Salt Water Pool Maintenance

by Pool Builders on 02-08-2008 in Articles

Salt Water vs. Chlorine Pools

With many people switching to salt water pools, you may wonder what the difference in the cost of salt water pool maintenance may be. In general, it is more expensive to keep salt water pools properly balanced chemically speaking, and the start-up costs are higher too.

The salt water pool has a chlorine generator. This is usually in the form of a solid tablet that floats in a basket while the pool water runs over and through it. The salt tablet(s) that are in the pump of the pool must be constantly checked to make sure that the right amount of salt is being displaced into the water. If the level of salt in a salt water pool is too low, the amount of free chlorine that is formed will also be too low.


Both salt water and chlorine water pools sometimes need to be shocked. This process involves systematically adding more chlorine in a raw form in either chlorine pellets or powder. Shocking a salt water pool is a much more delicate process.

The salt content must be carefully monitored as must the alkaline and chlorine content of the water. Salt in the water turns into free chlorine and it is a delicate balance to maintain this salt balance with elements such as rain water and a different number of people swimming and depleting the salt content.

Unlike the standard chlorine pool, UV rays have an effect on the amount of salt that is dissipated from the pool water. A stabilizer such as cyanuric acid must be used to keep the amount of salt at a stable and constant level. A salt water system will only produce chlorine when the pump is running as opposed to chlorinated water that relies upon the manual addition of chlorine and the pumping of the pump and filter to keep its chlorine levels up.

What is Needed for Salt Water Pools

When looking at salt water pool maintenance, you will find that not as many chemicals are needed to be added to the water. For example, no packaged chlorine is needed, no algaecides are needed, and no soda ash or baking soda is needed. Aside from the various stabilizers that can be used, all that a salt water pool rely needs is the salt. Many people feel that this makes the water softer to swim in, and the natural process of the salt turning into chlorine, is supposed to be easier on the skin and eyes.

The chlorine pool and the salt pool are both affected by the climate. The chlorine pool tends to grow more algae when the temperature creeps up and things are more humid. The salt water pool is virtually algae free but it loses salt content as the temperature rises. This is when a reliable salt stabilizer is a benefit to those who are concerned with salt water pool maintenance.

Even though salt water pool maintenance requires less chemicals than chlorine pools, it does require a lot of balancing (of chemical and salt levels) to provide you with a refreshing swim that is safe and comfortable.

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