First off, to eliminate any confusion, a salt pool is still a chlorine pool.
One more time: salt pools are still chlorine pools.
There seems to be a lot of confusion about this, as if salt were a chlorine alternative. Such is NOT the case. Any pool using salt or minerals is also using a chlorine generator of some sort, turning Sodium Chloride (salt) into Chlorine. When the chlorine is used up, it converts back to salt, then back to chlorine in the generator, etc. This conversion typically causes the PH to RISE in a pool, so you have to account for that.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I’d like to discuss the differences between a plain salt pool and a Mineral Springs pool.
There are typically two reasons that people use for changing from a normal chlorine pool that uses sticks or tabs into a salt or Mineral Springs pool. The first is that they want lower maintenance and more reliability from their pool. The second is that they want to lower expenses overall. We’ll talk about both of these things, as they’re closely related.
With a Mineral Springs pool, you have just a couple of products. Typically, you’ll add Beginnings in the…well…beginning. This will get you salt and mineral content where it needs to be, but it also does a lot of other things. In a bag of Beginnings you have minerals, but you also have Optimizer (keeps algae from growing), scale inhibitors, water softeners, clarifiers, Back-Up(algaecide), and Sunshield, which protects your chlorine from the sun, and it has a very pleasant scent. As a weekly treatment, to replace anything lost in splash out, you’ll add one bag of Renewal, which has the same assortment of ingredients, and also helps to maintain and balance your PH and alkalinity. (Remember how we said that the salt conversion into chlorine will cause your PH to rise? This knows, and takes care of it for you.) You should still test your water to make sure that everything is level, but most of our Mineral Springs customers don’t add anything extra unless we have a big rain storm.
Now let’s talk salt pools. With a salt pool you’ll need to add bags of salt to get it started up. You’ll also need to purchase separately and add stabilizers, clarifiers, alkalinity increaser, PH up and down, Algaecide. Your generator will take care of your chlorine levels, but you’ll need to test and add products every week to make sure that your alkalinity and PH stay in line (Remember that your PH will always be rising from salt conversion.). You’ll also want to add a weekly algae treatment and a clarifier.
Salt Pools: Maintenance: test weekly and add salt if needed. Test and add products for alkalinity, lowering PH, algae, and clarifier. Cost: After start-up, you’ll have monthly costs for algae treatments, PH maintenance, and clarifiers. Spending around $75 wouldn’t be rare.
So….what have we learned here? If you’re getting into a salt or mineral system for lower maintenance and lower cost, you’re better off with Mineral Springs. The costs even out between the two systems, and the Mineral Springs is MUCH easier to maintain.
Thank you for reading, as always! Any questions, comments, or discussion is welcomed!
Central Iowa Pool & Spa
4 Responses to Mineral Springs Pool vs Salt Pool: Pros and Cons
I am interested in purchasing a home in Georgia that already has an average sized built in/in ground mineral springs pool with a vinyl liner. I will be living out of state for half the time. How difficult and expensive might normal maintenance be per month in season and if you had your choice would you choose mineral springs over other systems? or not! Are there cons to this type of pool? What kind of maintenance service would you recommend. Thank you very much.
Thanks for writing! From what you’ve told me of your situation, Mineral Springs would probably be the BEST option for your pool. It’s going to be the easiest to take care of, because it will produce its own chlorine for you and you won’t have to worry about someone adding it to your pool constantly. The generator will just keep making it, as long as your mineral levels are kept at an appropriate level. Once a week maintenance should be plenty, someone to check the minerals and levels (adding a bag of Renewal when necessary), and to make sure that the pool is kept free of debris. I’m not sure what service may cost in your area–I would find a local BioGuard Dealer and ask them!
Do mineral pools require a special filter? For above ground pool.