Pool Sanitation Methods: Salt vs. Chlorine vs. UV Ozone

pool sanitation with chlorine, salt, and uv

Peak pool season is on its way in Southern California, which means if you haven’t yet settled on a sanitation system for your pool, it’s time! If you’ve been a long-time chlorine user, this may be the time to try an alternative. Or, if you’re building a new pool, you’ll want to examine all your choices to decide which best fits your needs.

If you thought chlorine was your only option, let us widen your horizon to include saltwater and UV light filtration methods. Knowing all your options helps you make the best choice for your backyard pool.

Chlorine Systems

Chlorine has been the most popular sanitation choice for pools for decades. It’s effective and affordable to use. In a matter of a few hours, chlorine kills mold, mildew and bacteria so that you and your family can safely swim in your pool. Chlorine tablets are readily available and are usually dispersed through the pool pump or a detached floating device.

Maintenance for chlorine systems requires testing with a special kit and frequently adjusting the pH level when the water volume changes due to heat, rain, and water loss. You must be proactive with a chlorine pool to keep it balanced. 

A chlorine sanitation system is generally less expensive than other options. The initial cost for one is lower than for alternative filtration methods. Also, chlorine quickly gets the water ready for swimmers, and the electricity usage is moderate. 

Saltwater Systems

Saltwater is another effective pool sanitation method, but it’s not so much an alternative method as a different way to chlorinate your pool. This system requires that you initially dissolve a large amount of salt into your pool, then uses electricity to transform the sale into chlorine.

The salt level stays relatively consistent in the pool water, so you only have to add small amounts as time goes by, requiring less continual adjusting than a traditional chlorine method. You may also have to occasionally add a small amount of chlorine or shock your pool to regain proper pH balance. 

Besides being low maintenance, the saltwater pool has less of a chlorine smell while providing a silky feel for swimmers. And no need to worry about the water being too salty; a salt-sanitized pool is only about 1/10 as salty as the ocean!

The initial cost for these systems is much higher than for traditional chlorine pools, but the ongoing maintenance costs are lower. Plus, saltwater pools are easier on your hair, skin, eyes and swimsuits. 

Ultra Violet Ozone Systems (UVO)

You may have heard that sunlight is the best disinfectant. While it’s true to an extent that the sun has sanitizing power because of the UV rays its light contains, the sun’s rays aren’t quite strong enough to sanitize your entire pool. An Ultraviolet Ozone (UVO) system utilizes ultraviolet light to sanitize your pool water by sending it through chambers where it receives UV “blue light.” This process kills the bacteria and other harmful organisms lurking in the water.

UV systems are initially expensive to install, but regular maintenance is almost nil. You will have to buy replacement bulbs occasionally. You will also likely have to use a small amount of chlorine to keep the water safe because it takes some time for all the water to pass under the UV lights—enough time to allow some algae and bacteria growth. 

With this system, you get a more natural cleaning method and a major reduction in chlorine content, which makes the water kinder on your skin, hair and eyes.

Choosing Your Pool Sanitation Method

Ultimately, your decision on a pool sanitation system will depend on your budget, how much time you want to spend on upkeep, how much the smell and feel of your pool water matters to you, and similar factors. An experienced custom pool builder can advise you on which method is best for your individual circumstances as you consider which option to utilize in a new pool.

At Pool Icons, we’ve been helping families in Southern California design and build backyard pools for decades. We’re up to date on the latest methods and options, and we can give you specifics on cost and long-term maintenance, helping you to make the right decision.
Pool Icons also offers free, no-obligation estimates for your new pool. Simply fill out the online form, and an experienced representative will get back to you promptly.