Salt Water Pool Info: Is Salt Water Better?
Chances are that the first time you heard of a salt water pool, you made a face as you
remembered the taste of salt water. Most people have the same reaction. Swimming in the
ocean's salty water is usually acceptable because you are on a beautiful beach somewhere
enjoying a fabulous vacation. The last thing anyone has ever thought is that they would love to
bring home a thousand gallons or so and fill up their pool with it. While a properly maintained
pool is less then salty, it still uses chemicals.
What about the Taste?
The first question most people ask is what about the taste? They immediately imagine salt water
pools to taste just like water from the ocean. If you have ever tasted ocean water, then you know
just how unpleasant it can be. Did you know though that the level of salinity in the ocean is
upwards of 35,000 ppm (parts per million)? That is quite high. This is exactly why the human
taste threshold of only 3,500 ppm is overwhelmed by the taste of ocean water. A well built salt
water pool unit should have much less then 3,500 ppm which means it should barely even register
with most swimmers. The problem though is that the tap water most potential pool owners will
have access to is exceptionally “hard”. Hard water requires more salt to soften it. So some
owners do in fact have to deal with not only a salty taste, but a chlorine one as well. This seems
especially true on hot days. Chemical-free pools that use neither salt or chlorine do not have this
Anytime you have standing water, it is necessary to treat it against bacteria and algae growth.
Usually this is accomplished by dumping chlorine and other chemicals into your pool. The
chemical route however, has never been very efficient. Every few weeks or so, it is necessary to
add more chemicals to the water in an effort to maintain the right chlorine and PH levels. This is
where a salt water pool becomes a slightly more efficient solution. A salt water pool contrary to
popular belief isn't without chlorine. Instead of constantly pouring chlorine into the pool, a salt
water pool utilizes an expensive chlorine generator.
A chlorine generator uses a complex chemical process to generate chlorine. If a unit is
maintained properly, it will consistently chlorinate the water enough to negate algae growth. A salt
water pool uses salts that are added to the pool which help to generate chlorine when passed
over the generation unit. The amount of chlorine generated is rather low. This means that after
heavy traffic or bad rain storms, you will still need to shock your system with harsh chemicals.
Using salt never truly frees you from having to use chlorine; you just have to use less of it.
While salt water pools may be a better alternative to chlorinated pools, it still uses chemicals and
requires intense maintenance.