Let’s take a close look at the pros and cons of salt water pools. We will see why modern salt chlorination has become the overwhelming choice of pool owners over the last couple decades. I believe you’ll agree that the pros are pretty compelling, and the cons are simply not that bad.
Pro: We’ll start at the bottom line. A saltwater chlorine generator eliminates the regular purchase and addition of chlorine and shock. However, you won’t simply avoid the inconvenience of buying and adding those items. Over the lifetime of pool ownership, you stand to save up to 50%, or even more, versus a traditional pool chlorination.
Con: You will need enough room in your household budget for the upfront cost of your system. The higher initial cost is often more than what you might pay for chlorine at the start of the year. However, given a little time, the chlorine savings will catch up with the investment and continue to accumulate.
Pro: The reduction in chemical pool maintenance that you can experience can be quite significant. With your salt water chlorine generator working automatically every day in tandem with your pump and filter while consistently generating a steady amount of chlorine, your pool’s water will reliably stay blue and clear.
Con: The way that the salt pool system is able to generate chlorine means that you will need to clean and eventually replace your chlorine generator cell – aka “salt cell” or “replacement cell” or “electrodes”. Typically, your cell will need to be cleaned (or descaled) one or two times a year, and this should only take about 15-20 minutes.
Con/Pro: The salt cell is a consumable item and will slowly wear out over time. The cell gets depleted and will eventually need to be replaced after about 3-8 years on average. The useful life of your cell depends on the chosen model, pool/chlorinator sizing, climate, pool usage, and proper upkeep).
Replacing the cell can seem like a downside initially. However, a replacement cell will typically cost only about half as much as the complete salt chlorinator system, and the replacement cell should give you a comparable number of years chlorinating your pool. From this standpoint, replacing your cell is actually a pro: your return on investment gets even better since the new cell can provide just as many years of chlorination at a fraction of the cost. Plus, with industry-leading warranty coverage, CircuPool systems can further tilt the savings in your favor.
Pro: A salt chlorine generator will provide you with superior water quality versus a freshwater pool and an enhanced swimming experience. Your chlorine generator eliminates “chloramines” which are a byproduct of chemical chlorine. Chloramines cause the harsh effects and caustic qualities that people commonly think of with respect to pools. You will be free of that “chlorine smell.” No more itchy skin, red eyes, and you will experience the sense of swimming in a natural body of water.
Con: Your saltwater system will require installation, which means some simple wiring as well as measuring, cutting, and gluing PVC pipe. Thankfully, though, CircuPool models are intended to be DIY-friendly and installation can be as quick as 10-15 minutes for some models or 45 minutes to an hour generally for most models.
Summary: As promised regarding the pros and cons of saltwater pools, I think it is fair to say that the “pros” are all quite compelling and that the “cons” are simply not that bad. On balance, a saltwater pool delivers significant net savings over the years, while delivering a superior swimming experience and reduced routine maintenance as compared to traditionally chlorinated pools.