We would all like to be able to sit back and enjoy the beauty, and relaxation, of our own backyard pool. Having a pool instantly increases the home's value and if you decide to sell your home in the future, this addition to the amenities will no doubt put your house at the top of the list for buyers.
Rectangular, round, kidney-shaped, square, above ground or permanent in-ground – the style choices are endless. But there is also another choice to consider when you are thinking about adding a pool to your home. Would you like it to be the salt-water version?
Salt water? Isn't that only found in the ocean? And don't you need chlorine for sanitization?
Salt-water pools were first introduced in the l960s in Australia and were not the first system of choice until recently. Now, thanks to the use of this option at vacation spots and cruise ships, this has become the fastest-growing technology available for pool installations. The initial cost of a salt-water pool is much higher than the chlorinated option – as much as two to four times – but people who have tried this alternative system say they wouldn't have it any other way.
The water found in salt-water pools is not the same as you would find at your local beach, if you even have a beach nearby. Initially, pools are filled with regular water, often trucked in, and salt is added at a rate of 2500 to 4000 PPM (parts per million), which is insignificant compared with the salt concentration of 35,000 PPM typically found in ocean water. This addition only has to be done once, unless the pool is drained or a significant amount of water has been removed.
Chlorine is indeed in salt-water pools, but the levels are much lower. It is produced by a built-in chlorine generator cell that uses electrolysis. When the salt water passes through this cell, it is electronically charged and releases chlorine gas from the salt. When this gas combines with the pool water, it creates Hypochlorous acid, a form of liquid chlorine that ultimately keeps the pool sanitized.
The effects of swimming in a salt-water pool are many: the water feels smooth, it alleviates eye irritation, the strong smell of regular chlorine is virtually eliminated, your skin does not feel dried out after a swim, your swim wear lasts longer, and people indicate they feel more refreshed after a swim.
Maintenance is key:
There is a myth circulating that salt-water pools do not require maintenance. This is false as there are several aspects to cleaning equipment with this alternative style of pool:
pH levels between 7.4-7.6 must be maintained to sustain the effectiveness of chlorine. Check levels regularly.
The coping (cap on the edge of the pool) must be sealed, particularly if the stone is porous. Hose down the coping at the end of the day to reduce dried salt, which can cause corrosion.
Clean the salt-water generator regularly to avoid a build up of calcium, which could break the cell housing or shorten the life of the cell.
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