You might have heard of the trend of switching from a chlorine pool to a saline pool. Gathering some information and knowing the pros and cons of both chlorine and saline pools can help you decide whether this is the right decision for you.
The trend of saline pools is one that definitely affects the Dallas, TX area. While there aren’t any recently published statistics on the percentage of saline pools versus traditional chlorine pools currently in the Dallas area, the Salt Institute says there are approximately 1.3 million salt water pools in the U.S. today, and nearly three quarters of all new pools are saline pools. The DFW area is both feeling and feeding this frenzy.
The Chemical Chlorine
The most common misconception out there is that saline pools do not contain chlorine at all; they do in fact use chlorine, just less of it. When chlorine is added to a pool to keep it clean, it mixes with sweat, saliva, and urine and turns into other chemicals called chloramines, which kill the contaminants in the water. The more chlorine you add, such as in a non-saline pool, the more chloramines you will have. These are known to cause eye and skin irritation. Because a saline pool is able to pump the chlorine that is in the pool out more quickly, this is less of an issue. Saline pools not only have fewer water-borne irritants, they also lack that strong chlorine odor. Nonetheless, although that odor is prevented, many people feel like they can’t wash the “taste” of salt water off of them for the rest of the day after swimming in a saline pool.
The Green Alternative
Saline pools are often touted as being more eco-friendly. Fewer chemicals are needed, and they reduce the need for storing the more corrosive chemicals used for pool cleaning. Chlorine is known to irritate the respiratory system, especially in individuals who already suffer from allergies and asthma. With less of a smell and less chemicals, saline pools are not only easier on your eyes and your skin, but also on your insides.
The chlorine that is meant to keep your pool sterile is toxic to aquatic animals and plants in local waterways—another downside for the environment when you drain a chlorine pool. However, saltwater pools have their own environmental drawbacks. There is a higher energy cost associated with them due to their special chlorine generators that consume a lot of energy. Saline pools can also pose a threat to the flora and fauna in local water bodies because of their high salt content.
The cost of equipment for a saline pool, particularly at the start, is high. Owners have to purchase the special generator to manufacture and regulate the chlorine. Over time, saline pool owners should also be aware of the additional electricity costs and the risk of corrosion-related damages to the generator. Some owners also complain that the saline water can eat away at decking around the pool, especially natural stone and metal furniture. Saline pools are, however, less work on the pool owner, since the generator is doing the pool cleaning for you.
For pool owners around the world, the question of the benefits of saline and chlorine pools is hotly debated. Before making a decision to convert your pool or to build a new one for these hot Texas summers, you should consider the pros and cons of both alternatives.