How does a saltwater pool work?
A saltwater pool works via a saltwater chlorinator. Salt is added to the salt cell generator where it is converted into chlorine through a process called electrolysis. The actual concentration of salt in your pool is very low, around 3,000pm, which means it’s barely detectable and not salty tasting at all. The difference between a traditional chlorine pool and a saltwater pool is that you add salt in place of chlorine. Chlorine is the active ingredient for both methods of sanitation however, the dose of chlorine made with a saltwater generator is considerably lower. This means you can get the same result using less chlorine.
Benefits to choosing saltwater over chlorine:
Gentler on the body
Most people can say they’ve been in a pool before that has a pungent chlorine odour and stings their eyes when they’re swimming. Even if you don’t notice these obvious signs of an overdosed chlorine pool, the bottom line is chlorine can be harsh on your skin, hair, and clothing. This doesn’t happen with a saltwater pool. As the dose is so low, you don’t have to worry about bleached clothes, green hair, or skin flare-ups. Saltwater pools are known to have a softer feel when moving through the water, this boosts the overall comfortability and enjoyment of swimming in the water.
There will be times when you need to backwash your filter, it’ll rain heavily and the water in your pool will overflow, or if you’ve got to it in time, you’ll be able to drain some of the water out. This water inevitably ends up in the sewerage systems and negatively impacts our environment. The dose of chlorine in a saltwater pool is drastically less, meaning that when these things occur, the burden it places on the ecosystem is minimised.
Save yourself some money
When you weigh up the cost between a traditional chlorine system or a saltwater generator, the saltwater generator is more expensive. While the initial cost is more, the long-term savings you can reap from not having to buy chlorine can add up. Salt is far more economical to purchase than chlorine.
Works just as well as a traditional chlorine pool
Some assume that if you are cutting back on the chlorine dose, the standard of sanitisation won’t be as effective however, this simply isn’t the case. The chlorine generated from the saltwater generator is of much better quality and is extremely effective at killing pathogens such as bacteria and algae in the water.
No handling or storing hazardous chemicals
Chlorine is a hazardous product and can damage the skin, eyes and lungs when not handled or stored correctly. When using chlorine to sanitise your pool, this is something that you need to be always mindful of. It needs to be stored out of reach and out of direct sunlight.
A traditional chlorine pool requires you to add the chlorine to the pool, and it is up to you to get the timing and dosage correct. If you’ve accidentally overdosed your pool, it’s likely that it’s going to have a strong odour and give your swimmers itchy skin and stinging eyes. Underdosing the chlorine can lead to a green pool. This can be a hassle at times and it can take up time that could be better spent doing other things like swimming.
A saltwater pool differs as the saltwater generator automatically disperses the correct dose of chlorine to the pool. It takes out the stress of balancing your pools chemicals.
Better for those with respiratory concerns
As the chlorine binds the pollutants in the swimming pool, it makes by-products that can harm swimmers. These by-products can irritate the eyes, skins, and lungs. The strong chlorine smell can trigger breathing issues in those with respiratory concerns. Saltwater pools are virtually odour-free, and the likelihood of experiencing a respiratory episode from a saltwater pool is drastically reduced. The swimmer can swim without their breathing being impacted by the fumes.
Downfalls to a saltwater pool:
While saltwater pools have many benefits, they do have a couple of downfalls, and before you invest in one, it’s only fair you know both the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision.
Cost more to purchase
As we touched on earlier, saltwater systems cost more to buy than a traditional chlorine system. You will also need to factor in the installation cost as it typically requires a professional.
As for the ongoing costs, the salt cell usually needs replacing after 3 to 5 years.
Can I convert my traditional chlorine pool to saltwater?
In short, yes you can. It is not a DIY job though, so if you already have a pool and a traditional chlorine system and you’d like to switch it over, make sure you hire an experienced plumber. Getting it wrong can cause major issues for your pool that will not only be time-consuming to fix but costly too.
They aren't maintenance-free
Regardless of the pool sanitation system you choose, all require some level of maintenance and while saltwater is less than a chlorine pool, it still requires some effort on your part to keep it in optimal working order and your pool gleaming year-round.
Corrosion can occur
Corrosion can occur if you don’t look after your salt generator or pool. If you are looking after your equipment as necessary, this isn’t a problem you’ll need to worry about.
Saltwater vs Chlorine
Both saltwater systems and chlorine systems are powerful sanitising agents, and they work equally as well to clean the water. Chlorine has been around since the get-go and continues to be a widely used sanitation solution for pools across Australia. There are some clear benefits of using saltwater, and most choose it due to the lower chlorine levels and the difference in the water. The no chlorine smell and stinging eyes is a big selling point. Ultimately, when it comes to making the choice of which one is better, that comes down to the individual what their preferences are.
Think saltwater may be a good choice?
We hope this post has given you a little insight into saltwater pools and what they are all about. If you are in the market for a new pool and you’re weighing up your sanitation options, remember there are others out there available such as minerals. Our team here at Barrier Reef Pools Perth manufacture and install innovative and stunning fibreglass pools and spas. Our entire pool collection pairs well with all sanitisation options, saltwater included. If you’d like more information about installing a pool with a saltwater system or would like to convert to saltwater, get in touch! We’d be happy to discuss your options with you.