Since the early 2000s salt water swimming pools have grown in popularity and become more well known. What makes a salt water pool different from a traditional chlorine pool is it's chlorine generator. Yes, salt water pools have chlorine in them too. We don't want to persuade you to choose or not choose a salt water pool, we just want you to be able to make an informed decision and not face any surprises along the way. Here's a brief overview of how a chlorine generator (salt pool) works and the pros and cons associated with it.
1. Instead of adding chlorine regularly to the pool, salt is added to the water creating a mild saline solution. The solution is about 1/10 as salty as the ocean and made by adding the same salt you sprinkle on your dinner.
2. As the water passes through the filtration system daily it also goes through the attached chlorine generator. Electrolysis converts the salt in the water to chlorine gas that is dissolved in the water. The gas oxidizes (kills) bacteria, viruses and algae that build up in the water, keeping your pool water clean.
3. The process is recycleable so it doesn't consume the salt. It can be used over and over again. When the chlorine breaks down it turns into salt again and the process starts over.
So now that you know how it works what are the pros and cons?
Even though salt water pools do have chlorine in them, because of the method in which the chlorine is delivered into the pool there is much less chloramine. Chloramine is what is responsible for the chlorine smell, and dry and irritated eyes and skin. The water you will typically find in salt water pools not only feels much softer and almost silky on your skin, it also won't irritate your eyes and skin.
Because the chlorine generator is creating the sanitizer you do not have to continually handle chlorine tablets or store them in your garage.
Pool maintenance is more "hands-off" with the salt system since it is simply producing the chlorine as needed. That said you still have to monitor pool water chemistry periodically and make sure that the water is balanced properly.
Lower Monthly Cost
Initially the cost of the salt system is greater, but you will save a significant amount monthly on pool chemicals.
Salt Cell Maintenance
The metal cells inside the generator will need to be cleaned periodically. If there is a visible calcium build up on them they will stop generating the necessary level of chlorine. Cleaning them too frequently or improperly though can cause them to fail and you will have to replace them.
If you are wanting a salt water pool there are certain types of metals, coping and decking you may want to avoid. The saltwater can cause them to corrode prematurely. The decking can be sealed occasionally to prevent corrosion or pitting.
The upfront cost will be more expensive than a traditional chlorine pool. You will be able to offset the cost with the money saved on chlorine tablets, but it will still cost more upfront.
Parrot Bay Pools is a Little Rock pool company that has been installing salt systems since 2001. If you have any questions regarding a salt water pool call us at (501) 664-6861.
Keep an eye out for our next article on ozonation, a third type of water sanitation system. You will want to read about this system before you make a decision.