Salt Water Pool vs Chlorine

Several years ago we wondered what were the benefits and differences of a salt water pool vs chlorine?  We made the switch to salt about 10 years ago and have never looked back.  

A salt system uses a salt cell generator and a control box to create chlorine and to sanitize the pool. A couple of benefits that we have noticed are:

salt water pool vs chlorine

Top 10 Benefits to a Salt Water Pool

1.  Easier to maintain pool chemical balance with stable chlorine levels, and less fluctuations. Better, consistent control of swimming pool chemical levels.

2.  Use less pool chemicals and less trips to the store.  I don't have to handle, touch and breathe in chlorine tablets, shock etc. 

salt water pool vs chlorine

3.  Better for your skin

Our granddaughter who has eczema found she could swim in our salt water pool without irritating her skin. You skin will feel less dry and have no chlorine odor

4.  No stinging eyes. Eyes are less irritated and red even when you swim underwater

5.  Better for your hair; hair less dry and brittle

6. When in proper balance there is less exposure to harmful chemicals to your pool liner

"Salt water in the swimming pool, maintained at the recommended concentration and PH, does not constitute any potential for either equipment corrosion or liner deterioration." 

Salt Water Pool vs Chlorine

Less chlorine means less damage to pool liner integrity and and protects the liner from fading.

7.  Less expensive using sewing chemicals

8.  Swimsuits last longer

9.  Don't experience that offensive whiff of chlorine while in or near the pool

10.  Less algae problems perhaps due to better control of chlorine levesl

Overall our pool water is crystal clear with less effort. Our pool has never looked this good.

How Does A Salt Water Pool Work?

"The control box sends an electrical charge to the plates which creates chlorine through a process called electrolysis.  As pool water passes through the salt cell, the salt in the water is turned into Hypochlorous acid.   Hypochlorous acid is the same component that is produced when any chlorine is added to pool water, whether you use sticks, tablets, granular or liquid. As the water returns to the pool, it will introduce the newly produced chlorine."

How Does A Salt Water Pool Work and What are the Pros and Cons?

Add the recommended number of salt bags to your pool. 

salt water pool vs chlorine

Turn off the salt chlorine generator using the control panel but keep the pump on to help circulate and dissolve the salt.

man pouring bag of salt into a pool

Brush the pool bottom with a swimming pool brush to help disperse dissipate the salt.

Turn the generator on when the salt is completely dissolved.

Salt Chlorine Generator

We have had the AquaRite Salt Water system for 5 years.  It's been easy to read and monitor our chlorine levels.  A salt chlorine generator by Hayward comes in 3 sizes:

salt chlorine generator

15,000 gallon pool

25,000 gallon pool

40,000 gallon pool

salt chlorine generator

Some links in the following sections are eBay or Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product through them I receive a small commission. There is no extra cost to you. Find more details on this page.

The Hayward AquaRite model # AQR15 includes the control box, T-Cell-15, cell union kit, and flow switch with tee. You will find it cheaper on Amazon than from your local pool store and install yourself or pay your "pool guy" to install.

Hayward AquaRite Salt Water Chlorinators

Salt Water Swimming Pool Maintenance

It was a constant struggle for us to maintain the right chemical balance in our standard chlorine pool, spending lots of money on pool chemicals and yet it often was cloudy or had algae growing.  Now we are enjoying a crystal clear pool with less effort and less money.

Maintaining a saltwater pool involves a different set of steps compared to a traditional chlorine pool. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you keep your saltwater pool clean and balanced.

Regularly test your pool water with a saltwater test kit to monitor the levels of salt, pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness and stabilizer (cyanuric acid).

Aim for the following ranges:

Salt: 2700-4500 ppm (parts per million)

pH: 7.2-7.8

Total Alkalinity: 80-120 ppm

Calcium Hardness: 200-400 ppm

Stabilizer (Cyanuric Acid): 70-80 ppm

If the salt level falls below the recommended range, you'll need to add pool-grade salt to bring it back up. Use a salt calculator to determine the amount needed.

Start your spring season adjusting the PH, bring the salt level within target range, and add a stabilizer as needed. The chlorine generator does the rest.  Brush and vacuum regularly.  

Here are recommended chemical levels for your swimming pool.

salt water swimming pool maintenance

Shocking the pool helps to destroy bacteria and algae.  Use a non-chlorine shock or a shock specifically designed for salt water pools. 

Going with a salt water pool system is well worth the initial investment helping you to minimize pool maintenance with better water clarity and stabilized chemical levels.  Your hair, eyes and skin will thank you for it as well. 

Return to Swimming Pool Maintenance Guide

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