Though saltwater pools are slowly growing in popularity among homeowners, traditionally maintained chlorine pools still offer the same great benefits that have made them the most popular type of pool on the market today. Read on for a few ideas about what to keep in mind if you’re thinking of settling on a chlorine pool.

How Chlorine Pools Work

The main difference between chlorine and saltwater pools is that rather than producing their own chlorine through electrolysis, chlorine pools need to receive regular chlorine treatments to ensure that they stay clean and safe. Chlorine dissipates very quickly in the sun, so many pool treatments make use of slow-acting chlorine tablets or sticks that release a small but steady supply of chlorine into the pool through a feeder. It’s also possible to treat a pool with liquid chlorine, which is delivered to the pool via pump.

The key to maintaining a chlorine pool is to keep your chemical levels balanced so that everything is safe and working properly. For example, a pool treatment chemical called cyanuric acid is used to prevent the chlorine in tablets and liquid treatments from dissipating so quickly—but be careful! Too much cyanuric acid can stop the chlorine from sanitizing your pool. Homeowners should also remember to follow the label instructions on their chlorine treatments in order to make sure that the pH balance of their pools stays at ideal levels and that the amount of chlorine in the pool doesn’t grow too high.

With regular maintenance and care, chlorine pools will stay sparkling clean and blue all summer long. Many homeowners spend the hotter months enjoying the benefits of a well-maintained chlorine pool, but if you’re still on the fence about a chlorine system, here’s a helpful list of the good and bad aspects of owning one:

The Positive

  • Chlorine systems are less expensive to install than saltwater systems; treating your pool with chlorine and setting up a chlorine system will set you back less than a saltwater chlorine generator will.

  • Though saltwater pools are easier to maintain than chlorine pools, they do need maintenance, and you’re more likely to find a pool company that can treat a chlorine system.

  • A chlorine pool will not dissolve any adjacent pool furniture or structures the way that the airborne salt from a saltwater system will, so there’s no need to modify your existing pool system or install special noncorrosive materials.

The Negative

  • Chlorine pools aren’t as gentle as saltwater pools, and the water can dry out hair and irritate eyes and skin even when properly maintained.

  • Chlorine pools require much more meticulous maintenance than saltwater pools do.

  • The gases from a chlorine pool system and the necessity of having pool treatment chemicals delivered don’t make for the most eco-friendly pool.

Chlorine pools are less expensive up front and less likely to corrode pool structures that aren’t specially made, while saltwater pools are more eco-friendly and more cost-effective in the long run. With careful planning, though, either pool system can make a great addition to the right home.

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Sources: DoItYourself; Fun Times Guide; This Old House.

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