Ottawa Swimming Pool Repair Specialists Dive into this Hot Topic
The traditional swimming pool has a tendency to divide opinions—sometimes even within a single person! While the convenience and fun of owning your own pool is loved and envied by many, there’s also the issue of the chlorine.
The way it irritates the skin, its all-too-familiar smell, and the cost and time spent restocking chlorine, checking chemical balances, and shocking the pool. If these things are too bothersome for you, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a private pool in your future.
Many pool owners are deciding to switch to a saltwater pool due to some of its health and maintenance benefits. In this article, we have compiled everything you need to know if you are looking to switch to a saltwater pool. Keep reading to find out the answer to the question: is a saltwater pool worth it?
What Is a Saltwater Pool?
Your first reaction to learning about saltwater pools is that it will be like the ocean. The salt from the ocean is tough on your skin, your eyes, and getting a mouthful of saltwater is never fun.
Don’t fret! A saltwater pool is not the same as the ocean. A saltwater system for pools is called a salt-chlorine generator. Its job is to convert salt to chlorine.
The saltwater in these pools is around one-tenth of the amount of salt you find in the ocean. The salt taste is very mild and similar to the saltiness of tears.
How It Works
Let’s clear up two potential misconceptions. Firstly, a salt water system will still contain chlorine, despite it not being added manually. But that’s okay because the second this it is added, it’s not strictly chlorine itself that causes the infamous irritation and smell. How’s that? Well, it gets a bit scientific, but here goes…
In a swimming pool, chlorine is used to disinfect any human waste that finds its way into the water (e.g. urine, saliva, sweat). This process creates chloramines, which are formed when free available chlorine reacts to amines found in human waste. Chloramines produce the familiar smell and cause irritation—the higher the ratio of chloramines to free available chlorine, the worse it gets (making it necessary to shock the pool when it gets bad enough). Salt water swimming pools, on the other hand, converts salt into chlorine, creating a steady supply that reduces the formation of chloramine in real time, so that your pool is always more comfortable.
How Do You Convert From Chlorine to Saltwater?
Converting from chlorine to saltwater is surprisingly simple. You don’t even have to drain your current pool. Since the generator changes salt into chlorine, the chlorine you have in your pool now is fine.
To start, you should know what type of pool you have. Saltwater pools do best if they are fibreglass pools, polymer wall panel pools with vinyl liner, or concrete pools with tile.
If you have a metal paneled pool with vinyl liner, you will not want to convert to saltwater just yet. The salt can eat at the panels as well as any other surface made with galvanized steel.
Once you know that your pool can handle saltwater, you can move on to the next four steps.
- Balance your pool’s chemistry
- Install your pool saltwater systems
- Add pool salt to your pool water
- Keep your pool water chemistry balanced
Working with a professional while you tackle these steps will ensure that everything is done correctly. Installing your saltwater system can be challenging, and it should be left to someone with experience.
When you add pool salt, make sure that it is solar salt, mechanically evaporated salt, or mined salt for pools. Incorrect salt or incorrect amounts of salt can cause major damage to your pool.
What Are the Main Reasons for Converting?
There are several reasons why people convert to a saltwater pool. Firstly, for comfort reasons. Saltwater pools feel like silk on your skin. It is gentle to your eyes and skin. And it won’t leave you smelling like chlorine.
Another reason is that saltwater keeps your pool water clear. The clear, smooth water looks and feels better than chlorinated water. It is much easier to maintain, and you don’t have to worry about as many nasty chemicals.
Typically, people choose to switch for the many health benefits. Though, others decide it’s worth it due to minimal maintenance and cheaper chemical costs.
It is up to you to decide if you have reason to switch to a saltwater pool soon. Are your hair and skin damaged from chlorine? Are you tired of the costs and upkeep associated with a chlorinated pool?
The Pros and Cons of a Saltwater Pool vs. Chlorine
Each type of pool comes with a list of pros and cons. Both have systems that come with costs and benefits. You may need to weigh them yourself to decide if you need to switch.
Saltwater pools come with a list of disadvantages. Most of it has to do with corrosion. Salt can be tough on many surfaces and breaks them down by nature.
Most notably, salt wears down metal and plaster. If your pool contains metal walls or hardware, the salt will quickly destroy it. Salt breaks down plaster much slower, but you will need to refinish it more often when you convert.
Saltwater pools also have a list of advantages. We know that saltwater is gentler on skin, hair, and eyes. Did you know that applies to pets as well? If your dog likes to swim, they will benefit from a saltwater pool too!
Another pro is that as long as your pool has no plaster or metal on the interior, it will be cheaper to maintain annually. Chemicals used in saline systems are much cheaper than those used in chlorine systems.
Chlorine pool’s disadvantages begin with the chemicals. Chlorine can be harsh on many people’s bodies. It is unsurprising if it irritates your scalp, skin, and eyes. It’s also known to be hard on hair, especially blond hair.
Chlorine gas that floats above a pool can also be harmful to your lungs. The smell of chlorine alone is piercing to our noses. Not to mention, you have to store and use harmful chemicals which present more danger.
Pools that use chlorine also have their advantages. They have a lower initial cost because traditional chlorine pools do not need a generator. For this reason, the energy cost is also lower.
With a chlorine pool, you will need less equipment, and your pool is less likely to corrode as fast as a saltwater pool. They do not require the same amount of expertise for repairs, so you can normally tend to them yourself.
When you are looking at the pros and cons of a saltwater pool vs. a chlorine pool consider your needs and lifestyle. A saltwater pool may be perfect for one, but a bad choice for another.
Converting: Is a Saltwater Pool Worth It?
So, is a saltwater pool worth it? Only you can answer this question because you know your pool setup and what you want. Yet, we can give you some reasons why it may be worth it.
If the initial costs and maintenance are within your budget, switching to a saltwater pool may be worth it because of the benefits it can offer. You won’t need to worry about loads of chemicals and damaged hair.
Additionally, switching over is easy. Once you have a generator ready to be installed, you’ll have a saltwater pool in no time.
Get Your Saltwater Pool in Ottawa
No longer wonder: is a saltwater pool worth it? Using a saltwater pool vs. chlorine is a no-brainer the second you dive in.
When you are ready to make the switch to a saltwater pool, Ottawa’s swimming pool experts are ready to help. Contact our expert staff today. We want to answer any questions you have about a saltwater pool and help you switch.