This or That: Salt pool vs Chlorine pool

patsymcmJune 24, 2014
Any advice would be appreciated.
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Thos. Baker
Salt. You get the same benefits as chlorine without the chemicals. It's much nicer to swim in.

Christi, on behalf of Thos. Baker
3 Likes    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 5:07AM
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Wise Pool & Spa Service, Inc.
Salt all the way! First you must understand the difference between the two and how they are alike.

Chlorine refers to a pool that typically uses tablets (can also be liquid or granular). Let's talk about tablets. Chlorine tablets can be broken down into 3 main components: chlorine (sanitizer), stabilizer (a.k.a. cyanuric acid, helps protect the chlorine level from being depleted from the sun), and inert ingredient (binders that hold the tablets together). Each time you add a chlorine tablet into the pool, you are adding these 3 components. Tablet dosage needs to be monitored and adjusted to maintain a 2-3 ppm level of chlorine.

After a period of time, the cyanuric acid level will increase, in turn causing the pH and alkalinity to decrease. At this point, it is near impossible to raise the pH and alkalinity to proper levels with chemicals, due to the high cyanuric acid. When pH and alkalinity aren't at proper levels, the chlorine will not sanitize as effectively as it could. The best way to reduce the cyanuric acid is through water dilution. Through dilution, you will find that the pH and alkalinity will rise on their own. So, if you use chlorine tablets, it's best to be diligent on keeping the stabilizer level in check.

When we talk about salt pools, we are talking about converting salt into chlorine through an electrolytic process, by use of a salt chlorine generator (electrolytic chlorine generator), or SCG (ECG). You are still using chlorine to sanitize the pool. The difference is, instead of buying the tablets in buckets, your generator is creating the chlorine on demand and on site. Initial costs of these units may shock you, but its well worth it in the end, with the ease of maintenance, more tolerable water chemistry, and feels better on hair, skin, and eyes. You will still balance all water parameters like pH, alkalinity, etc. as usual, but the only cyanuric acid introduced into the water is what your pool professional tells you, meaning no high accumulation like with tablet use. Your pool professional will also tell you when and how much salt you need to add to the pool water. With an SCG pool, if you need to increase/decrease the chlorine you can do it with the simple touch of a button, and same for shocking.

You can also ask your pool professional if combining either of these methods of sanitizing with a mineral or ozone system would be beneficial to you. The total cost of maintaining a chlorine tablet pool compared to a ECG pool is higher.

If you would like to learn more about SCGs, please visit

Good luck!
11 Likes    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 10:10AM
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Hearthstone Environments
Great answer wise pools! to simplify, a salt pool is a chlorine pool. The device simply changes the way that chlorine is added into the water.
1 Like    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 10:09AM
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Republic Gardens
Good point about the salt pool being a chlorine pool....without the smell or the chlorine residue left on bathing suits, etc. Salt water pools are so pleasant to swim and and your skin is left feeling so much better than with chlorine only pools.
1 Like    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 10:35AM
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Mike Farley Pool Designer
I have not had a client chose to do salt in a number of years. Salt damages the stone copings that we use in the DFW area. Chlorine is supplemented with ozone and minerals creating less chlorine then salt and better water quality and maintenance. Use dell ozone only and Nature II
    Bookmark   November 9, 2014 at 8:15PM
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Dr. Weill says, "Chlorine used to disinfect swimming pools is widely recognized as a health hazard. New research suggests that children who swim frequently in chlorinated pools may have increased risks of developing allergies or asthma. Among adults exposure to chlorine in swimming pools has been linked with other health problems including bladder and rectal cancer and, possibly, an increased risk for coronary heart disease."
1 Like    Bookmark   November 9, 2014 at 8:40PM
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These days you don't need either.
If i got landed with a classic pool i'd convert it to Living Pool which just requires replacement of the filtering system :

Otherwise, natural swimming pools which include plant filtering and regeneration zones are really the only WTG in my book.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 9, 2014 at 11:27PM
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All Salt pools are Chlorine pools. (NaCl is Sodium Chloride) all the negative health effects exist no matter how you add chlorine. Salt just feels better because the water has a slight saline feel. The only choices to reduce or get rid of chlorine are UV, Ozone or (full Disclosure, our system) Clear Comfort. While UV and Ozone do well they both require residual sanitizers. Clear Comfort does not it provides both Hydroxyls and Hydrogen Peroxide from treating air without the addition of harmful chemicals.
    Bookmark   November 15, 2014 at 8:14AM
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