Salt Water Pool Challenges

A recent article in the Sacramento Bee Newspaper discussed the increasing number of new home owners in California who are choosing to have a salt water pool built instead of the traditional pool which uses liquid chlorine or chlorine tablets.

Salt water pool systems cost more to install, but that cost is often added or “absorbed” into the overall construction price of new homes.

The cost of converting an existing pool into a salt water pool is another matter.

Jose Torres of Bio-Active, makers of all-natural pool clarifier and cyanuric acid reducer, said conversion costs in California can range from $2,000 to $10,000.

The long-term cost of maintaining a Salt water pool system vs using chlorine tablets is almost double due to the cost of the salt generator system, maintenance and replacement of the electrical plate components, electricity and the salt itself – all of which is in addition to the chemicals required to maintain chlorine and pH balance, such as acid, alkalinity increaser and occasional “shocking” with liquid chlorine bleach to eliminate algae and restore water clarity.

Kristin Barr, manager of All Clear Pool & Spa Supply in Sacramento, shared some of the negatives of salt water pools.

  • Salt water pools, like other pools,  require you to add stabilizers such as cyanuric acid to maintain stable chlorine levels.
  •  Salt water pool systems may require the addition of  chlorine when temperatures fall below 55 degrees.
  • Salt water pool systems may require you to add chlorine when temperatures  rise in the  summer too, as  the salt water pool system may not be able to  keep up with the pool’s chlorine demands.
  • Torres added “The downside of saltwater pools is that you can have high concentrations of salt in the water. That salt can be corrosive and harder to deal with.”
  • The most effective way of dealing with high salt levels in a salt water pool is to empty the pool.

If you are considering converting your existing pool into a salt water pool system be sure and read our Salt Water Pool Frequently Asked Questions post to learn about  pool construction and materials and other  specific issues and costs involved with converting to a salt water pool.

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