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The Difference Between Saltwater, Mineral and Magnesium Pools

Did you know your body can absorb up to 500mls of pool water for every hour of swimming? This means that the quality of water you’re swimming in can actually impact your overall health. So yes, a swimming pool may add some serious cool-factor to your home but there's some important things to consider before you toe-dip, swan dive, or cannonball into the deep end.

First off, you’ll need to pick the right pool sanitising system. But why do you need a sanitiser in the first place? Well, left totally unchecked, your pool water can quickly turn into a cloudy feeding ground for bacteria and organic contaminants like algae. You can skim and vacuum your pool, have the appropriate pool pump, and run it for the perfect amount of time daily (and you should) but a sanitiser is the only thing that can continuously and effectively tamp down on nasty bacteria in your pool.

So yes, choosing the right sanitising system for your pool is just as important as deciding between wood or tile flooring for your kitchen, and leather or fabric-covered seats for your car. It is an essential and unavoidable part of keeping your pool water clean and safe. Now, when it comes to pool sanitising systems, there are quite a few options available — the most recommended ones are saltwater pools, mineral, and magnesium pools.

Not sure what’s the difference? That’s where we come in. In this exclusive post, we’ll share all the nitty gritty details surrounding these 3 pool systems because hey, it’s always good to know your options, plus you get to prep your backyard for the best pool imaginable. Let’s jump right into it!

Saltwater Pools: An Overview

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The first thing to get out of the way is this: Saltwater pools do not taste salty like the ocean, and you also won't float in them like you would in The Dead Sea. In fact, a saltwater pool contains 10 times less salt than the ocean!  

The second thing to know is that saltwater pools are not completely free of chlorine — saltwater pools have chlorine but in contrast to a traditional chlorinated pool, saltwater pools produce a pure form of chlorine that's delivered in a controlled way to prevent irritating by products called chloramines. The converted chlorine performs the same functions as conventional pool chlorine: killing bacteria and algae, as well as oxidising dirt and chloramines.

Benefits of a Saltwater Pool

1. No More Storing Chlorine

Let’s face it, storing and handling chemicals can be a nuisance. And if you have young children or pets in the home, it can be potentially hazardous to store chlorine. In general, saltwater pools do not use chlorine in its man-made form since the generator will convert salt into chlorine. The exception to this is if your pool’s balance gets substantially off track. Most of the time though, storing and handling chlorine are not things you will need to worry about.

2. Cheaper to Maintain

Pool-grade salt also costs a lot less than chlorine and other chemicals that are needed for chlorine pools. So, when it comes to day-to-day maintenance, saltwater systems are both easier and cheaper to maintain.

3. Less Harsh

Saltwater pools are gentler on the skin, eyes, and hair due to the lower chlorine content. So, if you hate the pungent, chemical-like smell of chlorine, then you’d probably prefer a saltwater pool. Users of saltwater pools love the feel of the water as it's smooth, silky, and soft. The sensation is much like swimming in ocean water, minus the briny smell and the sand.

Drawbacks of a Saltwater Pool

1. More Complex

More complex than traditional pools, saltwater pools often require experienced technicians even for minor problems. Most of the time, users lack the knowledge necessary to handle repairs on their own. Additionally, the electrolytic chlorine generator is a complicated piece of equipment that should only be repaired by an expert technician to ensure that it’s working correctly and that the water is safe for swimming.

2. Corrosive

Salt found in saltwater pools, although harmless to users, is still a corrosive component that can damage metal objects, like heaters, ladders, diving board brackets, and more. Over time, the salt can degrade these metals and cause rusting. For this reason, it’s important to regularly inspect the interior and exterior of the pool, including all pool equipment and any nearby structures.

Mineral Pools: An Overview

Now, let’s talk mineral pools.

First off, let’s clear up any confusion — there is no difference between a mineral pool and a magnesium pool. Mineral pools are often referred to as magnesium pools as they use magnesium chloride (a mineral) to keep your pool sanitised.

Alright, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s dive into mineral or magnesium pools (pun intended)!

Mineral/Magnesium Pools: An Overview

Magnesium pools or mineral pools

Magnesium pools or mineral pools, to state the obvious, are swimming pools that have added minerals in the pool water — of all the minerals that may be included, the star of the show here is: magnesium chloride.

Magnesium chloride is a naturally occurring compound of magnesium (a mineral) and chloride (an electrolyte), found in seawater and brine. Most mineral pools include magnesium, and this is because a magnesium pool delivers some of the best water clarity you can get. Because of the way magnesium interacts with the water and filtering systems, it does an outstanding job filtering out tiny micro-particles that can cause pool water to appear slightly discoloured or murky. Here’s what else you can expect from a magnesium pool:

Benefits of a Magnesium Pool

1. Health Benefits

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The mineral-medicinal waters of a magnesium pool can produce the same desired revitalising effect as taking a dip in the Dead Sea due to the presence of vital salts and minerals that have been scientifically proven to heal the body from various chronic skin diseases such as dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis. Dipping in a magnesium pool has also been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleeping patterns, relax muscles and stimulate hydration!

2. Easy to Maintain

Looking after a magnesium pool is easier than most may think. When a magnesium pool becomes unbalanced, you will feel a slippery substance on your pool floor. These are not to be vacuumed — they’re the minerals! Vacuuming these is like vacuuming money, so it’s a simple matter of rebalancing your water and these globs will go back into circulation!

3. Softer Water

If you’ve spent any time in a chlorine pool, you know you come out of it feeling like a dried prune. Not to mention, that nice bathing suit you bought may fade, bleached out by the chlorine. With a magnesium pool, you can say goodbye to all of that — a magnesium pool takes bather comfort to another level, by swapping out most of the salt for a combination of salts and minerals the water takes on a new feel and condition by making the water softer and gentler on the skin, eyes and hair!

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Drawbacks of a Magnesium Pool

1. High Initial Cost

Though the annual maintenance costs of magnesium pools are lower than a chlorinated pool, there can be higher initial costs. While this is the most expensive option at first, additional savings are frequently realised in areas such as reduced electricity usage and chemical costs.

2. You Still Need Chemicals

Even the best mineral sanitisers will need a supplemental chemical to help. Magnesium pools often take too long to effectively kill algae, so you will still need to maintain an adequate level of either bromine or chlorine.

So, Which One Is It Going to Be?

Both salt and magnesium pools are extremely similar. The main difference is that saltwater pools work with a combination of salt and chlorine whereas mineral pools work with minerals and chlorine. Both salt and magnesium work well to sanitise the water, they kill bacteria and prevent algae from harboring and multiplying.

While the water clarity of both systems is similar, the water quality of a magnesium pool is far superior. Magnesium pools use less chlorine to sanitise the water than a saltwater system does. And to go even one step further, Mineral Swim™ is the only magnesium pool system available in Australia that includes the additional water purification of Ozone Swim™ ━ Ozone instantly neutralises any organic contaminant and converts it into oxygen before the water hits your pool, making the pool water noticeably softer, safer, and more hygienic. Combined with 100% Dead Sea magnesium-rich minerals, Mineral Swim™ pools have been designed to harness nature’s gifts of mineral waters.

So, if you are thinking of buying or converting your swimming pool and deciding on a water treatment choice, speak to your local Elite Dealer or Elite Builder today!