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Converting Your Pool from Chlorine to Salt Water

salt water pool conversion

If you have a chlorine pool, there’s no doubt you’ve read about salt water pools. There’s been a lot of press about salt water, making pool conversions popular in recent years. While you may have heard that salt water has health benefits or that having a salt water makes pool maintenance easier, there is more to the story.

As with most decisions, there are pros and cons of conversion, with both systems having benefits.  Before you decide whether converting your pool from chlorine to salt is for you, Zagers wants to help you understand the facts.

Myth: Salt water pools don’t use chlorine.

Fact:  While it’s true that you don’t need to manually add chlorine tablets, shock, or liquid chlorine throughout the swimming season, a salt water pool isn’t chlorine-free. Salt water pools use a generator to electrically convert the pool salt into…you guessed it, chlorine.

Myth: I need a salt water pool because I don’t like the smell of Chlorine.

Fact:  Salt water pool owners often use the argument that they don’t like the smell of Chlorine. While itchy skin, red eyes and that distinctive chlorine smell are often associated with traditionally chlorinated pools, they are actually due to Chloramines. This is when contaminants in the water combine with Chlorine. The smell goes away by shocking or super-chlorinating the pool. When a Chlorine pool is well maintained, you won’t experience this unwanted smell or other irritating symptoms. If you have questions about how to properly balance the chemicals in your chlorine pool, Zagers professionals can help.

Myth: Salt water pools don’t need to be treated with an algaecide.

Fact:  Algae doesn’t discriminate! Whether you own a chlorine or salt water pool you’ll still need to treat your water with an algaecide product to prevent algae.

Myth: When you own a salt water pool, you don’t need to balance the water.

Fact:  No matter what type of pool you own, you need to check the pH and maintain balance. Salt water pools tend to fall on the “low pH” end of the spectrum. Although your water may appear clear, if the pH is low it will be very acidic, which quickly evaporates the chlorine produced by the salt water chlorine generator and can also cause irritation to your eyes, skin, and quickly damage your pool equipment (especially heaters).

Myth: Salt water pools are really inexpensive to maintain.

Fact 1:  Salt cells must be cleaned at least annually, which is a reasonable but regular expense. In addition, about every three years you’ll need to replace the salt cell, which is significantly more expensive.

Fact 2:  As you may know from visiting homes on the salty ocean (or driving on our concrete roads, filled with potholes, after they’ve been salted all winter), salt is highly corrosive and can cause damage. If salt levels in a pool increase to over 6,000 ppm, it can begin to breakdown equipment like your automatic pool cover mechanism, handrails, lighting systems, swimming pool liners and other pool equipment. If you decide to convert to a salt water pool, be aware that you may have additional financial outlays to replace them over time.

Making the Decision

As you consider the various factors, you may decide that you’d prefer to keep your current chlorine pool. If you do, Zagers has an easy 3-step process that will keep your pool sparkling all summer long.

On the other hand, if converting to a salt water pool appeals to you, Zagers can help with that as well. We’ll guide you to identify the salt system that is right for your pool size as well as provide information on the conversion and routine maintenance.

We have many customers who love their chlorine pools and others who love their salt water pools. They all cherish the memories they make with their friends and families around the pool. Our experts are happy to help you sort through the pros and cons so you can make the choice that’s right for you.

To find out more, contact a Zagers Pool & Spa pool expert at your favorite location or request more information here.

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