Pools

Salt water pools are an intriguing idea. For many, they bring up the picture of salty ocean water. This can be an appealing image; chlorine is smelly and often harsh on the skin. However, “salt water pool” is a misnomer and has lead to many myths surrounding this alternative to traditional pools.

We’d like to clear up these myths and tell you the truth about salt water pools. While they may not be what they appear, they are a great option if the idea of weekly maintenance tires you out. Additionally, they require less chemicals than traditional pools and are easier on skin and eyes.

Without further ado, the myths and truths of salt water pools.

Myth: Salt pools mean no chlorine is in the water.

Truth: This is a huge misconception. A salt pool does not mean there is no chlorine added to the pool. In fact, the way a salt pool operates means it is naturally creating chlorine through salt. While you may not need to add chlorine to the water, there is certainly chlorine in the water. This is how the water stays nice and clean.

Myth: A salt pool will be like swimming in the ocean.

Truth: While a salt pool may sound like you’re taking a dip in the ocean, it isn’t actually salt water. Salt pools have only 1/10 of the salt that an ocean does! No stinging eyes or goggles needed. A better way to think of it is as a chlorine producer. Sodium Chloride, also known as salt, is added to the pool water, and as it passes through the chlorine generator cell an electrical discharge converts the salt into chlorine. This is called electrolysis.

So less like swimming in an ocean, and more like swimming in a softer, gentler pool with fewer odors.

Myth: Saltwater pools save maintenance money.

Truth: While salt pools may not require as many chemicals and water-balancing products throughout the season, there are maintenance costs associated with salt pools.

Firstly, the cells will need to be replaced, as soon as three years after initial installation. This can be expensive, and vastly reduces the savings you could potentially see.

While one of the benefits is fewer chemicals used, owners will still need to test the pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness regularly and adjust as needed to maintain water quality and clarity. Salt and mineral buildup may need to be removed every couple of months and the salt may damage decks, which would require additional maintenance.

Instead of saving money, it’s very possible a salt water pool may cost you more in maintenance costs than a traditional pool.

Myth: Saltwater is corrosive and can damage a number of elements in my pool.

Truth: While in a saltwater pool, owners do have to be mindful of corrosion in pumps, filters, heaters, and metal pipes, this isn’t entirely the fault of the salt pool. It’s actually an electrical issue! In fact, corrosion is possible in traditional chlorine pools, especially those treated with liquid chlorine. Typically, corrosion is because of either a lack of or incorrect bonding of the metallic pool equipment.

To avoid this in a saltwater pool, you would need to check the pH levels and use a saltwater-compatible scale inhibitor.

Pros and cons of a saltwater pool

Pros:

  • Salt water pools have a consistent level of chlorine, which is also lower than traditional pools
  • Salt water pools are gentler on the eyes and skin
  • May be safer because there are no chemicals that need to be handled or stored
  • Saltwater pools require a lot less maintenance compared to traditional chlorinated pools.

Cons:

  • Salt water pools are more expensive than traditional pools
  • They are more complex than traditional pools and may require experienced technicians in the case of even minor problems
  • Phosphates in water can cause issues with the generator, so you would want to make sure phosphate levels are checked at your local pool store regularly and treated immediately if found present in water.
  • The cell needs cleaned periodically, which can be tedious
  • Salt is damaging to certain materials, so you will have to avoid certain heaters, fixtures, lighting, liners, and even masonry.

Whether or not a salt water pool is best for your family depends on a number of things. However, in the long run, it makes more sense to consider one if you can afford the initial investment. They are gentler on skin and eyes, some think naturally created chlorine is healthier to swim in, and overall, salt pools have less maintenance.


If you’re considering a salt water pool and want to learn more about their benefits–and potential downfalls– our team is here for you. Contact Eversole Pool and Spa at 419-221-3494.

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