Saltwater vs. Chlorine Swimming Pool Sanitation Pros and Cons

Your pool is the perfect place for family fun in the sun—if it’s kept safe and clean. It’s important to pick a method of sanitation for your pool that works for your lifestyle. There are two major types of pool sanitation: saltwater and chlorine. This article describes the benefits and challenges with both.

Saltwater Sanitation

In a saltwater system, a small amount of salt (sodium chloride) is added to the water to be converted into chlorine using a chlorine generator. This chlorine will kill the bacteria, algae, and viruses that may contaminate your pool. This water will also be gentler on hair, skin, and eyes.
This system is also less work for the owner—as the chlorine degrades, it will return to salt, so there’s no need to routinely add more salt.
While saltwater is a very effective and safe way to sanitize your pool, saltwater systems can degrade parts of your pool, so it’s important to pick equipment that is saltwater resistant when outfitting your pool. In addition, saltwater systems tend to be a more complex form of sanitation, so when parts need maintenance, a technician will need to be called.
A saltwater system may be right for you if you are wanting sanitation that is easier on skin and eyes and are okay with the slightly heftier cost.
Saltwater Pros:– Gentler on hair, skin, and eyes than a traditional chlorine system- Less routine maintenance- Water feels smooth to touch
Saltwater Cons:– Repairs are costly and almost always require a technician- Saltwater can corrode other parts of the pool, so you’ll have to ensure the parts are compatible with saltwater- Expensive installation

Chlorine Sanitation

When most people think of a backyard pool, they expect it to be a chlorine sanitation system, meaning that chlorine is added directly to the water to kill algae, bacteria, and viruses. However, chlorine is a harsh chemical that may be damaging to hair, skin, and eyes. Moreover, chlorine systems require frequent testing, so it is more work on the pool owner to maintain. Chlorine degrades and evaporates in sunlight, so chlorine will have to be kept on hand to be added to the pool whenever needed.
Chlorine Pros:– Cheaper installation and maintenance – Chlorine will not damage other components of the pool, unlike saltwater systems- Maintenance can be done at home without the use of a technician
Chlorine Cons:– Harsh chemical that can irritate and damage hair, skin, and eyes- May cause health problems with prolonged exposure- Requires routine maintenance
In order to keep your pool healthy and safe, it’s important to choose a form a sanitation that works well for your lifestyle and your budget. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, are willing to put in the work with routine maintenance, and are not concerned by the use of chemicals, a chlorine pool may be just fine for you. If you have little time for maintenance, a larger budget, or a concern for health, it may be worth it to you to get a saltwater sanitation system.
Learn the components of pool chemistry, and try out the pool calculator!
For more information on how to care for your pool, visit our blog on Pool Maintenance.

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