Saltwater pool; A few facts
The saltwater pool is pushed by pool builders often and there are many misconceptions out there. The biggest myth is that a saltwater pool does not use chlorine to disinfect the water. This is absolutely false!
Here is a direct quote from Wikipedia; ” Salt water chlorination is a process that uses dissolved salt (2,500–6,000 ppm) as a store for the chlorination system. The chlorine generator (also known as salt cell, salt generator, salt chlorinator or SWG) uses electrolysis in the presence of dissolved salt (NaCl) to produce hypochlorous acid (HClO) and sodium hypochlorite (NaClO), which are the sanitizing agents already commonly used in swimming pools. As such, a saltwater pool is not actually chlorine-free; it simply utilizes a chlorine generator instead of direct addition of chlorine.”
In simpler terms a saltwater pool manufactures it’s own chlorine instead of the pool owner manually adding chlorine on a regular basis. Pool builder’s were quick to jump on the saltwater bandwagon as a up-sell feature and this I suspect is where all the hype and myths got started about saltwater pools somehow being “chlorine free.”
Saltwater pools when maintained properly are very nice on your skin. The water feels softer and less likely to cause eye irritation.
People who have vacation homes, folks who travel, and pools that are used infrequently are good candidates for saltwater pools as it is easier to maintain since the chlorine levels stay at a more constant level.
Cost of a saltwater pool setup is rather high. The equipment is expensive and the costs are on-going as the salt cell generator will need to be replaced every few years depending on your water chemistry and maintenance schedule.
You will be lugging 40lb. bags of replacement salt to your pool frequently after heavy rains. You will also still be using acid and conditioner very regularly.
If your pool has soft flagstone or sandstone near the water, the salt crystals will cause the rock fragments to slough off and make a mess in your pool that is difficult to vacuum. Pools with tiles instead of stone do not have this problem.
I have many saltwater pools on my pool cleaning route and I have found most of them to be rather trouble free. The cleaning aspects are exactly the same as a regular pool, so I charge the same monthly fee. I am pretty much neutral about saltwater pools, but I do get irritated when a homeowner with a brand new saltwater pool tells me their pool builder told them it is chlorine free. The main thing is that it all boils down to your personal preferences and maintenance habits. I hope this article will give you some objective information before you decide on a saltwater pool.
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