Sunset Pools and Spas

What's the Skinny on Saltwater Systems?

Chlorine is often seen as a necessary evil in the world of pool maintenance. It is a potentially dangerous chemical, it has to be handled carefully, it can sting the eyes, and it smells bad. However, for decades, chlorine has been used to keep pools from becoming dangerous breeding grounds for bacteria, algae, and viruses. Without a sanitizing agent, the backyard pool will quickly become a cesspool of cloudy, disgusting water that can make swimmers extremely ill.
However, there is an alternative to using harsh chlorine in your swimming pool. Many pool owners are opting to install salt water pools in their back yards, avoiding the use of stinky, dangerous chlorine. If you have been hearing the rave reviews of salt water pool owners, here are a few of the benefits of salt water pool.


Salt water pool maintenance is often much simpler than that of a chlorine pool. The interesting thing about a saltwater pool is that it is not completely chlorine free. These pool systems actually generate their own chlorine using the salt through a process called electrolysis. The electrolysis uses salt to continually generate hypochlorous acid which disinfects the pool. These pool systems are continually maintaining low chlorine levels to keep the pool clean, but there is no harsh chemical smell and no stinging of the eyes and skin.
While a salt water pool requires less maintenance than a chlorine system, the pool owner does have to do a little maintenance. Typically, though, salt water systems require less maintenance than chlorine systems. Once a week, the water should be tested for free chlorine and adjusted with the output control of the electrolysis unit. Also, the pH should be tested and tweaked as needed by the addition of soda ash or sodium bicarbonate. Monthly, the water's calcium, alkalinity, stabilizer, and salt levels should be tested, with adjustments made as directed by the owner's manual. Once every three months, pool owners should open up the electrolysis unit and inspect it for mineral deposits or debris. Of course, the skimmer, pump, and filter should be maintained as with any pool system.

Much More Gentle

The water in salt water pools just feels different. If you have ever bathed in water that is softened, you know that the water feels silky smooth and gentle to the skin. Harsh, chlorinated water does not feel that way. Salt water pools feel like rainwater on your skin. Also, salt water pools do not leave chlorine residue on your skin, hair, or bathing suit. You will not have to worry that your little tow-headed nephew will end up with green hair from overexposure to chlorine. Additionally, your bathing suit won't need to be replaced as often due to chlorine damaging the fabric. Your eyes will not sting and those with asthma or allergies will not react to the harsh chlorine in the air and water around your pool.

Salt Water is a Safer System

Have you ever read all of the warnings printed on the typical container of pool chlorine or a bottle of bleach?
"May cause burns."
"Avoid skin and eye contact."
"Can cause shortness of breath and nausea."
If you have small children or pets, it can be a little scary to have those kinds of chemicals sitting around in the garage or basement. A salt water system does not require you to store or use such dangerous chemicals in your home and yard.

The Natural Choice

Nowadays, many families are going out of their way to avoid exposure to dangerous chemicals. They use vinegar and baking soda to clean their homes, and they buy organic produce and food products. It seems a little odd for these families to pour chlorine into a swimming pool to keep it clean. These families may be drawn to salt water systems to avoid using such a dangerous chemical in the pool.
If you live in the Chicago area and are interested discussing the installation of a salt water pool or if you have questions about converting an existing pool to a salt water system, contact Sunset Pool and Spas today!

Best Swimming Pool Toys of 2017


When it comes to swimming pools, few things outrank the fun to be had with toys. A ton of swimming pool toys are available in Chicago, and each has something unique to offer. Whether it’s above or below water, you’re bound to have fun with the following toys.


The Giant Inflatable Beach Ball

The beach ball is a classic swimming pool toy, but the giant beach ball is only now picking up steam. Today’s inground swimming pools are packed with them, and 2017 is a big year for them. A lot of these beach balls are big enough to hold an adolescent afloat, and they’re definitely flexible enough to provide hours of fun.


Swimways Aqua Rider Swim Noodles

These floating noodles aren’t average. Convert your pool into a party, and use these flexible foam sticks to create hours of water-bound fun. Each Swimways Aqua Rider Swim Noodle has an animal head, a seat and a body long enough to straddle. Let the kids have fun, and check out the many designs available.


Pottery Barn Kids Inflatable Balls

They’re artistic, they’re cheap and they’re long-lasting. Available at Pottery Barn, these inflatable balls act as beach balls. They also have inflatable interiors surrounded by clear plastic. Choose from a seahorse, shark, pirate or unicorn, and make your swimming pool a volleyball arena! More exciting than plain balls, Pottery Barn inflatable balls give kids the excitement of tossing around 3D images.


Toypedo Bandits

Toypedo Bandits are awesome pool toys designed to build diving skills. Even if you’re not using them to teach the kids to dive, you can use them for a number of games. Each water-bound Toypedo is weighed, giving it perfect hydrodynamic capabilities. Each is bright-colored, silly and unique, too, so your kids are never left without excitement.


The Inflatable Sea Turtle

It’s massive, it floats and it’s unique. Your kids will love the massive inflatable sea turtle, and they’ll spend hours playing on it. It’s outfitted with easy-grip handles, so its passengers are supported at all times. Available in different sizes, the inflatable sea turtle has become incredibly popular in recent years.


Inflatable Water Wheel

Designed for action, the inflatable water wheel is another 2017 favorite. It’s designed like a hamster wheel, and it’s perfect for balance training, running, splashing and swimming alike. Don’t worry: The kids will be safe. It’s completely plastic, and it’s been designed to ensure safety regardless of pool depth.


The Intex Pool Volleyball Game

This pool volleyball game is perfect for kids of all ages! It’s not your regular swim volleyball net- it has an anchoring weight for out-of-the-water games, and it includes a miniature volleyball.


The Swimline UFO Spaceship Floating Squirter

Sometimes, the kids deserve a little action. This “best of” inflatable pool toy packs a punch via water-squirting ray-gun. It pulls water from the pool, launching it at enemies! Buy a couple, and let your kids duke it out across the pool for hours at a time.


The best pool toys are built to last, and there are plenty to be found in Chicago. Remember to keep them dry when it’s cold out, and always stick near the pool. Get outdoors and have an afternoon of fun!

Chicago's Willis Tower's Skydeck is infamous for the Ledge, a glass box that extends out about 4 feet from the building's 103rd floor.

Visitors to the Ledge—or at least those who have the guts—have the opportunity to walk out onto it and hover more than 1,300 feet above ground with nothing but glass between their feet and the air.

Now imagine what it would be like to have a similar experience, only in a swimming pool.

Although not quite as high off the ground as Chicago's Ledge, Houston's sky pool in Market Square Tower is also giving visitors a thrill with it's 42-story-high glass sky pool. Another small difference: The pool was built for residents, not for tourists. 

More about the Houston-based sky pool can be found here in an article from Time, but according to the report, the pool "has a glass platform that extends 10 feet out from the main pool enclosure, allowing it to look (and feel) like you're literally walking on air above the street 500 feet below."

This isn't the first residential sky pool to draw media attention in recent years. London is also set to open a residential glass-bottom pool that will float between two buildings, in 2019.

Swimming pools like these continue to make headlines across the globe. I've said it once before, and I'll say it again: These types of swimming pool designs truly demonstrate how the sky is literally the limit when dreaming up the ultimate poolscape.