Most pool owners use a chemical called chlorine to disinfect their pool and its water. However, there are other substances that guarantee a hygienic environment free of organic foreign bodies such as bacteria.
Due to the fact that chlorine as a disinfecting agent has many advantages, but also some disadvantages, alternative methods, including the use of salt to disinfect the pool, are becoming increasingly popular.
Many chlorine pool owners wonder if switching from chlorine to salt pool is worth it. How the two types of pools differ and the best way to convert your pool from chlorine to salt as a disinfectant, among other things, is described in the following sections.
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Chlorine pool and salt pool in comparison
The first thing to say is that both salt and chlorine are very effective in terms of their disinfecting action, and will provide lasting protection to your pool’s water from the spread of, among other things, disease-causing organisms.
In the case of a chlorine pool, compatibility with numerous other components of a pool is a given, as well as it is easy to learn how to use the chemical, as this method is very widespread in comparison.
A saltwater pool, on the other hand, is particularly gentle on the human body, usually requires less effort to maintain, and in many cases is less expensive in the long run.
Due to the fact that salt is a natural product, it is not subject to the same guidelines as chlorine when it comes to its storage, but it is also not equally suitable for every material used in the pool.
Advantages & Disadvantages Chlorine Pool
Just like a salt water pool, a pool that achieves disinfection with the help of chlorine is characterized by positive but also negative aspects. The advantages of a chlorine pool include:
- Its reliable disinfecting effect.
- Its not too high, but rather medium effort in maintenance
- Its compatibility with almost all components of a swimming pool
- The widespread use of this disinfection method
- The very easy to learn handling, since there are enough possibilities to inform oneself.
Nevertheless, the use of chlorine is also characterized by a few undesirable side effects. As disadvantageous could be felt for example:
- The unpleasant smell as well as the irritation of the mucous membranes with too much combined chlorine, also known under the name “chloramines“, in the water of the pool.
- The comparatively high costs due to the long filter running time and the frequent need for re-dosing.
- The inevitable use of further chemical agents for the water care of the pool such as an algaecide in comparatively short time intervals
Advantages & disadvantages salt pool
As an alternative way of disinfection, a pool filled with salt water has a variety of very pleasant side effects.
The advantages of a salt pool are for example:
- Its gentle or rather positive effect on the human body.
- The absence of skin irritation, reddened eyes or an acrid odor in the case of an overdose such as too much combined chlorine
- The low costs in the long term due to a reduced filtering time and other special features.
- Little effort in the care of the water, because rarely must be re-dosed
- The fact that in many cases only a pH-value reducer is used as an additional chemical pool care agent.
Of course, there are also factors or properties of salt as a disinfectant in this way of creating a hygienically safe bathing experience that some pool owners will not like. These are, among others:
- The high initial cost of an electrolysis system.
- The incompatibility of salt with some materials permanently installed in pools, where it can lead to increased corrosion.
- Some uncertainty in the use of the disinfecting substance, as the method is not yet widely established.
Switching from chlorine to salt pool: is it worth it?
Whether it makes sense to disinfect the water of one’s swimming pool by using salt instead of chlorine depends above all on the individual situation on site and the ideas or wishes of the pool owner in question.
Although an electrolysis system is not necessarily required for a salt pool, it facilitates everyday handling immensely, but the purchase involves a very high financial investment, as well as the replacement of potentially corrosive components of the pool.
Salt, however, offers the significant advantage that it is much less stressful on the body, especially for very sensitive people, and in principle seems to have a positive effect on everyone, if only by reducing the use of other chemical pool care products.
Although the use of chlorine offers some disadvantages in addition to its desired effect, it has been tested many times over the years, so that numerous empirical values are already available, and in addition no too high initial costs are to be expected.
Despite all this, a salt water pool is definitely a worthwhile alternative to a chlorine pool, especially for sensitive bathing enthusiasts or those generally interested in the subject.
How to convert the pool from chlorine to salt?
Although retrofitting from a chlorine to a salt pool is of course still possible afterwards, there are some basic conditions to consider.
In a first step, it is essential to check whether all components of the respective pool as well as the individual pool accessories are suitable for use in saline water, because if this is not the case, increased corrosion may occur.
Subsequently, it is necessary to select the appropriate salt electrolysis system, if you are unsure, there is the possibility to do this under expert guidance, which is also conceivable, for example, with regard to the preparation of a steel-walled pool for the conversion from chlorine to salt.
Once you have added new water to the pool, turned on the filtration system, adjusted the pH and determined the ideal amount of salt, the salt is added to the pool water.
After a reasonable waiting period, it is safe to start up the salt electrolysis system for the first time.
Reversing the conversion from chlorine to salt pool
Assuming you don’t prefer a salt pool to a chlorine pool, there are a few methods to reset it to use the popular chemical.
One option is to replace the salt electrolysis system with a new PVC pipe in its place, though the replacement should only happen if the pool pump has been turned off beforehand.
After the new pipe has been appropriately treated and inserted, and a two-hour waiting period has passed, the pool is partially drained or refilled, respectively, and then converted to a chlorine pool using the respective chemicals, paying particular attention to low cyanuric acid levels.
Although the use of chlorine as a disinfectant has become established in many domestic swimming pools nowadays and a salt water pool, especially if one wants to use a salt electrolysis system, requires a high financial investment at the beginning, the conversion can be considered worthwhile in some cases.
Due to the fact that salt, as a disinfecting agent, has an overall gentler effect on the human body, it is a sensible alternative for small and large bathing enthusiasts who suffer from chlorine intolerance or who do not want to expose themselves to too many chemical pool care products.
However, hygienic and visually flawless bathing fun is possible with both chlorine and salt, as long as both are used properly according to the respective individual manufacturer’s instructions.