If you are thinking of installing a new pool or converting your existing one, you might have heard of salt water pools as an alternative to traditional chlorine pools. Salt water pools are becoming more popular because they have some advantages over chlorine pools, such as being gentler on the skin and eyes, having less chemical smell, and requiring less maintenance.
But how much does a salt water pool cost, and what are the benefits and drawbacks of having one? In this article, we will answer these questions and help you decide if a salt water pool is right for you.
What is a Salt Water Pool?
A salt water pool is a pool that uses a salt chlorine generator to sanitize the water. The generator uses electricity to convert salt into chlorine, which then kills bacteria and algae in the pool. The chlorine level in a salt water pool is much lower than in a traditional pool, which means less irritation and dryness for swimmers. A salt water pool also has a slightly salty taste and feel, similar to seawater, but not as strong.
How Much Does a Salt Water Pool Cost?
The cost of a saltwater pool depends on several factors, such as the size, shape, material, location, and features of the pool. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of installing a new saltwater pool is $25,000, with a typical range of $12,000 to $67,000. The cost of converting an existing chlorine pool to a salt water pool is between $800 and $2,000.
Here are some of the main cost factors to consider when planning for a saltwater pool:
- Size and shape: The larger and more complex the pool, the more expensive it will be. For example, a 16 x 32 feet rectangular pool will cost more than a 10 x 20 feet oval pool.
- Material: The type of material used to build the pool will affect the price and durability of the pool. The most common materials are fiberglass, concrete (also called gunite), and vinyl. Fiberglass pools are pre-made shells that are installed in one piece, which makes them cheaper and faster to install than concrete pools, which are built on-site by spraying concrete over a steel frame. Vinyl pools are made of flexible liners that are fitted over a metal or plastic frame. Fiberglass pools tend to last longer and require less maintenance than concrete or vinyl pools.
- Location: The location of the pool will determine how much site preparation and excavation is needed, as well as the permits and regulations that apply. For example, if your yard is sloped, rocky, or has trees or utility lines nearby, you may need to pay extra for leveling, clearing, or relocating obstacles. You may also need to comply with local codes and ordinances regarding safety features, fencing, drainage, and noise.
- Features: The features that you add to your pool will enhance its appearance and functionality, but also increase its cost. Some of the common features that people choose for their pools are lighting, heating, jets, slides, waterfalls, fountains, covers, automation systems, and decking.
What are the Benefits of a Salt Water Pool?
A saltwater pool has several benefits over a traditional chlorine pool, such as:
- Less maintenance: A salt water pool does not require adding chlorine tablets or granules regularly, as the salt chlorine generator produces enough chlorine to keep the water clean. However, you still need to check the pH and alkalinity levels weekly and add salt as needed.
- Less smell: A salt water pool does not have the strong chlorine smell that many people find unpleasant or irritating. The smell is caused by chloramines, which are compounds formed when chlorine reacts with organic matter in the water. A salt water pool produces fewer chloramines because it has less chlorine.
- Less irritation: A salt water pool is gentler on the skin, eyes, hair, and swimsuits than a traditional chlorine pool. Chlorine can cause dryness, itching, redness, and allergic reactions in some people. It can also damage hair color and fabric fibers. A salt water pool has a softer and smoother feel that can moisturize the skin and hair.
- Health benefits: Swimming in a salt water pool may have some health benefits for people who suffer from asthma or allergies. Salt water can help clear nasal congestion and reduce inflammation in the lungs. It can also promote relaxation and reduce stress.
What are the Drawbacks of a Salt Water Pool?
A saltwater pool also has some drawbacks that you should be aware of before making your decision:
- Higher initial cost: A salt water pool costs more to install than a traditional chlorine pool because it requires a salt chlorine generator system that can cost around $1,400 to $2,000, plus installation fees. You may also need to upgrade your pump and filter to handle the salt water.
- Corrosion: Salt water can be corrosive to some metals and materials, such as copper, stainless steel, stone, and concrete. Saltwater can also cause scaling or buildup on the pool surfaces and equipment. You may need to use special products or coatings to protect your pool from salt damage.
- Electricity: A salt water pool uses more electricity than a traditional chlorine pool because it needs to run the salt chlorine generator constantly. This can increase your energy bills and carbon footprint.
A salt water pool is a great option for people who want a pool that is easier to maintain, less smelly, and less irritating than a traditional chlorine pool. However, a salt water pool also has some disadvantages, such as higher initial cost, corrosion, and electricity consumption.
You should weigh the pros and cons of a salt water pool carefully before deciding if it is right for you.