10 Pool Project - Salt vs Chlorine

When my parents put their pool in decades ago there were no options on the type of pool, there was only chlorine. I hated swimming in it on the day that my Dad added more chlorine. My eyes are so sensitive to water to begin with but add the chlorine in the pool and they would be red so quick. I remember watching my dad testing the pH of the water and adding the right amount of chemicals to balance things out. My parents neighbour put in a salt pool several years ago and I thought there were crazy. Salt? Like the ocean?  Who would want that? But when it came time to make the decision for our pool I knew better. It is a very personal decision to make so I will just share with you the environmental impacts of both choices and what I feel is the best option.

You can tell a pool is safe to swim in when you see this every day.  
They actively swim around not wanting to get out. You won't find that in a chlorine pool...which will kill them.

First things first....salt is NaCl....Cl = Chlorine. So even with a salt pool you still have chlorine. The difference is how it gets into your pool, in what quantity and how it affects the environment and your health.

There is very little salt in a salt water pool. I have read that it is less than 1/300th the salinity of a human tear. You can't taste it, you can't smell it and you don't see it on your skin when the water dries.  When our pool was first started up our contractor added 8 bags of salt to it to initially get it charged up. That salt water flows through our chlorinator which takes the salt in the water and through electrolysis converts it into a small amount of chlorine. When the chlorine comes into contact with algae, bacteria etc it oxidize it and then converts back into salt. In a salt water pool the salt is always present so the chlorinator is constantly producing chlorine to disinfect and clean the pool. With a chlorine pool you have to add chlorine yourself after testing the pH to determine what needs to be added. You can add it in a liquid or puck form. The chlorine is in a much stronger concentration than in a salt water pool. The affect on your skin and clothing is evident with a chlorine pool. Today I was in our salt pool and had no such impact. I didn't smell and my eyes didn't sting at all!

It is common for municipalities to ban the draining of salt water pools into their sewer systems out of fear of what the salt build up will do to the water ways. They do not have the same concern over the amount of chlorine being added to these same water ways (WHAT????). Our contractor helped us find a solution to this problem. New on the market in the last few years is a low salt system. This means that our pool requires half the salt to maintain itself. Municipalities now allow pools that use these systems to be drained into the sewer systems.

As you can tell we went with a salt system as we found that it was the best choice for our health and the environment. The added bonus is that in the long run (typically 3 years) it will be cheaper to operate and it is overall easier to maintain. 

Related Posts - Check them Out
Meet Bumble Bee AKA Vapmor MR-100
Spring Cleaning
Hidden Water - Part 4


  1. I never even knew this was a possibility! Thanks for telling us about it.

  2. IMO it is one of the best advances that pools has had in the last decade!

  3. my dad converted his pool to salt water 3 years ago... we all love it! hope you can enjoy it this weekend ;)

  4. Awesome news. I'd love to learn more about how to convert. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hi Kelly - from my understanding it is pretty easy to convert from chlorine to salt. You need to purchase the chlorinator (ours was under $2000) and I am sure there is something that needs to be done with the water as the switch is being made. But before converting it would be important to make sure your pool is compatible with salt. Some pool contractors won't put salt in pools that use steel in the frame.

  6. Thanks Steph! I can't wait until the entire backyard is done so we can really enjoy it.

  7. That's so cool! Literally :) Enjoy the rest of the summer!

  8. The pool does look great! There seem to be more and more salt water pools out there. There's an indoor pool near us that we use during the winter and it's salt water. I love it! We still smell like chlorine, but not nearly as much as a traditional pool.

  9. We love our salt pool! It's great to see the kids enjoying it without red eyes and without stinking like chlorine all the time. I can definitely taste the salt, but it isn't that bad.