There are only a few pool owners who really like chlorine, while most of them only reluctantly accepts it. If it wasn’t so efficient at maintaining a pool pristine, it’s safe to assume nobody would use it. It’s dangerous to keep and deal with, and it has irritating action on skin and eyes. In addition, it stinks.
It is no wonder that most existing and prospective pool owners pay close attention to the numerous chlorine alternatives available on sale. Salt water chlorination is definitely the most widespread of them. Such systems have some preference over chlorine, but it also has some disadvantages. To help sort things out, we’ll show you the main advantages and disadvantages of salt water pools.
A bit of backstory
If you don’t know much about salt water systems, below you can find several facts that you may find surprising:
- In spite of the name, salt water pools aren’t only 10% as salty as sea water. Thus, if you believe swimming in a salt water pool is similar to swimming in the ocean, rethink that.
- Technically, salt water pools still contain chlorine. You should know that such systems create their own chlorine via a process known as electrolysis. The actual difference is that you don’t need to add chlorine right to the water.
After dispelling those myths, let’s consider the advantages and disadvantages of salt water chlorination.
Benefits of salt water pools
Below you can find some of the advantages of salt water systems that seem to increase their popularity:
- They don’t irritate skin and eyes. Salt generator usually lowers chlorine content. Clients with an increased sensitivity to chlorine generally report fewer irritations while using such pools.
- It has a higher safety than chlorine. Chlorine (in any form) may be hazardous to keep and carry. Researches have demonstrated that chlorinated water can also cause significant health hazards, which doesn’t not apply to salt water systems to the same degree (on the other side, they actually generate the same disinfection byproducts as conventional pools).
- Sensation of “soft water”. You should know that the addition of salt makes water feel soft and gentle. The majority of pool owners prefer this to the abrasive-like sensation of chlorinated water.
- Easier maintenance. Salt water system makes pool maintenance much easier, because the salt cell just creates chlorine as necessary. However, you still need to control chlorine content from time to time to ensure that everything is working properly.
Drawbacks of salt water swimming pools
Considering these benefits, you may think that salt water chlorination is a prime solution to the numerous problems of chlorine. Take it slow. Below are a few characteristics of salt water pools that might make you think:
- More costly. A salt water system calls for a solid original investment (at least $5000). Surely, using the money saved on chlorine, the system could pay off in a span of few years. However, as we noted in one of our articles, any prospective savings are theoretical and depend on many factors. In short, it may happen that you’ll never get your investments back.
- More complicated. If you have a sanitation issue with a conventional pool, the solution is usually to add some chlorine (or any other chemical). Thanks to the advanced electronic salt water systems, any issues that arise tend to require assistance of an experienced professional.
- Potentially harmful to pool accessories. Cases have been reported where salt water systems affecting heating systems, lighting systems, liners, and even brickwork. Nevertheless, a part of this data may be obsolete or applicable only to older equipment. Moreover, as with any other system, much depends on whether it is correctly set up and maintained.
So, what’s the conclusion? Based on their high sales figures, many people think that the benefits of salt water pools outweigh the drawbacks. Once limited to fancy hotel pools, now such systems can be noticed in the side yards of common pool owners around the world. If you can pay the high original cost (remembering that it’s partially compensated by the money saved on pool chemicals), it’s difficult to object to the advantages of a salt water pool.
However, if you’re was categorically opposed to the use of chlorine, a salt water pool might not be a great option for you. Alternatively, you may consider less common options like ozone system or ultraviolet rays– or even a natural pool that includes plants to maintain the cleanliness of water. Naturally, all of these variants have their own pros and cons, which only emphasizes the fact that it is difficult to decide on your pool.