For pool owners, the pros and cons of saltwater pools versus chlorine pools are a frequent point of debate. In order to keep your pool properly sanitized, make sure you understand what each of these options offers. Read on for the facts concerning chlorine tablets (traditional chlorine pools) and chlorine generators (saltwater pools).

Chlorine Tablets

For the past 50 years, chlorine tablets have been the sanitizing method of choice. Traditional chlorine pools became the standard due to the easy level of maintenance provided by chlorine tablets. Residential and commercial pools alike, rely on chlorine tablets to disinfect the water from algae, germs, and harmful bacteria. These tablets can be dispersed in one of two ways:

  • External Chemical Feeder

    An external feeder is the most convenient option for sanitizing your pool. It’s installed near your pool equipment and runs automatically when your pump is turned on. Water flows right over the tablets, slowly dissolving the chlorine throughout the pool water. With an adjustable dial, chemical feeders can be adjusted to keep your chlorine levels within the optimal range. The dial changes the rate at which water flows over the tablet, altering the chlorine being dissolved and released into your pool water.

  • In-Pool Floating Disbursement Device

    An in-pool floating dispenser is a free-floating device containing a chlorine tablet that dissolves as the surface water flows over it. In-pool floaters are ideal for smaller pools as they may not get a high enough flow rate to properly sanitize larger pools.

Chlorine tablets are commonly used on all pool types (cement, painted, pebble, plaster, and fiberglass and vinyl), making them an easy choice for any pool owner.

Saltwater Systems

The function of a saltwater system is to generate chlorine. These systems have begun to grow in popularity over the past 30 years. To be clear, saltwater pools are not chlorine free. Every pool, whether supported by a chlorine generator or chlorine tablets, requires the same levels of chlorine.

How They Work

When a chlorine generator is added to a pool, salt is poured into the water and begins to dissolve. The actual salt generator is made of titanium plates that electrolyze the dissolved salt in order to produce chlorine. The chlorine production levels can be altered with an adjustable dial, in the same way as an external chemical feeder. However, instead of changing the water flow to alter chlorine levels, chlorine generators adjust the duration and frequency the main cell is on for. Higher end units can make those adjustments automatically, however, chlorine generators come in a range of prices with differing features. On average, the power center will last 5-10 years and the cell will require replacing every 2-5 years.

Common Praises & Concerns

Saltwater pools are very different from pools regulated with chlorine tablets. Saltwater pool owners can expect “soft” water, a slightly salty taste, and must give a little extra attention. Because chlorine generators require salt to function effectively, too much or too little can stop the production of chlorine. High salt levels can only be remediated by draining some water and refilling with hose water until the salt levels return to normal. A salt content that is too high can damage pool equipment as salt is corrosive. With this higher risk of damage, it’s necessary to check the salt and pH levels in the water once a week.

Myths & Conclusions

People assume chlorine pools will lead to green hair and red eyes. The idea that these are direct effects of chlorine are actually misconceptions. Green hair is caused by high copper levels and red eyes typically result from a combination of chlorine issues and water that isn’t shocked regularly. Red eyes can occur in both traditional chlorine pools and saltwater pools as both systems use chlorine, however, the saltwater may prove to be more soothing in this situation. Overall, both options provide the necessary sanitation to keep your pool safe. Depending on your personal preference, price range, and available time, both chlorine tablets and chlorine generators can work for you. If your system needs replacing, upgrading, or maintenance, call Kelly Pool’s to get the professional help you need.

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