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saltwater pools VS freshwater pool

Pros and Cons: Saltwater VS Freshwater Pools

It’s great having a swimming pool when that summer heat rolls in. You get to cool down, get a workout and have fun all at the same time. The only real issue when it comes to pools is the work involved in maintaining that crystal-clear water.

Chlorine is a great way to keep the water sanitary and germ-free. But there are two very different was to get that chlorine into the pool – saltwater pools and freshwater pools.

Hang on, did we just say both a freshwater swimming pool and a saltwater swimming pool? If you’re like most people, that comment probably made you do a double take. You probably thought that a salt water pool was completely different to a chlorine pool.

After all, one of the selling points for the saltwater option is that it is a more natural approach to pool care. People who love this type of pool sanitization option say that it’s great because you don’t have to worry about burning eyes and itching skin.

What you might not be as aware of, though, is that both options sanitize the water using Chlorine. Want to learn more? In this post, we’ll give you the full rundown so that you can choose the best option for you.

 

What’s the Difference?

With your typical freshwater option, you’ll need to buy Chlorine and throw it in. This will need to be done on a reasonably regular basis. You’ll need to test the pH of the water from time to time to ensure that you maintain the balance between clean water and not burning your skin.

The primary difference between the two is that the saltwater option makes use of a chlorine generator. All you need to do is to add salt, and the generator will break it down so that it forms chlorine gas. It’s a pretty simple process and extremely effective.

The fact that you only need to buy salt saves you a lot of money over the long-term. Pool maintenance is also a lot easier because you don’t need to add salt very often. Once the initial system is up and running, it might be a couple of years before you need to even consider it again.

The process is basically self-regulating. All you need to ensure is that there is enough salt in the water initially and then it will run itself. The whole solution is preferable to a more traditional system because there are fewer chemicals that need to be added overall.

So you can pretty much say goodbye to red eyes and itchy skin because of too many chemicals in the water.

 

What are the Costs?

Right off the bat, you must expect to pay more for the saltwater option initially. This makes sense because you need to have a generator to process the salt. You can also expect your energy costs to be slightly higher because Chlorine is infused into the water over time.

Another thing to bear in mind is that salt is corrosive over time. Your equipment won’t last quite as long as would be the case with a traditional option. You will usually have to replace the cells in your generator around every five years or so.

So, why would anyone choose the saline option? Because even with all the above, you are going to save money. Chlorine comes in at about $2 per pound. You’ll need to add it regularly, and so you are looking at spending about $300 to $800 annually.

Salt, on the other hand, comes in at around $0.15 per pound. You’ll need to buy a few pounds initially, but once the system is running, that’s it for a good couple of years. You’re looking at around $2 annually to keep your water sparkling and clean.

You could save some money on your pool service. They won’t have to charge you as much for chemicals or testing, and you can have them come in less frequently.

 

Maintenance, Time and Effort

This has to be where the primary advantage of saltwater comes in. Understanding why means understanding something about how the process works. It’s simple:

  • You add the salt to the water
  • This mixture flows through your generator
  • By using electrolysis, the generator converts the salt to chlorine gas
  • The chlorine sanitizes the water and then reverts to salt.
  • The cycle then starts all over again.

The simplicity of the process means that maintenance of the system, in general, is negligible. You are still going to have to perform standard maintenance, like clearing the pool of debris and making sure that the filter is clear.

You will also need to make sure that all the pool equipment is regularly cleaned out to get rid of any encrustation. By and large, though, maintenance in this instance is a breeze. You’ll really only need to add salt every few years, or if the pool needs to be drained for some reason.

You will still need to test the pH of the water, but overall it should be more balanced. As long as the generator is working, you know that the water is clean and sanitary. In fact, the constant supply of chlorinated water means that this system is safer than a traditional option.

Which is best for you?

So, which option do you choose? The advantage of your standard system is that it doesn’t cost as much to install. You also won’t need to pony up to replace the cells of a generator every five years or so. That could cost between $200 and $700 depending on what generator you have.

With the more standard setup, you also don’t need to worry about corrosion. This is something that you might want to keep in mind if you have metal window frames, paling, etc. anywhere close to your swimming bath.

On the downside, though, is that you will need to do more maintenance. You have to check the pool and add exactly the right dose, and you have to do it regularly. This makes the whole process a lot more expensive and labor-intensive than is the case with a saline solution.

The saline solution also provides more consistent results. With standard methods, you add your chemicals, and their beneficial effects wear off over time. With saline, the process is consistent, so your water quality is better overall.

Which option should you choose? Your best bet is to speak to a professional in the area. They will be able to advise you on what the right option is for you.

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