Salt water pool vs chlorine pool

Are you tired of all the maintenance tasks that you have to do just to keep your pool's chlorine level optimal? Did you forget to buy chlorine on your last shopping run and now your pool water is a sickly shade of green? Do you want to make your life easier? Is there a way to make it all easier?

If your answer to just one of those questions is "yes", then you’ve come to the right place!

Within this blog, I will outline the differences in a Saltwater Pool VS a Traditional Chlorine Pool and how you, the conscious pool owner, can simplify the maintenance required for your backyard oasis.

Did You Know?

The salinity level in ocean water is approx 30,000 ppm, but the level in a saltwater pool is much lower — ideally only 3,000 - 5000ppm. That’s less than the salinity level of human tears at 9000ppm!

What's the difference and why does it matter?

Salt Water Chlorinators vs Chlorine Pools explained

Is there really a big difference in saltwater pools and chlorinated pools? Well, the answers might surprise you. In a nutshell, satwater pools are easily the best investment you can make for your home pool. A saltwater pool isn't just dumping sacks of salt into your pool, it's much more than that. We'll go over the advantages of saltwater pools from traditional chlorinated pools, and why you should really consider converting your pool to one.

1. Are Salt Water Pools chlorine-free?

Saltwater Pools aren’t completely chlorine-free. Instead, the system uses a process called electrolysis to create chlorine via the saltwater passing the electronically charged plates which convert to chlorine gas and disinfects the water.

2. What’s the main difference between a saltwater pool and a traditional chlorinated pool?

In a traditional chlorine pool, chlorine (liquid, powder, or tablets) is added directly to the pool. With a saltwater pool, salt is added to the water in which the levels are maintained by the chlorinator. In turn, the electrodes in the chlorinator will convert the saltwater into chlorine for clean, clear, and luxuriously soft water.

3. Is a saltwater pool easier to maintain?

YES! There’s no need to purchase, store and add chlorine to your pool. Simply add salt and maintain your levels and let the chlorinator do the rest.

Saltwater Pools are far more stable than chlorine pools. It requires less maintenance and fewer chemical testing and adding tasks . And of course less last-minute trips to the store to buy those chemicals if you run out.

4. Is a saltwater pool less expensive to maintain?

Absolutely! The primary reason for this is that salt is far cheaper than traditional chlorine, and the chlorinator will do the heavy lifting (producing the chlorine) for you, automatically! So you don't need to buy chlorine. You don't even need to have chlorine and other chemicals "just in case" someone forgot to dose the pool and has caused the pool to turn green.

5. How much salt does the system require?

The amount of salt your pool requires depends on size of your pool. Your chlorinator needs a certain salt level to keep everything optimal. Check the instruction manual as it will advise what the desired level is, it usually ranges from 3,000 to 4,000 ppm (parts per million). Don't worry, it's all there in the manual and if you run into any trouble with your computations, you can just Contact Us with your pool specifications and chlorinator model and we'll do all the math for you!

A common misconception is that more salt is better, this is not the case. High salt levels could lead to over conductivity within the water and the resistor inside the chlorinator box to overheat and trip. Some Salt Water Chlorinators will have a low salt, LED light to alert you to the need to adjust your salt level.

6. What does it mean if my saltwater pool is cloudy?

There is no direct correlation between saltwater pools and cloudy pool water, if the pool is cloudy this could be a sign of poor chlorine levels or inadequate filtration. Be sure to have your water tested to diagnose the root cause, if you have a chlorinator and the tests show that it is a lack of chlorine, then this could signal a need for a cell replacement, more salt, or both!

7. Is it hard to convert a traditional chlorinated pool to a saltwater pool?

Absolutely not! The majority of chlorine pools will already carry an average level of salt that has entered the water via means of chlorine (usually liquid chlorine).

The process is as simple as buying a reliable and robust Salt Water Chlorinator, we recommend the Water TechniX Atomic!

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Then installing the new Saltwater Chlorinator shouldn't be a hard job at all. With the right tools, installing a chlorinator is pretty much DIY-friendly. If you run into any snags, we would be more than happy to walk you thorugh it step-by-step, just give us a call or visit our Contact Us page to schedule a call.

Once the chlorinator is successfully installed, then the next step required will be to add salt to get the levels to your required levels. We commonly see 6 - 10 bags required to get most pools to desired levels.

8. How Much Does a Salt Water Chlorinator Cost?

A Salt Water Chlorinator usually costs anywhere from $800 - $1500 for a decent model, which will also rely on the size of your pool. Keep in mind there’s two parts to a Salt Water Chlorinator, The chlorinator box on the wall and the salt cell which is plumbed into the pipe system.

A saltwater pool on average requires approx $30 per month in chemicals, which is just under $400 a year in salt and chemicals if it is consistently maintained. Thats about $1 a day, not a bad price to pay for a well-maintained, automatic tropical oasis. A chlorine pool, on the other hand, will cost between $500 and $800 per year in maintenance chemicals.

9. How Long Does a Salt water chlorinator last?

The life of a generator depends on multiple factors, including the frequency of pool maintenance, salt level, water chemistry, and other factors. A salt cell commonly has a life span of 4 - 6 years and then requires replacing, this is applicable for all brands and models as the salt cell is the main working component and does wear out over time.

The cost to replace the cell usually varies from $160 - $550 depending on the model you may have. Mr Pool Man stocks high quality aftermarket cells HERE which come with a 2 year warranty, rather than branded cells which only have 12 months warranty!

Replacing the cell is a very easy DIY job. Purchasing the correct model cell and it should be a matter of disconnecting your old cell, unscrewing the cell or locking nut, removing the cell, and sliding the new one in, and reconnecting!

10. Is a salt water pool better than a chlorine pool?

In our professional opinion, YES! Salt water pools are generally lower in chlorine. The chlorine found in saltwater pools are naturally produced from salt, rather than adding harsh liquid chlorine (a.k.a bleach). Natural chlorine in saltwater pools are strong enough to keep the pool clean and disinfect it, but not as harsh as chemical chlorine that can irritate skin or damage swimwear.

As an added health benefit, storage of salt requires no special precautions. Chlorine, on the other hand, is a hazardous chemical and you have to be very careful in the storage and handling of the chemical. Special care must be made to prevent accidental inhalation of the fumes. Not only that, but improperly stored chlorine can lose its effectiveness over time.

What about maintenance?

Saltwater pools rely on a number of contributing factors to ensure smooth operation and peace of mind. Here's a quick rundown of how how to maintain a saltwater pool.

  • Keep your filter, pump, and skimmer clean (You'll need to do this as well in a traditional chlorinated pool, so nothing new there)
  • Inspect the salt chlorinator cell and replace it as needed.
  • Inspect the pool water chemistry as well as salt levels. (You'll need to do this as well in traditional chlorinated pools)
Aquachek 7 in 1 Test Strips-Mr Pool Man

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That's it, a much shorter maintenance list than having to balance out chemicals after every few days and risking algae infestation if you forget to do it.

Advantages of saltwater pools versus traditional chlorinated pools

Advantages of Saltwater Pools

  • Saltwater pools are much gentler on the eyes and skin from naturally produced chlorine.
  • No more purchasing, handling, and storing potentially toxic chemicals.
  • Much lower ongoing pool maintenance costs.
  • Easier maintenance for pool owners with automatic chlorination daily.

Disadvantages of traditional chlorinated pools

  • Dangerous chemical handling and safe storage of chlorine (out of sunlight)
  • Technical Dosing equipment to automate the process which are very expensive and are maintenance intensive
  • Frequency of doing it manually every few days which is a waste of time
  • Very manual process of testing, adding and ensuring levels are correct

Our Recommendation

Mr Pool Man highly recommends Water Technix, the industry leading residential salt water pool systems to easily turn your pool salt into a self-regenerating supply of pure chlorine for clean, clear, and luxuriously soft pool and spa water.

We always recommend OVERSIZING your salt water chlorinator, a few dollars more as an upfront cost, but you can always turn the output down on a larger unit, but on a small outputting unit you cannot increase the output on those 40 degree days when the whole family is in the pool and you can see it turning green!

Along with easy maintenance, it’s no wonder so many pool owners are converting their traditional chlorine pools to salt water pools!

Saltwater pools vs Traditional Chlorinated pools, The Verdict

Chlorine pools require a commitment to maintenance and balancing water with chemicals, whilst salt water pools require less time to maintain, but can require a larger investment up front. Saltwater pools will definitely save you time and money over time.

Another reason why we highly recommend getting a saltwater chlorinator for your pool is that it's basically set-and-forget. It works even if you're not around to make sure that your pool's chlorine levels are where they should be.

And my favorite part of getting a saltwater chlorinator is preventing growth of algea. How? because a saltwater chlorinator never forgets to keep the chlorine levels in check. Not only does this save time, but also a lot of money from expensive algae cleanup costs.

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Do you have any questions about this topic or the featured products? No worries, we're here to help! Drop us a question down below and we'll get back to you ASAP.

Happy swimming :)

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Post author:

Tom Hintze

Head of eCommerce & Operations at Mr Pool Man,
Co-Founder at Water TechniX

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