Pros and Cons of Converting to a Salt System

Posted on: May 12th, 2015 by

Pool Salt Systems

In recent years there has been a definitive shift from chlorinated pool systems to salt water pools. This is a controversial topic because there are strong proponents on both sides. Here at Allen Pool Service, we see the benefits of both systems, but today we want to focus on how and why you would want to consider converting to a salt system. Of course, we will bring you a list of drawbacks as well—we want you to be well informed!

What does a salt water system actually do?

Before converting to a salt water system, it is important to understand how it works. I initially thought a salt water system would be similar to an ocean, but in fact it is quite different. Salt water systems are not chlorine-free systems. Rather, they create chlorine using salt through a process called electrolysis. This keeps both the salt content and the chlorine content in the pool low. The salinity is about 1/10 that of the ocean or about as salty as human tears.

Pros of a Salt Water System

  1. Salt systems are gentler in general. Although there is still chlorine in salt pools, the levels are generally much lower. This means that your skin and eyes are less likely to be irritated. Because both the salt and the chlorine content is low, studies have shown that it is safe to open one’s eyes underwater in a salt pool! That being said, we will always and forever recommend a good pair of goggles.
  2. They require less maintenance. This system has a salt cell that produces chlorine depending on the level needed. You will still need to check the levels periodically, but salt systems are much more low-maintenance than chlorine systems.
  3. They are safer in general. Besides general irritation of the skin and eyes, liquid chlorine and chlorine tablets can have negative health effects and are also very reactive and pose risks when transporting or storing.

Cons of a Salt Water System

  1. The system conversion will require an upfront investment. While you will save on chemical costs over time, it may take three to five years to offset the initial investment in the system.
  2. Problems are not as easy to fix. Most people fix issues with chlorine levels simply by adding more chlorine or not adding any if levels are too high. If there is a chemical imbalance in your salt pool, it will be related to a systematic error and will require technical support.
  3. Potential damage to pool framework and accessories. The presence of salt can lead to wear on your pool equipment and the general framework. However, most reports of this problem have come from very old systems or systems that may not have been properly installed and maintained.

Overall, we think the comfort and health benefits of a salt pool outweigh the downsides.  At Allen Pool Services we have converted hundreds of pools and only experienced very rare issues.

How to Use This Information

At Allen Pool Service, we want to provide you with the most up-to-date, unbiased, and helpful information on everything to do with pools. We are here to help you with general service, installation, repair, and renovation. Call us at (770) 451-1621 or contact us online.

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