Ever since its incorporation as a standard form of pool maintenance, people have had love-hate relationship with chlorine. This chemical is great for keeping things clean, but it triggers a lot of health issues in sensitive individuals. It’s also a very hands-on component that requires regular testing and applications to remain at optimal levels. So it’s no surprise that everyone has been looking for a better solution for decades. Enter saltwater pools.
Contrary to what you might believe, saltwater pools have actually been around for awhile. They have nonetheless begun to get their moment in the spotlight. Perhaps that’s because our busy modern lifestyles have caused people to take another look at them. Saltwater pools are far more hands-free than traditional systems. They also eliminate a lot of the problems that most people generally have with chlorine pools.
However, it’s important to note that saltwater pools still do use chlorine. The chemical is simply present in lower levels than would be found in a traditional swimming pools. It’s also used in a slightly different form. Therefore, there aren’t as many health related side effects that come from using saltwater pools as there are when homeowners use traditional systems. But it’s not all roses and sunshine with saltwater systems either! So here’s a look at what’s good about them and what’s not.
Pros and Cons of Saltwater Pools vs. Traditional Chlorine Pools
Saltwater Pools – Pros
- No harsh chlorine smells.
- Not as likely to irritate eyes or skin.
- Probably won’t turn blonde hair green.
- May not be as likely to dry your hair out as a chlorine system.
- Less health issues arise from swimming in these pools in general.
- Less wear on swimsuits, pool toys, pool tiles etc.
- Water may feel better to swimmers.
- Pool owners no longer have to use (and store) corrosive chemicals.
- Lower maintenance overall.
- May cost less to maintain.
Saltwater Pools – Cons:
- More expensive start up costs than a traditional chlorine pool. Saltwater systems initially cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars apiece.
- Fuel cells have to be replaced every three to seven years, which costs anywhere from $200 to $ every time. However, this is still less than the average yearly cost of purchasing chlorine.
- Calcium buildup can be an issue, clogging up the works in your pool and causing unsightly spots. But this problem is treatable by adding other chemicals to the water on a regular basis.
- Salt corrosion is a major concern. Replacing rusted metal fixtures, such as pool ladders and light units, is the tip of the iceberg here. Salt water can also damage lawns and paved areas.
- People whose in-ground pools are backed up by metal pieces could be in for some seriously expensive trouble if their pool lining springs a leak.
- Saltwater systems generally run on computer based systems, which can easily be damaged if there is a power surge.
Helpful Links & Videos for Those Making the Switch
Readers should be fully aware that a lot of the informational material that’s available on this subject has produced by companies that sell either pool products and services. So adjust your expectations accordingly and take everything they say with more than a grain of salt. (LOL!) But, with that said, here are some links and videos that you might find helpful if you plan on making the switch from chlorine to saltwater.
- More useful basic info about saltwater systems vs traditional ones.
- This article has some video links embedded in it, but it’s more text than video.
- Scroll down the page for their 5 step guide on how to convert to up a saltwater pool.
- A DIY video on installing a saltwater pool system.
- A Video Guide to saltwater pool maintenance.
Do you have any personal experience with saltwater pools or a conversion from chlorine to saltwater? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments below.