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An increasingly popular alternative to conventional garden pools, where chlorine is added to the pool water for a disinfecting effect, are swimming pools with salt water, so-called salt water pools. Presented as an innovative technology in the industry, it comes with a promise of less pool chemistry to better tolerance for skin as well as hair.

However, due to the unique characteristics of each system, saltwater pools have both advantages and disadvantages, which are presented in the following sections to help make an informed decision in this regard.

What are saltwater pools?

A saltwater pool is a swimming pool that, instead of using chlorine, prevents germs from multiplying by using salt in the water of the pool in question. This is done by separating chlorine from the salt, a process called electrolysis.

For this, among other things, a salt electrolysis unit and salt water-resistant components are used both in terms of the pool, and other accessories for the pool, such as ladders.

An excellent salt electrolysis unit is this one:

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Saltwater Chlorinator, Pool
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Moreover, you still need additional chemicals, such as a pH reducer, to regulate the properties of the water. Furthermore, it should be noted that the salinity of these pools is by no means the same as a concentration in the oceans.

Although a saltwater pool has numerous advantages as an alternative to a conventional chlorine pool, these must be carefully weighed against the disadvantages according to the individual situation before subsequently deciding in favor of it.

The advantages and disadvantages of saltwater pools

To help you decide for or against a pool with salt water, the following two sections will respectively explain the advantages and disadvantages of this type of pool.

Although there are certainly some characteristics that make a saltwater pool not desirable for every pool owner, in most cases the positive features clearly outweigh those of a pool that uses chlorine.

Salt Water Pools Advantages

A major positive point of salt is that it is very good for the skin in many ways, and due to its disinfecting as well as anti-inflammatory effects, it is not only better tolerated than chlorine, but also promotes the healing of wounds.

Following the already mentioned advantages of salt, it also influences the immune system in a supportive way. Unlike chlorine, salt is a purely natural product that does not irritate the mucous membranes in the eyes or nose, as the respective concentration is far below the salt content of the world’s oceans, nor is it subject to special regulations during storage.

Furthermore, pools based on salt water are generally considered easier to maintain and more pleasant to use, because, for example, the smell of chlorine is completely absent when there is too much combined chlorine in the water.

In addition, salt is much cheaper compared to chlorine, but because of its high disinfecting power, it requires a shorter runtime in terms of the use of the respective filter system, which is reflected in lower costs in the consumption of electricity.

Due to the specific characteristics of salt, compared to chlorine, there is a slower fading process of the walls as well as the bottom of your pool.

Based on a purely hypothetical scenario, salt would never need to be re-dosed when electrolysis takes place in the pool, because it has a greater gravity than water and does not evaporate, as is the case with chlorine, for example.

However, during the daily bathing fun as well as further maintenance work, among other things the backwashing of the filter system, it cannot be avoided that pool water is lost together with the contained salt, so it is recommended to re-dose the salt, however, this is much less often the case than with chlorine.

Both the comparatively uncomplicated installation of a pool salt electrolysis system and the possibility of retrofitting to a salt water pool are further advantages of this type of pool.

Saltwater pools disadvantages

Although a pool with saltwater offers a great many advantages, it also has some disadvantages that should be considered before installing it accordingly. Among these are the incompatibility with some materials, as they corrode faster when combined with salt, as well as the avoidance of well water due to its often high levels of copper as well as iron, which could negatively affect electrolysis.

Another point is, unlike the general recommendation not to use water from a well, this also applies to chlorine pools, depends on individual personal factors. Despite the advantage of longevity and comparatively uncomplicated handling, an electrolysis system is above average in terms of purchase price.

The financial investment here is on average several hundred euros, which makes it worthwhile only if you use it over numerous bathing seasons, as well as familiarize yourself in advance in detail with the instructions for use of the respective manufacturer.

Evaluate the pros and cons

There are some facts to consider regarding a pool with salt water in order to get a satisfactory result during commissioning and subsequent use. In addition to the installation of a salt system that guarantees the hygienic environment by means of electrolysis, you should make sure that all the components of the pool are resistant to Salt, otherwise rust may form.

The same is true with regard to the accessories of your pool, such as the rods or screws of the pool cover, as well as any diving board and numerous other items.

Despite the fact that a pool with salt water is considered very natural as well as therefore healthy for the human body, even a salt water pool does not come completely without additional chemicals for a pool maintenance. These include, above all, chemical agents that are used to influence the pH value, because otherwise the disinfecting effect of the salt is no longer optimal.

In addition, when considering a salt water pool, it is necessary to take into account the specific characteristics of the pool, for example, it is advisable to treat steel wall pools appropriately before putting them into operation with salt water.

FAQ: Frequently asked questions about saltwater pools answered

Saltwater pool vs. freshwater pool: which is better?

The answer to this question is closely related to the individual desires and needs of pool owners as well as users. Although freshwater pools, which in most cases require at least a small amount of chlorine to be added, have stood the test of time, saltwater pools are a viable alternative for people who are highly sensitive to chlorine.
When choosing between the two types, it is advisable to keep in mind not only the possible financial outlay, but also factors such as the desired time for maintenance work or the nature of the materials of your own pool, among others.

Which saltwater pool manufacturers are there?

There are several manufacturers who specialize in saltwater pools or have geared their product range primarily to this. Since this variant is increasingly establishing itself as an alternative to conventional chlorine pools, however, it is worthwhile to conduct individual research in order to be up-to-date with regard to the respective developers and producers. Among the best-known names are the companies Veiko Niekrenz, Purion, Intex and the German manufacturer Steinbach.

How to install a salt system?

First of all, you glue the cell of the salt unit on the pressure side, this means after the filter unit, into the PVC pipe. In this connection, both DA63 and DA50 piping is conceivable.
After the salt has been added directly into the pool water, 24 hours have passed and the respective cell has been supplied with power, then in a final step set the production output of the electrolysis to complete the process.

Conclusion

Pools with salt water are becoming increasingly popular in today’s world and, especially for those whose bodies are very sensitive to chlorine, they represent an alternative to traditional methods of disinfection, which usually rely on the chemical substance for pool maintenance.

The numerous advantages that a salt water system brings include some positive effects on health or the absence of negative reactions, such as irritation of mucous membranes of the eyes and nose, with low maintenance.

In most cases, the higher financial investment is well worth it, always taking into account the individual circumstances of both the owner of the pool and the pool.

Larry has been a true water rat since childhood. Pure pleasure turned into a passion. That's why he is the first point of contact for friends and acquaintances when it comes to pool-related problems. He is an integral part of the PoolHandbook editorial team.