Sunset Pools and Spas

Salt Water Pool vs. Chlorine Pool: An Honest Comparison

Anybody that’s owned a pool knows that it can be difficult to choose between a salt water pool or a chlorine pool. There are pros and cons to each, and while either will do on a hot summer day, filling your own pool for the season requires that you make a decision. So which is the right way to go? That depends entirely on your preferences and values as a pool owner. Here’s a rundown of what each option has to offer.

Salt Water Pools

Benefits of Salt Water Pools

In our experience here at Sunset Pools & Spas, people who prefer salt water pools love that the chlorine levels are so much lower, which means their skin doesn’t dry out as quickly and the smell of chemicals washes off much more easily in a post-swim shower.

Also, depending on how long you plan on keeping the pool, it could prove to be more cost-efficient over time. Salt water pools work because salt water generators use chemical electrolysis to minimize chlorine in the pool, and while those generators require a higher up-front cost, they can be more cost efficient than constantly buying chemicals over the years.

Salt water pools stay cleaner, as well, in large part because those generators run so often to keep them that way, but they are much easier to clean as a result.

Potential Drawbacks of Salt Water Pools

The up-front cost of a salt water generator is, admittedly, much pricier than the chemicals you’d use in a chlorine pool, to say nothing of the utility costs that come with running a generator for up to 12 hours a day during pool season.

Furthermore, the salt can be corrosive to certain pool liners and pool lights, but those issues can be avoided simply by purchasing liners and lights in the first place that are designed specifically for salt water pools.

Chlorine Pools

Benefits of Chlorine Pools

First and foremost, chlorine pools are more inexpensive, especially from the outset, not only in terms of not having to purchase the aforementioned generator, but also in terms of energy savings. Saving money, frankly, would be the strongest argument for going with a chlorine pool.

Potential Drawbacks of Chlorine Pools

Consequently, keeping chlorine pools clean is not as easy as salt water pools. The pH balance of a chlorine pool can go wonky with little warning, which means it takes a lot more effort and diligence to make sure the water doesn’t go green and the filters don’t get clogged up with algae.

Furthermore, excess chlorine can seriously dry out a swimmer’s skin and hair, while also occasionally causing some eye irritation. This is because there are more chemicals in the pool water, which works for keeping the water safe to use, but doesn’t always do hair and skin many favors.

Contact a Swimming Pool Expert

Whichever type of pool you ultimately decide to choose for your home, we are happy to get you all set up here at Sunset Pools & Spas. Both chlorine pools and salt water pools will cool you off on the hottest days of the year, but the decision as to which works best for you is entirely up to your budget and lifestyle!


Four Fun Pool Party Ideas for All Ages

With summer winding down, the opportunity to throw those last few pool parties of the year is waning, but you did not purchase a pool of your own just to let it sit dormant throughout the season’s final weeks. Here at Sunset Pools & Spas, we want to make sure you throw the best pool-centric gatherings possible while the heat still allows for them, so we have put together a few pool party ideas for what is left of summer:

Hawaiian Luau – While not everybody can pick up and go to Hawaii whenever they want to, anybody with a pool can throw a Hawaiian Luau party anytime! In terms of pool party food ideas, the luau provides perhaps the most options, with all sorts of tropical fruits and seafood ideas serving as appropriate options for guests of all ages. With leis and grass skirts, it also is easy (and affordable) to dress for this kind of party. Play a little Jack Johnson in the background, and you’ve got yourself a luau!

Retro Party – If you ever have seen a photo of an old party from the 1950s or 1960s you know how classy those gatherings can be. While this may be more of an adult-focused party theme, the idea of martinis, milkshakes, and fondue makes for a delicious soiree, and playing some Elvis beach music in the background really adds to the ambiance. In terms of pool party decoration ideas for this kind of gathering, focusing on balloons, tablecloths, and streamers in throwback color schemes like pink, turquoise, and black definitely is the way to go.

Movie Night – Swimmers of all ages can appreciate the novelty of a movie night in the pool. If you have a projector and an inflatable movie screen, you can watch just about anything from the comfort of your own pool. Fill the bottom with glow sticks to set the mood, and buy plenty of movie style candy and popcorn for those that want to enjoy a quick nibble between scenes.

I Love the ‘80s – Thanks to modern technology, it is incredibly easy to recreate an authentic 1980s vibe. Just put together an ‘80s playlist on Spotify and let it run throughout the party. The aesthetic from that era is pretty iconic, too, and ‘80s-themed decorations are available in droves at any party store. Recreating a rager from any ‘80s party flick is another option, so feel free to whip up some Jell-O shots and party punch for the adults. Between the music and the look of the party, your guests will be transported back to a really fun decade.

Any of these party ideas will keep your guests wildly entertained while enjoying the pool. If you need any help getting your pool area perfect for the event, give us a call here at Sunset Pools & Spas and we’ll be happy to ensure your party goes off without a hitch. There is no party quite like a pool party, so make sure yours is one to remember!

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!