I like it when you don’t do research, Jack. It’s fun to tease you ;)
Here’s some info:
Going Chlorine Free:
Chlorine is like the steamed spinach of swimming pool ownership – there may be a few strange folks out there who genuinely like it, but most people only accept it begrudgingly. If it weren’t so effective at keeping a swimming pool in good health, it’s safe to say nobody would want chlorine anywhere near their home. It’s hazardous to store and handle. It irritates eyes and skin. And – much like steamed spinach – it smells bad.
It’s not surprising then that a lot of current and future pool owners take a hard look at the many chlorine alternatives on the market. Of these, salt water chlorination is by far the most popular. Salt water systems certainly have advantages over chlorine in many respects, but as with just about everything, there’s a downside as well. To help you put it all in perspective, here are the major pros and cons of salt water pools.
If you haven’t read a lot about salt water systems, there are a couple of facts that may surprise you:
1. Despite the name, salt water pools aren’t anywhere near as salty as sea water (they have about 1/10 the salinity). So, if you think swimming in a salt water pool is like swimming in the ocean, think again.
2. Strictly speaking, salt water pools are not chlorine free. Rather, these systems create their own chlorine using salt through a process called electrolysis. The real difference is that you don’t have to add chlorine directly to the water.
Here are some of the benefits of salt water systems that seem to be driving their popularity:
Gentle on Eyes and Skin. Chlorine levels are generally lower with a salt generator. People who are sensitive to chlorine often report fewer irritations when using these pools.
Safer Than Chlorine. In tablet or liquid form, chlorine can be dangerous to store and transport. Studies have shown that chlorinated water may also pose a long-term health risk, which may not apply to salt water systems to the same extent (on the other hand, they do still produce the same disinfection byproducts as traditional pools).
“Soft Water” Feel. If you have a water softener in your home, you know that the addition of salt makes water feel smooth and silky to the touch – like rain water. Most people prefer this to the sometimes-abrasive feel of chlorinated water.
Less Maintenance. Pool maintenance is more “hands-off” with a salt water system, as the salt cell simply produces chlorine as needed. That said, you still have to monitor chlorine levels periodically to make sure everything is working okay.