Are Salt Water Swimming Pools a Better Choice?

by Pool Builders on 03-06-2008 in Articles

There has been a lot of press in recent years touting the benefits of choosing salt water swimming pools. Many people still have questions though. So what are the advantages and disadvantages of owning and operating a salt pool system?

Cost

The initial set up for a salt water pool is more expensive then the traditional chlorine set up. This is usually an important factor for those looking to install a pool on a budget. Over time, a traditional chlorine system will cost you more because you have to keep adding chlorine. Chlorine naturally breaks down so it has to be replenished. Salt water swimming pools do this through a chemical process. Chlorine generators constantly replace the chlorine that is created using a cell containing precious metals. The amount of chlorine generated is very small. Some conditions require the addition of extra chlorine and running the system 24 hours a day. This is hardly cost effective even over a long period of time.

The initial cost of salt is much more expensive then chlorine. The major difference though is that salt rarely has to be replaced. A properly built pool minimizes salt loss from splash outs or leaks. In most cases you will only have to replenish water that has been lost through evaporation. Evaporation leaves the salt behind so in this sense it lasts and lasts. Some erroneous reports have stated that salt water swimming pool owners will have to replace about 400 lbs of salt each year. This would only be true if your average owners is splashing out or losing about 16,000 gallons of water each year. This just does not happen.

What you will end up paying for though are the parts that corrode due to exposure to salt. Pumps and gears can easily succumb to corrosion to due to salt exposure. Natural stones and pool furniture will also suffer from regular exposure.

Maintenance

Most people begin looking into salt water swimming pools because they want a pool that is free of all maintenance. Unfortunately there are many salt water pool dealers that will tell you that your pool will clean and maintain itself. This is simply not true. To achieve the best results, a fine balance is needed between salt, pH, alkalinity and the chlorine that is generated. Frequent checking is needed to make sure that your pool is operating at peak efficiency. If not one or several adjustments may be needed.

For help in maintaining your salt pool, you will need to work only with dealers that sell salt water units. If your pool supplier only works with chlorine pools they may not have the right experience or equipment to help you properly maintain your pool.

So what is the better choice for you? Probably neither. The constant care and difficulty associated with both chlorine and salt systems is enough to turn anyone off. Instead consider a chemical free solution. Chemical free pools are cheaper to maintain and do not expose you to extra salt and chlorine.

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