Should I Get a Salt Water Generator for My Pool?
As a current pool owner or someone who is looking to purchase a pool, somewhere along the way, you may have asked yourself, what's the difference between a salt water pool and a chlorine pool? Which is better? Should I get a salt water generator for my swimming pool?
The truth is, a salt water swimming pool basically is a chlorine pool.
A salt water generator electronically converts the salt into chlorine, thus keeping your swimming pool clean. However, the chlorine level in a salt water pool is much lower, proving better for your skin and swimsuits.
For those readers who are already enjoying the wonders of salt, please feel free to go back to doing whatever you were doing. But for the many who have still not decided to take the plunge, we know there are multiple concerns to transitioning to a salt water pool.
Below, we've listed some of the most common arguments for and against such a wonderful piece of technology.
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"It costs too much"
Yes, salt water generators do cost a good bit of money upfront. The average system is typically anywhere from $1,400–$2,000.
Look at it this way: swimming pool owners who use salt, in many cases, will spend less than $100 a year on chemicals. Without salt, I've seen regular chlorine users spend well over $300 a season on chemicals.
The flip-side to that argument is that there is a component, known as the cell, that will need to be replaced about every 3–6 years at an average cost of around $800.
At the end of the day, you end up spending about the same amount on salt as you would on a traditional chlorine pool.
"It's too hard to maintain"
Say what? Salt water pools make for the ultimate low maintenance swimming pool experience. The actual truth is that, if anything, salt water generator systems are too easy to maintain.
"How is that possible?" you may be asking.
For the most part, salt water pools stay crystal clear and the water remains silky and smooth...even if the pool is neglected.
In salt pools, chlorine can creep up to corrosive levels without ever being detected by smell or burning eyes, and high levels of chlorine will damage the pool shell and components.
Salt systems are not "set and forget" as many are led to believe. Simply test the water on a weekly basis and adjust the system's chlorine production up or down. That's all that's required to keep your pool and components happy and healthy.
"It will hurt my eyes"
Again, almost never true. Keep in mind that salt pools are nothing like what we swim in when we're in the ocean. In fact, salt pools have 1/10 the level of salt that an ocean has.
Example: my kids never use goggles in our salt pool, despite the fact that they are underwater 50% of the time and always have their eyes open.
Of the 1,000+ systems we've installed, I've never had a customer say their eyes were adversely affected by the salt.
"It tastes funny"
Well, I guess if you like to drink pool water, this could be the case.
But seriously, just as I mentioned before, the salt levels are so low in the pool that most people don't even know they are swimming in it.
Yes, you can taste it just slightly if you lick your lips while in the pool, but no customer has ever told me this was an issue of concern. In fact, many people really enjoy it.
"The salt will affect my pool shell and equipment"
We alluded to the impact that high chlorine could have on the pool. But how about the effect of the actual salt?
There are debates in the pool industry as to the effect of salt water on concrete pools. The majority of professionals—myself included—recognize that a salt water generator will cause a concrete pool owner to resurface their pool sooner than they otherwise would have. The real debate lies in just how much quicker salt speeds up the process.
As far as a fiberglass pool though, salt will have no impact on the shell's surface longevity. And as far as the general equipment is concerned, so long as salt and chlorine levels are kept within suggested ranges, there are no issues.
If you are debating the merits of salt in your swimming pool, I do suggest you stop delaying the inevitable and make the call. I've had pool owners who have used regular chlorine for years switch to salt and absolutely rave about its benefits and ease of use.
After all, the whole purpose of owning a swimming pool is to relax more, not work more. Salt chlorine generators can certainly help accomplish this goal.
As always, thanks and Happy Swimming!
If you'd like to gain insight into the different pool options available to you, be sure to check out our free ebook, "Comparing Fiberglass, Concrete, and Vinyl Liner Pools in the Modern Age."
Have questions about salt water generators? Comment below!
Editor's note: This blog article was updated on November 13, 2018.