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The Comprehensive Guide to Saltwater Pools:
Benefits, Challenges, and Alternatives

Why Consider a Saltwater Pool?

As more homeowners opt for pool installations that promise a softer swimming experience and fewer chemicals, saltwater pools have surged in popularity. This guide delves deep into the nuances of saltwater pools, compares them with traditional chlorine pools, and explores chemical-free alternatives, providing you with all the information needed to make an informed decision. It is important to recognize a salt to chlorine generator for a 40,000-gallon pool in Massachusetts's will not work for TX or AZ.

Pool side photo.

Understanding Saltwater Pools

What Makes Saltwater Pools Different?

Saltwater pools use a process known as electrolysis to convert salt into chlorine, which sanitizes the water. This continuous, automated chlorine generation means less manual chemical handling and more stable water chemistry, offering a gentler swimming experience. Each generator is rated in pounds of chlorine per day which is needed along with climate considerations to size your system.

Comparing Saltwater and Chlorine Pools

A Salt Pool Generator

The Advantages of Saltwater Pools

Pros of Saltwater Pools

Cons of Saltwater Pools

Chlorine generated per day with different salt systems.

Fig. A

Comparing Chlorine Pools

Pros of Chlorine Pools

• Lower Initial Setup Cost: Less expensive to install, making them accessible to a broader range of homeowners.
• Familiarity and Availability: More pool service providers are familiar with maintaining chlorine pools.
• Effectiveness: Chlorine is highly effective at eliminating bacteria and algae when maintained properly.

Cons of Chlorine Pools

• Chemical Handling and Storage: Requires regular purchasing and storage of chemicals, which can be hazardous.
• Skin and Eye Irritation: Higher levels of chloramines can cause more significant discomfort and irritation.
• Environmental Impact: The frequent use of chemicals can have a greater negative impact on the environment.
• Requires cyanuric acid (stabilizer or conditioner) to hold the chlorine in the water on sunny days.
• Chloramines are highest with this method

Chlorine tablets

Financial Implications

Cost Analysis for Installation and Maintenance

Let’s breakdown the costs associated with both saltwater and chlorine pools, including initial installation and ongoing maintenance expenses. Saltwater pools, while more costly upfront, may lead to lower long-term expenses due to reduced chemical use.

Maintenance Essentials

Maintaining a Saltwater Pool

Maintaining a saltwater pool involves regular checks and cleaning of the salt cell, monitoring salt levels, and ensuring the water is balanced to effectively produce chlorine. Muriatic acid use will be the highest with a salt generator due to the constant electrolysis. Twice weekly acid adjustment to lower pH are usually required.

Maintaining a Chlorine Pool

Chlorine pool maintenance includes frequent chemical adjustments, regular shock treatments, and diligent monitoring to maintain safe and clear water. Chlorine, calcium hardness, pH, alkalinity, phosphates, and stabilizer are tested. Liquid or a solid chlorine will work often with a 3" chlorine pack in each skimmer. Free chlorine. Weekly water tests (daily in the desert or 100F heat).

An outdoor Pool.
An indoor pool.

Alternatives to Traditional Pool

Exploring Non-Chemical or Chemical Reduction Pool Solutions

Alternative systems like UV, ozone, and ionization offer ways to sanitize pool water without traditional chemicals. These systems can greatly reduce or even eliminate the need for chlorine and salt, providing a safer and often more sustainable solution for pool sanitation. When a pool requires draining, the salt pool may require trucking the water away.

Brief Look into UV & Ozone Systems

UV and Ozone systems sanitize by using specialized generators as water cycles through the system. The UV system kills microorganisms with ultraviolet light while the Ozone system has two methods to generate ozone gas, O3:

Both systems effectively eliminate 99% of microorganisms in the plumbing by harnessing the power of UV and O3 gas. They work tandem with salt or chlorine systems to effectively eliminate inorganic debris. Neither UV nor ozone can perform without residual chlorine, or bromine to stave off microbial growth.

A chlorine free pool cell that uses ionization and oxygen instead of salt.

ECOsmarte Pool Systems: New Technology (AOT & AOP)

ECOsmarte Pool Systems offer a robust alternative to traditional chlorine and saltwater systems by using technology that does not rely on typical pool chemicals. These systems utilize natural oxygen and ionic copper, rooted in technology initially developed for space applications, ensuring a 100% chlorine-free operation. They are designed to be energy-efficient, using minimal electricity, which contributes to lower running costs compared to traditional methods. The ECOsmarte system is often referred to as a hydrogen peroxide generator. Dissolved oxygen rises from 2.5 to 7.0 in the pool, where ozone and UV do not change.

Install Comparison:

ECOsmarte

  1. Cut PVC pipe to chamber’s length, glue & twist it on. Need 10 feet of power cord from pool. 
  2. Test your water
  3. Balance if needed with  Algaecide, Calcium, and muriatic acid to the pool.
  4. Run Ionization for 3  days on 24 schedule
  5. Switch pool to oxidize when copper reaches .4ppm

    Voltage  Required: 110 Volts 15 Amps  

A Salt System

  1. Decide if your pool pump circuit is able to handle the volts needed for the generator, hire an electrician if needed.
  2. Install the chlorine generator by cutting PVC pipe. Need 10 feet of hard wired conduit from panel to generator.
  3. Find your pool’s gallon capacity for amount of salt to add
  4. Test  your water
  5. Balance  if needed with EZ-Pool, sanitizer, or other additives to balance
  6. Add  salt to your pool until 1-3ppm chlorine can be generated.

    Voltage Required: 220-30 Volts 20 Amps
Woman floating in water
Family Swimming

ECOsmarte VS Salt VS Chlorine

ECOsmarte
Salt
Chlorine
Maintenance
Calcium Flake 50 Ibs 1x a year
Sodium Chloride
750Ibs 1x a year
Chlorine Tablets each week
Cyanuric Acid
None
Yes
Yes
Algaecide
Maybe
Maybe
Maybe
Chlorine Shock
None
Non-Chlorine Shock
Likely
Yes
Cell Cleaning
Two Times Annual
Low Volts/Amps
4 Watts
Three Times Annual
High Volts/Amps
150-200 watts
Not Applicable
Toll Free Support
Yes
No
No
Interactive Cloud
Yes
No
No
Cell Warranty
5 Years
2 Years
Not Applicable
Cell Life
8-10 Years
2-3
Not Applicable
Residual Chlorine
No
1-3ppm
Yes
Weekly Test (some monthly)
PH, Copper, Calcium, Phosphates
Free Chlorine, pH, Total Alkalinity, Copper, Calcium, Cyanuric Acid, Salinity, & Phosphates
Total & Free Chlorine, pH, Total Alkalinity, Cyanuric Acid, Calcium, Phosphates, & Copper

Making the Right Choice

Choosing the right pool system depends on a variety of factors including budget, maintenance commitment, and personal sensitivity to chemicals. This guide has provided an overview of the benefits and drawbacks of different pool systems to help you make an informed decision based on your specific needs and preferences.

Ready to Dive Deeper?

We encourage you to explore more about each type of pool system and consult with pool professionals to find the best solution for your pool. Whether you choose a saltwater pool, a traditional chlorine pool, or a non-chemical alternative, the right choice will enhance your swimming experience and add value to your property.

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Download ecosmarte app Install swimming pool chemical free salt pool generator