Salt water pools or freshwater pools? This is perhaps one of the most debated questions among pool owners these days. Those that own a salt water pool swear that it provides a host of benefits and well worth the investment. Those that have stuck with traditional freshwater pools see the disadvantages of buying a salt water pool outweighing its benefits.
Free from chlorine?
If you had the opportunity to swim in a salt water pool, the one thing that you will notice is that it does not emit that nasty chlorine smell you would expect from a swimming pool. That, plus the fact that no chlorine tablets or liquid chlorine are used in it, many assume that salt water pools are chlorine-free.
The truth is that salt water pools do contain chlorine, but the levels are often much lower than those found non “salt” treated pools. That’s because the chlorine is extracted from the salt found in the pool’s water by the salt chlorine generator through a process called electrolysis.
Benefits of salt water pools
Gentle on the skin and eyes
Since salt water pools contain lower levels of chlorine compared to freshwater pools, it doesn’t cause your skin and eyes to get irritated. At the same time, the salt in your pool’s water won’t sting your eyes since the amount of salt here is only a fraction compared to what you find in sea water.
Provides a host of health benefits
Studies have shown that regularly bathing in salt water can provide a lot of different health benefits. For starters, salt serves as a natural exfoliant and helps draw out toxins from your skin cells. At the same time, it encourages your skin cells to regenerate and retain moisture.
Other health benefits that have been found to be linked to regularly swimming or bathing in salt water include improving blood circulation and boosting your immune system.
Maintain with ease
Salt water swimming pools are far easier to maintain compared to fresh water swimming pools. That’s because your salt water pool system practically goes into automatic pilot so to speak the moment it’s installed for as long as your chlorine generator is working properly.
When the salt water passes through the chlorine generator in your salt water’s pool system, the generator will only break down just enough salt to produce the right amount of chlorine needed to disinfect and clean your pool. That means that there is a continuous and steady supply of chlorine that flows in your pool’s water.
Rain is one of the “enemies” of freshwater pool owners, but among saltwater pool owners, rain is a really good friend.
Studies have shown that rainwater, especially those that fall in regions near bodies of salt water, contain trace amounts of salt. Although the amounts are not significant, this still provides your pool’s chlorine generator a supply to convert into chlorine to help keep your pool safe and clean.
Disadvantages of Salt Water Pools
Given all of these benefits, it should not be a surprised why salt water pools are becoming increasingly popular. However, this is only one side of the story. The truth is, owning a salt water pool does also have its set of drawbacks.
Building a salt water pool in your home cost significantly more than a freshwater pool for two reasons.
First, salt is highly corrosive towards metal and other types of materials. If you want to build a salt water pool in your backyard, you will need to make sure that all of the materials used in constructing your pool can withstand salt’s corrosive property.
Second, salt water pool systems are far more complex to install. You will need to hire experienced pool contractors and technicians to help install your salt water pool system.
A toll on your electricity bill
While salt water pools can save you money from buying pool chemicals and regularly testing your pool water, they can cause a significant increase in your home’s electricity bill.
The chlorine generator in your salt water pool’s system is only able to produce chlorine when the pool pump is running. This means that you will need to have both your pool pump and your chlorine generator running for long periods of time to make sure that the chlorine in your pool’s water are within the right levels for it to keep it clean and safe for swimming. Combine this with running your pool’s heater, filter, and other components, this can make a huge impact on your home’s electric bill.
Hazard to the environment
Salt water not only corrodes metals and other types of materials. They also pose a serious effect on the environment. Salt water pools have been found to be linked to soil and water salinity to occur at alarming rates, affecting many species of plants and animals as well as the availability of drinking water.
Because of this, many cities in the US and other parts of the world have actually considered it to be illegal to build a saltwater swimming pool. If you’re leaning on having one built in your backyard, it’s very important to first check with your local city government.
As you can see, salt water pools do have their advantages and disadvantages just like freshwater pools. There is really no clear winner at which one is better. At the end of the day, the best way to decide is to carefully weigh both sides and check with local regulations in your area. That way, you will be able to make a sound decision on whether building a salt water swimming pool is truly worth the investment.