Saline versus Chlorine - Which is Best For Your Hot Tub or Pool?

by Pool Builders on 05-10-2006 in Articles

All of us know the overpowering smell of a chlorinated pool. I knew it all too well - I was on my high school swim team. I was in the swimming pool twice a day.

If I played any other sport, like basketball, my friends would comment on how it reeked of chlorine - I literally sweated out chlorine! Hey, I would think, at least chlorine is a clean smell. Better to smell like chlorine that body odor, right?

I would have to apply layers of lotion to keep my skin from cracking off! And we would have to wear multiple swimsuits at a time because the chlorine was in a continual process of eating-up the one we were wearing - we needed at least two to be decent.

These days, though, more and more pools owners are switching from chlorine to saline. If you are new to the idea of disinfecting your pool with plain old "salt," then here is some information to get you up-to-date:

· A salt water system in your pool or hot tub works by creating its own chlorine. How does this happen? An electric current is passed through salt water in a chlorinator cell. Basically, a chlorinator cell splits the salt into sodium and chloride. It then releases a chlorine gas that dissolves in the water. It is through this process that the water in a saline pool is sterilized.

· Saline not only sterilizes the water, it prevents the growth of algae.

· People who have reactions to chlorinated pools are generally reacting not to the chlorine but to other chemicals and by-products. They generally do not have a problem swimming in a saline pool -- it is much less irritating on your skin.

· Saline is much easier on your eyes than chlorine. You might have assumed that saline would sting your eyes like the salty ocean does. In truth, though, the ocean has a much higher percentage of salt. Saline has very little salt in comparison.

· Swimming suits worn solely in saline pools last longer than those worn in chlorinated pools.

· Saline feels softer on the skin and does not dry you out as much as chlorine.

· The cost of installing a saline system into your pool is high, but in the long run it can be less expensive.

· You do not need to deal with expensive and dangerous chemicals when you have a salt-water pool. You only need to add common salt (and you do not even need to add it often, since the pool system recycles the salt). Sometimes you need to add pool acid as well, to balance out the pH levels.
· Saline pools are environmentally friendly - no chemicals.

In sum, a salt-water pool is safer, less expensive (in the long run), healthier, and better for the environment. I am starting to think that my high school days on the swim team would have been so much better had we been swimming in a saline pool!

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