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Salt or Ozone?

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Salt Chlorine Generators and Ozone Generators are two popular and proven products used to sanitize pool and spa water.  They both reduce chemicals and increase water safety, leaving your pool water clean, healthy and crystal clear.

Salt or Ozone? Both give you: 

  • Silky, soft water that is easy on eyes, skin, hair and bathing suits
  • Chloramine reduction.  Chloramines are chlorine's byproduct.  Not healthy to breathe or ingest, they also burn your eyes and smell bad
  • Reduced Chloramines means more Free Available Chlorine (FAC).  FAC kill algae, bacteria and other contaminants that lurk in pool and spa water
  • Water that is easy to balance
  • Increased life on pumps, heater, cover, fittings and pillows, saving you money over life of pool or spa 

Initial cost of both systems:

  • They cost more than your basic chlorine tablet feeder, but they pay for themselves in overall chemical reduction in 2-3 years
  • Require plumbing and electrical skills for installation
  • Are automated, self-generating units that require no consumables.  Salt Pools require the initial addition of salt to the water before operating, so consider the initial cost of salt in your purchase

Both Salt Pools and Ozone Pools require maintenance:

  • Salt: Salt Chlorine Generators have salt cells that get calcium build-up and need to be cleaned and eventually replaced.  The salt cells are expensive, so find out how much the replacement salt cell costs before investing in a Salt Generator
  • Ozone: Ozone Generators have ozone lamps, cells or electrodes that need to be replaced.  How often depends on hours of operation.  Average life of an ozone component is 3-5 years
  • Ozone: Ozone Generators also have Ozone Supply Check Valves and Ozone Supply Tubing that should be replaced every 1-2 years.  Replacing them is inexpensive, but ignoring them is costly.  Check Valve failure is a main cause of Ozone Generators failing

Consider each system's consumables requirements (consumables are goods that are capable of being consumed):

  • Salt: all chlorine is made from salt, and with a "Salt Pool", salt is added to the water.  Salt Generators split salt and make the purest form of chlorine, Hypochlorous acid.  Add salt initially and add more salt when the levels drop due to splash out or refilling, but you eliminated the need to buy chlorine
  • Ozone: requires nothing to start up and requires no consumables.  Ozone Generators simply take air and convert it to ozone
Downsides of Salt Pools vs. Ozone Pools:

  • Salt: salt is healing on skin but corrosive to soft, porous stone.  Each region of the world varies greatly.  Do your homework and talk to your Pool Professional before installing a Salt Generator on YOUR pool
  • Salt:  unlike Ozone Pools which only need .5-1PPM chlorine to keep water safe and balanced, Salt Pools still rely on the traditional levels of 3-5 PPM of chlorine
  • Salt: pH fluctuation is an issue.  When the salt cell splits salt, it creates chlorine and hydrogen which increases pH ('potential of Hydrogen')
  • Salt: customers are often told they have a "chlorine free pool" when the opposite is true.  In fact, what you have is a chlorine factory creating Free Available Chlorine right in your own backyard
  • Ozone: ozone is not a stand-alone system.  Ozone leaves no residual, so going chlorine free is not an option.  You need a reduced level of .5-1PPM chlorine to prevent algae blooms as well as bacterial and viral outbreaks.  Ozone is the power horse of water sanitation, so your need to add chlorine to maintain the low levels goes down, resulting in significant chemical savings
Four reasons we prefer Ozone Pools over Salt Pools:
  1. Less corrosion.  When installed properly, ozone will not cause corrosion.  Salt has potential to cause corrosion on patios and surrounding areas; ozone does not
  2. Less chlorine.  Salt Pools require 3-5 PPM residual of chlorine.  With ozone, you only need .5-1 PPM residual of chlorine in the water to keep algae away and aide in contamination control
  3. Micro-flocculation.  Ozone is a powerful micro-flocculator which means it clumps tiny particles together until until it is big enough to be caught by the filter.  With ozone, water is sparkly and crystal clear
  4. Safest water.  Ozone kills 99.99% of all known viruses and bacteria including E. coli and Cryptosporidium - upon contact!  Chlorine is slow at killing, and many viruses and bacteria build a resistance to chlorine.  

Salt Chlorine Generators and Ozone Generators are both great systems.  Using both in conjunction with each other is better than using either system independently.  But, if we had to choose Salt vs. Ozone...we choose Ozone.  

Simply put:  Ozone gives you the purest water with the least amount of chemicals

What about spas and hot tubs?  The cost of initial purchase and maintenance on hot tub salt chlorinators, we feel, is too high yet to compete with the benefits of hot tub ozonators which, thanks to the Internet, are affordable and easy to install with access to manuals, tips and videos.