Are salt water pools the next big thing?
Salt water pools are providing an interesting alternative to the traditional chlorine pool, with many health benefits, less chemicals, cheaper upkeep and less maintenance, so should you really consider one?
Most people hearing the words “salt water” naturally think of ocean water, but in the world of swimming pools, “salt water” or “salt pool” refers to one that uses a salt chlorine generator for sanitization.
Though traditional chlorine pools have been a suburban backyard staple for several decades, many homeowners are now deciding to switch to saltwater swimming pools. In addition to being a healthy alternative for your skin, saltwater swimming pools have several advantages over chlorine pools, including fewer chemicals, lower cost of upkeep, and minimal maintenance.
How Saltwater Chlorination Works
Before we get to the advantages let's take a quick look at how a saltwater vs. chlorinated pool works. First of all, you need to know that a saltwater 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 saltwater pool, a regenerative process creates the chlorine. A saltwater purification system provides on-site production of the sanitizer necessary to maintain water in a safe, healthy and algae-free condition. Sanitizer is produced automatically, within the water itself, and involves no handling, storage or adding of chemicals to the water. A saltwater sanitizing system, properly sized for its application, will eliminate the need to purchase sanitizing chemicals such as pool chlorine.
Pool Saltwater Purification System
First, the water in the pool is converted to saltwater, creating a mild saline solution. In fact, the concentration of salt in the water of a saltwater 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. When pool salt is dissolved in pool water and then subjected to simple electrolysis the chloride portion of the salt (sodium chloride) is transformed into an effective sanitizer, which has the ability to oxidize (kill) bacteria, virus, algae and other such radicals which would otherwise flourish in the water. The chlorine generator actually uses the salt to produce a chlorine gas that dissolves into the water. This is what keeps the water clean. This process is reversible, so it does not consume the salt, which is simply used over and over again. However, if you don’t clean the cells in chlorine generators, those calcified and corroded cells will produce little chlorine. When that chlorine breaks down it turns into salt. That’s the beauty of the system. The process just keeps going in a cycle.
Advantages to Saltwater Pools
Saltwater pools are on the rise as an alternative to traditional chlorine-based pools. Aside from being a more natural option, saltwater pools have a number of advantages. They don't require you to buy, store, or handle a lot of chemicals. These pools also need less routine maintenance. Although they are more expensive upfront, they pay for themselves after a few years because of reduced running costs. If you are thinking about installing a pool in your home, you should consider getting a saltwater swimming pool.
One of the first advantages of saltwater swimming pools is the level of comfort you experience. Salt is softer on your skin than chlorine. Also, chlorine has the tendency to cause red eyes, itchy skin, and discolored hair. If you use plan to use your saltwater swimming pool on a regular basis, you won't have to suffer any of those symptoms of chlorine.
Lower maintenance is also one of the advantages of saltwater swimming pools. They virtually clean themselves and require much less attention than pools that just use chlorine. The chlorine generator converts salt into chlorine, so you don't have to keep a constant check on the water sanitation. Algae does not grow as rapidly in saltwater pools because of the low stabilizer levels. Stabilizer is a chemical added to offset the harshness of chlorine. Because saltwater pools don't have the chemical chlorine, a stabilizer isn't required.
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