The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Salt Water Pool System

Within the last five years, the swimming pool industry has found that more and more people prefer salt water systems for their pools as opposed to methods with chlorine because of its swimmer-friendly nature. As a pool owner, it’s important that you weigh the pros and cons of a salt water system prior to installing one in your backyard. With over 1.4 million salt water pools world-wide, there are plenty of advantages as well as disadvantages to these systems.

Advantages of a Salt Water Pool System

The widespread use of salt water pools across the world speaks to their many advantages such as ease of use and fewer toxic chemicals. Some benefits of a salt water pool system, include:

  • Less Maintenance: A great feature of a salt water pool is that they require far less maintenance compared to their chlorine counterpart. Salt systems automatically generate chlorine as water passes through the system’s generator and into the pool’s water. Once the chlorine mixes with the water, it reverts back to salt, and the process repeats itself. This automatic chlorination helps to keep both salt and chlorine levels balanced long-term and eliminates the need for storing and mixing the traditional pool chemicals. Even though your swimming pool’s levels will most likely upkeep themselves, it’s important that you’re checking the water’s pH, chlorine, and salt levels on a routine basis.
  • Healthier Skin, Hair, and Eyes: Salt water systems generate a less harsh level of chlorine called sodium hypochlorite. This substance has the same sanitizing properties as chlorine, but has a positive pH, allowing for less irritation to swimmers’ skin, hair, and eyes. Salt water pools are a great alternative for those that have sensitive skin because of its soothing properties. In addition to softer skin, salt systems makes hair less crispy and dry compared to traditional pools. If you have friends or family that spend a lot of time in the pool during the swimming season, salt water is a perfect option for you!
  • No Harsh Chemicals: Another added benefit of salt systems is their lack of harsh chemicals, which includes storing, mixing, and swimming in them. This type of pool has a salt water electro-chlorinator that uses electricity to change salt into sodium hypochlorite. This conversion process is done automatically, with no harsh chemicals. It’s recommended that pool owners add new salt to their water a few times per year, on an as needed basis.

Disadvantages of a Salt Water Pool System

Even though salt water pools are celebrated for their natural properties, there are some distinct disadvantages to them. Downsides of salt systems, include:

  • Corrosiveness: Arguably the main disadvantage of a salt water pool system is the corrosive nature of salt against materials like stone. As a pool owner, it’s recommended that you seal any porous surface that will get repeated exposure to the salt water in order to prevent damage. Additionally, it’s important to know that wear and tear will most likely happen to stone surfaces throughout the lifespan of your salt water pool, making this a risk you need to weigh when deciding if you should install this water system.
  • High Start-Up and Replacement Costs: Compared to traditional chlorine pools, salt water systems cost more to initially install. Most of the high cost is focused in the salt water chlorinator and the replacement expenses associated with the chlorinator’s salt cell, which is the component that converts salt to sodium hypochlorite. Although the equipment is more expensive than alternative options, salt water systems don’t use any added chemicals, quickly saving pool owners money in the long-run.
  • Systems Need to be Constantly Run: Salt water systems need to be always operating in order to convert the salt into sodium hypochlorite. This can add extra utility expenses. A good benchmark to use in estimating the additional utility costs for a salt water pool system is for every 20,000 gallons of water, plan on using 500 more watts of power.

As a pool owner, you need to decide if the advantages of a salt water pool system outweigh the disadvantages. No harsh chemicals, less maintenance, and decreased skin irritation are all great benefits of salt systems. The higher price tag for start-up and replacement costs combined with the extra wear and tear definitely need to be taken into consideration prior to choosing this pool water system. If you’re considering installing a salt water system and have additional questions, contact the pool experts at LinerWorld!

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