Salt Water Pool Chlorination: Conversion From Chlorine

In Florida, swimming pool season is year-around.  This also means frequent pool maintenance too. Many Central Florida pool owners have opted to give up the routine of chlorine jugs, bags and tablets in favor of salt water pool conversion.  Salt water pool chlorination is an environmental, healthier and cost-effective alternative to standard pool chemicals.

Reasons to convert salt water pool chlorination

  • Chlorine pools use caustic chemicals to keep them free of contaminants. Converting to a salt water pool means no risk of spilling corrosive chlorine in your car after you pick up the chemicals from the pool supply store.  And no spilling of chlorine onto pool decks, patio furniture or plants as you empty jugs into the pool.
  • Avoid exposure to unhealthy chlorine vapors during routine treatments and a no more lingering chlorine smell on your skin, in your hair, pool towels and swim suits.

Benefits of salt water pools:

  • The physical impact of salt on the human body is much better than chlorine because the sanitation process is (mostly) contained within the system.  Simply put, fewer chemical are needed, so you and your family can enjoy the pool without the stinging ‘red eyes’, green hair or the over-exposure to harsh chemicals.
  • Salt water pools are health safe because they contain a similar salinity as found in human tears. Salt water pools are easier on your eyes, mucous membranes, and skin. Family pets, like dogs, are also safer when exposed to saline pool water.
  • One of the most frequently mentioned benefits is the soft, smooth salt water feeling when swimming. Plus it helps with flotation, further enhancing the overall relaxation felt while enjoying your pool.

FAQs About Salt Water Pools

Salt water pool chlorination was first developed and built in Australia during the 1960s.  By the 1980’s, the United States started to see more of these types of pools built in new homes. Over time, as technology improved, these salt water pools became increasingly popular.

By 2007, saltwater pools accounted for approximately 75 percent of new pool installations in the US, according to the Salt Institute in Alexandria, Va.

One of the key factors for its increasing popularity is convenience.  Fans of salt water pool systems are quick to talk up the convenience of salt water pools over manual chlorination because of the reduced maintenance associated with chlorine and the list of additives needed to clarify water, discourage algae and keep the pool healthy.

Overview of Salt Water Pool Chlorination Maintenance

  • Salt water pools use a chlorine generator to convert salt to chlorine through electrolysis. A generator requiring the addition of salt is most convenient for the pool system.
  • Salt water pools convert salt and water, using an electric current, into chlorine and hydrogen gas and sodium hydroxide. The sodium hydroxide and chlorine then interact to form sodium chloride and hypochlorous acid, which are the beneficial chemicals that actually kill harmful bacteria.
  • Environmentally friendly, salt water eliminates the need for expensive, harsh pool chemicals and additives. Using only pure, natural salt from the ocean, the pool recycles this salt indefinitely and requires owners to add a bag of common salt. The chemical cost of a salt water pool is typically a fraction of traditional pool chemicals. Owners continue to monitor PH levels and add pool acid as needed.
  • It costs roughly $1,300 to purchase a salt-water converter. Installation takes about two hours and typically runs about $250-$300.

There are a couple points a homeowner should keep in mind about salt water pool chlorination:

  • It takes more time for the salt process and chlorine levels to build up to fight off algae. Once those levels build up, they’ll stay that way longer leading to less maintenance.
  • Soft stone decks and metal in or around the pool (such as pool ladders) may be affected, over time, by salt in the pool. While the corrosiveness of salt is mild compared to liquid chlorine, it may still impact surrounding materials.

Is A Salt Water Pool Right For Your Home?

Salt water pools are a perfect solution for pool owners who are busy with life activities. You’ll appreciate how little time you need to spend while you are at home to keep your pool sparkling, clean, and balanced.

When you’re away from home on business or vacation, you won’t have to worry about asking a neighbor, a friend or hiring a pool service to clean your pool and add chlorine to prevent a ‘green lagoon’ looking pool . Anything that simplifies caring for your pool can only increase your enjoyment of it year after year.

If you find you are struggling to keep chemicals in your pool properly balanced and regularly battle algae blooms, you may be ready to convert your pool to a salt-water pool. Saline pools are easier to maintain and more healthful. The conversion pays for itself over time

No pool system is perfect and all types of pools require maintenance. You need to choose which is best for you, your family and home. While there are many reasons to opt for converting your pool to saltwater, the decision about whether to make the switch comes down to simplicity, economy of maintenance and peace of mind.