Salt water pools are becoming very popular as more people discover their benefits. While salt water pools offer many advantages over traditional pools, the salt water system has a few disadvantages too. Knowing the pros and cons of salt water pools will allow you to make an informed decision about what type of pool you want.
The main reason people prefer a salt water pool is the lack of maintenance. Like traditional pools, salt water pools sanitize the water with chlorine. In traditional pools, however, chlorine granules or tablets are added to the water to keep it clean and chlorine levels must be manually monitored. Salt water pools make their own chlorine using a chlorine generator that transforms the salt in the water into chlorine. This sanitation method is much more hands-off and requires far less maintenance. It's also less expensive since pool owners don't need to buy chlorine, and safer, since chlorine no longer needs to be handled directly or stored on the property.
No More Odor or Stinging
Traditional chlorination methods result in a chlorine spike immediately after the pool is treated. This causes a strong odor that some people find unpleasant and leads to red, stinging eyes. Salt water pools create only enough chlorine to get the sanitation job done and maintain more consistent chlorine levels. As a result, there is no chemical smell left on the skin or in bathing suits after taking a dip in a salt water pool. Since the salt concentration in the water is similar to that of a human tear, there is also no eye irritation.
Chlorine dries the skin in high concentrations, leaving frequent swimmers with rough, scaly patches on their skin. Many find both the appearance and feel of this dried skin unpleasant, preferring the soothing sensation of a salt water pool. Salt water pools leave the skin feeling much softer and smoother.
One disadvantage of a salt water pool is the salt itself. While salt water pools require only a low salt concentration, it is enough salt to be noticeable when water gets in the mouth. When chlorinated pool water gets in a swimmer's mouth, it tastes much the same as water from the tap. The water from a salt water pool, however, is reminiscent of ocean water. For some, this is not a problem. For others, it can be a big deterrent. You do need to monitor the salt levels in a salt water pool and add salt periodically.
A salt water pool's chlorine generator keeps chlorine levels at a minimum and prevents chlorine spikes. This is a big advantage when it comes to cutting back on the harshness of the chemical in the water. Unfortunately, it also means that the generator may need to stay on all or most of the time. These electrical devices, when running 24 hours per day, can increase utility bills enough to more than make up for the money saved by not buying traditional pool chemicals.
Salt is a corrosive element. If you have ever seen what happens to cars that spend their lives in ocean-side areas or regions where roads are frequently salted, then you know that equipment suffers when exposed to salt. The same goes for the equipment in a salt water pool. Light fixtures, wiring and various other components of your pool system may wear out faster in a salt water pool than they would in a freshwater pool. Salt water splashed outside the pool onto decking surfaces and pool surrounds can also be problematic if the materials are easily damaged by salt.