The major difference between freshwater and saltwater pools comes from how they use chlorine to keep the pool water clean and safe for swimming. Saltwater pools use a generator to turn salt and water into chlorine, whereas freshwater pools rely on chorine tablets to be added to the water. In a typical freshwater pool chlorine tablets react with the water to create a weak acid that kills germs and bacteria living in the water that may be harmful to human health. Since the chemical evaporates quickly, this means that chlorine tablets must be added to the water on a weekly basis in order to maintain a level that is capable of keeping the water clean. Conventional chlorine tablets are highly concentrated forms of chlorine which causes chlorine levels to rise to excessively high levels, and then quickly drop to far lower levels. These high levels of chlorine may cause issues for people such as skin and eye problems, odors, and corrosion.
On the other hand saltwater pools use a chlorine generator which uses salt to react with the water to create chlorine. This creates a much more stable flow of chlorine going into the water which helps eliminate the negative effects of having too much chlorine in the water. In addition to being a healthy alternative for your skin, saltwater swimming pools have several advantages over chlorine pools, including fewer chemicals, lower cost of upkeep, and minimal maintenance. However, adding a chlorine generator to a saltwater pool can add an extra $1,000 to the initial cost of constructing a pool. The generators also increase the owners electric bill considering the generator needs to run for 18-24 hours a day.
Although the monthly cost of chemicals for freshwater pools is about two to four times as costly as purchasing a stabilizer for a saltwater pool. They don’t require you to buy, store, or handle a lot of chemicals. These pools also need less routine maintenance. Although they are more expensive upfront, they pay for themselves after a few years because of reduced running costs. Saltwater pools require less maintenance compared to freshwater pools because salt only needs to be added once a year instead of adding chlorine every week. The last major difference between the two is that, while both can be corrosive to the pool, salt can be more corrosive, especially on metal surfaces. Salt can also form deposits on the pool surfaces over time and increase corrosion which needs to be considered when thinking about which type of chlorine to use for your pool. Many pool owners are making starting to choose saltwater chlorination even though traditional chlorine pools have been a stable for decades.