Salt Vs Chlorine Pool: Beyond Maintenance
Check out a video all about pool maintenance here.
There are more issues to consider than maintenance when deciding between a salt vs chlorine pool. Here are a few things you may like to consider before you make your decision:
Cost: saltwater pools typically cost more to install than chlorine, yet the running costs can be considerably cheaper.
Comfort: for many salt water is a preferred water choice as it is typically more pleasant to swim in for your skin, eyes and swimwear. Swimming in salt water can feel like youve swum in the ocean rather than smelling like chlorine. However, for some, the residue of salt doesnt always appeal.
Reduced chemical exposure: as a natural product, exposure to salt is safe for adults, kids and pets. When deciding between the two water types, reducing exposure to corrosive chemicals is considered a plus.
Landscaping: salt water can kill plants in addition to robbing soil of nutrients.
Saltwater Vs Traditional Chlorine Pool: Which Is Best For You
So, youre trying to decide between a saltwater system and a traditional chlorine poolwell, here are some straight facts to help you make the right decision for your pool.
First things firstboth a saltwater system and a traditional chlorine pool rely on chlorine to kill off bacteria in the water. The main difference is how chlorine is generated.
Pros And Cons Of Chlorine Water Treatment
Chlorine is preferable over other treatment options for a variety of reasons:
- It is more affordable and cost effective.
- Chlorine hot tubs require less upkeep and last longer than salt water hot tubs.
- Chlorine achieves the cleanliness and oxidation levels that other chemicals and methods do not.
- Chlorine does not cause any damage to the features of hot tubs and pools.
Some cons of chlorine are:
- People with sensitivities to chlorine can experience irritation to their skin, scalp, and eyes upon exposure to a chlorine pool or hot tub.
- If there are large amounts of chlorine gas hovering over your hot tub or pool, it can be harmful for your lungs.
- Chlorine carries a very distinctive smell that some people find unpleasant.
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Why You Should Leave Pool Maintenance To The Pros
With all the expense involved in owning a pool, cutting extra costs may seem like a good idea. But the reality is that a pool is a lot like your house: you have to take care of it to protect your investment. Regular and preventative maintenance is part of that.
If you think youre up for handling your own pool maintenance, heres what you can expect to do on a weekly basis :
- Remove leaves and any other debris floating in the pool, and empty the skimmer basket.
- Vacuum the floor of the pool and use a stiff brush to remove dirt and algae from the walls of the pool.
- Test the water and adjust chemicals as necessary .
- Service the filter and pump system.
If you live in a part of the country where swimming outdoors is not a year-round activity, youll also need to winterize and close the pool at the end of the summer and open it again in the spring. These tasks are typically more labor intensive.
This may not seem overwhelming on paper, but schedules get busy, and finding an hour or two to devote to your pool several times each week can be easier said than done. Thats why hiring a pro is your best bet.
Pool professionals have seen it all, and theyre experts when it comes to balancing chemicals, catching problems with pump and filter systems before they become expensive disasters, and finding ways to make your pool more efficient. On top of all that, the pros can usually knock out standard maintenance tasks in a fraction of the time they would normally take you.
Salt Water Pool Systems Vs Chlorine Pools
There are so many opinions when it comes to salt water pool systems versus chlorine pool treatment. Most of the focus is on cost and maintenance. However, for me, it was the health benefits.
Chlorine is the chemical most often used to keep swimming pools and jacuzzi’s free of bacteria that can be hazardous to humans.
Chlorine kills bacteria through a relatively simple chemical reaction. The chlorine solution you add to the pool water breaks down into many different chemicals, including hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite ion . Both kill microorganisms and bacteria by attacking the lipids in the cell walls and destroying the enzymes and structures inside the cell, rendering them oxidized and harmless. In the effort to kill bacteria using chlorine in pools, there are health concerns such as gasses that are inhaled and the damage it does to skin, hair and eyes. Most green parents are concerned about overexposure to high levels of chlorine absorbed through the skin.
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What Is A Salt Water Swimming Pool
A saltwater pool is not a chlorine-free pool. Salt chlorine generators offer an alternative method of sanitizing a pool by using salt to produce its own chlorine automatically. A saltwater pool works much the same way as any other swimming pool, but instead of adding chlorine tablets, youll add a fine-grain salt. If your salt pool is properly maintained, it shouldnt taste or smell salty at all.
Salt Pool Myths: Take Them With A Grain Of Salt
The most common myth regarding salt pools is that they are a better choice if you have sensitivities or allergies to chlorine. Salt pools are, in fact, sanitized using chlorine. A salt-chlorine generator separates the chlorine and sodium molecules in salt and reintroduces them into the pool water. It is still the chlorine that sanitizes your pool!
Another misconception is that salt pools do not require other chemicals. This is completely false and not using other chemicals could damage your pool or be potentially harmful. There is no magic inside a salt-chlorine generator that balances pool water. All parameters should be checked and balanced regularly. Additionally, salt pools need to be shocked on a regular basis and salt-chlorine generators typically do not have the ability to effectively shock your pool. All pools, no matter what the sanitizer, need to be shocked regularly preferably once per week during warm weather.
How Does A Salt-Chlorine Generator System Work?
How To Convert A Standard Pool To A Salt Water Pool
Do Saltwater Pools Kill Bacteria
The use of salt does not harm any organisms. A salt bath will not cure bacteria, prevent viruses, or eliminate undesirable organic material in swimming pool water. The free chlorine that is generated when the salt is diluted with water disinfecting or sanitizing.
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Setting Up A Salt Water Pool
Setting up a salt water pool is more than just pouring salt in the pool. Add salt without using a chlorine generator, and all you have is salty pool water.
But essentially you do just pour salt into the pool, a lot of salt. How much salt to add to the pool? To reach the initial salt level recommended by the salt system manufacturer , you will need to add about 200 lbs of pure pool grade salt , per 10,000 gallons of water. Salt stays in the water, you only need annual boosters, to replace salt lost to backwashing or splashout.
Installing a salt chlorine generator is also fairly straight forward. Most inground salt systems have a wall mounted control box plugged into an electric outlet and an inline salt cell, plumbed into the return line. The control panel allows you to dial-in the desired amount of chlorine output, with indicators for water flow, temperature, and salt level. Salt chlorine generators for above ground pools often hang on the pool wall, or attach to the pool return for an even easier installation.
Turn on the chlorine generator, and if the water temperature is above 60° F, and water flow is sufficient, low voltage energy is applied to the salt cell, which begins to produce chlorine, until the chlorine output level is satisfied. Chlorine generators will turn themselves on and off as needed, to create a consistent chlorine level, but you still need to test your pool chlorine level, and adjust the output as needed.
How Does A Salt Water Chlorinator Work
March 28, 2021 By Denise Martin
Salt water chlorinators, also known as salt chlorine generators, salt chlorinators, and salt cells, are salt pool cleaning systems that turn dissolved salts into chlorine through electrolysis. The resulting chlorine gas is then used to sanitize the pool, keeping it bacteria-free and algae-free.
Due to their cost-effective and environmentally friendly nature, salt water pool chlorinators are gradually increasing in popularity and often preferred by most pool owners. Despite their high cost, many agree that salt chlorinators perform better than any other pool cleaning device.
If youve ever found yourself asking, how does a salt water chlorinator work? youre in the right place! This article breaks down everything you need to know about salt chlorinators, including the advantages and disadvantages of owning one yourself.
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Pump Run Time Is Too Low For The Needs Of The Pool
When your pump is running, the chlorinator can also operate and produce chlorine. When the pump is shut off, the chlorinator cannot function and thus no chlorine will be produced.
If you are only running your pump 8 hours per day and find its difficult to produce enough chlorine, you have the option of increasing your chlorinator run percentage and/or the pump running time.
Solution: With a bit of trial and error, you will find out how to balance both your pump and chlorinator run times. You want a happy medium both the pump and chlorinator are running just enough to properly filter the water and produce enough chlorine rather than running one too high and the other too low.
Its generally accepted to run your pump at least 8 10 hours per day but your local weather and swimming conditions might require something a bit different.
Will The Salt Rust Your Pool
There is, yes, some risk that the salt in the water will corrode your pool or pool elements. For above ground pools, you should not use a saltwater system with a steel or aluminum pool, as it will destroy the pool. A resin pool, however, should be fine. Vinyl pool liners are also good at resisting damage from salt. If you do use a saltwater system with an above ground pool, you should check and, if necessary, replace metal components regularly.
One vital way of reducing corrosion and rust damage is a sacrificial anode. This is a zinc part that hangs out next to the parts you need to protect and takes the damage for them. You replace the anode about every three years or so. Bear in mind that the anode has to be properly bonded and grounded, and thus you will need a licensed electrician to install it.
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Are Salt Water Pools Safe
Yes. Because the salt water chlorinator generates the same levels of chlorine found in a traditional pool, there is no difference in the sanitizing power. The only exception is when stabilizer levels are not kept high enough. Hypochlorous acid is not a very stable chemical and breaks down quickly in the sun. Because of this, you will need to maintain adequate stabilizer levels in a salt water pool.
In some ways, saltwater pools are even safer than chlorinated pools. Saltwater pools do not produce chloramines, a chemical commonly found in traditional pools that can irritate the skin and eyes. And in general, saltwater pools require fewer chemicals.
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They Cost Less To Maintain
Lower chemical maintenance cost. Salt is much cheaper to purchase than chlorine. Depending on the size of your pool, you could save hundreds of dollars a year in chemical costs with a salt system.
Interested in learning more about salt chlorinated pools? Contact Aqua Blue Pools for more information on making your dream pool a reality!
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Is There A Better Choice
Theres no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to picking between a traditional chlorine and saltwater pool. Saltwater pools require less maintenance and dont have as many chemicals in the water, but chlorine pools tend to be more cost-effective and convenient. Ultimately, youve just got to weigh the pros and cons of each and determine which is the better choice for your circumstances.
Questions? Shoot us a message and well be happy to help.
Distinction From Traditional Pool Chlorination
The presence of chlorine in traditional swimming pools can be described as a combination of free available chlorine and combined available chlorine . While FAC is composed of the free chlorine that is available for disinfecting the water, the CAC includes chloramines, which are formed by the reaction of FAC with amines . Chloramines are responsible for the “chlorine smell” of pools, as well as skin and eye irritation. These problems are the result of insufficient levels of free available chlorine, and indicate a pool that must be “shocked” by the addition of 510 times the normal amount of chlorine. In saltwater pools, the generator uses electrolysis to continuously produce free chlorine. As such, a saltwater pool or hot tub is not actually chlorine-free it simply utilizes added salt and a chlorine generator instead of direct addition of chlorine. It also burns off chloramines in the same manner as traditional shock . As with traditionally chlorinated pools, saltwater pools must be monitored in order to maintain proper water chemistry. Low chlorine levels can be caused by insufficient salt, incorrect chlorine-generation setting on the SWG unit, higher-than-normal chlorine demand, low stabilizer, sun exposure, insufficient pump speed, or mechanical issues with the chlorine generator. Salt count can be lowered due to splash-out, backwashing, and dilution via rainwater.
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Salt Water Pool Vs Chlorine Pool
One common misconception among homeowners looking to add a pool to their property is that salt water pools do not have chlorine. That couldnt be further from the truth, as salt water pools do feature chlorine. Of course, the levels of chlorine are certainly lower than a traditional chlorine model, though. A saltwater generator will produce hypochlorous acid for sanitation through a process called electrolysis. This is the breakdown of salt by passing electricity through a saltwater solution. With a smaller salt content than most expect, it is possible to open your eyes underwater in a saltwater pool.
A Salt Water Pools = A Chlorinated Pool
You might be surprised to learn that salt water pools have chlorine in them at all. Its a common misconception but salt water pools are chlorine pools. Further, salt water pools require the same level of chlorine in them as regular, old style chlorine pools do.
And why wouldnt they?
Since chlorine is the sanitizing agent, what would make a salt water pool require less chlorine than a pool sanitized with chemical chlorine?
The answer is, they require the same level of chlorine in order for you to have crystal clear water for swimming. In a salt water pool, salt is the catalyst required in conjunction with the salt chlorinator to produce the necessary chlorine.
Thats the main difference: How the chlorine is delivered.
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Salt Water Pool: A Closer Look At Chlorine Generators
Salt water pools have become more popular over the last 20-years or so. But, if youre trying to avoid chlorine, you should know that a saltwater pool still utilizes chlorine to kill bacteria it just generates chlorine differently. In fact, the same amount of chlorine is necessary in a salt water pool. But, instead of adding chlorine tablets, a chlorine generator is responsible for transforming salt in the water into chlorine. The process is comparable to how chlorine tablets are made in a factory.
Chlorine generators come with a control panel you can adjust with the push of a button to produce chlorine based on current levels, usage, time of year, etc. Instead of altering how much water flows over tablets, you change the frequency and duration the chlorine generator cell remains on. High-end generators automatically adjust, while more commonly used models require user interactionaka, the push of a button.
Chlorine generators cost more money, although they come at a variety of price points and with unique features. The power center typically lasts between five and ten years, while the cell needs to be replaced about once every two to five years.
Saltwater Pools For Health
Swimming in a saltwater pool may be better for someone who has asthma or allergies. Thats especially true when it comes to indoor pools. You might notice a strong chlorine smell upon entering an indoor pool area. Thats because of the chloramines, the mix of chlorine and ammonia. In an outdoor pool, the smell quickly evaporates, whereas its contained indoors.
It usually is most strong around the surface of the pool, where swimmers take their breaths. If you have trouble breathing, you may find swimming in an indoor chlorinated pool irritating.
One 2003 study found that young children who swim regularly in an indoor chlorinated pool were at greater risk for lung inflammation and developing asthma. But more research is needed to determine if a saltwater pool is the best alternative.
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Inspect Regularly For Scale
One of the biggest problems with salt chlorine generators is that they tend to produce a lot of scaling . To keep this at a manageable level, check your generator every 2-3 months.
You will occasionally find scaling on the salt cell, but more commonly it forms on the metal plates and goes largely undetected until theres a problem.
When you see it, remove as much as you can with your hand or a gentle brush. if its too hard to remove, you might have to make a muriatic acid solution to clean it with.
To do that, mix about five parts water to one part muriatic acid and pour it directly into the salt cell. Let it foam for 10 minutes or so and then pour the solution into the bucket.
Finally, you can wash out the inside of the cell with a hose and put the cap back on.
Remember that when you handle muriatic acid, you should use extreme caution and wear gloves and goggles. Also, protect your skin from coming in contact with it at all.
Also keep in mind that you should only clean your generator when it needs it, especially when youre having to use an acid wash. This is hard on those parts and can decrease the life of the unit if done too often.