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Saltwater vs. Chlorine Pools


The debate around chlorination for pools has heated up in recent years due to the emerging popularity of saltwater pools. Chlorine has typically been the most popular method of maintenance due to ease of use, and availability of supplies. There isn't an obvious winner with either method since it depends on your individual circumstance, but it's helpful to weigh the pros and cons of each type. The gold standard: chlorine pools.

Chlorine in pools began as a sterilization method in the early 1900s, and remains one of the most common forms of pools. Chlorine tablets are generally the most common form of maintenance since they're rather inexpensive and allow minimal effort to maintain. There are two common types of chlorine distribution: typically you can use a floating device that slowly dilutes the pool water over time via a chlorine tablet. The other option is using a chlorine pump, which will automatically control pool pH levels. Chlorine is used to fend off harmful bacteria and mold. One of the other advantages of using chlorine tablets as your sterilization method is chlorine's innate ability to wipe these two agents out quickly. Typically, a chlorine pool can clear out the water within 24-48 hours, which a fraction of the time it might take a saltwater pool.

Depending on your pool size it may cost you anywhere from $50 - $100 per month to maintain a chlorine pool after construction. This also depends on how rapidly the pool water is being diluted. Rainwater, water loss, and public use can all drastically vary the levels needed depending on use.

Saltwater pools utilize dissolved salts via electrolysis to maintain a safe pool environment. After the construction of a new saltwater pool you typically only need one round of pool salt to maintain levels. The salt will sit in the pool, and like chlorine will only become diluted with the introduction of another source of water, e.g. rain. This is why the need to introduce more salt can vary pretty drastically.

The important thing to keep in mind is that the salt you add to the pool doesn't go away. This is one of the reasons it can be more cost effective in the long to use a pool utilizing salt water since it's a lower maintenance hit over time. Currently, it will generally cost up to $5,000 excluding construction to set up the saltwater pool, but that cost should carry you past the normal chlorine maintenance schedules. You may only need to spend $30 for an entire season of swimming. There is a common misconception that saltwater pools mimic what you might experience in an ocean, which is not the case. Modern day saltwater pools are pretty closely aligned with the experience you would have in a normal chlorine pool.

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