You don’t have put up with the chemical effects of a heavily chlorinated pool at your Florida beach home – you can switch to a saltwater pool.
Saltwater pools still require chlorine, but not nearly as much as a standard swimming pool does.
About Saltwater Pools (And Why Your Florida Beach Home Needs One)
Saltwater pools only have one-tenth the salt you’ll find in ocean water and about one-third of the saline found in human tears. They’re also gentler on skin and hair than traditional chlorine pools are.
And there’s another benefit, too: You don’t have to purchase, store and handle harsh chemicals. Typically, maintenance is easier, more convenient, and saves you time and money.
Who’s Installing Saltwater Pools in Florida Beach Homes?
It turns out that saltwater pools are far more popular than standard pools are – and their popularity is growing.
There are more than 1.4 million saltwater pools in use nationwide. An estimated 75 percent of all new in-ground pools are salt water, compared with only 15 percent in 2002, according to data published in Pool & Spa News.
Evergreen Commons senior center in Holland, Mich., converted its 65,000-gallon pool to salt water, members have been pleased with the results. “The minute you walk into the pool area you notice a big difference,” says Jodi Owczarski, the center’s community relations director. “There is no longer that chemical smell. People also tell us that the water is much softer. In the old pool, people said they sometimes had to wash twice to get all those chemicals off, but in this pool, they only have to wash once. All in all, people have been thrilled with this new system.”
Facts on Saltwater Pools
In saltwater pools, chlorine is automatically produced as water passes through the generator. As the water exits the generator and enters the pool, the sanitizing chlorine reverts back to salt, and the process repeats itself, conserving salt and keeping sanitizer levels balanced.
Saltwater pools require less maintenance than traditional pools, but pool owners still should test weekly for pH and chlorine, and monthly for other water balance factors and for salt levels, which can drop due to splash-out, rain and filter back-washing. Most pool owners test their pool water themselves with test strips and periodically bring a sample in to a pool retailer for testing.
Anyone who has made the decision to move to a saltwater pool should make certain they use salt specifically designed for that use. An average 20,000-gallon pool requires 530 pounds of salt at startup; with quantities that large, even small amounts of contaminants within the salt can cause pool problems. That’s why ultra-pure salt is best for salt water pools. Salt water systems can also save money in the long run over chlorine-based alternatives.
There have also been questions about the effect of salt water on pool construction materials, decks and surrounding structures. When pools are properly constructed and normal maintenance is followed, salt water has no effect on pool finishes, equipment and decks. Most materials are suitable for salt water pool construction, and most kinds of stone and decking materials will last if treated and sealed properly and periodically rinsed off.
Comparing Saltwater Pools to Standard Pools: The Technical Stuff
It’s important to know that a saltwater pool is technically still a chlorinated pool. However, the way these two types of pools are sanitized create fundamental differences.
Traditional pools are generally sanitized by an inline or offline chlorinator, which is connected to the filtration system. Usually, as a pool owner, you’ll have to fill the chlorinator with chlorine each week (or every two weeks, depending on how big your pool is and how often you use it).
Saltwater pools are sanitized differently. You’ll add a salt system or generator to your pool – it’s usually installed on the pressure side, by the filtration system. Inside the generator, you’ll find a control box and a salt cell. The salt cell is a neat little device – it holds metal plates, which are connected to the control box. The control box sends an electrical signal to the plates, and the chemical reaction that signal causes produces chlorine. (The process is called electrolysis.) When pool water passes through the salt cell, the salt is what changes into chlorine; it’s actually hypochlorous acid, which is the same thing that pool water produces when you add chlorine.
Saltwater pools are still chlorine pools – but the big difference is that you’re not actually adding chlorine to it. You’re using a salt cell that creates a chemical reaction in the pool to produce the same effect.
Installing a Saltwater Pool in Your Florida Beach Home
The good news: You can probably convert your existing swimming pool into a saltwater pool. For most people, that means hiring a pool pro to come out and tackle the job – but if you’re pretty handy and know what you’re doing, you might be able to do the job yourself.You can tell if your pool is a good candidate for conversion by:
- Establishing a good location to install the necessary components
- Evaluating the plumbing (and your ability to tackle it)
- Adding a zinc anode
- Adding a control panel and power supply
- Adding salt
Most in-ground pools have existing plumbing you can still see. You’ll have to install the salt system after the pump, filter and heater, but it also has to be close enough to the power source and control panel.
If it looks like you’ll need to use plumbing materials like elbows and couplings, but you’re not a plumber, stop here – you probably need to call in a professional. If you know what you’re doing with pipes and tubes, though, ensure that you install a flow switch right after the cell so you can avoid unnecessary pressure on your system. You might also need a check valve before the cell (or after the filter and heater) to stop the backflow of water.
A lot of people are worried about corrosion – and if you are, you might want to install an in-line zinc anode. You’ll do this while you’re already working on the plumbing.
Control Panel and Power Supply
Install the control panel and power supply according to the manufacturer’s directions. Make sure it’s in an area you can access easily – all within reach of the cell cord, switch and timer. If you’re not very experienced in working with electricity, stop here. You’ll need to call in a professional.
The last step in setting up your salt water pool is to add salt. Test the salinity of the water that’s in there first – you don’t want to add too much or too little. Experts recommend adding about 30 pounds of salt for every 1,000 gallons of water in the pool when you convert it.
Thinking of Buying a Florida Beach Home With a Saltwater Pool?
If you buy a new Florida beach home that already has a saltwater pool, you don’t have to worry about any of this – and we’d be thrilled to show you spectacular spaces that meet all your needs.
Call us at 850-213-3048 or get in touch with us online to tell us what you want from your next home. We’ll help you find it.
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About 30A Local Properties:
30A Local Properties is located in Grayton Beach, FL and services the South Walton community. The team of locals confidently offers the experience of over six hundred South Walton real estate transactions, nearly three decades of banking experience in commercial and residential property holding positions, and over a decade of entrepreneurial real estate experience in property investments and management. Visit our website at www.30alocalproperties.com or stop by our office and meet the team:
30A Local Properties
35 Clayton Lane, Suite B
Grayton Beach, FL 32459
P: (850) 213 3048
F: (850) 213 0035