Q – I currently use chlorine tablets in my swimming pool. I’m thinking about converting my chlorine pool into a salt water pool system. What is the long-term cost difference between chlorine tablets and a salt water pool system?
A – Great question! Many pool owners fail to consider long-terms costs. The average size swimming pool uses approximately 208 chlorine tablets per year. The cost for ten years would be approximately $2,496. Salt/chlorine generators average $1,700 to install. The electrical plate components and control board typically need to be replaced every five years at an approximate cost of $1,500. Also, there is the cost of the forty pound bags of the salt itself. All told, the cost would be over $5,000 – more than double the long-term cost of using liquid chlorine bleach or chlorine tablets.
Salt Water Pool vs Chlorine
Q – I’ve been considering changing my chlorine pool into a salt water pool so I don’t have chlorine in my water. Anything I need to consider?
A – Many pool owners don’t realize that a salt water pool does not eliminate chlorine - both salt water pools and chlorine pools use chlorine to disinfect the water. The difference is that salt water pools use electricity and salt to continuously produce chlorine, which is then added to the water. In chlorine swimming pools, the chlorine is manually added, by adding liquid chlorine bleach, chlorine tablets, or both. But the bottom line is that both salt water pools and chlorine pools contain chlorine in the water to disinfect and maintain clean, safe swimming pools. Importantly, salt water pools have special construction requirements, due to the corrosivity of salt water. So, it is important to first determine whether your swimming pool’s construction, interior finish, decking and pool equipment are suitable for salt water. You also should check whether there are any local regulations in your area applicable to salt water pools. Finally, you should evaluate the higher costs of maintaining a salt water pool.
Salt Water Pool Maintenance
Q – I’ve heard that salt water pools require less maintenance. Is that true?
A – No. The chlorine and pH levels in saltwater pools must be carefully monitored, just as in chlorine pools. Like chlorine pools, salt water pools require the periodic addition of chemicals such as acid, alkalinity increaser and occasional “shocking” with liquid chlorine bleach to eliminate algae and restore water clarity. And, of course, salt water pool systems require the regular addition of salt – which is typically sold in 40 pound bags. Also, muriatic acid must be used periodically to clean your salt pool’s salt cells. And, the salt cells themselves require replacement every five years or so.
Salt Water Pool Chlorine & pH Levels
Q – Is it easier to keep the chlorine and pH levels balanced in a salt water pool than a pool that uses liquid chlorine or chlorine tablets?
A – Chlorine and pH levels must be carefully monitored in salt water pools, just as in chlorine pools . While the salt water pools require less handling and storage of liquid chlorine bleach or tablets, salt water pools, like other pools, require the periodic addition of chemicals such as acid, alkalinity increaser and occasional “shocking” with liquid chlorine bleach to eliminate algae and restore water clarity. The factors that largely determine the variability of chlorine and pH levels in all swimming pools – both salt swimming pools and others – are the source of water used in the pool, rainfall, temperature, contaminant levels, filtration and the condition of the swimming pool surface itself.