Swimming Pool Face-Off: Salt Water v. Chlorine

So you’re considering taking the plunge (har, har!) and installing an at-home swimming pool. When it comes to the water, you have two choices: salt water or chlorine. We’ve rounded up a few tips to help you decide what’s best, so grab your goggles and water wings and read on!
Salt water Systems
*At-home ocean. Who needs a beach vacation if you have a salt water swimming pool? You get an ocean-like feel without crowded beaches or pricey airfare.
*More comfortable. Salt water systems create water that is much easier on the skin. You probably won’t experience red eyes or itchy skin as you would in chlorinated water, which is a great benefit if you and your family will be spending lots of time in the pool.
*Saves time and money. Although salt water systems may be initially more expensive than chlorine, they’re cheaper to maintain over the long-term. They’re also less time-consuming to maintain, giving you more time to enjoy the pool!
*Less sanitation. A drawback of salt water? It maintains a higher pH than chlorinated water, and above a certain pH, will not sanitize items that come in contact with the water. This isn’t a deal-breaker, however; you’ll just need to monitor the water’s salinity and pH and clean as necessary.

*Easy to operate. Chlorinated pools remain the most popular, which means they’ve evolved to include easy-to-operate systems that make pool maintenance less of a chore.
*Prohibits bacteria. Chlorinated pools will likely inhibit more bacteria growth than their salt water counterparts. Plus, cleaning chlorinated water is much faster–24-48 hours, compared to 3-5 days with salt water.
*Outside effects. Several factors can affect the water’s chlorination, including rainfall, backwash and water evaporation. You may spend more time monitoring your water’s chlorine content if you experience these conditions. You might also find yourself purchasing more chlorine to keep the water in prime condition, which will increase your maintenance costs.
*Cost. Maintaining a chlorinated pool will likely cost $50-60/month, while a salt water pool will probably cost $20-30 for the entire season.
We’ll let you make the final decision. And if you have a pool, we’d love to know if you use a salt water or chlorine system.
Photo: Flickr.com/shiroibasketshoes

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