|Ok, here’s the big secret: There is chlorine in saltwater pools.
I was always under the impression saltwater pools are The Green Alternative to chlorinated pools. How did I get this idea in my head? Doesn’t it seem as if saltwater pools are marketed that way? Not to mention the fact that we think salt, we think natural. We think chlorine, and we think chemicals.
I wanted to do a blog post about saltwater pools, touting all their benefits, ready to yell from the highest mountain how AMAZING they are, but in the process, I learned they are not some sort of magical green alternative, and as the green designer at S. Lee Wright, I thought it was important to post my findings to dispel the misconceptions.
Just to get this out of the way, if you have ever swum in a saltwater pool, you are not crazy that they do feel different. The water is, indeed, softer. Your skin doesn’t dry out in the same way, nor is there the same chlorine smell.
Why is that?
Chloramines are what make your eyes burn, your skin itch, your bathing suit lose its elasticity, just to name a few well-known annoyances. In a saltwater pool these chloramines are virtually eliminated through electrolysis, which softens the water by reducing alkalai minerals.
The biggest difference between a chlorinated pool and a saltwater pool, is that saltwater pools use a chlorine generator, whereas a conventional pool needs chlorine to be added manually. This chlorine generator, through electrolysis produces a chemical reaction of hypochlorous acid (HCIO) and sodium hypochlorite acid (HCIO). Hypochlorous acid is plain old chlorine, it is just produced naturally through the saltwater generator. Then the electrolysis burns off the chloromines, which as I mentioned are what irritates your skin, and produces the smell.
What have I learned?
2. No smell.
3. Better for your skin.
4. Chemical output of chlorine is essentially the same just produced in a different way.
Now I want to go for a swim!