Plunging into a pool in your backyard is one of the nicest ways to cool off on a hot summer day. While pool owners to-be often struggle with the varieties of pool design, material and size to integrate their new backyard oasis on the property, one of the considerations less given thought is the question, do they want a saltwater pool or a chlorine pool. This post will explain the differences between the two systems so you can decide which one is better for your home.
A common misconception is that saltwater pools do not use chlorine as a disinfectant to kill harmful bacteria and organisms in the water. Any swimming pool that’s left untreated will soon turn green from algae and develop bacteria, which are toxic to humans. Chloride is an effective chemical to sanitize pool water and make it safe for swimmers. Chlorine interacts with contaminants in the water to destroy or neutralize them.
Compared to traditional chlorine pools, a saltwater pool will have lower levels of chlorine making the water gentler on a swimmers skin. Particularly people with skin allergies will benefit from the lower amount chlorine in a saltwater pool and the small concentration will also lessen swimsuit fading. A saltwater pool operates with a generator cell which uses salt to produce chlorine through electrolysis and gives the required amount automatically off into the water. Salt storage requires no special consideration and the cost of the generator is the biggest disadvantage in a saltwater pool, as well as the electrical cost to keep the generator operating, as the salt itself is not expensive.
In warmer climates, a saltwater generator has to work harder to maintain the pools sanitary, using more electricity due to constant use of the cell producing the chlorine solution, which will then have to be replaced sooner than the usual time span of three to five years. This means that even though the chemical cost is lower in a saltwater pool, the cost of will electricity rise with the overall temperature.
Traditional chlorine pools will have higher levels of the chemical, since the chlorine is added manually to the water in concentrated chlorine sticks or tablets to maintain sanitation, sometimes causing itchy skin and eye irritation. A chlorine pool is more expensive to maintain throughout the year, as the high dosage of the chemical is quite costly. The chemical should be kept in a cool and dry location to maintain its effectiveness, as well as safe so one cannot breathe in the fumes of the product.
Saltwater pools require less maintenance than a chlorine pool, as usually they only need tending to once within two weeks to keep the water clean and sparkling. Chlorine pools should have their chemical added weekly, but both systems need their chlorine level checked on a regular basis to keep the water clean and clear. In a saltwater pool, it is the generator control box that adjusts the level of chlorine to kill any excess bacteria, whereas a traditional chlorine pool needs to be adjusted manually to keep a consistent level thus making surveillance more work. To ward off algae chlorine needs to be added especially after heavy rain.
Nevertheless, salt can be extremely corrosive and effect pool parts such as ladders, decking and masonry as some features may not have been designed to work with saltwater pools, for example, dark surfaces might get salt ring stain. Compared to a fibreglass pool, a concrete one might even need to be resurfaced sooner if exposed to salt and even the surrounding landscape might suffer from occasional salt water spilling. With chlorine pools, there will be fewer issues concerning the soil and vegetation around them. According to this, saltwater pool owners may be saving money on chemicals but spend more on equipment replacement.
If you are still hesitant about what kind of pool system to get, a conversation with a local pool professional may help you decide if a saltwater pool should be considered to find the best possible pool solution for your home.