Should I choose a freshwater, saltwater, mineral or chlorine pool?
Over the past few years, demand has grown for alternatives to traditional chlorine pools, and freshwater pools, saltwater pools, and mineral pools (or magnesium pools as they are more correctly termed) have all enjoyed a notable surge in popularity. For anyone seeking to install a new pool – or those looking to convert their existing chlorine pool to a more natural, lower-chemical alternative – it’s well worth taking a quick dive into exactly what freshwater, saltwater and mineral pools are, how they work, and which offers the best swimming and ownership experience.
For anybody who has ever swum in a chlorine pool, the red eyes, unpleasant smell and dry, stripped-feeling hair and skin from these pools would be very familiar.
While chemicals such as chlorine do their job to minimise algae growth and bacteria, they can irritate skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, cause harmful reactions in allergy sufferers and even induce asthma attacks. With one in three Australians suffering from some kind of skin condition during their lifetime, and around 11% of the population suffering from asthma, swimming in chlorine is not the ideal choice for many families.
Over the last 20 years, saltwater pools have become a popular alternative to old-style chlorine pools. While the term saltwater is appealing due to the natural connotations, it doesn’t mean chlorine-free. In fact, saltwater pools use a process called electrolysis to convert salt into chlorine.
Electrolysis occurs by running electricity through saltwater (sodium chloride), which interacts with the chloride ions in the salt. They are then oxidised and transformed into hypochlorous acid, which is the active ingredient in chlorine. This process produces a constant supply of chlorine that helps keep the pool water clean and sanitised.
These levels of chlorine, while less than the bad old days, are still higher than the more recent alternatives. Plus, depending on the size of the pool, the yearly cost of the bags of pool salt (sodium chloride) needed to sanitise the pool can cost around $300 per year.
Another popular alternative to traditional chlorine pools is the mineral pool, also known as the magnesium pool, which as the name suggests, is the process of adding potassium and magnesium into the mix. Potassium is a natural moisturiser and is good at preventing skin sensitivities like eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis flaring up after a swim, while magnesium ‘softens’ the water. With its sanitising qualities, magnesium is also a bacteria and algae spore killer.
However, the actual concentration of magnesium in a magnesium pool can vary widely depending on the specific treatment method used and the quality of the water source. Some studies have found that the magnesium levels in some mineral pools are too low to provide any significant therapeutic benefits.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that while magnesium may have some potential benefits for the skin and overall health, there is limited scientific evidence to support many of the claims made about magnesium pools. More research is needed to determine the true effectiveness of magnesium pools and the potential benefits they may offer.
When compared to a traditional chlorine pool, mineral pools are certainly gentler on skin. However, standard mineral pool systems still use magnesium chloride, sodium chloride, and potassium chloride to produce chlorine for sanitisation, meaning they require the same additional chemicals as chlorine and salt-chlorinated pools.
The cost of the minerals for these pools can also add up quickly, requiring a large amount the first time you fill the pool and regular top-ups throughout the year.
Freshwater pools — what are they and how do they work?
To create a safe and healthy swimming experience year-round, the challenge for every pool owner is to constantly sanitise and keep the water free from algae, bacteria and other unwanted or harmful organisms. Modern hybrid freshwater pool systems are proving to be the most efficient way to achieve that goal.
So how do they work? Put simply, a freshwater system uses tiny amounts of silver and copper to ionise the swimming pool safely and effortlessly without the need to add chlorine, high amounts of salt, or expensive minerals. This is because algae cannot grow in a copper environment, while silver has purifying qualities. These minerals remain in the pool to keep the water as fresh as possible.
So, are there any levels of chlorine in a freshwater pool? The answer is yes, but only a microscopic amount. In fact, there’s less chlorine than you’d find in your regular, drinkable tap water. That means no dry skin or hair, no unpleasant chemical smells, and water so pure you can even use it to water your plants.
While the initial investment in a Naked Pools Freshwater System may be more expensive than a typical salt chlorinator, the reduction in chemical additives and power consumption can save you hundreds a year in upkeep and running costs. Not to mention, a freshwater pool extends the life of your pool surrounds, equipment and is better for the environment.
Converting to a freshwater pool
With this major advance in freshwater pool technology, more and more saltwater and magnesium pool owners are looking to switch to freshwater swimming. A common question is whether it’s a difficult process to swap out the old system to a new freshwater one, and fortunately, it’s far more straightforward than you may think.
Converting a saltwater or magnesium pool to the award-winning Naked Pools Freshwater System is as easy as removing the old system and installing the new one, so you and your family can enjoy a healthier and safer swimming pool in no time. The hybrid NKD-R System developed by Naked Pools combines the ionising process with a powerful built-in oxidiser, which destroys any remaining organic matter to maintain pure, crystal-clear water. Your residual sanitiser is copper and silver rather than chlorine and other chemicals, giving you a simple to maintain pool that leaves you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated after swimming.
For more information about converting to a freshwater pool visit naked-pools.com