Saltwater vs Chlorine

At Dunk pools, we focus on making sure our customers are given as much information as possible before taking the plunge and buying a pool. We want you to get the pool that’s right for you, so it is our goal to guide you through this process and help you make decisions that will have significant effects on what type of pool you purchase, and maximize your enjoyment in the water.

For most people looking to invest in a pool for their home or business the first thing they will think about is the size and the location. But another equally important decision revolves around the water sanitization system you choose for your pool.

This topic is limited to two choices: Saltwater or Chlorine. Both systems have advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to understand how each system works and the common issues pool owners may experience depending upon the choice they make.

In this article we will dive into this subject headlong and explore the nuts and bolts of the differing systems, and the pros and cons of owning a saltwater pool vs. a chlorine pool.

In the following sections you will learn:

What is a Chlorine pool?
What is a Saltwater pool?
What is the difference between the two systems?
What are the pros of Chlorine pools?
What are the cons of Chlorine pools?
What are the pros of Saltwater pools?
What are the cons of Saltwater pools?
What pool is best for you?



What is a chlorine pool?

As the name implies, a chlorine pool makes use of this chemical to disinfect water. If left untreated, the water in your pool can develop bacteria such as salmonella than can be dangerous to swimmers. Therefore, a sanitization system is required to keep the water clean.

In most traditional pools, chlorine is added directly to the solution on an ongoing basis to ensure the cleanliness of the water.

In order to get the right chemical balance in your pool, chlorine can be added in either liquid or tablet form. In our Dunk pools, we setup an inline chlorine feeder to add chlorine tablets to the pool. These can be purchased from our online store.


What is a saltwater pool?

First and foremost, let’s clear up a few common misconceptions people have about saltwater pools.

  1. A saltwater pool doesn’t use water straight from the ocean.
  2. Saltwater pools do contain chlorine.

The water used in a saltwater pool is no different than the water used in a traditional chlorine pool. But unlike a chlorine pool, a saltwater pool has small amounts of salt added rather than directly pouring in chlorine. The salinity of this mixture is on par with human tears which is about 1/10th the salinity of ocean water.

In order to keep your pool clean, a saltwater system uses a process called electrolysis to produce trace amounts of chlorine that sanitize the water. Electrolysis breaks down salt by passing electricity through the solution to produce a low but steady rate of chlorine.

The Pentair IntelliChlor Salt Chlorine Generator automatically produces chlorine using the salt present in your pool. This device eliminates the hassle of purchasing and handling harsh chemicals to keep your pool clean and sanitized. It is designed to work with other Pentair automated products to make maintaining your pool a headache free process.


So now that we understand the differences between a saltwater and a chlorine pool and cleared up some of the misconceptions people have surrounding this topic, let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each system:


What are the pros of owning a chlorine pool?

Chlorine pools have been around for a long time. According to the history books, the first pool to use chlorine for sanitization purposes was Brown University in 1910. Over time, this system spread across the world, and it is considered the most common way to keep your pool clean. Due to its widespread use, we have been able to observe and improve upon this system over time, and it can be verified that chlorine is a safe and effective way to sanitize almost any pool.

For any pool owner, there are a number of advantages that come from owning a chlorine pool:

Lower initial investment:
  • the biggest advantage a new pool owner will be able to observe is the lower initial startup fee of installing a chlorine sanitization system.
  • Although there are devices available that can automatically adjust levels, it is possible to sanitize your pool without a costly machine.
  • In general, the equipment required to maintain your pools chemical balance is cheaper than the saltwater alternative.
Lower electric bills:
  • It is a proven fact that chlorine pools use much less electricity than a saltwater pool
  • Saltwater pools need specialized equipment to breakdown the salt into chlorine.
  • This equipment requires a great deal of electricity and pool owners will notice the difference when they receive their electricity bill.
  • Chlorine pools only need a pump to circulate the water. When combined with the right mix of chlorine, this equipment will prevent the buildup of bacteria, algae and dirt in your pool.
Problems can be solved DIY:
  • Most of the problems the owner of a chlorine pool will encounter can be solved without calling in a specialist.
  • It is common for the chemical levels in a pool to lose balance. There are a number of methods available for pool owners to address these issues.
  • If you encounter an issue with your, you can easily contact your local pool equipment supplier who can suggest a solution that you can implement yourself.
  • There is a wealth of information online about pool maintenance. It is highly unlikely that your issue hasn’t been addressed in some form online.


What are the cons of owning a chlorine pool?

Although chlorine systems have been used for a long time to sanitize pools, there are a number of drawbacks that people interested in purchasing a pool need to consider before the make a decision on the type of pool they would like to own.

Higher levels of Chlorine:
  • Just as the name implies, there is a high concentration of chlorine in a traditional pool.
  • If not used and balanced correctly it This chemical can be harsh on skin, hair and eyes. Chlorine will also cause bathing suits and other products to fade over time.
Handling of chemicals:
  • In order to sanitize and maintain your pool, chlorine must be added by hand or through the use of an automated system.
  • In either case, a pool owner will be responsible for the purchase, storage and handling of the sanitization chemicals required to keep a pool clean.
  • The cost of purchasing these chemicals is not cheap. It can cost between 300-800 dollars a year to buy the products necessary to sanitize your pool.
Frequent and Expensive Maintenance:
  • In order to keep a pool safe and sanitized, owners mustvigilantlymonitor the chemical levels in the water.
  • We’ve already mentioned the cost of purchasing these chemicals, but they need to be added to the water frequently to maintain acceptable sanitization levels in the water.
  • Adding these chemicals requires the homeowner to have a decent amount of knowledge regarding pool maintenance.
  • Disregarding safe practices can result in poor swimming co
  • Chlorine pools must be shocked regularly to maintain balance. Chlorine often becomes combined with contaminants making it ineffective. Shocking a pool by adding more chlorine will break up these combinations and elevate the pools chlorine levels.


Now that we’ve explored the advantages and disadvantages of owning and maintaining a traditional chlorine pool, let’s take a look at some of the benefits and drawbacks that come with owning a Saltwater Pool:


What are the pros of owning a saltwater pool?

There are many advantages that come with owning a saltwater pool, and these benefits have brought about a surge in demand for saltwater pools around the world.

Lower Chlorine levels:
  • Saltwater pools use electrolysis to convert salt to chlorine.
  • This process creates the correct amount of chlorine necessary to keep a pool sanitized.
  • Unlike a chlorine pool which requires pool owners to add chlorine directly to the water, the saltwater sanitization system monitors the chlorine leves in the water and converts salt into chlorine as needed.
  • This process results in lower levels of chlorine present in the water.
Lower and Less Frequent maintenance costs:
  • Because Saltwater pools produce their own chlorine, owners of these types of pools need to buy less chemicals than a traditional chlorine pool.
  • Most saltwater sanitization systems are automated.
  • Yearly run costs of a salt water pool are less than a chlorine pool.


What are the cons of owning a saltwater pool?

A saltwater pool is great for skin and is easier to maintain, but there are a number of issues that can negatively affect your enjoyment of a pool if you choose this type of sanitization system.

Higher initial investment:
  • The equipment required to set up a saltwater pool is more expensive than a chlorine pool.
  • The cost of a saltwater generator ranges between $400-1800 dollars.
  • Pool owners should expect to pay between 300-500 dollars for the installation of this machine
More Complex:
  • A saltwater sanitization system is more complicated than a chlorine system.
  • If an issue arises, the pool owner will have a difficult time assessing and correcting the issue on their own.
  • When problems arise, a specialist will be needed to fix the problem.
  • Bringing in a technician to address an issue in your pool can be expensive and getting new parts will only add to the cost.
Damage to features:
  • If unbalanced, it can be harder on pool equipment and the pool shell.
  • To prevent corrosion, saltwater specific features should be purchased or further maintenance will be required.


What type of pool is best for you?

As you can tell from reading this article, there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration before choosing a sanitization system for your pool.

Chlorine pools have lower start up fees and they can be easily maintained if you follow the correct methods concerning chlorine levels. If problems do occur, the vast majority of these issues can be taken care of by the owner.

Saltwater pools, on the other hand, are much gentler on swimmer’s skin and have lower maintenance fees. But the initial cost is a lot higher, and problems pool owners encounter during the use of their pool will most likely require bringing in a technician to fix the issue.


The Verdict

While both systems come with advantages and disadvantages, there is no clear winner when it comes to making a decision regarding the sanitization of your pool.

Ultimately, the choice will come down to the unique needs of the pool owner and their significant others. If you or your family have sensitive skin, or you suffer from respiratory ailments, you may want to consider a saltwater system. But if the initial cost is an issue, you may choose to go with a chlorine pool.

But fear not, the Dunk pool team is here to help you make those difficult decisions, because we want you to get the pool that is right for you. Contact us today and we’ll get you dunking in no time.



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