If you own a backyard pool, you would want your pool’s water to be sparkly clean. That is where a chlorination system comes in. It sanitizes your pool from harmful microorganisms; it also can be an effective algaecide and a very potent oxidizer of contaminants to keep your swimming pools safe and clean.
But another concern pops up, which is the best chlorination system for my pool? We will compare two of the most common chlorination systems: salt water vs. chlorine, to answer this question. We will compare these two based on;
- Chlorine Levels
- Effects on the pool and its users.
Most pool owners think that using salt as a chlorination system would have no chlorine in it. In reality, using a saltwater system still has chlorine since salt has a chemical structure of Sodium Chloride (NaCl). Still, it is on a lower level compared to a chlorine system. This happens because the chlorine in the saltwater system is produced at a steady level using a salt water generator. Unlike in chlorine systems, chlorine levels tend to fluctuate and increase over time, which can be inconsistent and require much more monitoring than salt water systems.
Based on initial installation, saltwater systems will cost more than chlorine systems due to salt water systems requiring a salt water generator, which can be costly. But on a month to month basis, the saltwater system will be cheaper since the pool salts and acids cost cheaper than chlorine tablets or sticks. But on the contrary, salt water systems will cost you more in terms of electricity cost since it needs around 500-watts of power for the salt water generator to run. It needs to run for hours depending on the climate, summer or winter. On the other hand, the chlorine system costs less in terms of maintenance because tablet feeders only need a new tube or a control valve every few years, which costs less than $50. In contrast, salt water generators need cells and boards every few years, which costs a couple of hundred dollars. Both of them will even out in terms of overall cost during the long run due to equipment upkeep.
Salt water pools can be more straightforward in terms of maintenance of your pool’s water. Most salt water generators can maintain your pool for two weeks without intervention as long as there is salt in it, not to mention salt water pools recycles the salt during the process. In comparison, chlorine tablets should be added to the feeders every week and added shocks to avoid algae growth and maintain your pool’s chlorine levels.
However, saltwater pools tend to have some issues with balancing your pool's pH levels. If not done correctly, it can be corrosive or damaging to your pool’s environment and needs some professional assistance from pool technicians in adding acids and maintaining your generator to balance your pool's pH. On the other hand, maintaining chlorine pools is done by adding chlorine tablets to the pool and using home testing kits. But it is crucial to keep in mind that chlorine tablets need to be stored and handled properly since they can be harmful if not handled properly.
Effects to Your Pool’s Environment and User
Since we are using chemicals to maintain the pool, these chemicals will affect its surroundings and user. As mentioned earlier, salt water can be corrosive since its method of production of chlorine produces byproducts that are harmful to metal and damaging to the stones/concrete in your pool’s environment. That is why saltwater systems are more expensive and tedious than chlorine systems to repair and maintain the pool’s environment. But on the other hand, swimmers prefer to swim in salt water pools since chlorine pools have higher chlorine levels than saltwater pools, which can irritate the skin and damage clothing. Unlike on saltwater pools, some may say that their skin feels nicer after swimming in it than when swimming in chlorine pools.
For additional information such as the chemistry behind salt water and chlorine pools watch this video;
All in all, both of these chlorination systems have their pros and cons depending on what aspect we are looking at. Picking which is best for you depends on your preference. If you are looking for equipment and a pool environment friendly system then go for a chlorine system but if you are after the user’s comfort and if you can adjust the pool’s environment to the salt water then go for the salt water system.