When it comes to purchasing a pool for your home, you face the choice of a salt water or chlorine pool. In recent years, salt water pools have become increasingly popular. While in the past, you may not have even thought about any options beyond a chlorine pool, it is now important to weigh the costs and benefits of each to decide which to go with for your family and guests. As you will see, the decision goes beyond just cost.
Difference Between Salt Water and Chlorine Pools
Pools cleaned and treated with chlorine have been around since the early 20th century. The water is treated with chlorine to kill bacteria and algae (the thick green stuff). Even though the debate is salt water vs. chlorine pools, salt water pools still use chlorine for sanitation. Due to the chemical composition of salt (chlorine and sodium) a salt water system uses electrolysis to separate the chlorine from the sodium and that chlorine is used to sanitize the pool. With a chlorine pool, you have to add chlorine tablets on a regular basis, which includes additives that are irritants to the eyes and skin.
Benefits of Chlorine Pools
Chlorine pools have been around for decades, in fact, for nearly 100 years. Chlorine has proven itself over the years as an effective way to treat pool water, keeping it sanitary and preventing algae buildup. It is also cheaper to purchase and install a chlorine pool as opposed to a salt water pool, so the upfront costs are less. With a chlorine pool, you can turn the pump on and off whenever you like to conserve energy, while salt water pools must have their pump running 24/7 to prevent damage to the system. With a chlorine pool, you also don’t have to worry about salt corrosion which can damage the metal in and around the pool.
Benefits of Salt Water Pools
The reason salt water pools have become so popular is because of their numerous advantages over traditional chlorine pools. First, the larger amount of chlorine and the added chemicals to the chlorine mix in chlorine pools can be harsh on the skin and eyes of many swimmers. Even if you and your family do not notice it so much, guests may. Salt water pools, while they do contain chlorine, do not have the added chemicals that tend to cause the eye and skin reactions in swimmers. Also, it is generally less costly to maintain a salt water pool. You don’t have to add somewhat expensive chlorine tablets on a regular basis. Finally, salt water is generally softer than chlorinated water, so it is more pleasant to swim in. And because the total amount of salt used in a salt water pool is actually rather minor, it can feel almost like swimming in fresh water.
Maintenance is Necessary for Both Salt Water and Chlorine Pools
Regardless of which system you go with, a pool requires regular maintenance. With a salt water pool, you will not have to add in the chlorine tablets or treatments, but you will still need to monitor pH levels and clear debris from the pool. On occasion, you may also need to add salt to the water.
Which Type of Pool is Right for You?
It is estimated that 90 percent of all new pools being installed are salt water pools. They are easier to maintain, offer a better swimming experience, are less harsh on your eyes and skin and are cheaper to operate. However, they are more expensive to install and do require you to understand how to operate them. If you have had a chlorine pool in the past and had no issues with it, you may be better off not making the switch. However, if you can afford the upfront costs, it may be worth your while to go with a salt water pool. It may prove to be a more enjoyable experience for you and your family.