There aren’t a lot of things in this world that can be customized as much as pools can be. Anything can be custom – from type, shape, depth, style, colour and all the way to how you choose to sanitise your pool. That’s right, you can move on from traditional, chlorinated water and move on to the saltwater. Now, as people are fairly familiar with the abrasive nature of salt, most of them wonder – is it safe to put saltwater inside a pool and how will that affect it? Well, let’s find out.
What’s The Difference Between Saltwater And Chlorine Systems?
Before we even get to answer the main question, we have to understand what the difference between these two is and is there a valid reason to choose one or the other. It may come as a surprise, but in both of these cases, there will be some chlorine present. The main difference is that in the case of saltwater, you’d end up with a salt-chlorine generator, instead of just adding the concentrated chlorine to the water.
What this generator does is converts the salt into chlorine through a chemical process called electrolysis. You end up with same water quality, but with a lot less chlorine in it, meaning, no more devilish-red eyes, skin irritation and unpleasant smell. Pretty neat, huh?
Does It Work With Concrete Pools?
Seeing how most residential, backyard pools are still concrete, this is one of the questions that are most commonly asked. To put it simply – yes, you can add a saltwater system to a concrete pool. However, it comes with some risks. If you do decide to go this route, know this – the water quality must be maintained correctly, otherwise, you’re risking damage to the pool walls, plaster or equipment. To be fair, regular chlorinated water will do the same, the salt will just speed up the process. On top of all that, salt can easily cause stains to the pool walls and those stains may be impossible to remove.
How About Vinyl Liner Pools?
In this case, considering that the concentration of chlorine is significantly lower than in the traditional sanitising systems, you may even see an improvement in the lifespan of the inner vinyl liner. The downside, in this case, is that if the steel-reinforced walls become exposed to saltwater for a long time, it can cause some corrosion and even do some structural damage, which could end up costing a fortune to repair.
Are Fibreglass Pools A Good Choice?
It’s non-arguable that the fibreglass pools are the latest and greatest in the world of pools right now. They’re easy and quick to install, they last a really long time and they’ve become fairly affordable. If there’s anything that the fibreglass pools are known for it is for their superior durability and longevity. Out of all the options we’ve just covered, the fibreglass pools are by far the most compatible with the saltwater. Why?
Well, it’s not by accident that these pools are so popular. As far as conditions go – they can handle all of them. The surface of the fibreglass pools is non-porous and perfectly smooth. That means no bacteria and algae build-up on the walls and no damage caused by chemicals used to sanitize the water – including salt.
Should You Worry About The Surroundings?
Since we’ve established that the pool itself is not likely to take any damage from the saltwater, let’s move on to the surroundings. According to capitalcountrypools.com.au, a vast majority of people invest a lot of time and money in the area surrounding the pool, so it’s only logical that we take a look at that as well.
The bottom line is this – the amount of salt in the water is so low that there’s virtually no chance of it actually affecting anything other than plants. Plants can take some damage even from the chlorinated water, so it’s not recommended to keep any of them in the ‘splash zone’. As far as tiles, metal railings or furniture goes – all of them are perfectly safe. If you don’t want to take any chances, you can always hose down the surrounding area after you’re finished swimming.
Is There A Cost Difference?
It depends. If we’re talking about concrete ones, there could be some expenses if you have to clean the pool and remove the staining. But, if we’re talking about fibreglass, the difference between chlorine and saltwater is virtually non-existent, even though it may not seem like it at the first glance. Sure, the salt is 5 times, or in some cases even 10 times cheaper than the chlorine, but that doesn’t make a difference. A salt chlorine generator is usually more expensive to install in the first place and it is not that long-lasting, compared to the traditional one. So, when you take a look at the bigger picture, there’s virtually no difference in the maintenance cost.
Should You Give It A Try?
Naturally, we can’t tell you should or shouldn’t you, but, what we can do, is show you a quick list of pros and cons so you can make the decision for yourself. Let’s start with the pros first.
- It’s a common knowledge by now that the saltwater is easier on the skin, hair and the eyes. It’s a lot less likely to cause redness or irritation than the traditional option. Note: You still shouldn’t dive with your eyes open if you don’t wear the goggles.
- It’s safe to swallow, but we still wouldn’t recommend you do that.
- It requires less maintenance compared to the traditional options.
- It ‘feels’ better.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the cons.
- It requires more frequent water testing because the salt affects the PH levels.
- It’s somewhat expensive to install.
- It’s not cheaper in the long run.
- The pump runs longer, which could affect your electricity bill.
So, we feel like it is safe to say that there’s nothing standing in your way if you’d like to fill your fibreglass pool with saltwater and take a dip. It’s not a beach or the ocean, but it kind of feels like it.