Pool Chemistry: Salt vs. Chlorine
The popularity of saltwater pools has grown in recent years, everywhere from residential backyards to hotel resort pools. But before you invest in a saltwater swimming pool, we want you to do your homework and learn about the important pros and cons associated with this type of feature.
Let’s get nerdy! Salt Water Pools Explained
The salt system or generator is purchased and gets installed on the pressure side back by the filtration system ofthe pool. This salt generator basically consists of a control box and a salt cell. The salt cell has metal plates in it which are connected to the control box. The control box sends an electrical charge to the plates which creates chlorine through a process called electrolysis. As pool water passes through the salt cell, the salt in the water is turned into Hypochlorous acid. Hypochlorous acid is the same component that is produced when any chlorine is added to pool water, whether you use sticks, tablets, granular or liquid. As the water returns to the pool, it will introduce the newly produced chlorine. If you’d like to read more, check out this article!
What are the downsides of Salt Water Pools?
- Upfront costs of a generator can be significant. Also, if you are considering a salt water pool for the cost savings, think again. Although they require less maintenance, a salt water pool needs electricity for the chlorine generator to work. Therefore, your cost for operating a salt water pool may be higher when you compare this to a traditional chlorine pool.
- Salt can damage equipment (pumps, heaters, handrails) and decks which can eliminate any cost savings you had factored in when considering between salt and chlorine. This is a well-known fact in the pool industry and has been well documented in recent years in our industry publications. Salt is corrosive and you must consider this when contemplating between salt and chlorine.
- Failing to manage the consistently high pH levels can cause calcium precipitant to adhere to the surface of the pool causing it to become very rough.
- Salt can damage your landscaping! Something that most of us have not considered: the backwash or wastewater that comes from a saltwater swimming pool is known to kill plants and dissolve beneficial soil nutrients. As a result, this type of pool has been linked to crop damage in some areas in Australia and even in the US. It is not surprising that there are American towns and localities that prohibit the use of saltwater swimming pools. So, you need to first check with Premier Pools & Spas or your local authorities before you invest in this type of swimming pool.
There are, of course, pros to owning a salt pool such as: a perceived softer water feel, no chlorine smell, less of a need to buy auxiliary chlorine and the fact that most chlorine generators have the ability to shock the pool.
The Nation’s Largest Pool Contractor
With over 30 locations nationwide and over 50,000 projects completed, Premier Pools & Spas is the largest pool builder in the United States of America. We can help you carefully weigh out the pros and cons of salt vs. chlorine as we have a wealth of knowledge amongst our staff of experts.