What Is a Salt Water Swimming Pool and What Are the Benefits of Salt Water Over a Normal Fresh Water Pool?

During the dog days of summer, there are few better ways to cool down that a nice, refreshing dip. Generally you have three choices: you can hang out poolside or head out for a beach day at a local lake or oceanfront. The pool is nice, but the chlorine can be irritating and even smelly, affecting those who aren’t even swimming. On the other hand, the ocean can be a little more soothing, but the salt water can still be irritating. Lakes are a more natural way to enjoy some fresh water, but they can be a little gross due to plant and animal life growing within them.

Salt water pools combine the benefits of all three choices. For pool owners, this means less time spent monitoring the pool, and for swimmers, it means a more refreshing swim. It’s not a very new technology, but it’s picking up speed, so it’s worth knowing the basics.

The Difference Between Chlorine and Salt Water Pools

First, it’s worth understanding why we usually use chlorine in our pools. Chlorine is a chemical that, when combined with water, changes into a new chemical called hypochlorous acid. OK, this isn’t chemistry class, so all you have to know about hypochlorous acid is that it disinfects contaminants like human sweat (and other unmentionables) and keeps stuff like algae from growing in the pool. You wouldn’t want to be dodging seaweed in the pool, would you?

On the other hand, saltwater pools use salt to the same effect. But it’s not as simple as dumping a few bags of salt into the pool. These special pools use a special salt water generator to pump the solution into the pool. There’s still some chlorine in these pools, but at a much lower quantity than in regular pools. However, don’t expect a swim in a salt water pool to be like a day at the beach – salt water pools have only a tenth the amount of salt that’s in ocean water.

The Benefits of Salt Water Pools

Salt water pools benefit both the owners of pools and the people who swim in them. For owners, salt water pools are more expensive at the onset because the salt water generators can be pretty expensive, yet it’s still cheaper in the long run. The owner doesn’t need to buy and store the potentially hazardous chlorine. Also, salt water pools require less maintenance than chlorine pools, so they have upper hand for being more “set it and forget it.”  

For swimmers, salt water pools are better than chlorine pools on pretty much every count. The little amount of chlorine in a salt water pool is less likely to cause eye and skin irritation, and the solution is better for your hair than the effects caused by traditional pools. Salt water is more effective in killing the contaminants in a pool, without the distracting smell of chlorine. Plus, while salt water might leave some remnants on your clothes, it doesn’t have the same bleaching effect that chlorine does.

The bottom line is that for pool owners, installing a salt water chlorination system into their pools might cost a little money, but with the low maintenance required, that cost might be worth it. And for swimmers, there’s nothing but good – salt pool water is more sanitary and less irritating than chlorine. It’s just simply better than chlorinated pool water in every single way.

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