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Salt Water Pool vs. Chlorine Water Pool

Choosing how to sanitize your inground swimming pool can be confusing when you are comparing a salt water pool vs. chlorine water pool. Overall salt water pools and traditional chlorine pools are very similar. The differences lie in the method of adding chlorine to the pool. Salt systems use the dissolved salt in the pool water and a process called electrolysis. The dissolved salt passes through the salt cell to produce chlorine. Traditional chlorine pools use chlorine tablets or pucks that are made to dissolve as water passes over them.

Pros of Salt Water Pools-The Benefits to Owning a Salt Water Pool

  • Convenience. Pool owners don’t have to handle or store chlorine. With traditional chlorine options, you have to add chlorine granules, tablets or pucks manually.
  • Reduces the amount of chlorine needed to maintain a properly sanitized pool. Salt systems work as both as a sanitizer and oxidizer. Traditional chlorine pools will require a weekly or bi-weekly oxidizing shock.
  • The pool water feels noticeably better on skin and eyes. The chlorine water that the unit produces is very pure and does not have any irritating chloramines, unlike traditional chlorine pools.

Cons of Salt Pools-The Disadvantage of Owning a Salt Water Pool

  • Salt is naturally corrosive. It’s corrosive nature can cause premature aging on metal parts and equipment and can be harsh on the natural stone decking. We would recommend adding a sacrificial anode to the pool. For instance, an easy example would be adding a zinc ball to your skimmer basket. The sacrificial anode like the zinc ball is a weaker metal. It will sacrifice itself and corrode before all other metals in the water.
  • Salt systems inherently drive up the pH levels. We recommended incorporating a system that automatically detects pH levels and introduces acid as needed.
  • Salt systems can cause calcium build-up. Properly maintaining your pH and Total Alkalinity levels will help prevent calcium buildup.  
  • Costly start-up costs. While you will save money on chlorine over the life of the pool, the initial unit cost of a salt system can range anywhere from $1,500-$2,200 or more, depending on the system and size of the pool. The cell inside your salt generator should last an average of three to five years depending on how well you maintain it. The replacement cost of the cell ranges $500-$800.

While there are some definite benefits to a salt pool, they do not equate to a no maintenance pool.  Salt pools still need to have their water tested at least once a week and adjusted accordingly to ensure all chemical levels are within proper range.