Choosing between saltwater and chlorine pools

Owning a home pool is like having a personal oasis in your backyard. There’s no better feeling than hopping into the cool, refreshing water after a long, hot summer day. To keep your pool operating in pristine condition, you need to choose the water sanitization method that best suits your needs.

Our knowledgeable team at Hilltop Pools in Jonesboro, GA, shares some insights to help you decide between a saltwater and chlorine pool, based on our 40 years of experience in the pool business. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to call us.

Saltwater vs. Chlorine Pools

The two main sanitization methods for modern pools are saltwater and chlorine systems. Contrary to popular belief, saltwater pools kill bacteria and germs with chlorine, just like other pool sterilizers.

Unlike chlorine pools, where you buy chlorine to put directly into your pool, saltwater pools use salt chlorine generators that break the bonds between the chlorine and sodium in pool salt through electrolysis.

Traditional chlorine and saltwater pools have many different pros and cons, and there is no clear winner between the two. Deciding which one is best for you depends on your individual preferences, needs, and budget. To help you decide, here are a few benefits and drawbacks for each type of pool.

Saltwater vs. Chlorine Pools: Cost

The most significant disadvantage of a saltwater pool is the upfront cost of installation or conversion. Converting your current pool or installing a salt generator can cost between $1,000 and $5,000. However, a salt generator’s maintenance and chemical costs are less expensive in the long run, averaging only around $100-$150 a year.

Salt generators use an additional $30-$50 of electricity each year, but a chlorine pool’s yearly maintenance is much higher. A single summer of chemicals for a chlorine pool can cost $150-$180, and for the entire year, they cost between $300 and $800.

Summarizing, the annual maintenance, electricity, and chemical cost for saltwater pools is $130-$200 but for chlorine pools is $300-800. The difference between the costs means that a saltwater pool could recuperate the investment after a few years of use.

Saltwater vs. Chlorine Pools: Health

Although both pools use chlorine to sterilize the water, saltwater pools have far lower levels of chlorine while disinfecting just as effectively. The lower chlorine concentration of a saltwater pool is gentler on eyes, skin, hair, and clothing, with the salinity being about the same as human tears. Saltwater pools also lack the chlorine smell of a traditional pool (caused by chloramines).

The level of chlorine in traditional chlorine pools can cause dry skin as well as eye and respiratory irritation.

The location of your home may contribute to your decision. Saltwater pools are ideal for areas with warm climates. However, saltwater pools cannot produce chlorine in water colder than 60°F, so pools in colder climates might not receive year-round sanitization with a saltwater pool.

Drawbacks and Benefits of Saltwater Pools vs. Chlorine Pools

When deciding on a saltwater vs. chlorine pool, there are many benefits and drawbacks to consider. Aside from price and health concerns, you will want to consider pool maintenance, durability, and chemical storage.

A salt chlorine generator is a complicated system that requires professional, sometimes expensive, repairs. Although the salinity is low, saltwater can still erode your pool faster than chlorine systems. This is especially true for concrete pools. However, fiberglass pools are unaffected by either method.

Both chlorine and saltwater pools require occasional “shocks” of a concentrated chlorine solution to disinfect the pool thoroughly. Any chlorine solution, including the regular chemicals a chlorine pool needs, requires proper storage in a safe, dry area away from small children. Saltwater pools, on the other hand, require no special storage for pool salt.

If you are debating between a saltwater or a chlorine sanitization system for your pool, contact our experts at Hilltop Pools to speak with professional swimming pool contractors with years of experience. Visit our website, or call us at (770) 471-3889. Located in Jonesboro, we serve the entire Metro Atlanta area within a 100-mile radius.

We have had the privilege of being awarded more than 60 Design Awards in every award category, including custom residential concrete pools, commercial concrete pools, in-ground vinyl liner pools, and major renovations. Hilltop was named one of the “Top 50 Pool Builders in the USA” by Pool and Spa News in 2013-2017. Pool builders across the United States were evaluated in several areas, including the total number of pools built, customer service, certifications, industry involvement, employee retention, as well as advertising and social media presence. Our company was also nationally recognized for customer service and social media. We were the only Georgia company on the list in 2016 and 2017!

We would consider it a privilege to design and construct your project and have you as a member of our “Hilltop Family.”