What You Should Know About Salt Water Pools

Outdoor Additions
Additions and Remodels
Swimming Pools
By Contractors.com Team July 07, 2021

You have likely taken a swim in both a manmade swimming pool and a natural body of salt water. Most will confess to being able to feel a significant difference between the two swims. That distinctly refreshing sensation of swimming in a natural body of water is thanks to the higher levels of sodium, which is not something you will find in artificial pools.

But what if you wanted to bring the sensation into your backyard — what steps would you need to take to make this happen? If you consult a pool specialist they will tell you that there are quite a few methods of bringing that distinct feel and even taste of salt water into your own pool. You may then wonder why you would want to turn your residential swimming pool into a saltwater one. Well, salt water pools also have several benefits that may be interesting and even appealing to consider

What Is a Salt Water Pool? 

What Is a Saltwater Pool?

What Is a Saltwater Pool?

When you take a dip in the pool you are not swimming around in 20,000 gallons of just water. If water were the only ingredient in there you would have a lot of problems on your hands. The other elements help keep your basin clean. Not keeping your pool sanitized will lead to all manner of health risks, from ear infections and eye irritation to far more damaging conditions that you most likely don’t want to hear lest you never step into another pool again.

Luckily modern pool solutions help clean the pool easily, allowing you to splash around in the summer without the fear of contracting something dangerous. There are a diverse set of methods you can use to sanitize your pool. The most popular one today, with private pools as well as public ones, is to use chlorine. There are also special ultraviolet light bulbs that destroy any and all dangerous bacteria hiding in your pool. 

A salt water system creates chlorine naturally. Salt is mixed into the pool water and then converted into chlorine, which acts as a sanitizing solution that keeps the pool clean from germs and bacteria. 

How Does a Salt Water Pool Work?

What Saltwater Does to Replace Chlorine Systems

What Saltwater Does to Replace Chlorine Systems

This does not mean you can empty out bags and bags of table salt into your pool to get the job done. You have a choice of various kinds of the right kind of salt to choose from: finely ground mined salt, solar salt, or mechanically evaporated salt. Mined salt is, as the name suggests, dug up from the earth and broken down into fine dust and is the optimal choice. The fineness of the grains allows for a particle-less experience during your swim. Solar salt is extracted from seawater, which evaporates and leaves the salt behind. Mechanically evaporated salt uses heat to separate the salt from other organic compounds found in seawater.

But you cannot simply pour bags of salt into your pool and claim that your salt water pool is ready. For a proper salt water pool, you need something that siphons this salt and turns it into chlorine. This is where a salt-chlorine generator comes in and for it to work well, you need to use the proper form of salt — typically pure, mine salt, but more on that later.

What Is a Salt Chlorine Generator?

Why You Should Switch to a Salt Chlorine Generator for Your Pool

Why You Should Switch to a Salt Chlorine Generator for Your Pool

A salt chlorine generator is a small device that is installed with your pool’s salt and filtration systems. After the water has gone through the pumps, filter, and heater, it then enters the conversion cell — the part of the system which turns salt water into chlorinated water. This part of the pool plumbing is also referred to as the “chlorinator”, which does sound like a robot from the future here to chlorinate your pools.

The salt chlorine generator is imperative for you to create that saltwater experience in your backyard. While you would typically contact a professional pool chemist to do it for you, there are ways that you can do it yourself. However, the responsible pool owner should be aware of the basics of how pool chemistry works in order to ward off any health risks.

After the salt water chlorinator is installed into your pool’s system it will begin converting the salt into chlorine and you have yourself a fully functioning pool sanitizing system that will keep your water clean and ready to dive into.

Benefits of Salt Water Pools

The Benefits of Swimming in Saltwater

The Benefits of Swimming in Saltwater

Putting aside the satisfying feeling of taking a dip in what feels like a natural body of water — what exactly are the reasons people opt for a salt water swimming pool? While there is a slew of other water filtration methods to choose from, the salt pool system offers a unique set of benefits. 

Less Eye and Skin Irritation

That salt water is less irritative for your skin and eyes is just one of its benefits but perhaps the most significant. The organic salt to chlorine synthesis makes for a more gentle chlorine mix. Common pool sanitizers like chlorine do a very good job of cleaning the pool up. But sometimes they do too much of a good job and cause that nasty skin and eye irritation that plagued our childhood pool days. If you have an allergy to chlorine then this problem is exponentially increased. Saltwater pools offer a much more gentle filtration that causes far less irritation than the chlorinated water you have become accustomed to in public pools.

They Are More Gentle

Saltwater pools are gentler not only on your skin but also on clothing. They also don’t cause that chlorine smell to linger on your hair, body, or bathing suit. The water also just feels more gentle in general, which is not something that is easy to explain via text. A good point of comparison would be the sea itself. Because of the higher sodium content, the water feels a bit like it’s hugging you. The denser quality of the water also allows you to float without having to exert much force to stay up. All-in-all you will notice an immense difference in your swimming routine. It will not only be significantly more pleasant but will also take less physical effort, allowing you to relax as you take a dip.

Salt Water May Be Safer than Chlorinated Pools

According to several scientific studies and works of research, saltwater is an overall gentler and therefore safer medium to spend your time in. While there are no concrete numbers to show for this yet, there is some evidence that points to salt water as a healthier alternative to traditional chlorine sanitizing methods. As more and more research is being conducted we will soon be able to learn about a wide range of benefits that salt water pools may have over conventional sanitizing methods.

They Are Easier and Cheaper to Maintain

One of the reasons that saltwater pools are easier and cheaper to maintain is that you don’t need to store chlorine around the house. You can be free of the worry of having chemicals lying around, especially if youngsters can potentially stumble upon them. For the same lack of chlorine, you have fewer costs because salt is much cheaper than chlorine. A saltwater system could make the difference of a few hundred dollars, which isn’t little on a yearly basis.

Saltwater System Installation Costs and Maintenance

Cost and Maintenance of a Saltwater Pool

Cost and Maintenance of a Saltwater Pool

When converting to a saltwater pool there are several costs to consider. There is the hardware itself and, of course, the bags of salt. There is also the matter of pool maintenance, as with any other kind of sanitizer. With each use of salt in your pool, certain parts will begin to erode, so you can expect to be inspecting or replacing certain parts every few years.

The salt chlorine generator costs around $500, with more expensive models with additional components going up to $2,000. One generator can sanitize your pool for 10,000 hours of use, which is over a year of being in full operation. For most homeowners who do not have their pool filtration system active 24/7, the salt-chlorine cell can last anywhere from three to five years. 

The average private pool in the United States fills up with 20,000 gallons of water. On average, you will need 400 to 500 pounds of salt for pools is required. Once the salt is in the pool water it will not dissipate unless the poolwater is changed (which is done once every few years) or water from other sources is added, such as a hose or rain. In these cases, the water to salt ratio may be lower, but all you will need to do is simply check the ratio using a pool chemical test kit and add salt based on the results. 

The cost of monthly maintenance can vary a bit from homeowner to homeowner. For some, the monthly maintenance costs end up being no more than $50. Other pool owners, however, can spend over $200 on having to replace certain parts of the pool system or add some extra salt if the ratio has become unbalanced. 

All in all, the cost of having a salt water pool is not too steep for most homeowners and you should be able to implement a salt-chlorine filtration system without putting a big dent in your budget.

Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team