Salt systems have been growing in popularity for quite some time now. One question that keeps coming up for users who want to convert to using a salt system is "Are they really as cost affective as some say they are?". If this was something you were wondering yourself, let me go over the main points and see if this system is really cost effective.
First off if you are unfamiliar with how a salt system works, you can get a quick refresher right here. It would be ideal that you know this information before we start talking about costs. If you would like to compare the other types of chlorination you can do so here.
Now that's taken care of we can crunch some numbers. A salt system is great don't get me wrong. They are very good at never forgetting to add chlorine, but that's not what we are trying to analyse. For the time being I will solely look at the cost of the salt system compared to regular chlorine use.
As most of the chlorine users know, the process starts with buying chlorine either in bulk or a little at a time, it does not really matter. Since we are discussing costs, buying in bulk will usually be a good idea to save a few dollars. Once you have your chlorine you will need to add a regular amount every day or second day. On need it is also recommended to shock your pool, which is just adding a bigger amount of chlorine than your regular dose. So for what chlorine is concerned, the only thing influencing the cost would be to use a consistant amount as to not waste your chlorine. This is very similar to laudry detergent, adding a consistant amount will help you save in the long run.
Let's take a look at the average cost, and this is very much an estimate, of one summers' worth of chlorine. We would be using the HTH extra, which is guaranteed 75% concentration, in a 21' aboveground pool which holds 44,000L of water.
This chlorine requires 26g per 10,000L to maintan 2 ppm (parts per million) regularly and 65g per 10,000L for a shock treatment. So in this case we would multiply these numbers by 4.4 to support our volume of water.
- There are 123 days from May 1st to September 1st. This results in the following calculation. (26x4) = 104g daily,123 days x104g = 12,792g or 12.792 kg.
- There are roughly 16 weeks in that same time spand and lets say you shock your pool every second week. (65x4) = 260g per shock, 8 weeks x 260g = 2,080g or 2.080kg
- If we add up both those totals we would get 14.872 kg.
As I mentioned before this is just an aproximation. A 15kg pail of HTH Extra retails for $90.95 in our stores, so it would be safe to say that the sanitation of our chlorine pool example would range around 100$ for a summer.
Salt system Costs
When it comes to a salt system, it is a little more complicated to examine costs. First you will need to purchase a salt system that will meet the needs of your pool. Then you must maintain a certain disolved salt level for your system to produce chlorione. Now for the more complex part. A salt system has a few different working parts, one being the control board and the other the salt cell. Both these parts can malfunction and break at anytime from various causes. We will therefore have to take that into consideration.
Since the goal is to compare the salt system costs to the chlorine costs we will use the same size pool, 21' diameter with 44,000L.
- The initial cost for the salt system we would install on this pool would be $650 retail.
- We would want our disolved salt level to be around 3000 ppm for this machine. For the volume of this pool this would entitle 7 bags of salt, $9.95 each. (7x9.95) = $69.65
- ** The only way you can lose your disolved salt level is by adding fresh water. So if we estimate a reasonable amount of rain and no mishaps to lose water, we can add another 2 bags for that summer. Another $19.90
For your first season your salt system will cost you around $739.55. Now here is where we take the life spand of the system. The parts are estimated to last around 5 years. Yes it is possible for them to last longer with good maintainence, but it is also possible that they break before the 5 years. This being said we will add up the costs of running a salt system for 5 years, the first year being explained above. For the remainding 4 years you will need to add 3-4 bags of salt at the begining of the year, and another 2 during the year. This means that the annual cost would range around 60$.
And the Results are in!
This is a summary of the results shown above for an easy comparaison.
- Sanitation using chlorine for a 21' pool $100 a year. That over 5 years is a total of $500
- Installing and maintaining a salt system on a 21' pool for 5 years, $979.55
- Finally comparing chlorine to salt system, priceless.
As you can now see from our example, a salt system is not cost effective when compared to using regular chlorine. The only reason you should purchase a salt system is to have peace of mind that the sanitation of your pool will be done constantly.