(BPT) - This summer your kids will be spending every day in the backyard, having a grand old time splashing around in the pool. You'll probably spend some quality hours in your pool as well, cooling off when the weather gets hot and enjoying the beautiful summer days.
The only concern you have is about the chlorine, which can cause a burning sensation that affects the eyes and skin. Chlorine can even turn light-colored hair green. You don't want your summer fun to be interrupted by eye drops, calming lotion or green hair!
Fortunately, there is an alternative, and it's called a saltwater pool.
Saltwater pools work by converting salt to chlorine by using an electrolytic converter. This produces the same type of bacteria-killing chlorine found in a traditional pool, but in a radically different fashion. Since the salt generator is adding chlorine to the water at a constant rate, it is capable of displacing the bad smell and burning irritation you normally associate with chlorine and maintaining the right amount at all times.
As the water exits the converter and enters the pool, the sanitizing chlorine eventually reverts back to salt, and the process repeats itself, conserving salt and keeping sanitizer levels balanced. New salt needs to be added occasionally, however, as salt levels can drop due to splash-out, rain and filter back-washing. Pool owners should test weekly for pH and chlorine, like they normally do, as well as monthly for other water-balance factors.
Saltwater pools require far less maintenance than traditional pools and are much less expensive to maintain, as pool salt is far cheaper than traditional chlorine. This is a big reason why so many hotels and water parks in the United State have already made the switch. Plus, when it comes to initial construction and installation, the additional cost of an electrolytic converter is very small and easily made up in maintenance savings. The cost of converting an existing chlorine pool to saltwater can be paid off quickly, too.
Even the salt itself isn't that damaging to equipment. That's because the actual amount of salt used is less than 1 percent of what you'd find in sea water. You may be able to taste the salt in the pool, but much less so than you can taste and feel the chlorine in a standard pool. When pools are properly constructed and normal maintenance is followed, salt water has no effect on pool finishes, equipment and decks.
Since the Evergreen Commons senior center in Holland, Michigan, converted its 65,000-gallon pool to salt water, members have been pleased with the results. "The minute you walk into the pool area you notice a big difference," says Jodi Owczarski, the center's community relations director. "There is no longer that chemical smell. People also tell us that the water is much softer. In the old pool, people said they sometimes had to wash twice to get all those chemicals off, but in this pool, they only have to wash once. All in all, people have been thrilled with this new system."
To learn more about salt water pools and other uses for salt, visit saltinstitute.org.