As a pool guy, I get asked all the time, “What are the most popular options for in-ground pools and why?” I would say the three most popular options are saltwater chlorinators, underwater pool lights, and safety covers. Here are the pros and cons of each.
Salt Water Chlorinators
Salt water chlorinators provide exceptional water quality without the odor and irritation typically associated with traditional chlorine pools. Most people don’t know that a saltwater pool is actually a chlorine pool. The machine actually converts salt into chlorine and does so in such a way that the nasty odors and eye irritation associated with Chlorine aren’t present.
Another huge advantage of salt water chlorinators is they are extremely low maintenance. To maintain chlorine levels just add four to eight bags of granular salt directly to the pool each season. Salt can be purchased from any store that sells pool chemicals, comes in 40 LB bags, and costs about $12 per bag. Even though salt water pools are extremely low maintenance, water chemistry should still be monitored weekly.
The initial cost of a saltwater chlorinator is typical between $1,600 and $2,500. The salt will usually cost between $50 and $100 per season. You can also expect to replace the salt cell (the component that converts salt to chlorine) every four to six years at a cost of approximately $800. If you compare this to a typical chlorine system where you spend between $200 and $300 on chemicals each season, the long-term costs are virtually the same. If there is any disadvantage to a saltwater system, it is the initial cost, but most people find that it is well worth it.
If you have ever seen a pool lit up at night or even looked at some of our pictures on our website, you can understand why a lot of our customers consider Pool Lighting a need rather than a want. When comparing the cost of Pool lighting to other accessories that beautify your pool, a light gives you the best bang for your buck. We use the Pal 2000, which is an LED light that allows you to change light colors simply via remote control. The life expectancy of the bulb is 10,000 hours so rarely, if ever, will you need to replace the bulb.
If you do need to replace the bulb, it is easy and can be done without lowering the lever of water in your pool. We find that one light is adequate for pools less than 30’ and recommend an additional light for pools greater than 30.’ You can expect to spend between $800 and $1000 per light.
The primary purpose of safety covers is to protect children and pets, but they also keep debris out of the pool and require no maintenance during the winter months while the pool is closed. They anchor to the patio with brass lugs that screw flush with the patio when the cover is not in use. I sometimes get asked, “Are these covers really as strong as they claim?” The answer is “Absolutely”. If you look at pictures of these covers, it is easy to see why they are so popular.
The alternative to the safety cover is a tarp style cover. It is the cheapest option but is not nearly as safe or secure because they are held in place with water bags. Inevitably, the cover will fall in the water at some point during the winter….plus they are not very nice to look at.
A standard tarp cover will cost a couple hundred dollars. A security cover will be between $2,500 and $3,500 installed. The tarp option is definitely cheaper, but most customers see the value in paying more for something that works.
So here are the three most popular pool options for in-ground pools. I hope this helps you to make a more informed decision when deciding how to spend your hard earned dollars. If you would like to learn more about salt systems, pool lighting, or security covers check out our Pool Options page.
If you would like to order any of these options, call and talk to one of our pool professionals