What You Should Know About Salt Water Swimming Pools

By: Glenn Whitehead

One of the great recreational innovations of the past ten years is salt water swimming pools. Their incredible popularity can be traced to two specific issues; maintenance and cost. For many years, pools had a reputation for being labor intensive on the maintenance side and running up big monthly bills for chemicals and upkeep. Salt water swimming pools have eliminated a large part of these issues. While the initial costs are higher and some maintenance is still required; most homeowners find the systems preferable to traditional chlorine tablets. The following are answers to some commonly asked questions you should know before purchasing your system.

  • How Does It Work? Answer: As the name would suggest; the concept involves the process of adding salt (about 20 lb. Per: 1,000 gallons) to you pool water. The water is then moved by the pump through cells consisting of titanium plates that are electrically charged; converting the salt into pure chlorine.
  • What’s the Cost? Answer: Electronic chlorine generators for above ground pools run from $150 to around $ 500 depending on the manufacturer and the size of the pool. The price range for in ground models is between $ 600 and $ 1,200. Even though the upfront cost is more than traditional systems; the expense will be recouped many times over in savings on chlorine tablets.
  • Will the water be salty like the ocean? Answer: No; the water may have a slight taste of salt, but will only have about one tenth the salinity level of ocean water.
  • Will it eliminate the need for chemicals? Answer: No; while it will eliminate the need for chemical chlorine and reduce the needed amounts of other chemicals, some amounts of muriatic acid, calcium chloride, stabilizer, and other chemicals will need to be used from time to time to control ph, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and other occasional conditions.
  • What are the major advantages of salt water swimming pools? Answer: Easier maintenance reduced chemical costs, no chlorine odor, less irritation of the eyes and skin, and better control of water chemistry.
  • Are there disadvantages to salt water swimming pools? Answer: The salt can be corrosive to metal equipment and patio furniture (granular and tablet chlorine is also) and it can cause scaling on tile and decks, which can be rinsed off with water. Overall, the effects are about equal to chemically chlorinated water.

Hopefully, we’ve helped clear up some of the issues concerning electronic chlorine generation. For information on the complete care and maintenance of your pool; check out:
"The Ultimate Swimming Pool Guide"

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