Salt Water Pool Maintenance – Truth and Myth

Jacob KettnerPool 101, Pool Maintenance

Is salt water pool maintenance cheaper than chlorine pool maintenance? Well, you should first know that a saltwater pool is a chlorine pool. Saltwater pools are not free of chlorine, but they use chlorine to sanitize the pool as in non-saltwater pools.

Salt Water Pool Maintenance

The difference is that saltwater pools are chlorine generators. Through a process called electrolysis, salt is converted at a steady rate to chlorine. The chlorine generator produces hypochlorous acid and sodium hypochlorite. These are well known pool sanitizing agents. The difference is that as opposed to adding chlorine directly to pool water, it is generated from the saltwater.

The greatest advantage of saltwater pools is not that it’s a chlorine-free, healthy swimming pool but it provides better control over the level of chlorine. The cell used to generate chlorine maintains this stable level. The need to purchase, handle or dump chlorine in the pool is also eliminated. But a saltwater pool is not maintenance free.

The chemistry of the pool will now require closer monitoring, to ensure the correct salt level and PH. Adjustments to PH level will require the addition of muriatic acid. Adding to the cost is the acid bath that needs to be done to chlorine generating cell every three months. This is meant to to reduce the mineral deposits that collect on the cell during electrolysis. If they are allowed to accumulate, they render the cell unable to produce chlorine. Nevertheless, the cell must be replaced eventually. This will be costly. The high salinity of a saltwater pool will also lead to corrosion of the pool and equipment. Repair and replacement will be needed sooner than with non-saltwater pools.

One great benefit of salt water pool maintenance is having chlorine generated on site. This eliminates the need for purchasing, storing and handling large amounts of chlorine; and makes the water significantly softer and gentler on skin.

The water becomes much less likely to develop algae or get cloudy. The need to check chlorine levels daily is eliminated as well as the use for adding chlorine tablets on a weekly basis. The swimming pool will maintain its clarity even with regular usage due to the consistent chlorine levels produced by the process of electrolysis.

UV pool system

Use of a UV pools system, despite the additional cost and added maintenance of the UV lamp system in salt water pool maintenance will give you lower levels of chlorine in the pool while sanitizing the pool further from contaminants, such as sunscreen, body oils, perspiration and urine.

The chlorine will get rid of 99.9% of microbes. This gives you a cleaner, fresher, more chlorine-free pool and significantly extends the lifespan of the chlorine generating salt cell.

Salt water pool maintenance has its advantages, but there is a lot of myth and hype around it. It is good to consider the costs and benefits, both short term and long term before deciding on it. It does reduce the amount of chlorine in the pool but does not eliminate the need for it. Certainly, pool sanitization will still depend on chlorine for a long time.