How Do Salt Water Pools Work?

Saltwater pool system

As many pool owners can attest, keeping a traditional swimming pool in top shape is no small feat. We’ve encountered these challenges firsthand and found salt water pools to have some advantages.

These innovative systems use sodium chloride to naturally produce chlorine, ensuring your pool remains sparkling clean and well-disinfected. Let’s dive into the details together.

How Salt Water Pools Generate Chlorine

In salt water pools, a device called a salt chlorine generator uses electricity to break down salt (sodium chloride) into chlorine.

This process, known as electrolysis, keeps the water clean by creating chlorine right in your pool.

Electrolysis Process in Salt Chlorine Generators

Salt chlorine generators use electrolysis to turn salt into chlorine. This means electricity splits the salt, which is sodium chloride (NaCl), in pool water into chlorine gas and other components.

The chlorine gas then mixes with the water to create hypochlorous acid, which disinfects the water by killing bacteria and algae.

For proper use of the system, make sure the pool has enough salt, around 3,000 to 3,500 parts per million (ppm). Too much or too little can mess up this process. We carefully add pool salt across the steps or bottom and brush it until it dissolves completely.

This keeps our pools clean without adding harsh chemicals directly. Now let’s talk about what makes these systems a great choice for your swimming area.

Salt Water Pools: Advantages & Disadvantages

Salt Water pools offer softer water and need less upkeep, but they can cost more at first and might harm pool tiles. This mix of good and bad points makes choosing a salt water system for your swimming area a big decision.

Salt Water Pool Advantages

We know pool owners always look for ways to reduce hassle and improve the swimming experience. Salt water pools offer these benefits with softer water and less maintenance needed.

  1. Salt water pools reduce eye irritation compared to traditional chlorinated water, making swimming more comfortable.
  2. These pools have a lower concentration of chloramines, which are responsible for the strong “chlorine” smell and can cause discomfort.
  3. The salt content in a salt water pool is much lower than ocean water, ensuring a gentle feel on the skin without the harshness found in traditional chlorine pools.
  4. Owners enjoy softer water that feels smooth and silky, enhancing the overall swimming experience.
  5. Salt water systems generate chlorine through electrolysis, eliminating the need to store and handle chemical chlorine.
  6. Salt water pool system maintenance is simpler because the salt cell automatically produces chlorine as needed, keeping pool water consistently clean.
  7. The process of electrolysis significantly reduces the growth of algae, decreasing the frequency of cleaning and saving time for pool owners.
  8. Despite higher initial costs, salt water pools can be more cost-effective over time due to reduced spending on chemicals like sodium hypochlorite and muriatic acid.
  9. The use of automatic pool cleaners becomes more efficient in salt water environments, further reducing manual labor for maintenance tasks.

With these advantages, it’s clear why many choose salt water systems for their above-ground swimming pools or in-ground alternatives, aiming for improved comfort and ease of care.

Salt Water Pool Disadvantages

We understand that choosing a salt water pool involves considering both the good and the bad. Here are some challenges you might face:

  1. High startup costs: Setting up a salt water swimming pool costs more than traditional pools. This includes buying a salt chlorine generator and other necessary equipment.
  2. Cell replacement costs: The cells in the salt chlorine generators don’t last forever. Every few years, you need to replace them, which adds to your expenses.
  3. Salt corrosion: Parts of your pool and equipment can get damaged over time because salt causes corrosion. This means things like ladders and lights may wear out faster.
  4. Salt stains: If your pool has tiles, the salt water can leave stains on them. These stains need regular cleaning to keep your pool looking nice.
  5. Excess calcium build-up: The blades in the chlorine generator can get coated with calcium from the water. You have to clean them with Salinity Cell Cleaner to keep everything working right.
  6. Lower chlorine levels at times: Sometimes, the chlorine levels drop because there’s not enough salt, stabilizer (cyanuric acid), or because rainwater and evaporation dilute the pool water.

Contact WaterTex Pools about Salt water Systems

Salt water pools turn salt into chlorine to keep water clean. This process, called electrolysis, happens inside a device that all salt water pools have. The chlorine it makes fights germs just like regular pool chlorine but comes from salt.

We see many benefits with this system, including softer water and less need for maintenance. Some challenges exist, such as higher costs at the start and possible damage to tiles over time.

Overall, salt water pool systems offer an efficient and gentle way to enjoy swimming without the harsh effects of traditional chlorine pools.


1. How do salt water pools create chlorine?

Salt water pools turn table salt into chlorine through a process called electrolysis, which disinfects the water.

2. What is the main advantage of using a salt water swimming pool?

The main advantage is that it produces its own chlorine, reducing some costs and maintenance.

3. Do salt water pools require less maintenance than traditional pools?

Yes, they require less maintenance because they automatically generate chlorine to disinfect water, keeping the pool clean.

4. How often should we check the chlorine level in our salt water pool?

We should check the chlorine level at least once a week to ensure it’s effectively disinfecting the pool.