inline configurations prevent chlorine gas buildup and easily adjust chlorine output based on flow rate changes. But offline types may fit certain pool layouts better. Evaluate both to determine the optimal setup.
Consider Ease of Installation
An automatic chlorinator for an inground pool installs after the filter and before additional cleaning systems. Installation may require plumbing changes.
Many chlorinators come with complete instructions for DIY installation. But extensive plumbing work may require a pool professional, adding cost.
Factor in Ongoing Maintenance
Regular automatic chlorinator maintenance is also easier with inline configurations. Their installations near ground level provide quick access compared to offline models. Consider ease of maintenance when deciding between types of automatic chlorinators.
Review Key Features and Functionality
All automatic chlorinators share core functionality but can vary significantly in features. Assess capabilities in automation, system integration, adjustments and more when comparing models.
|Consistent chlorine levels without daily effort
|Automatically adjust chlorine based on bather load
|Operates with pool pump and filter
|Alert when chlorine is low
Prioritize automation but also consider bonus features like sensors and indicators when evaluating automatic chlorinators for your inground pool.
Understand Adjustability Options
Quality chlorinators allow customizing chlorine output levels. Look for easy granular adjustments from low to maximum settings. This tailors dispersal amounts to your pool size and needs.
Check Compatibility Factors
Confirm that any automatic chlorinator model uner consideration is compatible with your existing pool system. This includes verifying electrical requirements, plumbing fittings and the ability to integrate with current mechanical and chemical treatment equipment.
Compare Trusted Automatic Chlorinator Brands
Shopping among trusted pool chlorinator brands gives you options while ensuring reliability and effectiveness:
- Pentair: Industry leader making sturdy inline and offline automatic chlorinators.
- Hayward: Renowned for salt cell compatibility and terrain chlorinators.
- Duraswim: Top ratings for adjustability and large capacity up to 80,000 gallons.
While Pentair, Hayward and Duraswim lead in quality, comparing pros and cons reveals the best brand for your needs and budget.
Consider Salt Chlorinator Alternatives
Salt cell chlorinators are also growing in popularity. They convert dissolved salt into chlorine. This avoids handling harsh chemicals but requires significant initial investment.
Check Warranties and Customer Support
An extensive warranty provides peace of mind and protects against early part failures or defects. Many automatic chlorinators come with at least a 3 year warranty. Top brands offer 5 years or more of coverage.
Also research the manufacturer’s responsiveness to customer questions and concerns should any operational issues arise after installing your chlorinator.
Review Parts Replacement Policies
While under warranty, replacement parts are covered. But also understand costs for future parts purchases when repairs are needed outside of warranty periods.
Assess Technical Support Options
Between detailed manuals and online resources, reliable brands offer full support. But having access to direct technical experts via phone or online chat is ideal for troubleshooting problems quickly.
Calculate the Total Cost of Ownership
When comparing different automatic chlorinator models, the purchase price is just one cost factor. Also consider long term operating, maintenance and future repair expenses over years of ownership.
Higher upfront investments often buy increased durability, lower power consumption and longer lifecycles. Calculate total cost over a 5-7 year period to determine the best value.
Factor in Power Usage
Operation costs over years of use add up. Inline configurations use less electricity than offline pumps. Newer “smart” models maximize efficiency adjusting based on needs.
Budget for Regular Maintenance
While automation saves time, regular automatic chlorinator maintenance is still essential. From periodic filter changes to replacing wear-and-tear parts, factor these tasks into long term costs.
Installation Tips and Considerations
Proper automatic chlorinator installation ensures safety, full functionality and optimal water treatment performance. Consider the following guidance when installing your new chlorinator:
- Hire a licensed pool contractor for complex plumbing jobs
- Follow manufacturer instructions precisely
- Allow proper water flow rates through the unit
- Check for leaks after completing installation
Seek Professional Help When Needed
If significant plumbing modifications are required, hire a qualified pool pro to install the automatic chlorinator correctly on your existing inground pool system.
Never Bypass Steps in the Instructions
While tempting to skip ahead, fully reading and following each installation step prevents problems. Don’t take shortcuts that could lead to leaks or other issues.
Perform Regular Chlorinator Maintenance
Automatic operation saves time daily, but regular maintenance keeps your chlorinator working properly for years. Key tasks include:
- Backwashing filters to prevent flow obstruction
- Lubricating O-rings and gaskets
- Replacing worn parts like feed tubes
- Cleaning salt cells to maintain efficiency
Create a seasonal maintenance checklist to stay on top of these important duties.
Inspect Internal Components Yearly
Once before opening your pool and again when closing for winter, thoroughly inspect all internal parts. Look for cracks, odd wear or other signs of damage. Replace components as needed to keep your automatic chlorinator running like new.
Consider Off-Season Storage Steps
Some chlorinator maintenance steps are specific to winterizing your pool each year. Follow manufacturer guidance to protect the unit from harsh winter conditions and prep it for easy spring start-up.
Frequently Asked Questions
For additional advice about picking and using automatic inground pool chlorinators, explore answers to these common questions:
What flow rate should my automatic chlorinator handle?
Choose a chlorinator rated for at least 1.5 times your pool’s circulation pump flow rate. This ensures proper water treatment contact time.
What is the cost of an automatic pool chlorinator?
Prices range widely from $200 to $2000+ depending on capacity, features and quality. Evaluate long term value, not just upfront cost.
How do I integrate a new chlorinator with my pool equipment?
Consult technical specifications and installation instructions regarding proper connectivity with pumps, filters, additional sanitizers and more.
Should I hire a professional for chlorinator installation?
If extensive plumbing modifications are necessary, utilize a qualified technician. If not, DIY installs can save substantially on labor.
Picking the perfect automatic chlorinator for your inground pool requires assessing your needs, available options and long term costs. While the process involves some effort on the front end, enjoying years of simple, effective water care is well worth the investment.
Focus first on sizing appropriately based on precise volume and flow rate calculations. Then compare feature sets and real-world performance among trusted brands and models to find your ideal set-it-and-forget-it chlorinator for summers of smooth swimming ahead.