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Pool Water: Should You Keep It Salty or Chlorinated?

Should You Keep It Salty or Chlorinated

By Jerry SanchezPublished 9 months ago 4 min read

If your pool maintenance tasks are becoming more of a hassle than a way to setup your relaxing time, it may be time to adjust things. Sometimes, maintaining a chlorine pool can be harder than it seems to be because of the various factors you need to maintain. Failing to maintain the optimal levels of chlorine in your pool on a given day can cause the pool water to turn a shade of green that makes swimming in your private pool as unappealing as a public pool. Experts suggest changing your pool water’s maintenance to help make the job easier. The most common suggestion these days is replacing the chlorine in your pool with salt. Let’s look at whether this is a good idea and how you should implement it.

What is a Saltwater Pool and How Does it Work?

Saltwater pools were developed as an alternative to chlorine pools. Instead of directly adding chlorine to your pool, you add salt (Sodium Chloride), and the pool uses a saltwater generator which converts the salt into chlorine using electrolysis. The generator recycles the salt repeatedly and maintains the required chlorine levels in your pool.

While this won’t be a chlorine-free alternative to your pool, it will reduce the workload of having to buy and add chlorine to your pool manually. You can buy pool grade salt and let it work its way in your pool without having to maintain it as much as you would with a purely chlorinated pool.

Moreover, most saltwater generators used in modern pools have features such as salt and temperature sensors to protect themselves. They also have self-cleaning salt cells that make it easier to regularly maintain your pool.

The Difference Between Saltwater and Chlorine Pools

In the case of traditional chlorinated pools, the water needs to be sampled and balanced with chlorine levels, alkalinity, and calcium hardness. This process also generates a lot of chloramines which cause the irritation and smell associated with chlorine in pools.

Saltwater pools contain about 3,000 ppm of salt which is the same salinity as human tears. This won’t make the water feel excessively salty and also won’t make it extra buoyant. The chlorine generated from electrolysis contains fewer chloramines and therefore does not cause the same irritation and smell to show up in the pool water.

Advantages of a Saltwater Pool

Now that you understand the basics of a saltwater pool, let’s look at some of the advantages you get by replacing your pool chlorine with salt:

Salt is Easier to Handle

Pool-grade salt is much safer than chlorine granules and pucks. Moreover, the salt is always recycled into the water and used for generating chlorine again. This means that you will only have to add salt to your water during the beginning of the season or when there’s rain that dilutes your pool water.

The Water is Gentler

Saltwater pools often have smoother water than chlorine pools which is ideal for swimmers with sensitive skin. If you find yourself getting reactions from chlorine pools, saltwater pools are likely a much safer bet.

Chlorine Levels are Auto Maintained

With a saltwater pool, you will almost never have to measure the chlorine levels in your pool. The saltwater generator would constantly keep releasing a steady output of chlorine which will help always keep the chlorine levels ideal. This would also help keep algae and cloudy water out of the question.

Disadvantages of a Saltwater Pool

While a saltwater pool may seem perfect, it has its own flaws. Here are the most common complaints by users.

The Initial Cost is Higher

The initial cost of setting up a saltwater pool is in thousands of dollars, and this includes everything from the saltwater generator to the labor costs of installation. By contacting a good pool contractor in the USA, you might be able to get a better deal, however, the initial cost will always be higher than that of a chlorine pool.

Maintenance is Complicated

While the regular maintenance is definitely reduced, your saltwater pool may also require maintenance at times. For instance, the salt cell in the generator would need replacement every five to seven years and this can cost a few hundred dollars. Moreover, instead of the cost of chlorine, you would be paying the electricity cost of running the saltwater generator which can get expensive for some pool owners.

Saltwater Generators Don’t Work in Colder Climates

If you live in a region where your pool water drops below 60 F, the saltwater generator will fail to generate chlorine from the water. The only way to make it work in such a situation is to use a pool heater which can add to the electricity costs of running your saltwater generator.

Pool Parts Can Get Corroded

One of the biggest downsides of using a saltwater generator in your pool is that it can cause your pool equipment such as automatic covers, pool liners, metal equipment, and landscaping to get corroded. The only pools that are completely safe from such a situation are fiberglass pools.

The Process Isn’t Completely Hands-Off

While your primary reason of getting a saltwater pool may be to reduce the amount of time and money you spend in maintaining it, even saltwater pools aren’t completely hands-free. You will still have to perform regular pool water checks such as pH checks since a pH above 7.6 can lead to irritation or scaling of your equipment.

Final Thoughts

Now that you see the advantages and disadvantages of using a saltwater pool, you can make an informed decision on whether it would work for you or not. If you’re looking to reduce your maintenance work for a much lower investment, you can use The Pool Connect App to find professional pool contractors who will maintain your pool at an affordable price.

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