Saltwater pools have now been around for over 20 years and are in wide use across many areas of the world. Originally invented for the Australian pool market, the concept quickly spread here to the United States and you can find Salt Water Generators (SWG) in every region of the country. All of the major manufacturers make a SWG and there are a number of smaller brands on the market also.
So, what exactly is a Saltwater Pool? There are is a lot of misinformation out there and the following points here should clear that up for you.
Do Saltwater Pools use chlorine?
The the process is quite complex but the SWG will take the salt and convert it into chlorine. Yes, I did say chlorine. A Salt Pool is a Chlorine Pool. It just adds chlorine to your pool in a way that is safe and non-toxic. No chemicals to handle or add but the SWG does produce chlorine. So a Saltwater pool is a chlorine pool.
How much salt is in the water?
The salinity level of the Ocean is 35,000 ppm. A Human tear is 6,000 ppm and your average salt pool is 3,100 to 3,400 ppm. Technically you can barely taste the salt in the water. So no, it won't be like swimming in the ocean. Not even anywhere close. It does look daunting when you initially charge your pool with salt. Depending on your pool size you will need to add 400-800 lbs of salt. It seems like a lot but in reality, it is not. At least not like the Ocean. One ppm is like a single penny in $10,000 dollars. Basically, the amount of salt in your pool, if it were converted to money, would be like $34.00 in $10,000.
Will a Saltwater Pool save me money?
No, the only way to save money on your pool is to fill it with dirt and plant grass over it. Having a pool is an expensive venture no matter how you look at it. A SWG will run you anywhere from $1,000 to $1,600 and every five years you will be swapping out the salt cell and dropping down another $400-$700. If you are even slightly proficient in math you will see that over a course of five years you could have bought a ton of pool chemicals for that amount. A Saltwater Pool will not save you any money, and it will cost you more in the long run.
A Saltwater Pool is corrosive?
My Sister-In-Law lives right on the beach in Newport Ca. All of her light fixtures, iron fencing and even her LCD T. V’s need to be replaced every three or four years. The salt is so powerful from the Ocean that her house 100 yards away is dramatically affected. The T. V’s are safe in the house you would think, but the electronics inside still get destroyed. Not so with your salt pool. The salinity level will not reach such a level to damage your deck or your equipment. Relax and stop hosing off your deck after the kids go swimming, the salt in the water is not at a corrosive level.
Aren’t Salt Water Systems hard to operate?
They are amazingly reliable except for a few brands that you should avoid. The only issue is if the cell gets calcium build-up it will stop producing, but simply cleaning the cell will get it working again. The SWG control panels have gotten more user-friendly over the years and most will tell you the salt level along with LED lights to let you know it is operating correctly. Like anything else a SWG needs some monitoring but usually, works very well with no real issues.
What about the pH in a Saltwater Pool?
Rising pH is a drawback in a Saltwater Pool and it has to do with the SWG production. the pH does rise dramatically in your pool. There are ways to counter this. You can add Borates to your pool to achieve a level of 50 ppm and this will prevent rapid pH climb as the SWG is working. You can also invest a few hundred dollars in a pH (Acid Pump) and let that keep your water in balance. Not a major drawback but something you need to know.
Do Saltwater Pools make your pool easy to maintain and make the water is softer?
This is one of the best benefits of a Saltwater Pool - your pool will be easy to maintain as the SWG adds chlorine to the pool for you. No more handling of harsh chemicals or your chlorine zeroing out allowing your pool to turn on you. Plus, the water is much softer and you won't have any harsh chemical smells to deal with.
There are some great benefits with a Saltwater Pool and it is really up to you if you are willing to invest in a SWG and convert your pool to salt.
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