As the mother of two blonde girls, Jennifer Hough said the choice was easy back in 2009, when her pool builder asked her, “Saltwater or chlorine?”
“One of the selling points for us was it won’t turn your hair green and our girls are blonde,” the Marietta resident said. “When choosing saltwater, I think we thought it’s less harsh on your skin and hair. It’s definitely softer and better for your skin, and it smells less.”
There was a time not too long ago that residential saltwater pools were cost-prohibitive, according to Karen Shearer, owner of Aquarama Pools and Spas on Powder Springs Road, but all that changed around 10 to 15 years ago.
“Back in 2008, we saw the boom in salt generators,” Shearer said. “Every customer wanted salt and we weren’t even really selling it. It’s now become very affordable.”
A family-owned business that’s been in Cobb County for 50 years, Aquarama maintains more than 2,000 pools a week, many of which are saltwater pools, said Shearer’s son and co-owner, Ben Frye.
“Probably 90 percent of the world’s pools are still on chlorine, but saltwater pools, people equate them to a higher-end pool and as a positive feature, or upscale feature, when it comes time to selling a home with a pool.”
With the continued popularity of saltwater pools, Fyre said today it’s easy to install a saline system or convert a chlorine pool to a saltwater pool. Plus, saltwater pools are easy to maintain.
“Saltwater pools are easy to maintain because a saltwater system converts the salt into chlorine, so it’s like having your own chlorine factory,” he said. “It’s not a cure all because you still have to balance the water, but it typically takes less maintenance because the system is always producing saline (salt).”
With many of today’s pools boasting amenities such salt generators and multiple LED lights, construction costs start around $100,000. But, Frye said, they can convert an existing pool that maybe his grandfather built for around $1,600.
“Chlorine is still cheapest and easiest, but saltwater is just more natural and makes the pools easier to maintain,” he said. “I would recommend salt in most every pool. The water is smoother, softer, and it’s more natural.”