Saltwater vs Chlorine Pools: What’s the difference?

Saltwater vs Chlorine Pools: What’s the difference?

Being a pool owner is no easy occupation. The cost of having a slice of paradise in your backyard involves not just money, but time as well. Potential pool owners face several decisions when buying a pool. For example, size, shape and above- or in-ground. Another important decision that pool owners face is whether to have a chlorine or saltwater based pool. So, what exactly is the difference?

Contrary to popular belief, saltwater pools do actually contain chlorine, albeit a lower level than traditional chlorine pools. After all, chlorine is one of the key chemicals keeping your pool clean and swim safe. Rather than adding chlorine sticks or tablets, saltwater pool owners add salt to their pool, which is then turned into chlorine through a saltwater generator.

Benefits of Saltwater Pools:

Saltwater pools have their advantages and drawbacks. Some of the most immediate benefits that saltwater pools owners will experience is that the water is easier on the eyes, gentler on the skin and reduces swimsuit fading. This is all due to the lower levels of chlorine in the pool. Despite their name, however, saltwater pools aren’t all that salty. In fact, they contain the same amount of salinity as the human eye.

Lower maintenance costs are one of the major benefits that saltwater pool owners reap. Saltwater pool owners can go two weeks without touching their pool provided they maintain it consistently. In contrast, traditional chlorine pool owners need to maintain their pool weekly to keep pool water clean, clear and algae free.

Drawbacks of Saltwater Pools:

One of the greatest drawbacks of owning a saltwater pool is the upfront cost of installing a saltwater generator. Overall, it will take a few years to recoup the installation costs through less money spent on pool maintenance chemicals.

Another drawback of owning a saltwater pool is when a problem arises it’s often not an easy fix and you may have to employ the help of a professional pool cleaner. Unlike with chlorine pools where owners can solve problems using home testing kits and the right combination of chemicals, complex problems may arise with saltwater pools.

Another problem that owners may face with saltwater pools is the effect the water has on pool parts. Elements such as lighting, liner and masonry may not be able to withstand exposure to saltwater, especially if the pool has been converted from a chlorine pool. For example, a concrete pool will likely need to be resurfaced earlier than normal following a conversion.

Benefits of Chlorine Pools

To begin with, chlorine pools present a more affordable initial investment than saltwater pools. Yearly chemical costs are definitely higher for chlorine pools, though they use less electricity than saltwater pools. Chlorine pools are easier to maintain than saltwater pools as well. If a problem arises, chances are you will be able to fix it yourself. Finally, chlorine pools are less likely to cause damage to lighting, liners or masonry.

Drawbacks of Chlorine Pools:

Chlorine pools are harsher on the eyes and skin due to the higher concentration of chlorine present. They’re also more expensive to maintain, especially during hotter weather when chlorine dissolves from the pool quicker. Chlorine pools need to be monitored more often as well. You may need to shock your chlorine pool to get rid of algae periodically.