Mineral pools vs saltwater – What is the difference?

When choosing a sanitising system for your pool, it is a good idea to have a basic understanding of the different types to help you make your choice. Both salt and mineral water are gentler on the skin than traditional chlorine, however there are a few variances between the two. Throughout this article we will highlight everything you need to know about salt and mineral water systems.

mineral-pools-vs-saltwater

Mineral pool system

Mineral swimming and bathing has been around since ancient times. Having a mineral water system or using minerals to treat your pool water can reduce chlorine use by up to 50%. It works via a process called electrolysis. Your pool chlorinator cell coverts the minerals into small doses of chlorine which is distributed through your pool water to keep it clean by eradicating bacteria and algae. The mineral compositions not only have a positive effect on the water quality but the body also. The main minerals found in swimming pool minerals include magnesium chloride, potassium chloride and sodium chloride and they can enhance the swimming experience by giving the water a “softer” feel. They offer many health benefits such as detoxifying the skin, alleviating sensitive skin symptoms, and relaxing the nervous system.

What is the cost?

A mineral water system is relatively inexpensive to purchase, starting at around $700. However, you do not need to replace your existing chlorine or salt chlorinator in order to use minerals for you pool. The water will need to undergo a full analysis and the filter may need to be changed prior to converting. Its best to contact your local pool specialist who can offer advice on how to complete this process correctly if you are unsure of how to do it.

Additionally, the ongoing expenses include replacing the mineral cartridge every 6 months or so which is around $100 to $150. A mineral system will require chlorine in addition to the minerals to keep the water clean so this cost will need to be factored in. Although, it will be cheaper than if you used chlorine alone. Minerals are around $30 for a 3 kg bag.

What are the benefits?

  • The water is softer – One of the biggest benefits is the quality of the water. Minerals are known to have a soothing effect on the skin. Those with a mineral water system say that the water has a silky feel and gentler on the body and eyes. This can prevent skin irritation and damage to clothes and hair.
  • Minimal wear and tear on your equipment – Your pool equipment and its components will not be damaged by strong chemicals that can wear down moving mechanisms and plastic parts over time.
  • Non corrosive – Mineral water is not corrosive to clothing, concrete and metal.
  • Highly compatible with all pool types – Mineral is a suitable sanitising agent for all types of pools as it has no ill effects on the interior surface.
  • Eco friendly – As the chlorine levels are so low, the water is much safer for the environment.

What are the negatives?

A downfall to owning a mineral system is that you still have to use chlorine in conjunction with mineral to sanitise the water adequately.

Why should I choose mineral?

Mineral is a popular choice for those wanting a sanitising solution that makes pool maintenance easy and is the gentlest on the skin. Mineral produces high quality water that is free of impurities and toxins. When it comes to best value for money, a mineral system is a front runner.

Salt water system

Saltwater systems are equally popular amongst pool owners. A saltwater system still uses chlorine to clean the pool. The saltwater chlorinator converts the dissolved salt into chlorine to sanitise your pool water as it is needed. In short, you are generating your own chlorine from salt instead of adding traditional chlorine straight to the pool water. However, the dose of chlorine is less than a traditional chlorine pool. A saltwater pool is easy to maintain and depending on which pool type you have, it will require very little cleaning from the pool owner.

What is the cost?

The initial cost of a saltwater system is typically more than other types such as chlorine, although, it can save you money in the long by not having to buy a big amount of chemicals. Typically, they start at around $800. Salt is relatively inexpensive to purchase at around $10 for a 25 kilo bag.

What are the benefits?

  • Gentler on the body – Salt water is also known to be gentler on the skin and eyes and the water typically feels softer too.
  • No harsh chemicals – The great thing about salt is it is non-toxic meaning you will not have to handle harsh chemicals to clean your pool. This is safer for the person cleaning the pool and people swimming in it.
  • Compatible with solar devices and equipment – Salt works well in conjunction with all solar pool systems.

What are the negatives?

When water quality issues arise with saltwater pools they can be more complex to rectify. If you overdose your pool frequently with high doses of salt, any plants or grass near your pool area will more than likely suffer as a result. The same applies if you have lighting or accessories with metal parts in your pool or furniture items that contain metal around the pool area, they can rust and corrode over time.

Why should I choose a saltwater system?

Saltwater systems are typically more to install initially, but you will quickly recoup your investment from the amount of money it will save you in the long run. They also require little maintenance, making it a convenient choice. Salt is cheaper to purchase in comparison to traditional chlorine and minerals. Additionally, salt is safe to use and store.

So, what is the difference?

Both salt and mineral systems are extremely similar. The difference is that saltwater pools work with a combination of salt and chlorine whereas mineral pools work with minerals and chlorine. The saltwater chlorinator converts the salt to liquid chlorine which reduces the need of having to use high doses of traditional chlorine in your pool. A mineral pool system works by using minerals that is converted via the same process into small doses of chlorine. Both salt and mineral work well to sanitise the water, they kill bacteria and prevent algae from harbouring and multiplying.

Whilst the water clarity of both systems is much alike, the water quality of a mineral pool is far superior. Mineral pools use less chlorine to sanitise the water than a saltwater system does. If you are thinking of converting your pool or you are buying a pool and deciding on a treatment choice, it’s a good idea to discuss the options available to you with your pool builder, they can offer helpful advice regarding which system is best for you.

Our team here at Barrier Reef Pools are experts in the pool industry and we have many years’ experience installing fibreglass pools with all types of sanitising options. Give us a call today if you require further information, we are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.