Why More People are Installing Salt Water Pools
One of the hottest summers in U.S. history has sent everyone scurrying into their pools to cool off, and the biggest new trend in swimming pools is salt water. First developed in Australia, saltwater pools offer several advantages over conventional chlorine and have become incredibly popular in the last decade.
People no longer have to tolerate the eye-burning, nose-curdling sting that comes from chlorine. Saltwater pools only have one-tenth the salt of ocean water and about one-third when compared to human tears. They are also gentler on the skin and hair than traditional chlorine pools. And pool owners don’t have to purchase, store and handle harsh chemicals, so maintenance is easier, more convenient and saves time and money.
Across the country, more chlorine pools are being converted to salt water and today there are more than 1.4 million saltwater pools in operation nationwide. An estimated 75 percent of all new in-ground pools are salt water, compared with only 15 percent in 2002, according to data published in Pool & Spa News.
In saltwater pools, chlorine is automatically produced as water passes through the generator. As the water exits the generator and enters the pool, the sanitizing chlorine reverts back to salt, and the process repeats itself, conserving salt and keeping sanitizer levels balanced.
Saltwater pools require less maintenance than traditional pools, but pool owners still should test weekly for pH and chlorine, and monthly for other water-balance factors and for salt levels, which can drop due to splash-out, rain and filter back-washing. Most pool owners test pool water with test strips and periodically bring a sample to a pool retailer for testing.
Anyone who has made the decision to move to a saltwater pool should make certain they use salt specifically designed for that use. An average 20,000-gallon pool requires 530 pounds of salt at startup; with quantities that large, even small amounts of contaminants within the salt can cause pool problems. That’s why ultra-pure salt is best for saltwater pools.
There have also been questions about the effect of salt water on pool construction materials, decks and surrounding structures. When pools are properly constructed and normal maintenance is followed, salt water has no effect on pool finishes, equipment and decks. Most materials are suitable for saltwater pool construction, and most kinds of stone and decking materials will last if treated and sealed properly and periodically rinsed off.
You can also find more information at the Salt Institute website.