In the search for an alternative to chlorine, many pool owners turned to a salt water system. And found a lot of myths and misconceptions about them. Like:
“I won’t have to worry about pH levels”
“Any size system will work in my pool”
“There’s no maintenance with a salt water system”
But the reality is….none of that is true.
And most pool stores and builders fail to mention the problems that can occur with a salt water system.
So before you consider the costly investment of a Salt Water Generator system, here are some facts you should know:
If you live near a coast, you know what salty air can do to your windows, doors and furniture. The same is true for salt water pools. Salt spray and airborne saltwater coming from you pool introduce chloride ions into the air. These chloride ions, when combined with moisture and elevated temperatures, create a corrosion process that effects any type of metal. Putting your fences, gates, furniture, doors, window screens, sheds and lawn equipment in risk of corrosion. And because these chloride ions can travel up to several miles, your neighbors are at risk as well!
Degrading of Coping, Decking, and Equipment
Over time, the salt from a salt water pool will attack and damage the plaster/cement, coping, and decking in and around your pool.
With the “set it and forget it” mentality, unbalanced water chemistry can cause a breeding ground for algae an unsightly pools. In an attempt to avoid this, pool owners often increase the output over-chlorinate their pool, causing additional damage to the pool surface, light fixtures, ladders and equipment.
When water hits the coping and evaporates, it leaves pure salt behind. Once the salt dries, it will etch into, and corrode your coping. Which means you’ll probably need to seal the coping (especially if it’s porous like limestone), as well as hose it down with fresh water after any swim day.
Because of these issues, many pool builders now refuse to build salt water pools with cream limestone or taupe coping. Many builders will require customers who want either to sign a release form.
Older pools are more susceptible to corrosion issues since new pools can use material that are not as prone to corrosion or degradation.
Hazards due to Salinity
The high-salinity content found in salt water pools can harm and even kill nearby grass, trees, planters, shrubs and flowers. After heavy rains, the elevated water levels seep underneath the coping and run into the yard. And once effected, replacing the landscaping can be very costly.
Salt water is also hazardous to your pets. If they drink it, it can cause dehydration and even serious health problems.
Problems in maintaining and balancing water chemistry
Factors such as swimmers, heat, sunshine, and pool filters can make balancing pool water chemistry extremely difficult. And most treatment systems simply don’t work if the salinity is unbalanced. If the salt levels are too low, they can’t produce enough chlorine. It they’re too high, they create a faulty salt reading, which causes pool owners to over-salt the water. Once that occurs, it throws all the other chemicals and stabilizers off balance. Rendering them either ineffective, or causing damage to your pool.