Whether you work in the pool industry or you’re simply a “do-it-yourself pool enthusiast,” you may have found that there continues to be a long-lasting, heated debate over what type of pool is best. General arguments tend to boil down to the opinion that chlorine pools are easier to maintain because of the ability to use pH balancing chemicals, or the opinion that saltwater pools are gentler on skin, pets, and on pool systems overall. Read on to see which side of the debate you fall on, and to help you decide what type of pool will suit your lifestyle the best.
The Pros and Cons of Chlorine and Saltwater Pools
There are several differences between saltwater and chlorine pools, but one major misconception is that saltwater pools have strictly the same type of water that you would find in the ocean. In reality, saltwater pools also have chlorine in them, though at a greatly reduced level in comparison to traditional chlorine pools. The chlorine present in saltwater pools isn’t added externally like it would be in a chlorine pool, but is instead generated as a result of the chemical electrolysis that happens within a saltwater chlorinator or generator—a vital component of any saltwater pool system.
Not including the cost of construction, saltwater pools tend to be costlier in the beginning—about one- to five thousand dollars—because of the saltwater generator, which produces a steady flow of chlorine to stop algae buildup. Unfortunately, this steady output of chlorine also means that your generator will be in constant operation, leading to an increased electricity bill. However, seasonal variations may allow you to reduce the number of hours during which your generator is running, with generators normally requiring an average run-time of four to six hours per day during the winter and ten to twelve hours during the summer. The methods that will work best for your pool will depend on how often you use your pool, what your weather conditions are like, what your area’s climate is like, and other factors.
Once your pool’s base levels of salt and saltwater system have been established, adding salt during the summer should only cost twenty to thirty dollars for an entire season. Yearly deep-cleaning sessions of saltwater pools, beyond surface skimming for leaves and bugs, involve inspecting the generator, scrubbing surfaces, changing filters, and draining the pool. Both draining and refilling the pool can cost you time, money, and labor. Additionally, if you have dark surfaces near the saltwater pool, salt ring stains may appear; salt is often corrosive, and can result in damage to the pool liner or lights.
Chlorine pools have their own set of benefits and pitfalls. They are definitely less expensive in the short-term than saltwater pools, but often require more maintenance in the long-run. They tend to kill more bacteria than saltwater pools. Unlike saltwater pools, chlorine pools also do not have a consistent pH balance; the pH balance must be maintained externally by the pool owner. The best way to accomplish this is to take the maintenance list that comes with your pool installation and a sample of your pool water to the pool supply store for analysis.
After your water has been analyzed, pool specialists can tell you which chemicals you will need in order to maintain a clean and safe pool. The pH balance of a chlorine pool should fall between 7.2 and 7.6, while the calcium should be between two hundred to three hundred parts per million and the alkalinity should be between 100 and 150 parts per million. Matching these levels is essential in order for chlorine to be effective, requiring the ongoing and careful addition of chemicals over time. Like saltwater pools, the amount of chlorine your pool will require will be dependent on weather, climate, and usage. Chlorine pools average fifty to sixty dollars per month in cost, based on the size of the pool and frequency of use, as well as rain water, backwashing, and water loss.
Have More Questions about Chlorine and Saltwater Pools?
Ask the experts at New Image Landscape and Pools! Contact our office today to speak with one of our knowledgeable specialists and find out which option would best suit your home.