The Disadvantages of Swimming Pools with Salt Water Filter Systems

Written by jennifer blair | 13/05/2017
The Disadvantages of Swimming Pools with Salt Water Filter Systems
Salt water filter systems are banned in some jurisdictions because their waste water can erode nutrients from soil and plant life. (water in pool image by JoLin from

While chlorine is effective in sanitising pool water, many pool owners seek alternatives to liquid and tablet chlorine because it is irritating to skin and eyes and causes respiratory issues. An alternative to traditional pool filtering systems are salt water filter pools, which contain chlorine but at much lower levels because it is not manually added to the water. Instead, salt is used to generate chlorine by passing it through a cell. While salt water pools are less irritating for swimmers, there are several significant disadvantages that homeowners should consider before installing a salt water filter.

High Initial Costs

A swimming pool with a salt water filter is more expensive to install than a traditional pool. Some of these expenses are offset by the money saved not having to purchase chlorine, but it may take years for the pool to pay for itself. In addition, the cell that is used to convert the salt to chlorine may only last several years if the pool is not properly maintained, so there is the additional cost of a replacement cell. You must also purchase salt throughout the year to run the filter system.

Chlorine Testing Is Still Required

Despite the fact that you don't need to manually add chlorine to the water, salt water pools still utilise the chemical to sanitise the water. As a result, pool owners must still test the chlorine levels of the water on a regular basis to ensure that the salt cell is creating the necessary amount of chlorine. The pH level is also tested because if the pH becomes too high or low, it may damage the salt cell.

Salt May Damage Other Components

In pools with salt water filter systems, the salt in the water often damages other pool components and accessories. The salt can damage pool liners, underwater lights and the pool's masonry work, resulting in replacement expenses.

Harmful Effects on Plants and Soil

The waste water that results from a pool with a salt filter system can erode important nutrients in the surrounding soil and kill nearby plant life. The effects are so harmful that some jurisdictions in the U.S. have banned salt water pools, according to Do It Yourself, a home improvement website. If you are considering a salt water filter system for your pool, check with local ordinances to ensure that it is permitted.

Filter Must Run Longer

Salt water filter systems must generally run for more hours than traditional filter systems to generate enough chlorine to sanitise the pool. As a result, pool owners must deal with higher electric bills or add liquid chlorine to the water, which defeats the purpose of having a salt water pool.

Not Compatible With Copper Pipes

You cannot use salt water filter systems in pools that have copper pipes because the salt will erode the copper over time. Because many older pools have copper pipes, homeowners who want to install a salt water filter system must replace the copper with plastic pipes, which are extremely costly.

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