Why Salt Water?

If you are tired of having red eyes, irritated skin, or the constant chlorination required for your swimming pool, a salt water pool might have some benefits and advantages that you are looking for.

Salt water pools, sometimes called saline pools, have been around for some time.  There are a number of reasons that converting your home pool or hotel pool or water slide to salt water may be beneficial for you.  If you are just wondering about the advantages of salt water pools or why the hotel you recently stayed at used salt water instead of chlorine, you will learn something here as well.

How Does a Salt Water Pool Work?

Before we get to the advantages let's take a quick look at how a salt water vs. chlorinated pool works. 

Swimming in Salt Water PoolFirst of all, you need to know this.  A salt water pool actually has chlorine.  The key difference is that in a standard chlorinated pool, chlorine is added manually on an ongoing basis to dissolve in the water.  In a salt water pool, a regenerative process creates the chlorine.  Here’s how this process works.

First, the water in the pool is converted to salt water, creating a mild saline solution.  In fact, the concentration of salt in the water of a salt water pool is about 1/10th to 1/12th as salty as the ocean, so it is very mild.  The salt used is standard sodium chloride.  That’s the same stuff you have in your salt shaker at home.

Next, a chlorine generator is added to the pool’s filtration system.  This is simply a device that the water passes through as it circulates throughout the day.  This is where the chlorination happens.  The chlorine generator actually uses the salt to produce a chlorine gas that dissolves into the water.  This is what keeps the water clean.  When that chlorine breaks down it turns into salt.  That’s the beauty of the system.  The process just keeps going in a cycle.

Cost Savings of Salt Water

Let’s get to the bottom line.  The first thing that you will notice with a salt water pool is that you must have a chlorine generator.  That will cost money, and depending on the size of your pool it can cost plenty.  But that’s the only big expense.

Splashing in Salt Water PoolMaintenance on your new salt water pool is where you will save money.  You won’t have to buy and store large containers of harsh chlorine any more.  Remember, the chlorine is created right in the water.  This is a significant cost for pool owners that use the standard “pool chlorine” method of adding chlorine directly to the water.

In a salt water pool, to keep up the pool, the water must simply have the proper concentration of salt.  Here’s the good news.  The salt in your pool won’t go anywhere.  Even as the water evaporates and you add more, the salt level will remain the same.  That’s because the salt won’t evaporate.  Of course, as swimmers splash water outside of the pool some salt will be lost, so you will have to top if off from time to time to support the proper salinity, but the cost of this process is very inexpensive.

Owners of a small pool can save real money.  Owners of a large pool or water feature can save a lot.

Benefits and Advantages of Salt Water vs. Chlorine

The benefits of salt water are many.

First of all, the mild salt water is not as harsh on your eyes and skin.  In fact, the solution is not unlike a typical eye drop, so opening your eyes under water will not lead to the same red, irritated eyes that you may suffer with now. 

Floating in a Salt Water PoolThe saline solution will also not affect hair, pool liners, or the fabrics of your favorite swimming suit in the same way either.  It is much easier on you and your clothes.

As for the chlorine, since a salt water pool produces chlorine directly in the water as part of a natural process you won’t have to handle the harsh chemicals that you may be using now.  You can put away the rubber gloves.  The only chemical used in a salt water pool is good old-fashioned salt.

Are you worried about the lawn?  Well, many salt water pool owners report that the low concentration of salt in their salt water pool has not affected their nearby lawns, even as splash happy swimmers have enjoyed the pool.

One final benefit of converting to a salt water pool is that you can leave the house without worrying about the pool.  Instead of having a friend or neighbor come by to chlorinate the pool you can rest easy knowing that you pool’s normal filtration system and chlorine generator are busy at work turning salt to chlorine and back again, meaning you can come home to a clean pool.

Are There Disadvantages?

From the standpoint of swimmer comfort, there are almost no disadvantages to a salt water pool.  However, the salt water does taste like salt water but is much less salty than the ocean.  In fact, most swimmers will not think of the taste as “salty” but they will know it is not a typical chlorinated pool.

The only other real disadvantage is the initial cost of the chlorine generator, but as we noted that will pay for itself over time, and not a long time at that.  It is like many eco-friendly investments in that you have to first buy the unit but the ongoing cost of ownership is so low that you will come out ahead.

Now You Know

Now you know that if you are pool owner you have another option other than adding chlorine directly to your pool.  If you are a guest at a hotel or water park and detect a slight taste of salt in the water, it is very likely that you are swimming in a salt water pool.

The benefits and advantages of salt water vs. standard chlorinated pools make salt water worthy of a closer look.