Salt Water Pools Pros and Cons


Authored by Donna Johnson in Home Improvement 
Published on 09-22-2009

If you’ve been on vacation in the past few years, the hotel or cruise ship that you visited may have had a salt water pool. Salt water pools have become increasingly popular at vacation spots recently, and this has led many homeowners to consider installing a salt water pool in their own backyards. If you are one of these homeowners, you should consider all the pros and cons of salt water pools before committing to the job.

One of the biggest advantages mentioned by fans of salt water pools is the relative lack of chlorine in the water. Unlike traditional swimming pools, salt water pools do not require that you add chlorine to the water.

Salt water pools use chlorine generators to create chlorine from the salt present in the water. This means salt water pools are not completely chlorine free, but they do contain much less chlorine than a traditional swimming pool. Many people find the lower amount of chlorine makes the water more comfortable to swim in and less drying to the skin after a swim. The heavy chlorine smell generally associated with swimming pools is not present in salt water pools, which is wonderful if you are sensitive to scents or have allergies.

Salt water pools also are much less salty than you may think. Typically, ocean water has a salt concentration of about 35,000 parts per million. A salt water pool only has a salt concentration of about 3200 parts per million. This is about the same concentration of salt that is found in human tears. Many people compare swimming in a salt water pool to bathing in soft tap water.

However, there are also cons to owning a salt water pool. One of the biggest concerns with salt water pools is that the salt can actually damage components of your pool. Liners, underwater lights, and cement and masonry can sustain serious damage from the constant contact with the salt, despite its relatively low concentration in the water.

There are also serious financial concerns that come with owning a salt water pool. Chlorine generators in salt water pools do not produce chlorine in sufficient amounts to keep a pool clean and algae-free without being run constantly or nearly constantly. The more you use your salt water pool and the more people who swim in it, the more you will have to run the chlorine generator. Some salt water pool owners find themselves running the chlorine generator 24 hours a day, which leads to increased electric bills. This also means that the chlorine generator can wear out and need to be replaced relatively quickly, at a cost of hundreds of dollars.

In the end, only you can determine if a salt water pool is right for your home and family. Take the time to weigh the pros and cons carefully, and consider which factors of pool ownership are most important for you. Doing so will lead you to the best decision for your family, and a pool that you can all enjoy for years to come.


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