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Freshwater Vs. Saltwater Pools

Freshwater vs. Saltwater Pools

Freshwater vs. Saltwater Pools: When you decide to set up a new swimming pool, you have the option of using freshwater or saltwater. Both options are popular throughout the country, and they both come with their pros and cons. In order to figure out which option is right for you, you need to understand the difference between saltwater pools and freshwater pools. This guide illustrates those differences so you can determine what you want to use in your in ground swimming pool.

The Difference between Freshwater vs. Saltwater Pools

Freshwater and saltwater swimming pools both run off the same basic set of equipment. The only difference is the way the pools get the chlorine they need to kill bacteria in the water. For a freshwater pool, this comes from tablets or chemicals added to the water – the frequency is dependent on the size of the pool, pool usage volume and weather conditions. For a saltwater pool, the chlorine is produced through a chlorine generator – a special piece of equipment that releases chlorine gas into the water by breaking down the salt. This generator makes it so that you do not have to add chlorine to the system. It is already naturally in the water.

In a freshwater pool, chlorine is added periodically with the highest level of protection starting right after it is added. Once the chlorine dissipates, you have to add it again. With a saltwater pool, you have a consistent flow of chlorine being produced by the chlorine generation equipment, so there’s no need to buy, handle or store chemicals. At start-up of a saltwater pool, and sometimes if salt is low, you have to add salt to the system.

How a saltwater pool works:

  1. Water and dissolved salt flow through the generator cell.
  2. Through electrolysis it is converted into chlorine.
  3. Chlorinated water is returned to the pool. Once the chlorine has finished purifying the pool of contaminants, it reverts back into salt and the cycle repeats.
IntelliChlor Salt Generation System

This IntelliChlor system is installed between the filter and pump. It uses common table salt to produce all the chlorine a pool needs, safely, effectively and automatically. It provides the same sanitation performance as harsh chlorine additives without the drawbacks.

The Cost of Freshwater and Saltwater Pools

If you are concerned about the cost of a freshwater swimming pool or a saltwater swimming pool, you have to think about initial installation and long-term maintenance. The installation of a saltwater pool is more expensive than the installation of a freshwater pool, however, the constant need to add chlorine to a freshwater system does make it more costly in the long run. There are other factors like corrosion that can change maintenance costs, but as a whole, saltwater pools require less money to keep running than freshwater pools.

Some people may have to run their equipment for longer periods each day because the chlorine is injected incrementally instead of all at once. However, we’ve installed chlorine generators with high-efficiency, variable speed pumps without a problem.

Water Quality – Freshwater vs. Saltwater Pools

You cannot smell the chlorine in a saltwater pool, even though it is present.  You will notice a difference in taste between the two but not as drastic as you might think. The salt saturation in a saltwater pool is only about 3,200 parts per million, roughly the amount of salt found in a teardrop. In contrast, ocean water has a salt content of 35,000 ppm.

You will definitely notice a difference in how the water FEELS. It is like adding water softener to your pool – it is much less abrasive on your skin, eyes, swimwear and safe for the environment too.

Corrosion from Saltwater

Despite all of the benefits of saltwater pools, the one main drawback is the corrosion that the salt can cause. The salt can leave a residue on stone that is difficult to clean off over time. It can lead to issues with pool equipment if the pool is not properly maintained. With proper installation though, you should not have to worry about too much corrosion.

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