Saltwater vs Chlorine Swimming Pool
by Dr. Jonathan Doyle - Updated February 05, 2024
Swimming has shown consecutive growth in popularity, as indicated by the NSGA Annual Sports Participation Report .
Since 1990, walking has consistently ranked as the most popular form of exercise. In 2008, swimming surpassed equipment-based exercise to become the third-most common activity, with 63 million participants.
While it is premature to categorize it as a prevailing pattern, specialists assert a resurgence in swimming involvement. Based on the survey findings, there has been a consistent increase in participation every year since 2003, except for a decrease in 2006. Sport designs modern pools with customizable features to accommodate diverse users.
Each individual has a unique preference concerning engaging in the activity of swimming. On top of the design and size of the pool, one of the most important decisions is whether to use chlorine or saltwater for the water in the pool. Typically, saltwater pools are less harsh compared to traditional chlorine pools. Understanding the differences between the two solutions and the amount of chlorine in your pool is crucial.
Understanding Pool Chlorine
Participating in regular swimming activities enhances physical fitness and induces relaxation. Nevertheless, it is crucial to recognize that swimming pools might expose individuals to disinfection by-products, with chlorine and chloride being the most common.
During pool water treatment, pollutants in the water react with chlorine-containing pool sanitizers to produce chlorine and chloride like a pool filter. The reaction yields chloramine molecules, which can induce health issues in persons.
Related: What’s in the Pool?
The Risks Associated with Too Much Chlorine in Pool
The concentration of disinfectant in the water of swimming pools fluctuates based on factors such as pool use, temperature, timing of water renewal, swimmer capacity, and other variables. Insufficient disinfectant levels in pool water hinder effective disinfection and increase the likelihood of hosting germs, while excessive disinfectant levels may lead to various health complications. High chloride levels may increase the water’s pH, leading to skin and eye discomfort, such as redness and itching.
Moreover, extended prolonged contact with chlorine tablets used in swimming pools may harm the respiratory tract and lead to symptoms such as coughing or difficulty breathing, primarily when the chlorine interacts with organic substances in the water. Moreover, consuming an excessive amount of water that has been treated with chlorine might lead to gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and abdominal discomfort. In pool water, chemical byproducts, such as chlorine, might harm an in-water system and weaken its resistance.
Reducing Water’s Chlorine Content
The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) analysis suggests that people who drink tap water treated with chlorine are more likely to acquire cancer than those who consume water without chlorine treatment.
Nevertheless, residual chlorine is consistently found in municipal water filtration systems. Consequently, the inquiry arises about the methods to purify such water. The reverse osmosis water filter is the optimal selection.
The Waterdrop G3P800 reverse osmosis system efficiently decreases chlorine levels and addresses a range of contaminants, including PFAS, fluoride, heavy metals, and sodium, using a 9-stage filtering process. Using materials that do not contain lead and following the NSF/ANSI 58 requirements to reduce total dissolved solids ( TDS ) guarantees the elimination of various contaminants, such as chlorine. It generates drinking water that is safer and more beneficial for health as one of the best water filtration systems.
Salt Water Pool System
Splashing in a saltwater pool offers a distinct and unparalleled sensation as opposed to swimming in the ocean. In terms of pool cleaner, these pools resemble regular chlorine pools, although they lack the disagreeable odor of chlorine and do not cause skin or eye irritation. In these systems, an alternative to directly adding chlorine is the use of a salt chlorine generator, often referred to as a chlorinator. This generator uses electrolysis to transform the chloride present in salt intended for swimming pools into chlorine.
This technique requires the use of highly specialized equipment. Furthermore, the upkeep required for pools with saltwater is often less regular, typically occurring just once per month. The eyes, the skin, and swimwear are all less likely to be affected by them. While a saltwater system may need a more significant initial investment, it often offers cheaper total running expenses.
The Saltwater Pool’s Development
The equipment used for pools with saltwater has made considerable advancements throughout the years. The popularity of saltwater pools originated in Australia throughout the 1970s. Companies such as Lectranator had a significant role in these devices’ rise in popularity during the mid-1980s. Subsequently, they were also embraced in Canada during the mid-1990s.
Later, iterations grew more superficial and economical, although the original prototypes were costly and intricate. Currently, saltwater sanitizing is the preferred choice for newly built pools.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Saltwater Pools
Less regular maintenance is needed for a saltwater pool system, such as annual thorough cleaning programs.
Enhanced water quality results in a smoother water texture and benefits your eyes, skin, hair, and swimwear, all without additional salt storage.
Additionally, there are financial advantages since pool salt is cost-effective, and the expenses for chemicals are reduced. The system uses conventional hardware, including friendly-to-use motors, filters, and saltwater producers.
An inherent disadvantage of pools with saltwater is their substantial maintenance demands, including managing significant quantities of salt, frequent addition of muriatic acid, and continual monitoring of the pH level.
Periodic cleaning and examination of salt cells are necessary, and expert help may be needed for the generator or system issues. Due to its corrosive nature, salt can damage the pool’s surfaces, lighting, and equipment. Additionally, it may lead to the formation of salt rings on darker surfaces, compromising the overall quality of the pool environment.
Furthermore, the presence of chloramines in seawater may lead to allergic responses or asthma, and they are not fully effective in eliminating some parasites resistant to chlorine. Decking materials and adjacent plants may also have adverse consequences.
Saltwater pools are characterized by their high power consumption for upkeep, the frequent need to replace expensive salt cells annually, and the significant initial salt expenditure.
Insights into Traditional Chlorine Pools
The chlorinated pool is the most prevalent, cost-effective, and traditional kind of contemporary swimming pool, well recognised by most people. Chlorine pools may be identified by their distinctive odour, and swimmers may encounter eye irritation and skin dryness due to the chemical’s impact.
Their sanitation relies on chlorination, usually carried out via liquids, pills, or granular particles. Regular chemical balancing and testing are necessary to maintain a safe swimming environment. These procedures are typically conducted on a weekly or biweekly basis.
The Chlorine Pool’s Development
Chlorine has been vital in swimming pool sanitation for over a century, primarily used to eliminate germs and control algae growth. The element was discovered in 1774, and Humphry Davy identified it as such in 1807. In 1897, while England was going through a typhoid epidemic, the nation began employing it as a water purification method.
In 1908, the introduction of bottled chlorine brought to light the significance of chlorine in maintaining the cleanliness of swimming pools. The first swimming pool to be chlorinated occurred in 1910, a year after John Wymond Miller Bunker ’s experiment at Brown University. From 1910 to 1950, pool sanitation practices consistently included the use of chlorine.
Shortly after, regulations for chlorine in pools were revised. Tech advancements in recent years have led to enhanced chlorinated pool maintenance, which ensures safe swimming via automated machinery and remote monitoring.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Chlorine Pools
The critical advantage of chlorinated pools is their ability to maintain a high-quality pool habitat and their exceptional ease of maintenance.
Chlorine handling and storage are straightforward and manageable, and the necessary knowledge is readily available since most pool service companies possess substantial expertise in chlorine pool management.
Chlorine is a secure option for preserving the integrity and durability of your pool’s surfaces and equipment, ensuring the protection of your investments. Chlorine systems have lower startup costs compared to saltwater systems.
Additionally, using just essential equipment such as filters and pumps, the pool’s structure is preserved throughout time, preventing chemical degradation of the pool liner.
Chlorine pools have several disadvantages, such as the need for regular maintenance. This includes weekly changes to the chlorine levels and administering regular shock treatments to prevent algae development.
Chlorine storage necessitates adherence to safety norms. The environmental impacts of pools may also have adverse consequences; chlorine can exacerbate skin and eye irritation, worsen symptoms of allergies and asthma, and be ineffective in eliminating chlorine-resistant parasites.
On top of that, between $300 and $700 might be spent annually on chlorine and other chemicals. Moreover, draining and replenishing the pool may require substantial water. Lastly, if one does not invest in a chemical controller, adding additives to the pool needs physical labour.
The selection of a pool type is contingent upon several aspects, including cost, frequency of usage, and other comprehensive considerations. However, prioritizing safety is always paramount.