Salt water pools have been popular for thousands of years. Why are they so good and why people choose to convert their home pools to salt water? Even in antiquity people valued the benefits of salt to human health – it stimulates the activity, the body literally restores the loss of minerals through the contact of the skin with salt water. Therefore it is beneficial to the skin, to the respiratory, and nervous system, helps to allergy and eczema problems, relieves itching and improves metabolism. It is not a surprise that everyone enjoys being at the sea!
Swimming pools with salt water are becoming increasingly popular among people leading a healthy lifestyle and taking care of their health and good physical condition. We shall look at the advantages, the systems, maintenance and will compare them with chlorine pools to see how they differ.
Wwhat do you need to know and consider before getting salt water system?
By definition, a salt water pool is a swimming pool filled with salt solution. Such pools can be seen in private homes, hotels, community amenities and they vary in size, shape and design – from small to large sized swimming pools. The systems are versatile and can be installed in any type of swimming pool – from a small hot tub to a large pool – private or public. Many companies offer good equipment and a great number of owners have chosen to switch to salt water for the many benefits. To say the least, it feels much softer and gentler than the water in other types of pools and pool owners enjoy the ocean feel in their own backyard.
Before you decide to get a salt water system, you need to know the pros and cons and weigh your expectations. These pools offer many benefits, but they also have a few drawbacks which you should keep in mind.
Chlorine content – One of the most important things to understand is that salt water pools are not chlorine free, but the chlorine content is considerably lower than the one in a regular one. The systems use chlorine generators that convert salt into chlorine through a process of electrolysis. The low level of chlorine and other chemicals means that these pools are environmentally friendly and safe and in addition, you will not feel the odor of chlorine.
You may be surprised, but the salt level is actually low and comparable with the one in human tears. This means that swimming under water and opening your eyes is safer.
Health benefits and comfort are a major plus. For example, the water in chlorine pools irritates the eyes and skin, while salt water is much gentler to the eyes and skin. The softer feel adds to the overall comfort of the experience and many people find the swimming more pleasing. This is a better option for people suffering from asthma or allergies.
Maintenance of salt water pools – this is another major factor to consider before getting such system. A salt water pool requires less maintenance than chlorine pools. It does not require a constant check on water quality and sanitation as the system chlorine generator converts salt into chlorine and the pool virtually cleans itself. Algae does not grow rapidly and you will not have to worry if you leave the pool unattended for a couple of weeks. Yet, you need to check the levels of chlorine content in your pool just to make sure everything is functioning in good order.
Disadvantages of salt water pools
Having seen the advantages of salt water pools, we have to look at the minuses. The price of the systems requires an initial investment. It is cost effective in a long period of time, although the price tag of the best pool systems is relatively high. Comparing the cost of chlorine, pool chemicals and maintenance, the amount of salt needed for a period of one year will give you a considerable saving. There are opinions that recouping our money may never happen, but if you weigh the health benefits against the money investment – well, it is quite obvious what is of great importance.
Potential damages – if not installed properly, the systems may damage pool fixtures, heaters, pool lights or other swimming pool parts and accessories – diving board bases, pool ladders, poolside furniture, stainless steel filters, etc. Further to that salt can be very corrosive to flagstone and you need to keep that in mind if your pool deck or the surrounding area is paved with flagstone. The constant presence of salt in the pool water may be harmful to the plants as it dissolves beneficial nutrients in the soil.
Local regulations and limitations – before investing in a salt water pool system you need to check for any local regulations and limitations which may be applicable in your area as they are prohibited in certain areas.
Electrical cost – The chlorine generator will produce chlorine only when the pool pump is in operation which means that the pump will be running for a longer period of time than usual. The time needed will be also influenced by water temperature, the chemical balance of the pool water and other factors. In general, the operating cost of a salt water pool may be higher than the one of a traditional pool. Practice shows that the salt cell of chlorine generators is a weak spot and depending on use and maintenance of the pool system it may need to be replaced every 3-5 years.