Salt Water Swimming Pool Maintenance

About 75% of new Las Vegas pools are saltwater pools.

What are saltwater pools?

Saltwater pools are an alternative to traditional chlorine pools. It’s worth noting though that while chlorine tablets are not added to a saltwater pool, it still has some chlorine in it. A smaller amount of chlorine is generated through the filter system.

Fun fact: saltwater pools contain 10 times less salt than the ocean.

Saltwater pools may have risen to popularity in the United States over the last decades, becoming a clear choice to pool owners who want to put an end to careful chemical monitoring, harsh chemicals and the harsh effects of chlorine.

However, switching or using a saltwater pool also has trade offs. As a preferred pool service company in Las Vegas, we want you to be educated on the possible challenges that may arise with saltwater pools.

Salt Can Be Corrosive and Damaging

Saltwater pools are known to be the more eco-friendly choice, doing away without the harsh scent of chlorine. However, salt can also be corrosive and may cause damage to pool equipment and pool deck.

Surfaces like metal covers, light covers, pool pumps and copper heating elements can all be susceptible to pitting, corrosion and discoloration. Saltwater can also be damaging to natural stone, concrete and brick pool patios and decks.

Pool deck damage from saltwater splashout tends to be more common in dry and hot areas like Las Vegas. When salt gets into softer stones and concrete crevices, evaporation may recrystallize the salt and put pressure on the material. Eventually, the concrete will begin to develop pits and once that happens, degradation will commence.

Why Scale Can Be A Problem

Swimming pool owners will encounter scale at one time or another. It’s a normal part of hard water and the evaporation process. 

Saltwater pools are more at risk for serious scale problems. Scale is a deposit of minerals, most especially calcium, left behind on the surfaces of the pool. Without regular pool cleaning, the scale deposits will become thicker, harder to remove and unsightly.

Regular pools usually develop a white scale deposit at the waterline of the pool. Saltwater pools, on the other hand, can develop a more pervasive scale problem that can make the entire surface of the pool feel very rough and scratchy.

Unlike most substances, calcium can drop out of water and form deposits easier and faster as the temperature rises.

Saltwater pools use an electrolytic chlorine generator (ECG), which uses electricity to dissolve salt to produce chlorine for the pool water. Technically, the ECG creates ideal conditions for scale development, creating a hot environment with a high pH. Without careful monitoring, saltwater pools may increase in pH which leads to scale spread all over the entire pool. The ECG itself is also prone to scale build-up on the blades which shorten the life of the unit.

The biggest contributors to scale in saltwater pools is the salt itself, which contains organic and inorganic contaminants.

How to Battle the Scale

Use mechanically evaporated salt because it has fewer contaminants than solar salt and mined rock salt.

Use pool treatment products specifically made for a saltwater pool. Products for regular pools have sulfates and phosphorus-based chemicals that contribute to the scale problem in the ECG.

Test the pool water regularly to ensure that the correct pH is maintained.

Schedule regular pool cleaning. Regular cleaning and maintenance is important to remove contaminants and scale. Pool tile cleaning is also needed to avoid scale buildup. The ECG itself will also need regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure that it is running functionally.