Salt Water Disinfection Systems: Advantages And Disadvantages

20 April 2017
 Categories: , Articles

If you are considering the purchase of a swimming pool, or if you already own a pool but aren't satisfied with a conventional cleaning and disinfection process, then you may want to look into using a salt water system.

Salt water disinfection has become a mainstream part of the American swimming pool culture, and there are lots of good reasons for doing so. However, there are some disadvantages to keep in mind before taking the leap, and it pays to know what those are, too.

Below is more information about swimming pool salt water disinfection, including pros and cons to keep mind.

How Does a Salt Water Pool Differ from the Ocean?

When you think about salt water, images of warm Caribbean beaches and deep blue seas may come to mind. However, while there are some commonalities between the salty oceans and a backyard pool equipped with a salt water disinfection system, it is important to keep in mind there are also major differences between the two.

First of all, the salt content of ocean water is around 3.5 percent by weight, while the average salt water disinfection system operates on only about 10 percent of that amount of salt. That is a significantly less amount of salt and helps illustrate why ocean water and salted pool water aren't directly comparable.

Ocean water salinity is a function of the natural deposition of salt, and it supports both marine animal and plant life as a consequence. However, the salt water in a swimming pool is added to provide "fuel" for the disinfection process.

How Does a Salt Water Disinfection System Work?

Salt water disinfection is an elegant and simple process, but it is remarkably effective. Inside the salt water filter, dissolved salt in the water is pumped by electrically charged plates made of titanium. As these salt molecules make contact with the titanium plates, chlorine is produced as a chemical reaction. The chlorine is then dissolved in the water and is carried into the pool.

Though the amount of chlorine produced at any given moment is relatively small, production is consistent and continues around the clock; that is what keeps the overall chlorine concentration sufficient for disinfection.

What Are the Advantages of Using a Salt Water Disinfection System?

Salt water disinfection systems possess several advantages that make them a favorite among pool owners, including the following.

Relative Ease of Maintenance

One advantage of salt water disinfection is its relative ease of maintenance when compared to conventional pool disinfection methods. There is no need to regularly add chlorine or make other constant adjustments to maintain water at an appropriate level. This eliminates the need to purchase chemicals and keep them stockpiled, and pool owners can generally feel confident about leaving their salt water pools alone for days at a time.

Soothing to Skin and Eyes

Another advantage of salt water disinfection is a byproduct of using salt in the water. Human body chemistry is slightly saline, and the concentration of salt inside a salt water pool is much closer to the natural bodily balance than conventional pools.

As a result, skin is often left feeling less dry, and the slightly salty water is soothing to eyes and sensitive membranes. This can make salt water pools more therapeutic to swimmers who may be sensitive to the "harsh" waters of an ordinary pool.

What are Some Disadvantages of Using Salt Water Disinfection?

There are a few drawbacks associated with using salt water disinfection systems, and these include the ones below.

Initial Expense

Salt water disinfection systems require an upfront investment in equipment that generates chlorine from salt, and this cost is more than what is required for a conventional pool setup. Over time, not needing to buy chemical additives may offset the initial expenditure, but it could take some time for this benefit to be realized.

Damage Caused by Salt

Salt can be a destructive substance, and it can do significant damage to both man-made and natural objects. For example, concrete along with some metals are highly susceptible to salt, and this can result in chipping or corrosion.

In addition, salt can also kill plants and ruin landscapes as a result. That means the use of a salt water disinfection system will require pool owners to carefully consider how to protect nearby plants from being harmed.

Talk with a pool contractor like Legacy Pools if you have questions about the condition of your pool and its water.