Saltwater Systems Cause Corrosion
Corrosion is a common problem with saltwater pools. Saltwater systems pass salt through an electrolytic cell to produce chlorine. Pool water can become extremely over-chlorinated and corrosive if the sodium hypochlorite levels get too high.
Saltwater can wear away at the deck anchors of the ladder and diving board, causing safety issues. Over the long term, the salt itself can corrode anything near the pool where water evaporates like equipment, lighting fixtures, and cement.
Salt Water Pools Cost Less To Maintain
While you may have been led to believe that all you need to do to maintain a salt water pool is throw in some salt every few weeks, its actually a bit more involved than that.
The good news is, salt water pool maintenance can cost a lot less than caring for a chlorine pool, which can be one of the most important deciding factors in making the switch. Exactly how much less expensive salt water is than chlorine over the lifetime of your pool depends on several factors such as where you live, the size of your pool, the quality of the equipment you use, and how well you maintain it.
The up-front cost of a chlorinator ranges from a few hundred to a thousand dollars or more. Long-term costs include replacing the chlorinator cellthe part that actually converts salt to chlorineevery five years or so, provided you maintain your chlorinator well.
Youll also still need to keep your water balanced, but another positive aspect of a salt water pool conversion is youll likely require fewer chemicals to keep the water balanced.
So while things like test strips or digital testers and a few chemicals will still have to be part of your maintenance budget, your monthly chemical costs will still be lower with a salt water pool, than with chlorine.
Maintenance Is A Breeze
To an extent, salt water pools maintain themselves. A salt chlorine generator will gently clean the water by breaking the salt into sanitizing agents. This process is ongoing. Your pool is always cleaning itself in the background, and it requires no downtime. You wont need to retool water and chemical levels constantly because the pool equipment is able to manage it on its own.
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Cost Of Converting Your Pool To Saltwater
I discussed this earlier, but its relatively affordable to change over to a saltwater system. Installation costs vary from about $425 to $2,480 . Most pools can convert for less than $1000.
This cost includes parts, labor, and salt. It does not include any additional local taxes or fees that may apply, although these are usually less than 10% of the total cost when present. It does not include the price of draining and refilling your pool, which you may have to do.
What To Know About Salt Water Systems For Pools
One of the main assumptions about salt water pools is that theyre extremely salty. In fact, the salinity of a salt water pool is much lower than the ocean. This means its much gentler on your eyes, hair, and skin than a swim at the beach.
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Another common misunderstanding is the belief that salt water pools are entirely chlorine-free. They arent! With a salt water swimming pool, youll still need some chlorine to clean and balance the water. Even so, youll need far less chlorine than you would with a regular pool.
Chlorine is present in all tap water and with a salt water pool, chlorine levels wont be much higher than in water from your tap. That being said, its still important to make sure your pets dont drink the pool water, as the salt and other stabilizers can be toxic if too much is ingested. If you, your pet, or any other swimmers swallow a bit of water by accident, you probably dont need to worry. But as with all types of pool water, its something you should avoid.
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Saltwater Is Gentler On The Body And Clothing
Regular exposure to chlorine can cause a variety of problems, it is a strong chemical after all. Chlorine can cause sensitivities and allergies if a person is exposed to it on a regular basis.For those who already have a chlorine allergy or with sensitive skin, a chlorine pool can cause hives, rashes, and itchy skin due to the chlorine exposure.In addition to this, saltwater is also much gentler on clothing than chlorine is, so youll have to replace your bathing suit far less!
How To Make The Switch From Salt Water To Chlorine
Many people find switching from salt water to chlorine is much easier than switching from chlorine to salt water. The main issue is to get the salt water out as much as you can.
In order to get remnants of the salt water out, many experts advise draining the pool and refilling it. But, it is not advised that you simply drain the water out into your yard. Draining salt water pools like that can hurt the ecosystem because salt breaks down into various components that can be harmful to the environment. Thats why a truck needs to be brought in to suck the water out. As you can imagine, this can become costly depending on the size of your pool and layout of your yard.
Even when you do this, there may some salt residue, but it should be extremely low. Basically by draining your salt water pool when you want to make the switch to chlorine, you are starting from scratch. You obviously no longer need salt for your pool. This is going to be replaced with chlorine tablets.
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Salt Water Pools Are Gentler To Your Body
Switching away from harsh chlorine has to be a positive, right? Sure. But the most important thing to understand is that salt water pools are not actually chlorine free. However, the presence of salt in the water reduces the kind of eye and skin irritation you may experience by swimming in a chlorine pool.
A salt chlorine generator creates the same kind of chlorine used in a chlorine pool. Its imperative to keep chlorine levels stable to inhibit the formation of chloramines.
In a salt water pool, when chlorine levels are stable, and chloramines are not present, the salinity of the water is much closer to the salinity of your natural tear ducts.
This is why it doesnt hurt to open your eyes in a salt water pool, and why your skin and hair wont feel as dry after swimming.
Ready To Make The Switch
Pioneer Pools is one of the longest standing family owned businesses in all of Tucson. Were salt water pool conversion experts. If youre ready to make the switch or if you have more questions, feel free to give us a call at 520-881-7031 to schedule an appointment or speak with one of our pool experts.
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How Much Does It Cost To Convert To A Salt Water Pool
When it comes to converting a pool to saltwater, the biggest expense is the cost of a chlorine salt generator. Most saltwater chlorinators run between $800 to $1,200. Youll also need to replace the cell every three to seven years, which can cost anywhere from $600 to $900.
The right model for your pool will depend on your pool size and the various features you want. Aside from that, your main costs will be salt and chlorine but as we mentioned, you wont need nearly as much chlorine as you did before. You can get extra-large salt bags for $10 to $20 apiece. The price of chlorine depends on whether you get liquid chlorine or chlorine tablets, but you probably wont need to spend more than a few hundred dollars each year.
Salt Water Pool Conversion
A salt water pool conversion is a lot easier than you might think. The addition of a salt system with a natural chlorine generator will transform any existing chemical chlorine pool so you can experience soft and luxurious water. Whether you are a residential pool owner or a pool service professional we will guide you through the simple step by step process.
The first step when considering converting your pool to salt water is understanding how the chlorination process works. The basic principle is that instead of adding chemical chlorine pucks or powder to your pool on a daily or weekly basis, your pool will produce chlorine naturally from the salt that is in the water by breaking down the salt molecules.
The salt water creates a more stable environment which means you will not only be able to create your own chlorine but you will need less chemicals and balancing. You will be decreasing your pool maintenance while being able to experience the benefits of soft and luxurious salt water. In addition, you also wont feel the harsh side effects of chloramines that cause things like red eyes, chemical odours and the sticky feeling that can be left on your skin after a swim.
We’ll take a look at the pros and cons of upgrading your pool to salt water as well as answer questions like how much it costs to convert your pool. We’ll start with the salt water pool conversion process including some helpful tips for keeping your pool healthy, sparkling clean and functioning properly.
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Quick Facts About Saltwater Pools
- Saltwater pools have about the salinity of tears, about 1/10 the salinity of sea water
- Another byproduct of a salt chlorine generator, sodium hydroxide, naturally raises the pH level of the water, preventing it from becoming acidic
- When the water is correctly pH balanced, acids cause the water to naturally restore the salinity levels. This means that you dont need to continually add or monitor salt levels once you are at the correct salinity for the first time
- Because the salinity of a salt water pool is similar to the level in our own bodies, it doesnt sting or irritate the eyes
- Salt water pools are preferred for people with asthma and allergies, because they dont have irritating chloramines
- Salt water will corrode metal, and shouldnt be used in pools with metal walls, or handrail, ladder, and other pool features that have metal components or anchors.
- Salt is abrasive on the inside of pool shells lined with concrete, gunite, or plaster
You May Need A New Pool Guy
Most pool companies exclusively service chlorine pools. Salt water pools are an entirely different process that require specialized knowledge for maintenance. If youre going to convert your pool to a salt water pool and you use a company for pool maintenance, it helps to choose a conversion company that also offers maintenance services. Pioneer Pools has you covered.
The Salt Water Pool Conversion Process
Converting a chlorine pool to a salt water pool requires three very important things a salt chlorinator system, something called a sacrificial anode, and pool salt. The salt chlorinator system is the system that will replace your traditional chlorine system. Its prepared with the pool salt to produce salt chlorine as necessary.
The sacrificial anode is a device that will help to mitigate corrosion. Since salt is a corrosive substance, operating a salt water pool without a sacrificial anode will lead to rust buildup The anode acts as a little snack for the salt in your pool. It will begin to corrode the anode first, which is easy and inexpensive to replace. These anodes can last several years and preserve the integrity of your pool.
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Test & Balance Before You Convert
Before beginning the conversion process, youll need to test and balance your pool water. We recommend using standard test strips, which will provide you with an accurate read on your current water chemistry. This will let you gauge your pools pH, total alkalinity, free chlorine levels, cyanuric acid stability, calcium hardness, and salt.
The simplest and most seamless way to track and test your pools water chemistry is with Pool Calculator a handy app for desktop, Android, and iOS. Just enter the results of your test and well show you exactly how to balance your water before converting to a salt water pool. Adding chemicals and stabilizers to balance your water is a crucial first step before you proceed with the salt water conversion process.
In most instances, a pool wont need to be drained in order to convert to salt water. However, if youre currently using a water sanitizer that contains polyhexamethylene biguanide, you may need to drain your pool and fill it with fresh water because it will impact your chlorine balance.
How To Raise Free Chlorine In Saltwater Pool
Pool professionals who know how to raise free chlorine in pool use the higher ten times multiplier to make sure they have enough chlorine in the pool. When your free chlorine levels get too low, we recommend using calcium hypochlorite to raise them back up.
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Salt Water Testing Strips
To check your salt water PPM levels, youll need specialized salt water testing strips. Not that salt water testing isnt included in your regular 7-in-1 testing strips so if youre thinking of converting to a salt water pool, get a bottle of these salt water testing strips when you get your salt water chlorinator. Testing for salt water PPM is also different than testing for chemical levels in your pool.
Regular chemical testing with 7-in-1 test strips require you to swish your strip in the pool water and see how the colors change. To test for salinity, fill the included container up to the required level and then put in the strip and leave for five minutes. The color on the strip should start to fade, and the highest faded point should be your PPM reading. The way this works is that the strip has different resistances for salt concentration, the faded parts of the strip have had their requirements fulfilled and have done their job, while the unfaded sections means that there isnt enough salt in the water to cause them to fade, giving you an approximate reading of the salt level in the water.
P.S. Do not submerge the entire strip into the water! Only submerge the indicated section of the strip to get the proper readings!
Now that we have everything that we need to convert our pool into a salt water pool, its time to install our salt water chlorinator!
Salt Water Pool Conversion: A Simple 4
- |July 26, 2019
Lets face it, having a pool is great, but almost every pool owner would love to save some time and money on maintenance.
Thats why more and more people are switching to salt water pools. In 2018, about 35% of the pools in the United States were sanitized with salt, up from less than 14% ten years ago.
But is salt water just a trend? And is it as great as everyone says? Lets find out.
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Fiberglass Vinyl Or Concrete
Salt water pools can be vinyl, fiberglass, or concrete/gunite. Vinyl is the least expensive but can rip easily. Concrete is the most expensive option to install and maintain. Fiberglass pools are priced in the middle and include a lifetime warranty. However, they come in a limited number of sizes and styles. All three types can be used for salt water or fresh water pools. Salt itself will not cause wear or tear to any of them, but it’s still important to take good care of your poolÂs structural material and/or lining.
What Is The Cost Of A Pool Salt System Conversion
Converting to salt water pool systems isnt as expensive as you might think. Conversion doesnt require total drainage of the pool or any new construction.
A saltwater pool does require some unique equipment. The most significant is the salt chlorine generator or chlorinator. Some models cost around $800, but others have price tags of $2,000 or more. Youll also need a sacrificial anode to prevent salt from corroding metal components of the pool, and youll need the pool salt itself. Those items are comparatively inexpensive, however.
When you factor in labor costs to install the new equipment, expect to spend somewhere between $1,500 and $3,000 to convert a traditional pool to a saltwater pool.
But again, a saltwater pool is cheaper to maintain. There may be upfront costs, but you will save money over time.
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The Downside Of A Salt Water Pool
With so many great reasons to have a saltwater pool, there has to be at least one drawback, right? And there is. Expense.
- The initial purchase of a salt chlorine generator and pool conversion costs about $500 $2500.
- Salt chlorine generators have a salt cell inside, which can last for 3-7 years and costs about $700 $1100 to replace.
- The salt chlorine generator has a control panel that also lasts for 3-7 years, and costs about $500 $900 to replace.
The life span of these components depends on how well-made they are to begin with, how well-balanced your pool water is, and on how well they are maintained.
A lot of people do the math on their existing fresh water pool maintenance costs and time investment, and feel that the investment equals out over time. And many other people feel that its worth the additional cost to have a pool with water that looks and feels so nice, with no irritating chloramines.
Since pool maintenance costs vary so much, depending on the size of your pool, your climate, and your preferences, salt water pool conversion may not be the right choice for everyone, and the cost can be a big drawback.