Salt Versus Chlorine: The Fiberglass Advantage

All prospective pool owners will need to make important decisions when choosing the type of swimming pool they want to own. This includes the type and style of pool, any additional features desired, and all required elements pertaining to the use of the pool and its continued maintenance. 

A huge part of any swimming pool system is water treatment and sanitization. Untreated pool water swiftly results in bacterial overgrowth, mold, and algae blooms that can turn your crystal clear pool water into a soupy green mess.

Water Treatments

Efficient and regular water treatment prevents such ugly situations from happening through use of chemicals to impede organic growth in the water. For many years, this treatment was almost entirely accomplished by the introduction of large doses of commercially produced chlorine additives into pool water, to keep it clean, clear, and hygienic.

Salt Water Treatments

But a new option became available in New Zealand in 1972 with the introduction of salt pool systems, forgoing harsher industrial chlorine additives in favor of producing fresher, purer chlorinating agents from standard salt by means of electrolysis. Salt pool systems have been increasing in popularity throughout the world ever since, first in Australia, then in North America in the 1980s. Saltwater pools have been eagerly adopted by many pool builders, service providers, and pool owners because of the perceived low maintenance and better water quality they provide.

It’s been estimated that 80% of Australian swimming pools now use saltwater systems, and many more American and Canadian homes are converting to salt pool systems. It’s safe to say that salt pool systems are definitely here to stay.   

Chlorine Swimming Pools

Standard chlorine swimming pools work efficiently since store-bought chlorine is a very effective sanitizing agent, though such chemical chlorine additives are quite strong and can infamously leave a swimmer’s eyes red and their hair brittle.

Saltwater pools, however, are just as sanitary, plus the water feels smoother and fresher. Many owners of swimming pools have chosen to switch from chlorine to saltwater for this reason, plus the absence of industrial chlorine means there are no fumes or harsh smells and no need to store toxic chlorine chemicals on your property.

Saltwater Systems

Saltwater systems are not chlorine-free. All saltwater systems use a chlorine generator that converts salt into chlorine, so even though it’s a saltwater pool, the water is still chlorinated; just with a lot less chlorine than is used in a normal chlorine pool. This leaves the pool water much less caustic to the swimmer. After swimming in a saltwater pool, a user's skin may even feel supple and moisturized, not dry.

Chlorine Systems

Chlorine systems use powerful store-bought industrial chlorine to sanitize the pool water. Such heavily chlorinated pool water may irritate the eyes and skin. Chlorine can also cause bleaching damage to fabric, wood, and other porous items it contacts. Without caustic chlorine, swimsuits and towels last longer and keep their colors.

Saltwater Systems and Fiberglass Pools

Saltwater does NOT work well with all types of pools or pool equipment.

If using a vinyl liner pool, the owner must be careful as those pools tend to have metal parts or connections that are vulnerable to salt corrosion. Saltwater is abrasive on the interior surfaces of concrete/gunite pools, especially those sealed or coated with plaster. Salt can corrode vinyl swimming pools with metal wall panels, and can also cause long-term damage to the seals and liners of metal swimming pools, as well as eating away at concrete surfaces and tile pool walls with caulked seams. 

Saltwater Pool System Compatibility

But, fiberglass swimming pools are perfectly compatible with saltwater systems. Fiberglass pools are easily adaptable to saltwater chlorinators. Their fiberglass construction makes them the most resistant to wear and tear from saltwater exposure. Since the interior surfaces of fiberglass swimming pools are smooth and impermeable, they do not react in any way to salt or long-term saltwater exposure. Because of that, saltwater systems have been a top choice for fiberglass pool owners for years. They are the ideal option for those looking for an alternative to traditional chlorine.

Note: Be sure that if you are installing handrails or a cover system, its components are compatible with saltwater systems. Exposure to saltwater will corrode certain products. Unfinished steel or low-carbon metals are especially prone to salt corrosion, so be sure to request the proper equipment. If you are planning to install a salt pool system, stainless steel and coated metal components are recommended.

Another option to prevent saltwater corrosion of metal fittings and accessories is to install a sacrificial anode system. Metal receptors (usually zinc), are designed to absorb potential corrosion via electrolysis. Ask your installer about anodes if you are planning to use a saltwater pool system.

If you have any questions about acquiring the perfect fiberglass pool to meet your needs, contact us today! At Barrier Reef Pools, we specialize in fiberglass pool manufacturing. We invite you to browse our impressive selection of fiberglass swimming pools. We always strive to provide our customers with the perfect fiberglass pool to fit their homes and needs. Visit us online or call us today to learn more about our fiberglass pools.