"Saltwater pool conversion" might sound like there is a lot involved. If you're wondering how you convert to salt, it really doesn't involve any big procedures. In fact, it's very DIY-friendly. If you can use some basic tools (or have a handy friend to help) you can do it yourself in about an hour.
Converting from chlorine to a saltwater pool simply means...Read more
Once you start thinking about the pool again, many pool owners who still use chlorine ask themselves again if they should put a salt system on their pool, but don't know what to think about what they've heard. A very common question that comes up is "I've been thinking about changing my pool to saltwater, but I've just heard so many different things about it. Is it true that...Read more
Debunking 5 Common Myths About Saltwater Pools
Have you ever thought about installing a salt system on your pool?
There are certainly plenty of benefits, with saltwater pools much gentler on the eyes, skin, and hair. There’s also no harsh chlorine smell and vastly reduced maintenance bills. In fact, switching to a saltwater system could save you hundreds of dollars a year. Overall, a salt system can save up to 40-50% or more over conventional chlorine.
So, what’s holding you back?
In many cases, people have heard the saltwater myths that leave them reluctant to make the change. But is there any truth to these common saltwater concerns? Let’s take a look!
5 Saltwater Myths and a Few Home Truths
“Salt Will Damage my Pool and Equipment”
Of all the myths about saltwater pools, this is probably the one we hear the most. One of the biggest concerns is that saltwater could lead to corrosion. However, because the salinity level in saltwater pools is less than 10% of the salinity of the ocean, corrosion is not a concern. Salt pool systems have been around for decades with a long track record of safe operation - in fact, as of 2016 most new pools were salt pools, according to Pool & Spa News. The reality is that high chlorine levels and imbalanced pH and LSI levels typically do more damage to pools than low salt levels ever could.
In fact, if your pool has a vinyl liner, salt pools reduce the amount of wear on your pool. That’s because salt pools eliminate chloramines, which are the caustic, corrosive particles present in traditionally chlorinated pools that can make the vinyl discolored and brittle.
“The Pool Will Taste Salty”
One of the most common myths about saltwater pools is that swimming in your pool will be like taking a dip in the ocean. This is absolutely not true. The amount of salt required to keep your swimming pool water beautifully clean and sanitized is just a small fraction of the salinity levels in the sea, less than one-tenth.
The recommended level of salt for most salt chlorinator systems is around 3,000 parts per million. In the ocean, the salt content is more like 35,000 to 38,000 parts per million. Most people taste saltwater at approximately 4,500 parts per million, so it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to taste any salt in your swimming pool water at all. Just to compare, your tears are around 9,000 parts per million. Even if too much salt has been added to the water, the worst-case scenario is that you’ll get a very slight taste of saltiness when you lick your lips.
“Converting to a Saltwater System Costs too Much”
Not if you know where to look. We often hear from people who have been quoted $2,500 -$3,000 to convert their pools to a saltwater system, and that is far too much. Sometimes pool stores that carry saltwater systems will sell them at double the price! This is usually because they’re worried about all of the maintenance business they’ll be losing because the salt system cuts the costs spent on traditionally chlorinated pools.
A typical price for a quality saltwater chlorine generator is around $700-$1200, although that will depend on the type of system you want and the size of your pool. That’s less than half the amount some of our customers are quoted for identical systems.
In the long-term, you’ll also stand to make a significant saving. For example, Hayward rates their Aqua Rite T-15 salt cell to be the equivalent of 580 pounds of Trichlor. Even if you bought that amount of chlorine in bulk or on sale, you would often spend 30-50% MORE on that chlorine over time than you would over the lifespan of the salt system. If you've been using Baquacil or other biguanides or alternative sanitizers, you’ll stand to make an even more significant saving.
“You Have to Replace the System Frequently Because it Wears Out”
There is some truth in this saltwater pool myth, but you aren’t replacing the entire system, only one part.
Like any piece of technology, some parts wear down over time and with use. The salt cell is the component of a salt system that occasionally needs replacing. It does not produce an unlimited amount of chlorine and typically lasts for at least 3-7 years with proper pool maintenance (depending on model and sizing).
High-end models can even last 5-10 years, depending on the type of system you have and your pool size and usage. You can get a good idea of how long your cell will last by looking at your warranty. Warranties usually cover the expected life of the salt cell.
However, even with the cell replacement costs factored in, you still stand to make a considerable saving by converting to a saltwater pool. To explain how, let’s go back to the Hayward Aqua Rite example. The system itself provides significant savings throughout the years, then when a cell wears out, a replacement salt cell is usually about half the cost of a complete salt system. So then you get another good number of years without having to buy chlorine at even less expensive. By converting to a saltwater system, your savings just keep growing.
“It’ll be One More Thing I Have to Worry About”
In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Switching to a saltwater system is one of the simplest things you can do to reduce the amount of time you spend maintaining your pool. The hassle and struggle to keep the water clear is virtually non-existent with saltwater pools. Why? Allow us to explain.
Rather than adding chlorine to your pool, in a saltwater pool, you simply pour salt directly into the pool, and the salt chlorine generator handles the rest. It converts the salt into chlorine automatically when your pump runs and at a consistent rate.
Far from being a maintenance concern, a saltwater system eliminates many of the worries about pool ownership, such as the formation of algae. For traditional pools, the majority of hassle comes from having improper chlorine levels. Salt systems help “put your pool on autopilot”! All you’ll have to do is check the water every week to ensure that your salt system is maintaining a good chlorine level, and adjust it if needed (usually seasonally). . Easy!
Additionally, you’ll have to check the water or add a bit of salt after a heavy rainstorm or heavy pool usage. Make sure to keep your pool clean and free of debris, and as with any pool be sure to keep the other supplementary chemistry levels of your water balanced.
Take the Plunge With a SaltWater Pool
The reality is that if any of these myths were true, 7 out of 10 new pools built in the US wouldn’t be a saltwater pool as reported by Pool & Spa News. So, rather than paying getting held back by the myths, choose to enjoy a cheaper, gentler, and easier-to-maintain pool by taking a look at our range of salt chlorinators and converting to a saltwater system today.
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So I don't have to change out my current pump? What about the filters in the pump? Algae grows in the ocean so why/how does salt keep it from growing in my pool? How long does it take to get the salt converting equipment?
Marilee, if your existing pump & filter system is still working normally, you are simply adding one more piece of equipment: a salt chlorine generator. The salt itself does not keep algae from growing, the chlorine generator automatically runs when your pump runs to electronically generate chlorine every day, so your pool stays consistently blue. A salt system generates chlorine for a fraction of the cost of buying it, and is much more convenient.
how do I know which is the right size for my 17x28 pool? also, I'd have to hire someone to connect the equipment to my existing pool system since I'm not experienced.
You can see how to calculate your pool size and correctly size a model at the link below. Some models can simply drape over the pool without any installation. Alternatively, other models have very basic installation that can be done by a handyman, plumber, electrician, pool service, etc...
I read that you have to drain out all the salt water every season. I’m installing a semi inground pool on a hill. It would be nearly impossible to drain as the pool walls could collapse. Can you clear this up foe me?
Deborah, there is no reason to drain all of the pool water just because you install and use a salt chlorine generator. This is by no means standard practice, and I can't even think of why someone would say this.