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Do Salt Water Pools Need Chlorine

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What Are The Real Benefits Of A Saltwater Pool

Salt Water Pools | Do I Need Chlorine Tabs?

A salt water pool does offer some compelling reasons to convert your pool to salt water, but they may surprise you. The biggest benefit is that salt pool owners no longer have to purchase and transport chlorine from the store to their backyard. Youre basically creating a mini-chlorine factory inside your swimming pool. Do salt water pools save pool owners money? In some cases, the amortized equipment cost is less than purchasing chlorine. But in most cases, the costs are about the same as purchasing sodium hypochlorite, the least expensive form of chorine. This is especially true when chlorine demand is lowered through the use of ultraviolet pool systems.

A salt pool may save time when compared to manually adding chlorine to the pool. In all fairness, we should compare to the new automated chlorine injection system. Commonly found on commercial pools, automatic chlorine injection systems continually test the water and then add just the right amount of liquid chlorine to a pool. These advanced pool automation controllers are now available for pH control and chlorine injection in residential pools.

Do Salt Water Pools Taste Like Salt

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Almudena Salame

Salt Water Pool Advantages

  • Because they have lower chlorine levels, salt water pools are much gentler on the eyes and skin.
  • Research indicates that salt water systems may be safer than chlorine pools, which force owners to store and handle unsafe chemicals.

Kasandra Saseta

How To Test Chlorine In A Salt Water Pool

Chlorine is tested in a salt water pool the same way as a chlorine one: You can use a home test kit, pool testing strips or take a water sample to your pool company for them to check it.

Some higher end chlorinator system manufacturers such as Hayward offer a Sense & Dispense feature which for about $700 added to the cost of the chlorinator, automatically tracks and adjusts chlorine and pH for you. This can reduce the overall work and maintenance of your pool while also decreasing chemical costs if you allow the computer to run things for you.

For test strips, you can purchase salt pool specific ones that additionally measure the salt level in the water although quality chlorinator models measure that for you.

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Converting Your Pool To Salt Water

If you do decide to convert your pool to a salt water system, there are some basic things that will help you out.

For example, choose your salt water generator based on cost and pool size. These babies can get expensive, so dont go overboard with the biggest one when a smaller model will serve your purposes.

Make the decision upfront as to whether you’ll be installing the system yourself or hiring a professional.

Read up on exactly how its done and decide whether or not you have the time, patience and willingness to learn to get the job done right.

If you think you need a professional, get estimates and include that in your financial decision.

Know that you’ll sometimes still have to use regular chlorine.

While salt chlorinators do usually have a super chlorinate function that will give it a boost, its not a substitute for pool shock.

Usually, your pool will still need to be shocked at least once a month to keep algae at bay.

Pool Costs: Which One Is Cheaper

Choosing a Chlorine Pool or Salt Water Pool

At the installation stage, a saltwater pool may need more investment to begin with. The reason is that a saltwater system is more complex than a normal chlorine pool. A saltwater generator has to be installed too.

This pool equipment is expensive and processes the salt present in the water to change it into chlorine. But once the setup is complete, such a pool comes out to be cheaper than a chlorine pool in the long run.

How? Let us explain. The installation cost of a salt water pool may range from $600 to $3,000, or more. A top-notch salt water generator might set you back by another $800. Keep in mind that such a machine, how much ever high-tech, will probably serve you for a maximum of six years. Add to it the cost of salt. Initially, you will be requiring a huge amount as much as 1,000 pounds of salt! No wonder the installation doesnt come cheap.

The good news is that the annual supply of salt needed is much lesser. So the total cost that you need to spend on a salt water pool is nominal, probably $100 a year. Not much, right?

In the case of chlorine pools, there is a reversal of cost. The installation is much cheaper but the annual cost of sanitizing this kind of pool is more. Concentrated chlorine bought from a local store is much more expensive as compared to salt. If we see the annual expenditure, chlorine pool costs around $300 to $800.

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Other Salt Water Pool Tips

  • Test your pool water 2-3 to ensure that youre maintaining a good level of chlorine in the water. If the chlorine level is consistently too high or too low, adjust your salt water system accordingly.
  • Generally speaking, the warmer and sunnier it is outside, the higher you will have to set the output of your salt water system. Likewise, when the water is colder and not getting much use, you should reduce your salt systems output so that the chlorine level in the water doesnt get too high.
  • Salt water systems typically dont work very well in colder water. If you open your pool early and the water is still cold, we recommend using chlorine pucks until the water is around 65 Fahrenheit.
  • Remember, salt water pools arent maintenance fee pools. You still need to ensure the water is properly balanced, brush the walls of the pool, and shock it periodically, typically every 2-4 weeks, to prevent any problems from arising.

Can You Add Liquid Or Powder Chlorine To A Salt Water Pool

You can and will add chlorine manually to a salt water pool. Liquid chlorine or shock powder is usually added in the spring as you are opening the pool and again as youre closing it to give it one final bump to keep algae at bay when you shut the system down for the winter.

Some salt water pool owners will additionally shock the pool throughout the hot summer months when pool usage is heavy and the sun is bright. Chlorine dies quickly due to the UV rays from direct sunlight and pool usage naturally uses up chlorine too as humans track body oils, sweat, lotions and other contaminants into the water.

If your dog swims in the water regularly, it tracks fur, dander, feces and other debris into the water, too.

Salt water pools still require chlorine to operate. The salt chlorinator system converts dissolved salt into chlorine using electrolysis by way of the salt cell. The resulting chlorine is softer on clothing, skin and eyes than chemical chlorine in liquid, powder or puck form but its still chlorine. Chlorine is the sanitizing agent used in both chlorine and salt water pools. The delivery of the chlorine is different however.

Whereas a salt water chlorinator produces chlorine from salt, a regularly chlorinated pool uses chemical chlorine that is added regularly to the water. A salt water pool uses salt but a regularly chlorinated pool does not.

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How To Shock A Salt Water Pool With Bleach

While you can use bleach to shock your pool, you have be careful about the dosing amount and also the strength of the bleach being used. Bleach is highly concentrated and will of course as the name would suggest bleach your liner if you pour it in concentrated form too close to the walls of the pool.

Ive never personally used actual bleach in a pool full stop and have only used concentrated powder shock and liquid chlorine.

Whats The Main Difference Between A Saltwater Pool And A Traditional Chlorinated Pool

Salt Pool / Chlorine Generator- What is it? Do I need one?

In a traditional chlorine pool, chlorine is added directly to the pool. With a saltwater pool, salt is added to the water in which the levels are maintained by the chlorinator. In turn, the electrodes in the chlorinator will convert the saltwater into chlorine for clean, clear, and luxuriously soft water.

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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.

Salt Water Pool Pros And Cons


  • Nearly maintenance-free The maintenance is straightforward, and salt water pools have far less maintenance than chlorine pools. Adding salt to the water and occasionally checking on the salt generator is just about all you need to do.
  • Salt is incredibly affordable Taking the day-to-day and week-to-week maintenance and addition of chemicals into consideration, salt is going to be a lot more affordable than chlorine additives.
  • Exceptionally low chlorine content With the small amounts of chlorine that is generated from the salt generator, you get a more enjoyable swimming experience with less irritation.


  • Higher upfront cost You will have to pay for a salt water generator system that could cost anywhere between $500 and $2000.
  • Requires an all-resin pool Salt will cause deterioration of materials, especially metal. It is advised to have an all-resin pool to avoid future problems and fixes.
  • Requires external system You must use your salt water generator system consistently to keep your pool sanitized. This requires an electrical cost as well as future generator fixes and replacement costs.

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The Biggest Misconception: Saltwater Pools Are Chlorine

Lets start by busting the biggest misconception about saltwater pools a saltwater pool is not a chlorine pool. Wrong. Chlorine is required in both types of pools to keep the water sanitized it just gets added to the water differently.

A saltwater pool is a chlorine pool. The difference is instead of adding chlorine to the water, you add salt, and a salt-chlorine generator converts salt to chlorine.

Unfortunately, the chlorine created by the generator is unstabilized chlorine that dissipates more quickly. This means the chlorine in a saltwater pool doesnt have as much sanitizing power.

Why chlorine systems beat saltwater systems: the basics.

What Is The Difference Between A Saltwater Pool And A Chlorine Pool

Why Do Swimming Pools Need Chlorine?

Basically, both chlorine and saltwater pools are inherently similar. Both have chlorine in them, its the way in which this chemical is used that makes them different. While a chlorine pool uses concentrated chlorine in the form of tablets, powders, and liquids, a saltwater pool converts the salt present in the water into chlorine through a chlorine generator or saltwater chlorinator.

The next obvious question is: which one is better? Interestingly, there is no right and wrong each one has its own negatives and positives in terms of its usage. Lets see what they are.

Creating a budget for your project?

Explore financing options for your pool project without affecting your credit score

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What Is The Difference Between A Chlorine Pool And A Saltwater Pool

Chlorine poolsSaltwater poolssalt chlorinesaltchlorineChlorine pools

Beside this, what are the benefits of a salt water pool?

Salt Water Pool Advantages

  • Because they have lower chlorine levels, salt water pools are much gentler on the eyes and skin.
  • Research indicates that salt water systems may be safer than chlorine pools, which force owners to store and handle unsafe chemicals.

Also Know, do you use chlorine in saltwater pools? The main issue with a saltwater pool is the high chlorine level required to sanitize and oxidize the pool water. Saltwater pools rely 100% on chemical disinfection and the recommended free chlorine residual is the same as traditional chlorine pools, or 2 â 4 ppm.

Considering this, which is cheaper saltwater or chlorine pool?

This start-up investment may be recouped in a few years with less expensive day-to-day chemical needs. A saltwater pool requires less than $100 a year in salt and chemicals if it is consistently maintained. A chlorine pool, on the other hand, will cost between $300 and $800 per year in maintenance chemicals.

Can you convert a chlorine pool to a saltwater pool?

You can convert your chlorine pool into a saltwater swimming pool and enjoy the benefits of salt water chlorination right in your own backyard. If your pool has a traditional chlorine sanitization system, you can easily switch to Haywards advanced salt chlorination system.

What Are Saltwater Pools

A saltwater pool is a perfect alternative when it comes to the pool system. A saltwater pool still contains chlorine, but it is more on the smaller scale, and it is being generated through a filter system. You might have thought that a saltwater pool can be like the ocean, but it is not.

A saltwater pool has ten times less salt compared to the ocean, and it only has 3,000 parts per million of saline. On the other hand, the ocean has 35,000 ppm.

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A Salt Water Pool Still Uses Chlorine

Wait, what? Yes, a salt water pool still uses chlorine to help keep your pool clean. The difference is that instead of adding chlorine tablets or liquid chlorine, a salt water pool uses whats called a salt chlorine generator to turn salt into chlorine.

You can use a salt chlorine generator in a fiberglass pool and a concrete pool, as long as the concrete pool is tile lined.

Salt Water Pool Vs Chlorine Pool: A Complete Review

Can You Add Chlorine To A Salt Water Pool?

Getting a pool installed in your home but confused about the type that will suit you best? If youre stuck in the debate of saltwater pool vs chlorine pool, dont be. Our article will give you the complete lowdown on both kinds. We have analyzed the two in terms of cost, maintenance, health factor, and storage.

But first, a basic question for a new homeowner or a person who is contemplating a pool resurfacing.

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Pool Maintenance: Which One Is Lower

When it comes to pool maintenance, both kinds of pools need similar care in terms of:

  • Skimming the bugs and leaves
  • Brushing and cleaning the pool
  • Cleaning the filter
  • Services the pool heater if you have a temperature-control
  • Covering the pool when not in use
  • Emptying the pump basket and skimmer
  • Cleaning the deck area

Most importantly, in both, you will have to balance the chemical content. Ensure that there is perfect level of pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and of course chlorine.

That best part about a salt water pool is that its chlorinator monitors and adjusts chlorine levels on a regular basis. So less work for you! But there is a downside. Chlorine thats generated through electrolysis tends to fluctuate more, even burn, especially under the sun. It may then not be able to shield you against UV rays. A vital point that concerns every pool owner.

But when theres a problem, theres a solution too. You can add a stabilizer and boost chlorine effectiveness.

As explained earlier, a salt water pool can cause corrosion. It needs regular maintenance. Even structures around it need to be inspected from time to time. Also remember that too much salt or too little, can be detrimental to your pool and you.

Our verdict:

  • Dedicated effort required for maintenance

What Kind Of Salt Does A Salt Chlorine Generator Use

You have options for the salt:

  • Solar salt
  • Mechanically evaporated salt
  • Mined salt

Use salt thats only intended for swimming pools, food-grade, granular, and non-iodized.

The higher the salt purity, the less trouble itll give you in appearance and maintenance. We recommend 99% purity or higher.

Dont use rock salt in your pool. It isnt pure enough, and it wont dissolve well. Itll just give you a headache.

We also recommend you dont use calcium chloride. Calcium affects the hardness of the water and can form deposits on your pool walls if the concentration is too high.

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The Chemistry Of Chlorine

Pool peoples references to chlorine are pretty loose, by the way.

Theres all kinds of chlorine variants you can add to the water upfront, but when all the chemistrys said and done, whats cleaning your pool water is actually hypochlorous acid, not pure chlorine.

Science alert!

Ground zero for this chemistry is plain ol water in the pool and your chlorine additive.

Many people use liquid chlorine or solid chlorine compressed with cyanuric acid . In the case of a salt chlorine generator, you use salt .

After you pour that additive into the water and mix it all up, it goes through two different chemical reactions before it reaches the form that will kill algae and bacteria and destroy dirt .

If you like to see reactions in simple chemistry terms, this is what the equations look like on paper:

The first reaction is what the salt chlorine generator does for you. The second reaction is how the chlorine becomes hypochlorous acid and cleans the pool.

Reaction #1

First, the electrolysis of salt water produces pure chlorine.

When electricity is passed through 2NaCl and 2H20 , the atoms dissociate into Cl2 + 2NaOH + H2 .

The sodium hydroxide is happy to live its life now. It raises the pH of the water so its not too acidic.

And the hydrogen is just a normal part of pool water .

However, the chlorine is still busy and moves on to the second reaction.

Reaction #2

Second, the pure chlorine reacts with more water and becomes hypochlorous acid.

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