Are you caught in the ozone and saltwater pool debate? As we know, keeping the water ultra-clean is critical in keeping your swimmers or family safe.
Traditionally, owners seek refuge in chlorine when maintaining pool sanitation. Yet, we cannot deny that too much chlorine can be toxic to human health (and the environment). Think of irritated eyes, itchy or flaky skin, and deteriorated condition of swimwears.
Fortunately, pool owners can benefit from saltwater or ozone pools instead of chlorinated pools. Today, we’ll compare these two alternative options, discussing their pros, cons, and differences.
Before we dive deeper, here’s a summary of the disparities surrounding an ozone pool vs. a salt pool:
|Cleaning method||Ozone gas||Saltwater generator|
|Required chlorine levels||0.5 – 1 ppm||1 – 3 ppm|
|Water sensation||Gentle on skin and eyes||Not as soft as ozone|
|Maintenance||Balance ozone levels and water chemistry
Maintain ozone generator
|Monitor water, salt, and alkalinity balance
Maintain salt generator
|Sanitizing process||Needs chlorine to aid in water sanitation||Add chlorine only when shocking, opening, or closing|
|Impact on pool infrastructure||Minimal effect on pool equipment and surfaces||Can corrode metal fixtures
Increased calcium buildup and scaling
|Cost||Higher initial cost but lower operational costs||Cheaper upfront cost but higher operational costs|
The Ozone Pool System
If you prefer swimming in pools with minimal less chlorine, an ozone pool might be the right choice for you. This system utilizes ozone gas as part of its sanitization process. Ozone is a powerful disinfectant that can kill bacteria, parasites, and viruses in spas and pools.
Here’s how it works:
- Ozone Generation: In an ozone pool, gas is generated on-site with an ozone generator.
- Application: The ozone is then introduced into the pool water within the circulation system.
- Safe Levels: When the circulated water is back in the pool or spa, ozone is at a very low and safe level. Hence, it is kinder on the eyes and skin.
While effective in pool sanitization, an ozone system doesn’t completely replace the need for chlorine or bromine. Ozone only acts as a supplement and can significantly reduce the amount of chlorine required for pool cleaning.
You may be asking, “Are ozone pools safe?” For your peace of mind, consider these benefits and drawbacks of ozone pools.
The Saltwater Pool System
Another well-known alternative to traditional pools is a saltwater pool. Did you know that it has chlorine contents, too, but in a much lower amount?
This system uses a saltwater chlorine generator (or SWG). Through electrolysis, it converts salt into chlorine for water purification. This process also maintains stable and safe free chlorine levels in your pool without regularly adding chlorine.
Despite the name, a salt-sanitized pool is only 1/10 as salty as seawater. Hence, it provides a more gentle and less drying swimming experience.
To make it easier for you, here are the pros and cons of saltwater pools.
Comparing Ozone and Saltwater Pools
There are primary differences between saltwater pools vs ozone pools. Let’s explore them.
1. Sanitation ability
Ozone incorporates a potent oxidizer and ozone gas to eliminate nasty contaminants in the water. It is claimed to be 50x more effective at destroying bacteria and up to 3000x faster than pool types.
Meanwhile, saltwater pools don’t need the manual addition of chlorine. With proper water balance, the generated chlorine is sufficient to maintain the immaculacy of pool water.
2. Chlorine requirements
Although both sanitize the water, the chlorine levels differ significantly.
Ozone pools require very little chlorine to keep the levels around 0.5 to 1 ppm.
This is relatively lower compared to 1-3 ppm in chlorinated pools.
To be considered sanitary, saltwater pools should be around 1 and 3 ppm.
3. Health and comfort
Generally, swimming pools with less chlorine have a softer feel, without chemical smell or taste.
In terms of comfortability and less impact on pool users, ozone pools are the winners. Water feels soft and gentle on the skin, giving a more comfortable wading experience.
Saltwater pools have a softer water sensation than ozone pools. However, they can still irritate your skin and eyes due to higher chlorine content.
4. Maintenance efforts
A UV ozone pool system may require frequent monitoring to ensure smooth operation and proper water balance. Routine tasks may include generator maintenance and checking or adjusting ozone levels.
Saltwater pools necessitate maintenance of salt cell generators. You should also regularly check the pool’s pH, alkalinity, and salt levels.
Initial costs for both pool types can be high due to the setup and equipment. However, saltwater pools are the most expensive. For a generator alone, you’ll expect to splurge around $500 to $4,300, excluding installation costs.
In contrast, ozone generators can cost between $300 – $1,300, depending on the model and size. While both require expensive initial investment, you’ll benefit from lower upkeep and chemical costs. On average, ozone pools have the lowest ongoing expenditures.
Which System is Better?
Choosing between an ozone or a saltwater pool largely depends on your preferences, needs, and resources. Let’s consider the key factors that can help you decide on the best type of wading oasis:
1. Water quality
Both systems produce excellent water quality with fewer typical chlorination side effects. If you like a gentler, silkier water sensation, a saltwater pool might be just the ticket.
If you resist the chlorine smell, go for an ozone pool. This is also an excellent choice for chlorine-sensitive swimmers.
2. Health and safety considerations
Apart from eye and skin irritations, the dangers of saltwater pools are very low. Ozone pools are the healthiest option, but exposure to ozone gas may be toxic.
For this reason, the process is only contained in your pool piping. You can consider this issue if safety concerns are more crucial.
With many brands competing to sell ozone and saltwater generators, you can find a good deal for your budget. However, you’ll also have to factor in the overall operating costs.
If you prefer minimal ongoing expenses, the choice is crystal clear with ozone pools. While their installation and setup may be quite heavy on the pocket, the overall cost is cheaper.
Choosing between an ozone or saltwater pool depends on your preferences, needs, and budget. Both saltwater and ozone systems can give your pool a clean, healthy environment. That said, there’s no single system suitable for all pool owners.
We hope this post about the ozone vs. saltwater pool helps you choose the best type of wading pool for your lifestyle. As always, proper and consistent maintenance remains vital to achieving that perfect sparkling blue, regardless of which system you opt for!