How Does A Salt Water Pool System Work?

by Angel

Salt water pool systems are a growing trend now in the U.S. More and more people are moving away from the traditional chlorine pool and all the required chemicals to keep it clean.

We have moved from a home that had a pool into a new home with no pool in the past few weeks. Our new home will have a pool very soon because we are all had so much fun at our other home's pool. I have done so much research on pools lately I feel like I could sell them! One new trend that I wanted to share with everyone is the salt water pool system. We will be getting this addition to our pool at our new home. Our old home had the traditional chlorine pool system that required tons of chemicals every week. This new salt system will require minimum maintenance once we get the system set up and in place. Take a look at how this system works, the required components, and the benefits.

How Does a Salt System Work?

The salt is poured into the pool. A separate component called a salt water chlorinator or salt cell is used to convert the sodium chloride in the salt to just chloride to be released into the pool. The salt cell works on a process called electrolysis. Electrolysis is where bonded elements in a liquid solution are separated by passing through two charged plates. Opposites attract during this process. Positive charged particles move toward the negatively charged plates. Negative charged particles move toward the positively charged plates. The chlorine becomes positively charged and is released out into the pool in very small amounts compared to a traditional chlorine pool. Your regular pool pump keeps the water moving through your salt cell.

How Much Does a Salt Water Pool System Cost to Install?

A salt water pool system requires a salt water chlorinator with a control panel. This chlorinator or salt cell is what converts the salt in the pool to chlorine. Yes. The pool will still have chlorine in it but at a much lower concentration. A traditional chlorine pool has 3 -10 ppm of chlorine in it. A salt water pool has 0.5 -1 ppm of chlorine in it. Much less. This salt cell takes the sodium chloride that salt is made up of and outputs just the chloride into the pool.

The control panel monitors the water and helps to determine when the salt cell or chlorinator needs to run. Some control panels are more sophisticated than others and will therefore cost more. We are getting a very simple system that costs approximately $2,000 installed. This is up front cost added to the cost of the pool. There are cheaper routes to go when choosing your salt water chlorinator. You can purchase the components yourself and convert your pool over from chlorine to a salt system or buy the components and install them yourself with your new pool. We did not want the hassle of installing them so we purchased them through our pool vendor. The same exact salt water chlorinator and control panel can be found at Amazon.  

How Much Does a Salt Water System Cost to Maintain?

This is the beauty of this system. There are up front costs to the system but very little maintenance is required. There will be 2-3 salt applications required during the year. The salt concentration in the pool is very small. It is approximately 3,200 ppm and can be compared to the amount of salt in a tear. My pool vendor compared it to tears as well. Estimates of $10-$20 per year in salt is what is needed. This is a major improvement over the $100 per tub of chlorine that we were used to buying with the other pool. We would go through two of the tubs per summer. The salt water system is much cheaper to maintain.

The Benefits of a Salt Water Pool System

  • Maintenance Costs are much lower.

  • No chemicals like chlorine so the water is much less irritating to your hair, skin, eyes, and swim suits.

  • Much less green algae forms with this pools system compared to the chlorine systems. So clean up, scrubbing green algae, and treatments don't have to happen.    

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Updated: 04/08/2012, Angel
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Jason Charles on 11/20/2012

why you need pool repair and maintenance services. Water quality needs to be properly balanced otherwise can be very damaging to the pool surface and other equipment. and the most viable way to achieve this is to avail of professional pool company like Miami Pool Tech. This pool company offers inclusive pool maintenance including pool repair. It is very necessary to have your pool area checked for possible leaks and water contamination. Proper chemical maintenance is necessary to keep your pool clean. Water quality should be put in its appropriate measure in order to avoid possible health hazards. Equipment will be easily prone to rust and corrosion. Miami Pool tech can help you with proper filter maintenance, with the right pool service, you can dispel these worries and be assured that swimming will be safer and more fun to do. visit them at for more information.

Angel on 04/12/2012

RealHousewife - Tell her to go with the salt water system. A little more investment up front but so many more benefits from maintenance to just being easier to swim in. The chlorine can be so harsh to skin, hair, and eyes. No more burning eyes with a salt water system. Great pool. Thanks for stopping in and commenting. Good luck to her with replacing her liner and fixing up the pool.

Angel on 04/12/2012

Katie - so glad someone else can testify to the great benefits of a salt water pool.. They are so much gentler on everything than the chlorine we grew up with. Remember the green tint to your hair from chlorine. ahhh.. what a mess. Thanks for reading and commenting.

RealHousewife on 04/12/2012

I'm so glad you wrote this! My sister just bought a house with an underground pool. This is the first summer for her and the liner needs to be replaced so we were looking into this tyoe of system!

Thanks I'm sharing it with her - I really think she should do this kind! Sounds perfect!

katiem2 on 04/12/2012

Ah yes pool season again, I love my pool, we converted to salt water a few years ago and love it. Its so much kinder to your hair. My kids love it and over all I highly recomend it! Great article.

Angel on 04/10/2012

Brenda - come on over to the pool and lets hang out! Wish we were all closer so we could do that. you know. A salt water system is the way to go. Much easier on your skin, hair, and eyes. Easier on your pocket book too when it comes to maintenance.

Angel on 04/10/2012

Peggy - Thanks for reading and commenting - it is the way to go. I am so pleased with it so far. Much better than the chlorine pool. It has to be healthier with no harsh chemicals..

BrendaReeves on 04/10/2012

Angel, If I had a pool that is the way I would go. I might end up with one when I move again. Thanks for the info. You explained it very well.

BrendaReeves on 04/10/2012

Angel, If I had a pool that is the way I would go. I might end up with one when I move again. Thanks for the info. You explained it very well.

PeggyHazelwood on 04/09/2012

Your new pool sounds great! The low maintenance sounds like the way to go, and I bet it's healthier too!

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