Salt Water Pools and Spa is dedicated to providing cutting edge information and product advice for pool owners around the world. We are a world leader in online pool education and take pride in helping inform current and potential salt water pool owners. Whether you are considering converting your pool to salt water or are already enjoying the benefits enjoyed by millions around the world, we can help!
A salt water pool operates the same as a regular chemical chlorine pool except that instead of adding chemical chlorine to maintain adequate sanitation, the salt in the water is broken down to create chlorine naturally. As the salt water passes through the pool system, it travels through the chlorine generator or cell where it is broken down through the process of electrolysis into low levels of chlorine.
Since the chlorine generator operates in unison with the pool pump, you can count on sanitary chlorine being produced every time you operate your pool system. Your pool is kept healthy and capable of destroying potentially harmful bacteria and microorganisms at all times even when you aren't thinking about it. The conversion of salt water into chlorine is repeated infinitely as long as you maintain proper salinity levels and you operate your pump as usual.
There are some major differences between a salt water pool and a chemical chlorine pool. They both use chlorine as the primary sanitizer but there are differences in the delivery, production and level of chlorine required to keep the pool healthy for anyone using the pool.
A salt water pool operates at a lower chlorine level than a chemical pool that lends itself to being much gentler on skin, eyes, hair and clothing. You also won't experience spikes in chlorine from adding sticks or pucks because the chlorine is constantly being produced every second the pool system is operating. This means that your liner, hardware and other pool components won't be exposed to potentially damaging chlorine fluctuations.
The level of salt or salinity is so low that you won't taste it, smell it or even know that you are swimming in it. A salt water pool operates between 3,000 and 4,000 ppm and is considered a mild saline solution in the world of chemistry. The concentration is lower than human tears that have a salinity of 9,000 ppm and the ocean which averages around 35,000 ppm. You can open your eyes underwater without stinging and the water will feel soft on your skin.
A traditional chemical chlorine pool creates a substantial amount of chloramines that are caused when chlorine is mixed with bacteria and swimmer waste. These harmful chloramines are associated with negative side effects including; eye irritation, strong chemical odour, bleached bathing suits and dyed hair.
A salt water pool is very effective at eliminating chloramines through the continual oxidation process. If you experience chlorine allergies or sensitivities to chemical chlorine you are likely experiencing a reaction to the chloramines which are virtually eliminated in a saline pool. The natural chlorine production process combined with eliminating the addition of chemical chlorine results a gentler, safer and healthier pool.
A huge benefit to saltwater pool owners is the low maintenance required to keep pool chemistry balanced and the water healthy. A traditional pool requires daily or weekly maintenance by adding chemical pucks and will need period shocking to maintain adequate chlorine levels.
A salt water pool will require much less chemistry balancing and maintenance and instead of using expensive shocks, you can simply use the built in super chlorinate feature that temporarily increases chlorine production during times of heavy usage. As a whole, salt water is a more stable environment and will lead to less fluctuations of important levels including pH and alkalinity.
The cost of owning a salt water pool is best broken down into two parts; initial investment and maintenance. The initial investment of purchasing a salt water system is between $350-$1,800 for an inground pool and $100-$500 for an above ground pool plus any cost to have a pool professional install the system. You will initially need to purchase salt to achieve required salinity levels and a small amount every year to account for washout or rain water.
A saltwater pool will cost a lot less in yearly maintenance mainly due to the fact that you will never need to purchase chlorine pucks, sticks or powder. In addition, you can count on spending a lot less on balancing chemicals that can add up especially when problems arise. This can mean a savings of anywhere between $400-$800 every year just from being able to produce your own natural chlorine.
The cost to maintain a pool will vary depending on several factors including usage, pump run times, gallonage and electricity but it's safe to say that you can pay for your salt water system in as little as 1-2 years.
All the benefits of owning a salt water pool have made them the most popular form of sanitation for swimming pools in the world. The feedback we receive speaks for itself and with the advances in pool automation and chemistry management it's only going to get better.
We've put together a list of common questions and answers on our Salt Water Pools FAQ page including; chemistry, allergies and corrosion.
We believe that saline pools are a better choice for most pool owners. All the benefits and affordability make them a great choice if you are purchasing a new pool or want to convert to salt water. We have helped thousands of pool owners make the switch and are proud to be your trusted source for information.
Whether you own a salt water pool or are looking for more information on becoming a first time owner we want to emphasize pool safety. It should be a priority to ensure the safety of your pool so you can enjoy years or worry free use.