ozone or salt water?

happylamomJuly 27, 2011

We bought a new home that has a very large pool in the back yard. I'm interested in converting it to either ozone or salt water. Can folks weigh in and educate me as to whether one would be better than another? What considerations should I have? I have read that maybe ozone doesn't work as well on large pools but that salt water converts to chlorine any way so if the motive is removing chlorine how does this solve the problem? Would love to benefit from this group's knowledge...

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ozone is a supplemental system. It doesn't replace or reduce the level of chlorine needed as a residual in the pool. It doesn't hang around long enough in a pool to do meaningful work like preventing algae or preventing a water born person to person infection.

It can help oxidize things like skin, skin oils, tanning lotions, bug sprays, etc. but only as they are passing through the equipment. On pools with heavy bather loads, it can help reduce combined chlorine levels but on most residential pools that are under 100,000 gallons, it can actually increase the chlorine demand. BTW, chlorine is a great oxidizer in it own right.

The reason chlorine is the #1 choice for sanitizing pools is because it works, it's cost effective and is easy to use. The EPA recognizes three sanitizers. They are chlorine, bromine (typically used in hot tubs), and PHMB which is the main worker bee in Baquacil and it's clones.

So far, everything else is snake oil. Science may make something else that can be added to the EPA's list but that hasn't happened yet. Many have tried.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 6:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

happylamom...definitely salt. We have a 35K pool with salt and a 2 speed pump.

As you mentioned salt cells produce chlorine which as poolguy says is the #1 choice for sanitizing in residential applications.

Now that we've established chlorine as the best way to sanitize residential pools, in my opinion a salt water pool provides continuous dosing of chlorine into the pool. This makes for a cleaner pool.

The alternative ways of chlorinating pools require manual replenishment of chlorine which can have ill effects if unattended for a few days.

A side benefit of salt, our skin feels better after swimming in a salt pool and the water feels "smoother" if you know what I mean.

We also have a stand alone spa. We use salt water in our spa also just because we like the feel of the water better.

You mentioned you have a big pool...how big. Most cells have 2 sizes, 1 that handles up to 30K gallon pools and 1 that handles up to 60K gallon pools. Larger than 60K gallons typically requires 2 salt cells.

Type of pool pump should also be considered...does it have the ability to run at low speed...lower speed means longer pump run times which means more even dosing of chlorine throughout the day resulting in a more consistent chlorine level. Higher pump speeds means less pump run time during the day and a higher setting on the salt cell to produce enough chlorine for the shorter cycle. Lower pump speed means a lower setting on the salt cell which is better for the life of the cell. Lower pump speed is also better for energy efficiency.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 8:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There are issues with salt water pools too. If you have limestone or even concrete surround it can be damaged more by salt water pools than regular chlorine. Corrosion of metal ladders and heater equipment is more common with salt water pools than not. Scaling is another issue if you have a self cleaning pool with a salt system. Also the filter cycle needs to be much longer since the conversion for proper sanitation (separating the sodiom chloride to add just the chloride into the water) is done with the filter. Cost of equipment replacement is higher too.
Also some places in Ca have banned the use of salt water systems.


No system is perfect and you need to choose which is best in you individual case. For me it was not worth the extra expense and possible damage to our coping and gunite.


Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/301998/disadvantages_of_saltwater_swimming.html?cat=68

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 11:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

roarah..the OP was asking about ozone vs salt water...not salt water vs other means of chlorinating.

The disadvantages of salt water pools have been debated ever since they became popular...on the web and within pool industry publications.

From what I've learned over the years as a salt pool owner and avid pool hobbyist, all reported ill effects of salt pools could have been avoided by proper water chemistry maintenance and following common practices of pool construction (proper bonding of pool deck and equipment, avoiding the use of soft stone around the pool, installing the chlorinator downstream of the heater, etc). Not following these generally accepted practices will cause problems with any pool..salt or non-salt.

I have yet to hear of any compelling case supporting salt pools as a root cause for significant problems in or around the pool.

Regarding cost, I've done the math with our pool and it's about even. The money we save by not having to buy chlorine is offset by the initial cost of the salt system plus additions of salt to the pool. It's more a matter of convenience for us.

We probably would have chosen salt even if the cost was higher than that of manual chlorination because of the convenience.

After living with a salt pool, we're even bigger fans....automated chlorine dosing, consistent chlorine dosing, no more hassle with manual chlorine additions and gotta mention that smooth salt water feeling when swimming.

We've had our salt pool for 5 years and clearly are big fans.

By the way, the associated content dot com link above is misleading and inaccurate...especially the statements regarding scaling and corrosion. The statements regarding operation and efficiency have merit but can be mitigated if the use of a 2 speed or variable speed pump is used in combination with the salt system. That is why I asked the OP what type of pump is currently being used.

If the OP has a single speed pump and is also interested in reducing monthly utility bills, then a 2 speed or variable speed would offer significant energy savings. These pump technologies also compliment salt water systems nicely due to longer run times at lower, more energy efficient speeds.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 4:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Trhought I am glad you like your system. I just think if Happylamom is asking questions she may want to hear why some people have chosen not to go with salt systems. I also notice that she may be from LA, a place that has restrictions on salt water systems that drain into public sewers. Salt is not for everyone.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 4:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I may be mistaken but I think pools were excluded. The salt level is not high like it is from a water softener regeneration cycle that uses a highly saturated brine solution. Water from a pool is usually potable. You can water your lawn with it.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 7:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

poolguy...I was thinking the same thing regarding salinity levels...pool salt water is very low salinity like tears from the eye (3,000 ppm)...not 30,000 ppm like ocean water or water softeners.

For the original OP...if you are in LA...this would certainly be something to check into.

roarah...always good to hear a balanced perspective...I just couldn't let the associated content dot com statements be cited without calling them out as misleading and inaccurate.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 7:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 9:42AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Automatic Pool Covers for Inground Swimming Pool
We are looking to purchase an automatic pool cover....
Christy Bell
My pebble sheen finish is so uneven...
Our pebble sheen finish was completed on January 1st...
Susan Scearce
I would really like to know what kinds of materials...
J.L. Blodgett abandons pool project
I wanted to send along a note of caution to all members...
Diamod Brite pool color photos
PLEASE!!!! Need to see finished pool pictures with...
Braden Taylor
Sponsored Products
Blue Polka Dot Horse Water Bottle Carrier
$8.99 | zulily
Korver Leather Chair - Brighton Parrot Red
Joybird Furniture
Adonis Wall Sconce by Quoizel
$109.99 | Lumens
Polished Chrome Whitehaus WHKPFDCR3-9555 Deck Mount Two Jointed Pot Filler
$599.00 | Blue Bath
High Gloss Black Vertical Designer Radiator Heater 63 x 18.6 & Valves
Hudson Reed
88-Oz. Pitcher
$120.00 | Horchow
Fiddle Leaf Faux Fig Plant
Seas the Day Outdoor Mat
Grandin Road
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™