The Saltwater Pool System: What Homeowners Should Know

Should you install a new saltwater pool or update your existing swimming pool with a saltwater pool system? If you're envisioning a little piece of the ocean in your backyard, let us share with you the reality and the pros and the cons of a saltwater pool.

The phrase “saltwater pool” is a bit misleading. The water in the pool isn’t salty at all, especially compared to the ocean which has salt in the parts per thousand, while a saltwater pool contains parts per million.

A saltwater pool system is a gentler way of introducing chlorine into the pool water by treating the water with salt, which is made up of sodium and chlorine atoms. The water, now containing salt, passes through a device that splits the salt molecules to create chlorine. You never need to purchase, handle or pour chlorine into your pool water.

This system creates a much gentler swimming experience:

  • There is no chlorine smell.
  • It feels softer on the skin.
  • You don’t get burning red eyes after swimming.
  • It doesn't dry out hair or skin.
  • You don’t have to wait to use the pool the way you would after adding chlorine directly into the water.

This system also creates a much safer pool environment. There’s never a risk of overdosing your pool because the chlorine is created incrementally and continually. It eliminates the risk of chlorine spills while treating the pool, as well as removing the need to have chlorine on your property.

There is a cost advantage from the materials side: chlorine for an average pool comes to about $1,000 a year versus salt at $50 a year. It can also reduce the amount of maintenance, especially if you pair the saltwater pool system with pool chemical automation. Saltwater systems are very compatible with spas and have the added advantage of eliminating that hot chlorine smell you often get when first turning on the jets.

Existing pools can be retrofitted with a saltwater system and new pool designs can easily integrate them. We currently have two new projects in progress that are using a saltwater pool system and we’ll link to them in the projects folder as soon as they are completed.

There are a few considerations to keep in mind. There is obviously the cost of the system and installation. A saltwater pool system should be installed by a professional. We recommend using a licensed pool contractor, such as Artisan Home Resorts, not a pool maintenance person.

Salt (even in very low concentrations) can cause corrosion of metal, such as automatic pool covers and handrails. The saltwater also tends to scale up more on tile surfaces and especially glass tiles. The solution is to use a scale inhibitor as a regular maintenance practice. (This is something every pool owner should do regardless of their type of pool.) Again, this can be handled automatically with a pool chemical maintenance system.

Our advice to any homeowner who wants a saltwater pool is to talk to a professional pool installation company who has experience with these systems.

Learn how it should be correctly maintained (even if you’re not doing the work) and make everything easy by adding the scale remover to your automated pool monitoring and chemical maintenance system.

With these in place, you’ll enjoy a more natural-feeling environment with sparkling clean water in your swimming pool.

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