Are you dreaming of floating in your backyard pool, relaxing and sipping your favorite cocktail?
Of course, you are! But, if you don’t have a pool in your yard yet, you have some important decisions to make before you can make this dream a reality.
One of the biggest choices you’ll have to make is whether to go with a traditional chlorine pool or opt for a trendy saltwater version.
Saltwater pools bring many awesome benefits, but how much will the ongoing pool maintenance cost? Don’t worry, we’re here to give you all the details you need so you can make your decision and get started on your new pool installation project.
What Is a Saltwater Pool?
First, let’s make sure everyone understands what a saltwater pool is and how it works.
If you’re thinking about buying a swimming pool, you’ll need this information, so stick with us. If you already understand the basics, then skip ahead to the next section.
A saltwater pool uses a salt-chlorine generator, which converts salt into chlorine. For the machine to function, you’ll need to add salt to it. This is different from a traditional chlorine pool, which requires you to add chemicals.
Contrary to what some people believe, a saltwater pool doesn’t taste or feel like the ocean. Instead, the water has a very “silky” feel and a mild taste. The salinity of saltwater in a pool is about one-tenth of what you’ll find in the ocean.
It’s actually closer to what you would find in contact lens solution or a natural teardrop.
Saltwater pools have less chlorine in them, which makes it gentler on the skin and eyes. If you have children in the home or you plan to swim for long periods of time, this is a major advantage.
The chlorine levels are high enough to disinfect your pool, but they’re not so high that you need to worry about it damaging your hair or fading your swimwear.
Considering all of these advantages, you might wonder why everyone doesn’t use saltwater. Is it a lot more expensive or harder to maintain? Keep reading as we explore the answers to these questions.
Pool Maintenance Cost: Chlorine vs. Salt Water
One reason why everybody doesn’t use salt water is that it costs more upfront. The initial cost of a salt-chlorine generator is usually between $1,700 and $2,500. They also only last around three to seven years before they need to be replaced.
The warmer the climate is where you live, the more chlorine your pool will need. This means the generator needs to work harder. So, those living in warm climates will likely be on the lower end of the replacement time-frame.
While they do cost a bit more on the front end than a chlorine set up, the ongoing maintenance for saltwater pools is typically far less expensive.
Generally, you can expect to pay somewhere around $300 to $800 a year on the chemicals you’ll need to maintain a chlorine pool. For a saltwater pool, you can expect the cost of chemicals and salt to run closer to $70 to $100 a year.
However, there are other expenses to consider.
The salt chlorine generator turns salt into chlorine by passing electricity through the saltwater solution. For this reason, you can expect that your electric bill will be a bit higher each year when you choose saltwater over chlorine.
A 20,000-gallon saltwater pool will generally use about 500 watts of power to run the generator. This will translate to about $36 to $48 in additional electric costs each year.
Time and Effort
Saltwater systems generally require less maintenance than a chlorine system. However, they’re also more complex. You’ll need to spend some time learning about how the system works so you can troubleshoot problems when they come up.
You’ll also want to learn exactly what you should do and when so that you can keep the generator in the best possible shape and help it last as long as possible.
Since they’re so complicated, if you do run into a problem with your saltwater system, there’s a good chance that you’ll need a professional to come in and repair it. This could end up increasing your annual expenses. It’s a good idea to have some extra money set aside to deal with these types of issues if they come up.
Landscaping and Hardware
It’s also important to note that saltwater can ruin your landscaping. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure you have salt-tolerant plants in the immediate area. Depending on the landscaping you choose, this could also add to both your upfront and ongoing expenses.
Saltwater is also harder on pool hardware, like heaters, underwater lighting, fixtures, liners, and masonry. This means you should buy products that are specially designed to withstand saltwater. This will cost your more upfront and any time you decide to do pool upgrades.
Start Planning Your Pool Project Today!
As you can see, there are some pros and cons to choosing a saltwater pool.
Although the ongoing pool maintenance cost is generally less than what you’ll spend on a chlorine pool, the upfront costs are higher. Ultimately, you’ll need to look at your specific pool project and personal preferences when making this decision.
Still not sure what’s best for you? Don’t worry! The pros at Sahara Pool Builder are here to help.
Contact us today and we’ll answer all of your questions. We’ll even come out to your home and give you a free custom quote. Summer is almost here, so don’t wait any longer!