Water Wars: Saltwater or Chlorine? How to know which is better for you.

Salt Water pools are all the buzz in the pool world but salt water pools are not for everyone.

Here’s the 411!

Saltwater and chlorine are effectively the same thing.  A traditional chlorine pool is sanitized by adding chlorine manually to your pool. With a salt pool, a salt water generator (SWA) is used to convert salt to chlorine. 

The main differences between a salt pool and traditional chlorine pool is the maintenance and upfront cost.  Saltwater pools require less maintenance, but cost more upfront.   Saltwater pools are also known to leave skin feeling softer and less dry.  Although a properly balanced chlorine pool should never irritate skin, or eyes.

I have yet to meet a salt pool owner who didn’t love their pool, however there are some differences and not every pool owner can or should convert to salt.  Here are some things you should know before converting to or building a salt pool.

  1.  If you have an above ground pool with metal top rails, you should know the risks of converting to saltwater.  Your pool could rust and corrode.
  2. If you have a natural soft stone above your waterline.  Sandstone and limestone are considered a soft stone.  Salt pools could cause this stone to erode over time.
  3. Salt pools can cause patio furniture and equipment to corrode.   This is typically rare and seen in the desert climates with little rain.
  4. Salt Pools cost a lot upfront.  Salt Water Generator’s cost between $200-$2,2000.  The cells need replaced every 3-5 years.  Check warranties on them before purchase.
  5. Some pool builders are no longer building salt pools due to the risk or corrosion.
  6. Converting to a salt water pool can void your warranty on some pools.
  7. Salt is not recommended for pools with metal or steel parts.
  8. If your SWG dies or has problems you could end up with a green pool.  Killing algae in a salt pool is more difficult due to the differences in water balance.
  9. Salt pools still require maintenance and weekly checking of your water chemistry.  The SWG does the work of adding chlorine, however it is still the pool owners job to ensure all components of water chemistry are balanced.  CYA still needs to be added manually, and PH, alkalinity and chlorine levels need to be monitored to ensure your SWG is sanitizing your pool properly.  Also the SWG occasionally needs to be cleaned due to calcium build up.  A Test Kit is still required.
  10. Some suggest you should NOT have a saltwater pool if you have a wood deck.

Traditional Chlorine Pools on the other hand:

  1. Require less upfront costs
  2. Require more maintenance.  Great if you enjoy being outside or around your pool a lot and if you don’t mind learning the ABC’s of water chemistry to keep your water balanced.  All that can be learned here on our blog. Check out our post on Daily Maintenance.
  3. Can be used for ALL pools types.

In conclusion, salt pools can provide pool owners an alternative method to traditional chlorine.  Salt pools need less maintenance, and less time messing with chemicals.  However they are not completely maintenance free and not for ALL pools!  Chlorine pools require more time balancing and checking chemicals daily but cost less upfront.  Overtime the cost is likely the same between the two.

If you’re considering a saltwater pool, consider the points here and try to find someone who has had a salt pool more than 10 years and see what their experience has been.

We hope this helps!

Talk to you soon~


P.S If you currently have or had a saltwater pool we’d love to hear about it from you!!




June 22, 2017

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