Spring is nearly here, and pool weather isn’t far behind! If you’re thinking of adding a pool to your home this spring or summer, you might have more options than you think. There’s nothing wrong with choosing a chlorine pool system, but more and more homeowners are opting to go for saltwater pools. If you’re interested in a saltwater pool system of your own, read on for some of the things you might want to take into consideration before diving in.

How Do Saltwater Pools Work?

Saltwater pools, despite their name, are actually chlorinated—the two systems are different not because one is chlorinated and one isn’t, but because each one’s relationship with chlorine is different. In a chlorine pool system, the pool relies on regular chlorine treatments to stay sparkling clean. On the other hand, a saltwater pool system actually makes its own chlorine from salt.

Generally, saltwater pools use one of two types of electric saltwater chlorine generators. One type of generator produces its own salt water using a predetermined amount of salt that comes with the unit; the other type converts salt water to chlorine as water passes over it, requiring salt to be added to the pool. Both types require little upkeep and cause far less discomfort than chlorine-treated pools due to their lower chlorine levels.

Saltwater pools are becoming more popular in the US because of their easy upkeep and eco-friendly system design, but before you jump in, you might want to keep your options in mind. Below are some positive and negative factors of saltwater pools:

The Positive

  • You’ll save on the cost of having chlorine treatments.

  • Chlorine levels in saltwater pools are lower, and saltwater pools are therefore much easier on the skin, eyes, hair, and swimwear.

  • Because saltwater pools barely emit chlorine gases and don’t need chlorine deliveries from trucks that release fumes, saltwater systems are an eco-friendly alternative to chlorine-based ones.

  • A saltwater pool only needs to be cleaned thoroughly about once a year, when it’s necessary to scrub the surfaces of the pool and inspect the saltwater chlorine generator.

The Negative

  • The saltwater chlorine generator will likely cause your electric bills to climb.

  • Saltwater pool systems are more expensive to install than chlorine pools, though homeowners who don’t need to pay for chlorine treatments will save money in the long run.

  • The amount of salt in the air from a saltwater pool could be corrosive to adjacent pool structures and furniture, and the saline in the water could disintegrate pool walls and ladders. This is usually a problem when pools made for chlorine systems are used for saltwater systems, and the problem can be avoided by using noncorrosive materials in the pool’s construction so that the pool is designed for salt water from the get-go.

Saltwater pools can be great alternatives to chlorine pools. They might be a little more costly up front, but they’re comfortable, relatively low-maintenance, and even eco-friendly. If you’re still keeping your options open, check out part two of this blog for a closer look at basic chlorine pool systems.

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Sources: AQUA; DoItYourself; Fun Times Guide; Naturally Savvy; The Washington Times.

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