The Low Down on Saltwater vs. Chlorine Pools

By Peek Pools and Spas

peek pools
Photo: Peek Pools & Spas/Facebook

Whether you have an existing pool you’re considering converting or are making plans for the long-time dream pool to be installed on your property, deciding between a saltwater or chlorine pool can be overwhelming. Both are popular and offer their own exclusive benefits. The good news is that there is no wrong answer… only your preference. Below, Peek Pools breaks down the differences to help you feel confident in your decision!

Initial Setup Cost

The initial setup cost for a saltwater pool includes all the normal install and material purchases plus a saltwater generator to generate, regulate and maintain the chlorine level. (Yes, saltwater pools are still chlorinated, but through a different method and with different side effects.) So on the initial investment of installing the pool, a chlorine pool is less expensive.

Ongoing Cost and Work

Once the pool is installed and up and running, the initial salt has been added or chlorine balanced, you now have operational costs associated with the pool. Both types of pools have pumps and filters. The saltwater pool has the additional generator, which increases the utility cost (about $35-$50 more annually over a chlorine pool). The average cost of salt that is easy to buy, store, and use costs less than $100 per year.

However, the cost of maintaining the appropriate pH levels can be dramatically different between the chlorine and saltwater pools. The chemicals for a chlorine pool, by comparison, can run between $300 and $800 or more every year, depending on the size of the pool and the climate. In addition to the ongoing expense, chlorine pools require more monitoring and use of chemicals to achieve pH balance, including more frequent “shocking” the pool. Additionally, the chemicals require tremendous care in storing safely: cool, dry, well-ventilated and away from children or pets.

Saltwater definitely wins for ongoing ease, maintenance and cost.

Non-Financial Considerations

Not every part of this decision is driven by your budget. There are other pros and cons to consider. One thing a lot of people dislike about chlorine pools is the feel on the skin. Chlorine is much more drying to skin and hair, not to mention the discoloration and fading that occurs on swimsuits. Saltwater pools tend to feel better and are less drying, less itch-inducing, and cause lower allergic reactions than their chlorine counterparts.

However, salt is corrosive. Even at the low levels in backyard pools (about one-tenth as salty as the ocean) there is still the concern of the impact of salt on the surrounding areas. Salt has the potential to corrode and break down the concrete and pool furniture. This is especially true if you’re converting a chlorine pool to saltwater. (The initial install of a saltwater pool is done with specially chosen materials that can be used to withstand a salt-rich environment.)

The other major consideration is the saltwater impact on the landscaping and surrounding soil. Salt can damage plants and soil and, as such, may not be permitted in all communities. Be sure to check local ordinances and your HOA before installing.

If you’ve decided the type of pool you want installed, or you have more questions and would like to hear from our experienced staff, contact Peek Pools. Call us at 615-866-8800 to schedule your appointment today.

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