Salt or Chlorine?
Which side of the debate are you on?
There is a lot of debate going on in the pool world, or at least in the world of pool owners, and that debate is about how saltwater pools stack up against chlorinated pools or vice versa. The discussion often involves cost, maintenance, health-related concerns, and potential damage to fixtures and the pool itself. It is important to note that right in the middle of this heated debate is one truth that stands out and that is the fact that only you can decide which system is right for your pool and your family.
Dissolved salt that turns into chlorine through electrolysis is the cleansing and sanitizing process used by saltwater pools. pH levels and salt-to-water ratio must be maintained regularly for the pool to remain clean. Chlorine pools, on the other hand, require chlorine tablets to keep pool water clean, aside from the usual maintenance procedures.
The question is, should you switch from a traditional chlorine pool to a saltwater one? Perhaps one of the most common misconceptions of saltwater pools is that they contain water as salty as the sea. Saltwater pools, as explained above, use sodium instead of getting direct chlorine treatment – a healthier alternative for those who are sensitive to chlorine. While many claim that putting a bunch of salt into a saltwater pool is the only thing a pool owner needs to do for a saltwater system, this information is false. Saltwater pools still need a lot of maintenance. In fact, when you take a look at the maintenance requirements of saltwater pools, you’d have a shorter list if you are to maintain a chlorinated pool. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from switching to a saltwater system altogether. After all, it is gentler on the eyes, nose, and skin.
Much like a chlorinated pool, pH balance is important to a saltwater system. Saltwater pools have higher pH levels which can lead to mineral build up. This can clog the pipes at one point but adding muriatic acid can help you keep a pH level suitable for your saltwater pool.
Corrosion is also another factor to keep in mind when switching to a saltwater system. Salt can corrode your pool’s lining and other equipment exposed to it. To minimize potential damage, pool owners are advised to get aluminum fixtures for their saltwater pools. It is also important to keep in mind that salt buildup can also damage the chlorinator – the system that does the electrolysis. It can also cause damage to the filter and the salt cell. Pool owners who have saltwater pools usually do a routine washing to get rid of salt residue so be sure to do this religiously once you get your saltwater system. The good news is, if you treat your saltwater pool right, you will save a lot of money in the long run.
There is no clear winner between chlorinated pools and saltwater pools though. Saltwater pools, according to other experts, are chlorinated pools with less chlorine. However, they are significantly safer because of the absence of other chemicals which means even family pets can bathe in them. Chlorinated pools, on the other hand, are more effective in getting rid of bacteria in pool water.
The costs are another concern for those wanting to switch to a saltwater pool system. Setting it up can go as high as $5000 and as low as $1000 without construction cost. The total cost will depend on how large your pool will be.