Keeping pool water clean is essential for protecting swimmers against the water-borne bacteria that can cause illness and infections – not to mention algae blooms. But which method should you use to sanitize your pool water: chlorine or salt? Or perhaps some other solution?
Chlorine is the most common method for keeping water in residential pools clean and safe. It is an inexpensive and highly effective method of destroying bacteria quickly. However, many people would argue that maintaining pool water with chlorine is a lot of work because you have to check and adjust the chlorine level almost daily. In fact, you just need to use the right products and follow the basic principles of pool maintenance: adequate filtration and circulation, properly balanced water parameters and adequate sanitation.
As their name suggests, salt water pools contain salt water rather than chlorinated water. A salt water pool is saturated with salt at the beginning of the season, and a chlorine generator (a device that pumps the water and extracts the natural chlorine found in salt) is used to redirect it back into the pool. You won’t save money with a salt system, but you will save time. Salt water systems require less maintenance than chlorine-based systems. They also create fewer odours and irritations – problems often associated with chlorine.
That being said, the popularity of salt water systems is somewhat on the decline lately. Pool owners are increasingly opposed to the environmental impacts that salt water pools can have on surrounding vegetation. Salt can also cause corrosion in some pool systems. In other words, salt systems are not for everyone.
If you are already using a salt system and want to reduce its environmental impacts, look for products specially formulated to minimize the negative effects of a salt system. That way, you can continue to enjoy your pool without the hassle or guilt.
There are other systems you can use to keep your pool water clean and safe. These include copper-silver ionization, UV radiation, and ozonation. Regardless of the system you use, however, you will still need to test your pool water regularly. Remember: Sparkling clear water doesn’t necessarily mean safe water; it could still harbour harmful bacteria.
If in doubt, talk to a competent pool expert. He or she will be able to advise you on the best way of maintaining your pool.