Chlorine Pools vs Salt Water Pools

a large swimming pool surrounded by a stone patio.

If you’re considering having a pool built for your Raleigh home, and you’re trying to decide if a chlorine pool or a salt water pool is right for you, you’re in the right place. Our pool builders in Raleigh are taking a closer look at both options, sharing the pros and cons, so you can make an informed decision and choose the best custom pool for your home.

Choosing a Salt Water Pool

A salt water pool is a bit misleading, as many people think it’s like swimming in the ocean. In fact, salt water pools aren’t comparable to sea water at all. Ocean water has a salt concentration of around 30,000 parts per million (ppm_ while swimming pool salt water has a concentration of between 3,000 and 5,000 ppm.

Instead of simply adding salt to the pool, the pool actually relies on two installed components – a salt cell and a salt chlorine generator. As water circulates through the pool, it enters the generator and flows through the salt cell. The generator creates a very low-voltage electrical current that activates electrolysis in the water in the slat cell. This naturally separates the salt compound into two elements, sodium and chlorine. The chlorine cleans the water of bacteria, then re-bonds to the sodium, all in a safe, harmless chemical reaction.


The Benefits of a Salt Water Pool

Salt water pools offer the following benefits to Raleigh homeowners:

  • The salt water is much gentler on the skin and eyes than chlorinated water. It also doesn’t cause swimwear to wear out or fade as quickly.
  • The pH of salt water is generally close to neutral naturally, so there are no chemicals needed to balance the pool water.
  • There are fewer chemicals needed overall, and maintenance of the pool is much less intensive and frequent than a chlorine pool.
  • The water feels softer and more gentle, and there are no odors of chlorine.
  • Salt is inexpensive and does not need special storage or considerations, though it should stay dry.

The Disadvantages of a Salt Water Pool

Salt water pools do have multiple benefits, but there are drawbacks to consider, too, including:

  • Salt water pools are expensive to install and often require installing a  fiberglass pool, rather than a concrete pool or a vinyl pool liner.
  • Salt is corrosive, and over time, can ruin the deck, leave an unsightly salt ring stain around the pool, or kill grass around the pool area.
  • Pools with salt water require specialty accessories specifically made to handle salt water, including heaters, lighting, and masonry treatments.
  • Repairs to pool components are generally intensive and require a professional.
  • Replacing a salt cell every three to five years can be inconvenient and expensive.

Choosing a Chlorine Pool

Since pools were installed, chlorine has been the common way to sanitize the water and prevent bacteria and algae from growing. Chlorine and other chemicals are added to the pool to sanitize it while balancing the pH, and a pump and filter are installed to continually keep water flowing, filtering out debris like leaves. The chemicals and components work together to keep the pool clean and fresh, though regular maintenance is necessary.

The Benefits of a Chlorine Pool

Chlorinated pools offer homeowners several benefits, including:

  • Chlorinated pools have a lower up-front investment cost than salt water.
  • There aren’t any specialty accessories needed for a chlorine pool – the standard lighting, heating elements, and masonry can be used.
  • Pools can be made from vinyl liners, fiberglass, or concrete.
  • Repairs and maintenance can often be done easily and aren’t generally expensive.
  • Pool pumps can be energy efficient, and a solar blanket can be used to heat the water, keeping energy costs low.

The Disadvantages of a Chlorine Pool

Like the salt water pool, chlorine pools do have factors you may need to consider, including:

  • Chlorine can be irritating to the skin and eyes, especially children and people who spend a lot of time in the water.
  • More chemicals are required to keep the pool in balance.
  • The maintenance for a pool is intensive, requiring regular testing, chemical adjustments, and cleaning.
  • Chemicals for the pool can cost between $300 and $800 dollars a year.
  • Chlorine and other chemicals must be carefully stored in a cool, dry, ventilated area, away from children and pets.
  • The pool needs to be “shocked,” (a larger amount of adding chlorine in order to destroy chloramine, bacteria, and algae) every few weeks or after a heavy rain.
  • Some find the odor of chlorine to be unpleasant.

Contact Us for Salt Water and Chlorine Pools for Your Home in Raleigh

At Prestige Pools, we can install both salt water and chlorine pools at your home. Because we are experienced with both options, we can help you weigh your options and determine which one is best for your home, budget, and preferences. To learn more about both types of pools, reach out to us today!