Pools are made up of many parts but it’s the circulatory systems that keep the water clean and healthy. Here’s a primer on what’s available.
Saltwater vs. chlorine
Saltwater or saline pools offer a better swimming environment, and while it might feel better on the skin and does not cause eye irritation, it’s not without its problems. “A saltwater pool is a great system,” says Nick Vitiello, project manager for Lang Pools. “It takes more coddling for the start-up and is initially more expensive than a chlorine pool, but you don’t have to handle all the chemicals so it’s more user friendly.”
Over time, the cost of the salt chemicals is less than traditional chlorine. When you opt for a saltwater or saline pool, your pool’s filtering system comes with a chlorine generator. The generator takes in the pool water and makes chlorine that is then sent back out to the pool to sanitize the water. In the end, you are swimming in a lot less chlorine than you would with a traditional chlorine system.
Another advantage besides saving money on buying chlorine or handling the chemicals is that you don’t need algaecides because the system naturally helps prevent algae from growing on the walls or in the water. You also don’t need to test the water as often but still need to maintain proper pH levels. On the downside, you have to run your pool filter 24/7 to keep generating enough chlorine to clean the pool water.
Salt is corrosive to metal such as pool ladders and handrails that comes in contact with the pool water. Saltwater tends to corrode any metal objects near the pool such as outdoor furniture and even nearby grills. The salt is also corrosive to natural stone, so any paving made of natural materials near the pool that gets splashed will eventually break down unless it’s properly sealed to keep out the water. “If you seal the coping every couple of years, it should not be an issue,” says Tom Mortland, pool division manager of Liquidscapes. Discuss the pros and cons with your pool professional but know that not every pool company recommends using a salt system. “It damages pools over time,” says James Atlas, co-owner of Platinum Pool Care.