If you’ve decided to put in a new pool, one of the topics that you’ll come across in your research are pool sanitation systems. There are about five popular pool sanitation methods, but the two most common are chlorine and salt. There’s quite a lot to consider when selecting the right sanitation system for your new pool – from health impacts to maintenance time to price – so it’s important to know each system’s pros and cons. The main question is “what is the difference between chlorine and salt water pools and is one preferred over the other?” While both are methods to sanitize pools, the only difference between them is how the chlorine is generated – one using chlorine tablets and the other using a chlorine generator, otherwise known as salt water. If you’re researching pool sanitation options and are thinking of switching your pool to salt water, or you’re a first-time pool owner, the decision to go with one over the other depends on what makes sense for your personal life style and personal preference. Here’s everything you need to know about salt water pools vs chlorine pools.
Salt Water Pools
Contrary to popular belief, it is important to realize that a salt water pool IS a chlorinated pool. By having a saltwater pool system, you are not eliminating chlorine from your pool, rather you are electrically converting pool salt into chlorine. That is why you may have seen or heard the term “salt water chlorination” when researching or discussing salt water pools. If you are converting a chlorine pool to a salt system, chlorine generators are installed and salt is poured into the pool and then it dissolves. Titanium plates in the chlorine generator then electrolyze the dissolved salt in the pool which is the reaction that produces the chlorine. Interestingly, manufacturers have been making and selling saltwater chlorine generators in the United States for almost 40 years now, although they were originally manufactured in the early 1970’s in New Zealand.
Basically, the fact that chlorine is being made from electrolyzing the salt in the water is why having a salt water pool doesn’t mean that your pool is chlorine free. In fact, a pool using a chlorine generator requires the same levels of chlorine as a pool that’s using chlorine tablets. It’s the chlorine generator’s job to produce chlorine from the salt in the water, which is actually a comparable process to how chlorine tablets are manufactured. So, just like any system, there are pros and cons to chlorine generator pool systems.
- No chlorine tablets to buy and maintain
- Chlorine production rate is easily adjusted
- Salt in the water makes the pool soft and silky feeling
- Constant flow of chlorine from the generator keeps your pool cleaner for longer periods of time
- High upfront and replacement cell costs
- Heavy bags of salt need to be added regularly to maintain salt and stabilizer levels
- Potential damage caused by salt water that spills onto your deck or lawn
For over 50 years, chlorine has been the “traditional” means of maintaining pool cleanliness. Even though they have a lower initial cost for installation, the process to keep them maintained in the long run is more involved. The most important thing to monitor and maintain is the pH balance of a chlorine pool. This is also the most inconsistent, therefore testing the water is something that needs to be done regularly. On the other hand, the use of chlorine tablets makes the delivery system for the chlorine a very simple process. These chlorine tablets are placed either into an external feeder that is installed as part of your pool equipment, or in an in-pool floating delivery device, or sometimes both. The size of your pool determines the use of one over the other (or both). And, just like salt water systems, chlorine pools come with a list of pros and cons as well.
- Chlorine levels are easily maintained
- Initial cost is low
- Chlorine can be used for all pool types – large, small, commercial or residential
- The pH level has to be constantly maintained and monitored by regular water testing
- Large, heavy buckets of chlorine tablets needed to refill dispensers every 1-3 weeks
- Additional chemicals are needed to maintain proper levels for safe swimming
Whatever you decide to go with, make sure you do your homework and make your decision based on what you think will work best for you and your family. If you already own a pool and have a sensitization system that is working for you, then you should probably keep it as it is! If what you have isn’t working for you, then obviously you should consider switching to an alternative that may be a better way to go for your needs. There are many chemical systems out there and other sanitizing systems like Ozonators and UV Systems – both of which are great choices and deserve a look into. Just know that there isn’t a perfect system available, or one that is going to save you bunches of money over another system. Chlorine generators and chlorine tablets are both solid options, but one isn’t going to save you a ton of money versus the other.
Pools by Bradley is Here for YOU
Everyone here at Pools by Bradley lives and breathes our mission of designing and building your ultimate outdoor pool atmosphere. We intend to inspire you to improve the recreational time you spend with your family and friends in your new outdoor environment. We also want to create a pool that will fit your lifestyle and personal preference! Our motto is “take care of the customer and everything else will take care of itself”. When you choose Pools by Bradley to help you build your dream pool, you can rest assured that you’re choosing the very best. As a local family owned and operated company founded in 1996, we have received numerous design awards and honors. Pools by Bradley is rated as one of the top 50 pool builders in the U.S., plus recognized as the “Best Pool Company” in Orlando by Orlando Magazine several years in a row! We offer custom built pools and spas with additions ranging from water features and lighting effects to rain curtains and water slides…the sky’s the limit! Contact us online or call us today at 407-323-7496 to see how we can help you build the pool of your dreams!