If you have an existing pool and are considering switching water systems or are looking into your first pool, take a moment to learn. We’re providing you some basics on different types of pool water and their effects on the human body. Learn how to pick the best water type for your backyard pool.

Chlorine: The Pool Water Standard

Years ago, it was standard for chlorine to be incorporated into public and private pools. It was the mainstream way of killing bacteria for pools and hot tubs. Now, there’s a discussion of whether or not chlorine is the safest route to go. It has an impact on our skin, our breathing, the environment. Many people feel safe with chlorine because of the simple and common fact that chlorine kills urine. Everyone knows people pee in pools and chlorine kills the small percentage bacteria in urine (on average, urine is on the lowest end 90{49719dccefdf8f13231f745f8029506257ec6f55a0466a63a6a49aacfde2ef6e} water). However, a lot more can be said for chlorine than just a urine-killer. It does also present a threat to fecal matter.

Allow us to briefly nerd out on you–school is in session. When someone urinates in a pool with chlorine, new chemicals are formed such as “Trichloramine (NCl3), which is associated with lung problems, and cyanogen chloride (CNCl), which can also affect the lungs, as well as the heart and central nervous system.” This may force you to rethink urinating in a pool even if it’s “once in a blue moon.” It’s just another time you and everyone near you in the water are facing a small health risk.

Salt Water: A Softer Pool Water

Now, for the kicker: the salt water (or saline) alternative. A common misunderstanding is that saltwater pools have no chlorine, while chlorine pools have a standard amount. Saltwater pools have a quarter of the levels of chlorine–0.5ppm (parts per million)–compared to chlorine pools which generally have 2.0ppm. Therefore, that myth is untrue. Less chlorine in a saltwater pool means, as a homeowner, you will pay more up front in the beginning. Furthermore, the upside is the cost of maintenance is considerably offset.

pH balancing plays a role in all types of pools. Whether you maintain your pool our outsource it to your local aquatic care company, the desired pH should fall just above the neutral “7” on the scale. Aim for a 7.5 pH balance. In a chlorinated pool, the pH balancing process must be more strictly monitored to ensure the chemicals in the water are balanced properly. In a saline pool, the process is still important, but the 0.5ppm level of chlorine make achieving the balance easier.

Let’s talk health benefits between the two. You know your body. You can feel when you’re dehydrated or when your skin is dry from being in the sun too often. A similar effect occurs in chlorine pools. The chemicals dry out our skin. However, saline pools are not as harsh on our body’s largest organ. Our eyes don’t burn when saline water gets inside them as opposed to exposure to chlorinated water.

Mineral Pool Water

Mineral water is an even more health-conscious alternative to saline and chlorinated water. The main reason why is because mineral water does not use chlorine as a way of sanitizing the elements in the water. Copper and silver inside an ionization unit is what cleanses the water (although a small amount of chlorine can be added). Mineral water can include some enhanced benefits, especially if the following minerals are included in the pool’s water system:

Magnesium Chloride — soothe the skin and detoxify the body via absorption through the skin.

Borates — creates a smooth and silky effect to the water and prevents the pH level from rising. It also prevents algae from forming and, by default, lowering the need for chlorine.

Our team is available to help you decide which pool is best for your situation and can guide you on the process of picking a new water route or starting with your first pool. Cheers!


Erik’s Aquatic Care is always here to answer questions you may have as a current or future pool owner. Cheers!