Everything to know about a Saltwater Pool

Is a Saltwater pool better than chlorine?

Whether you are building a new pool or thinking of converting your pool it is important to know the pros and cons of saltwater pools.

Swimming pool maintenance is the most important part of owning a pool. Cost, maintenance, and health are three concerns that are a cause for debate between the two main water systems that pool owners can choose from: saltwater and chlorine pools. In this article, we will go through the steps of maintaining a pool with a saltwater system and how it differs from a chlorine system. This guide should be able to assist pool owners decide on what pool system is appropriate for their needs, desires, and lifestyle.


How Do Saltwater Pools Work?

The popularity of salt water systems to care for swimming pools has reached an all-time high and our indications are that their popularity is rising. Saltwater pools use dissolved salt instead of chlorine tablets to cleanse and sanitize pool water. One prevalent misconception is that if you have a salt water pool, you no longer use chlorine. Actually, a salt generator’s real purpose is to make chlorine from the salt present in the pool. The generator makes it easier to maintain the chlorine level in the pool. Make no mistake, a saltwater pool is still a chlorine pool.

Chlorine Level

However, the chlorine level of a salt water pool must still be monitored and maintained within acceptable ranges. You can adjust the amount of chlorine generated by regulating the percentage of output and the number of hours the filter pump operates. Each salt generator will vary on how these things are controlled so be sure to consult the owner’s manual for your system to learn more about how to regulate it.

Salt Level

The salt level in the pool water must also be tested and maintained per the salt system manufacturer’s guidelines. You can purchase salt test strips at our stores to test the level yourself. Or, you may bring a sample of the pool water to one of our locations for professional analysis and adjustment. Too high or too low salt levels will either damage the generator or force it to shut off, cutting off chlorine production.

It is important to use high quality pure salt that is packaged for swimming pools. Our Salt is refined to remove excess contaminants commonly found in other salts. These contaminants have a reputation for decreasing generator’s production and may even cause staining on the pool surface. It is important to use regular doses of Sequest-All Stain Prevention to prevent the staining and scaling often found in salt pools.


A by-product of chlorine generation from salt is the rise of pH of the pool water. The pH must really be monitored more closely than with chlorine pools, as it tends to rise more often and more sharply with a salt generator. When the pH of pool water is high, it becomes scale forming, causing the need to clean the cell more frequently, and the increasing the possibility of staining and scaling on the pool tile and surface. You will use more pH reducer or muriatic acid when you have a salt pool.

Routine Maintenance

The routine maintenance of a salt cell is of utmost importance for its production and longevity. The environment inside the salt cell is very harsh, producing scale formation inside the cell on its electrolytic plates. This reduces its efficiency and shortens its life. It should be cleaned twice a year with Cell Cleaner to ensure its maximum efficiency. The routine addition of Sequest-All Stain Protection will prevent the scale from forming as heavily, but it will not negate the need to clean the cell routinely.

Salt water does have an effect on soft natural rock and flagstone around the pool as well. The salt will soak into the rock along with the water that hits those surfaces, the water evaporates and leaves the salt behind. This can cause a lot of scaling on these surfaces, and can even create a “spalling” effect, which is a deterioration of these surfaces. Research should be done before choosing to use a salt system with pools that have these types of surfaces around them.

Salt water is more comfortable to swim in for most people and it makes pool maintenance a bit less time-consuming. However, don’t think that a saltwater pool will take care of itself. It is not the maintenance free system that a lot of pool owners are told. In the long run, it may save you some time, but it’s not going to save you a significant amount of money over standard chlorine treatments.

Find a Poolwerx near you and discuss more differences between a salt water pool vs chlorine swimming pool

If you have any questions after reading these pros and cons call a Poolwerx near you. Choosing between chlorine and saltwater pools can be a difficult decision for any pool owner. Poolwerx technicians are pool experts and will be able to help you figure out the best option for you and your family.

Find a Poolwerx

Blog Categories

Recent Posts

How to be a more eco-friendly pool owner Own a pool but want to make less of an impact on the environment? We hear you. It's natural to want to reduce the amount of chemicals you're using not only in your day-to-day life, but in your pool as well. The only problem is, pools usually require chemicals to keep its water balanced, healthy and free of pathogens. So how do you get a more eco-friendly pool without also sharing it with algae, bacteria, viruses and other harmful intruders? Fortunately, there are options out there that will greatly reduce the amount of chlorine your pool needs. This means you can use less chemicals, which is great for the environment. Plus, your skin and hair--and even your wallet in the long run--will thank you too. Read below to find out four ways to have a more eco-friendly pool. 1. Convert to a Saltwater pool If you’ve ever heard the term “saltwater pool,” that pool would be using salt chlorination. Contrary to popular belief, saltwater pools do have chlorine in them. However, you wouldn't have to buy chemical chlorine like you usually do in a "regular" pool, because while saltwater pools do use chlorine, they create it on their own. Instead of adding in store-bought chlorine, saltwater pools naturally create their own chlorine through a process called electrolysis. When you add pool grade salt to a chlorine generator, the generator runs salty water through two electrically charged plates, which converts it to chlorine. The pool water is still sanitized using chlorine, but the process is different from that of a typical chlorine pool. Salt chlorination is a more natural and convenient method to delivering chlorine to your pool, compared to harsher liquid and solid chemical chlorine that’s used in traditional pools. It is also a lower-cost alternative to chemical chlorine sanitization in the long run. Salt water pools also use less chlorine, which leads to a gentler and more natural swimming experience. 2. Reduce Chlorine needs with Minerals Mineral pools use dispensers that deposit additional minerals such as silver and copper into your water, which work together to keep your pool clean and help battle algae, bacteria and other contaminants. Silver has antibacterial properties and has been used to clean water since the days of the Roman empire. Copper is a known algaecide, and is used in so many of the algaecides available for pools and hot tubs, and why some pool manufacturers add it to their pool mineral systems. Using mineral systems reduces your need for chlorine by about 50%, reducing your chlorine needs and stretching out your supplies further. You will still need chlorine (or bromine if your dispenser is compatible), but your needs will be significantly reduced. Plus, minerals have added benefits: minerals make your pool’s water softer. This makes the water feel more silky and luxurious, leads to less dry and irritated skin and hair, reduces wear on your equipment. 3. Go solar Solar pool covers can be a great way to keep your pool covered. Not only will it prevent any dirt and debris from falling in, but it can also help keep your water warm. Solar pool covers absorb heat from the sunlight and are able to heat your pool by up to eight degrees. Installation is very simple, and once the cover is measured and cut to the shape of your pool it is ready for use. Pool covers can help reduce your energy costs, minimize water loss, increase heat retention, and in some cases, even decrease chemical needs. That's a win-win for lessening your pool's impact! A solar-powered pool heater can also be a great way to warm up your pool, making it comfortable to swim in well past swimming season. Not only that, but it helps pool owners save money on heating costs, as well. Solar-powered pool heaters use energy from the sun to pump the warm water through the system, effectively using far less energy for water heating, as compared to an electric or gas-powered system. 4. The power of plants When you breathe, your body takes in oxygen and releases carbon dioxide, but when plants "breathe," or undergo photosynthesis, they do the opposite, taking in and absorbing unwanted absorb carbon dioxide and releasing clean oxygen back into the air. Plants remove toxins from air –up to 87% of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) every 24 hours, according to NASA research. Plants are essential to all life on Earth. With the world cutting down so many trees, why not give back by planting some in your own backyard? Plus as an added benefit, the presence of plants has been shown to increase productivity, reduce stress and improve mood. Sounds like it's time to build a backyard oasis with some gardening projects!
How to open your pool in 7 steps Whether you properly closed your pool for the winter or let it go, eventually springtime returns with warmer days, and you have to get your pool swim-ready again. We put together two plans on how you can open your pool for the season: one plan with 7 steps, and one plan with one step. Read below to learn more! Step 1: Take the pool cover off your pool.   Clear off any dirt, leaves and debris on the pool cover so it will not fall in the pool, then remove your pool cover so you can access your pool. Step 2: Clean your filter if it wasn't done in the fall.   The pool filter is a vital part of keeping your pool clean. Your filter removes small debris from the pool water to keep it clear. Because of this, your pool filter has to be cleaned regularly to make sure it doesn't get too clogged up. Make sure not to handle your filter while the pool pump is on. Our recommendation is as follows: Clean your Media and Diatomaceous Earth (DE) filters every six months, or cartridge filters at least three times per year. Have your filter regularly inspected by a professional to make sure it is running in optimal shape. To put your mind at ease, we have the perfect hands-free program called Filter Care Plus, where we will come out to inspect and service your filter throughout the year! Find out more about this program here. Step 3: De-winterize and inspect your equipment.   Take the winter plugs out of the returns and skimmers. Clean and install the drains. Clean and inspect your pool pump, heater, automated pool cleaner, and any other equipment, and reconnect anything not connected. Put all the plugs back into the equipment that had been removed when you closed your pool. Also take the time to inspect, clean and reattach other pool features such as hand rails, diving boards, and ladders. We recommend conducting an equipment assessment and safety check before you start enjoying your pool for the season, to make sure everything is safe. Plus, you don't want your equipment to break down or a leak to come up during the summer, so better safe than sorry! Our expert technicians will make sure everything is in working order. Give us a call to book a pool health check today. Step 4: Fill your pool to the normal level.   If your pool was drained when you closed your pool, it will need to be re-filled with water. If you have water in your pool but haven’t used it in a while, you will likely find that the water level has dropped. If the water level in your pool drops below the skimmer box, you run the risk of running your pump dry and burning out. To avoid this from happening, set yourself a regular reminder to check whether your pool needs a top up. Step 5: Turn on the breakers to the equipment. Before you turn the power on, make sure the valves are in the open position. Prime the pump by filling it with water, and make sure air is purged from the plumbing. Once the water is circulating through, inspect your pool for any cracks, leaks, or damaged hoses. If you see something that looks like a crack or other damage, turn it off again and call your local Poolwerx to set up a maintenance visit. Step 6: Test your water.   A free 60 second water test will let you know what's in your water after your pool has been out of use. The results will help you know the exact chemical dosages you need to get your pool in optimal condition. Collect a sample from about an arm’s length under the water surface. To have an accurate analysis, aim to have the water tested within a few hours. Head to your local Poolwerx store to receive your 60 second computerized water test for free. Step 7: Balance your pool.   Now that you know what is needed for your pool, stop by Poolwerx for the supplies you need. Our helpful associates would be happy to assist you with any questions you may have and give recommendations. Want a no contact experience? With our curbside pick up, no need to leave your vehicle--we'll bring your supplies right to you! We even have chemical delivery available where we can bring everything you need to your door.