Home Blog Water Contaminants Saltwater Pool vs Chlorine Pool

Saltwater Pool vs Chlorine Pool

por Dr. Jonathan Doyle - Updated January 23, 2024
According to the NSGA Annual Sports Participation Report , swimming has become more popular for the second year in a row.
Walking exercise has been the most popular activity since 1990. Swimming overtook equipment-based exercise as the third most popular activity in 2008 with 63 million participants.
Although it’s too soon to declare it a trend, experts say that swimming participation is rising once more. According to the survey results, participation has risen annually since 2003, with the exception of a decline in 2006. Sport creates more contemporary pools with features to suit all kinds of users.
Everybody has a different taste when it comes to swimming. Aside from shape and size, choosing between chlorine and saltwater for a swimming pool is a crucial decision. In general, saltwater pools are more gentle than conventional chlorine pools. However, it’s important to know how much chlorine is in your pool and how the two options differ from one another.

Pool Chlorine

Engaging in regular swimming exercises promotes physical fitness and relaxation; however, it should be acknowledged that swimming pools may expose us to certain disinfection by-products, the most prevalent being chlorine and chloride .
pipes of chlorine
The production of chlorine and chloride results from the reaction between chlorine-containing pool sanitizers and contaminants in pool water during pool water treatment. This reaction produces chloramine compounds, which have the potential to cause health complications for individuals.

The Risks Associated with Too Much Chlorine in Pool

The amount of disinfecting agent in swimming pool water varies depending on the usage of the pool, temperature, frequency of water changes, swimmer volume, and other variables. A low disinfectant content makes it difficult to disinfect pool water properly and more likely to harbor microorganisms; a high disinfectant content can result in many health issues.
Elevated concentrations of chloride have the potential to elevate the pH level of water, resulting in irritation of the skin and eyes, including redness of the eyes and itching.
Furthermore, long-term exposure to chlorine tablets for pool can damage the respiratory system and result in coughing or dyspnea, particularly when the chlorine reacts with organic materials dissolved in water.
Additionally, ingesting excessively chlorinated water can result in digestive side effects like nausea and stomach pain. Pool water contains chemical byproducts, including chlorine, that may have an adverse effect on an individual’s immune system and reduce their resistance.
ph test

Reducing Water’s Chlorine Content

A report of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) , indicates that individuals who consume chlorine-treated tap water have a greater chance of developing cancer than those who consume unchlorinated water.
However, residual chlorine is perpetually present in municipal water purification systems; therefore, the question arises as to how such water can be purified. The Reverse Osmosis water purifier is the most suitable choice:
The Waterdrop G3P800 RO system effectively reduces chlorine levels and combats a variety of pollutants, such as PFAS, fluoride, heavy metals, and salts, through the use of a 9-stage filtration method. By using lead-free materials and adhering to NSF/ANSI 58 guidelines for lowering TDS , it ensures the removal of numerous pollutants, including chlorine, and produces safer and healthier drinking water.

Saltwater Pool System

Compared to swimming in the ocean, swimming in a saltwater pool is an entirely unique experience. Regarding water sanitation, these pools are similar to traditional chlorine pools, but they don’t have an unpleasant chlorine stench or irritate skin or eyes. Such systems use a salt chlorine generator, also called a chlorinator, which converts the chloride in salt meant for swimming pools into chlorine through electrolysis, as an alternative to adding chlorine directly.
It takes more specialized equipment to complete this process. In addition, maintenance for saltwater pools is usually less frequent - usually only once a month. They are gentler to the eyes, skin, and swimsuits. A saltwater system has a higher initial investment, but overall operating costs are usually lower.

The Saltwater Pool’s Development

Technology for saltwater pools has advanced significantly over time. Saltwater pools were first made popular in Australia in the 1970s. Thanks to companies like Lectranator , they became popular in the US around the middle of the 1980s and were later adopted in Canada in the middle of the 1990s.
Subsequent designs became more straightforward and cost-effective, whereas the initial models were expensive and complex. These days, saltwater sanitizing is the recommended option for newly constructed pools.
children swimming in pool

Benefits and Drawbacks of Saltwater Pools

The Benefits

A saltwater pool system requires less frequent maintenance, such as yearly thorough cleaning schedules.
Improved water quality makes the water feel softer and has advantages for your skin, eyes, hair, and swimwear without requiring extra salt storage.
It also offers financial benefits because pool salt is more reasonably priced and chemical costs are lower. The system runs on standard hardware, which includes user-friendly pumps, filters, and saltwater generators.

The Drawbacks

One of the many drawbacks of saltwater pools is their high maintenance requirements, which include handling large amounts of salt, adding muriatic acid regularly, and continuously monitoring the pH level.
Salt cells require periodic cleaning and inspection, and problems with the generator or system might require professional assistance. Because salt is corrosive, it may harm the pool’s surfaces, lighting, and equipment and cause salt rings to appear on darker surfaces, which could lower the quality of the pool environment.
cleaning pool
Moreover, chloramines in saltwater can cause allergic reactions or asthma and do not completely eradicate some parasites resistant to chlorine. Decking materials and nearby vegetation may also suffer negative effects.
High electricity consumption of saltwater pool maintenance, costly salt cells that frequently need to be replaced annually, and a substantial initial salt expense are all associated with saltwater pools.

Traditional Chlorine Pool

The most common, least expensive, and conventional type of modern swimming pool is the chlorine pool, which is known to most people. Chlorine pools are recognizable by their unique smell, and swimmers may experience irritated eyes and dry skin as a result of the chemical’s effects.
Chlorination is an essential component of their sanitation process, typically accomplished by employing liquids, tablets, or granular substances. In order to ensure the safety of the swimming environment, routine chemical balancing, and testing, which may occur weekly or every two weeks, are required.
chlorine pool

The Chlorine Pool’s Development

For more than a century, chlorine has been an essential component of swimming pool sanitation, mostly used to get rid of bacteria and manage algae. Found in 1774, Humphry Davy recognized the element as such in 1807. When a typhoid epidemic struck England in 1897, the country started using it to purify water.
In 1908, bottled chlorine introduced the world to the importance of chlorine for swimming pool cleanliness. A year later, in 1910, John Wymond Miller Bunker ’s experiment at Brown University resulted in the first chlorination of a swimming pool. Pool sanitation procedures began to regularly incorporate chlorine in 1910 and continued until 1950.
Subsequently, standards were updated regarding the use of chlorine in swimming pools. Modern innovations in technology have improved the use of chlorine in pool maintenance, guaranteeing secure swimming via automated equipment and remote monitoring.
Humphry Davy

Benefits and Drawbacks of Chlorine Pools

The Benefits

One of the primary benefits of chlorine pools is their capacity to preserve a superior pool environment and their remarkable simplicity of maintenance.
Chlorine storage and handling are simple to handle, and the expertise required is easily accessible, given that most pool service providers have extensive experience in chlorine pool maintenance.
Chlorine is safe for your pool’s finishes and equipment, protecting both your investments and guaranteeing longevity. In terms of initial costs, chlorine systems are more affordable than their saltwater equivalents.
It also spares the pool lining from chemical deterioration, maintaining the pool’s structure over time, because only the most basic equipment - filters and pumps - is required for running the pool.
pool maintenance

The Drawbacks

Some drawbacks of chlorine pools include the requirement for frequent maintenance; weekly adjustments to the chlorine content and regular shock treatments are required to control the growth of algae.
For safety, there are requirements when storing chlorine. Pool environmental effects can also be negative; chlorine can aggravate skin and eyes, aggravate asthma and allergies, and fail to eradicate parasites resistant to chlorine.
In addition, the cost of maintaining the necessary amounts of chlorine, along with any additional chemicals, can run anywhere from $300 to $700 per year. Additionally, the process of emptying and restocking the pool may require a large amount of water. Last but not least, adding chemicals to the pool still requires manual labor if one does not purchase a chemical controller.

Final Words

The choice of what kind of pool depends on the specific situation, from the cost, the frequency of use of the environment, and other factors from the comprehensive considerations, but the safety issue is always in the first position we need to rank.


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