Saltwater pool trends making a splash

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The saltwater pool trend is on the upswing. More of these pools are appearing in...

The saltwater pool trend is on the upswing. More of these pools are appearing in backyards throughout the country because they are better for the environment and require significantly less maintenance than conventional chlorinated swimming pools.

Saltwater pools operate by using a special generator that creates chlorine through the process of electrolysis. Rather than being forced to test and replenish multiple chemicals on a regular basis, owners merely add table salt as needed. Pools may require up to 700 pounds of salt to start and additional salt to maintain the correct salinity.

There are more than 1.4 million saltwater pools in use throughout the United States, and roughly three-quarters of all new in-ground pools are saltwater, versus 15 percent in 2002.

The cost of converting a chlorine pool to saltwater is offset by lower maintenance costs, and this is spurring many homeowners to make the switch. Here are some tips on how to swap your pool for a saltwater alternative.

Determine which type of system you need

Your new pool will require a salt chlorine generator capable of sanitizing all the water your pool holds. It is best to overestimate your pool's chlorine generator needs. Be sure you know how many gallons of water your pool holds, and then buy a chlorine generator to match or exceed that quantity.

Drain your pool

Use a pump or hose to drain the water from your pool. You may be able to rent a pump from a pool supply store or hardware store. Check with your local government officials about regulations pertaining to draining significant amounts of water into streets, so you can be sure that you are in compliance.

Install and refill

Once you have followed the owner's manual directions and installed your new chlorine generator system, refill the pool with fresh water. Check the manual to see if you should add salt little by little as the pool refills or wait until it is completely full. Be sure to adhere to the recommended salt-to-water ratio outlined in your owner's manual.

Monitor salt levels

If your chlorine generator system does not monitor your salt levels, you must do it yourself. You can purchase a separate monitoring system, such as a digital salt tester, or use test strips. It is important to maintain the minimum salt level to make sure the system functions as it should.

Surround your pool with salt-tolerant vegetation

If you expect water to splash from your pool onto surrounding vegetation, make sure you plant only salt-tolerant plants, including yucca and wax myrtle, nearby. Saltwater pools contain salt content that is significantly lower than that of the ocean, but they still contain enough salt to potentially harm certain plants. If you have questions about how your new pool system will affect your backyard, consider consulting with a professional Atlanta landscaper.

With your new saltwater pool in place, you can enjoy more time swimming and less time on maintainance.

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