By far the most commonly used alternative to straight chlorine chemical pools are salt water pool systems.
If you already own a salt generator, you know that first, hundreds of pounds of salt must be added to the pool and you will need to keep the salt level up to make sure the system works correctly. What is surprising is that many salt system owners don’t realize that salt pools are chlorine pools! High levels of chlorine are always present in salt pools.
When the salty water passes through the salt cell inserted into the plastic plumbing, the salt converts to chlorine which is used to sanitize the water and eventually converts back to salt to repeat the process. Salt must be added to the pool regularly to replace water that has splashed out or been diluted by rain.
In addition to adding salt regularly to the water, a salt water pool requires cyanuric acid (stabilizer) to maintain a chlorine residual and muriatic acid to reduce pH. Salt pools run a high pH due to the alkalinity of the salt in the water which can contribute to the scaling of equipment and waterline and corrosion of decks. Salt systems have to carry a higher chlorine residual (3-4 ppm) to assure safe water because chlorine is less efficient at high pH levels.
Customers who have moved away from salt water pool systems usually do so because of corrosion issues or because they want to stop using chlorine to disinfect the water. And these pool owners start using either Oxygen (Ozone) or UV. Many times, we hear from them when it’s time to replace the salt cell which lasts 3-5 years and then decide to try something with fewer chemicals than salt pools.