When summer temperatures and the humidity soar, swimming pools become a highly appreciated amenity.
The softer feel of a saltwater pool is likely because pool water
is kept at a saline level similar to the saltiness of the cells in our
body — meaning it doesn’t dry us out like a traditionally chlori-nated
Saltwater pools generate chlorine while chlorinated pools
have to have the chemical added directly — as when you see
the lifeguards at a public chlorinated swimming pool dumping
chlorine from bags around the edges.
Derek Getson from Ocean Blue Pools and Spa says, for him,
the main difference between the two types of pools is, “Salt is
a fresh feel, it is easier on your skin. We haven’t done a chlorine
pool in about 11 years. It puts you in control of your pool, you
are not having to put in chlorine tablets.”
Serious swimmers and families who spend hours every day in
a traditional chlorine pool often need to invest in special sham-poo
and detergents to thoroughly remove chlorine.
Dot Philips from Pool Specialist in Wilmington states, “One
really isn’t better than the other.” She thinks that the saltwater
pool was just repopularized in recent times because, “It’s not a
new thing; I remember in the ’80s we were putting in the same
salt electrolysis systems.”
Since chlorine is corrosive, many pool installers (Pool
Specialist included) will insert what is called a “sacrificial plate”
in both saltwater and chlorinated pools. Essentially, this is a
metal plate that functions as a target for the corrosive proper-ties.
Instead of eating away at the pool fixtures, the chlorine will
dissolve the metal plate. (Similarly, saltwater boats make use of a
sacrificial anode, commonly called a zinc.)
Specialty pool contractor Mark Potter, owner of Liquid Assets,
stresses that both systems require monitoring and maintenance.
“Salt systems drive the pH up and require regular addition of
hydrochloric (muriatic) acid, while tablet pools drive pH down,
WBM FILE PHOTO