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Thread: Salt or Chlorine--info from builder has me scratching my head

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    Salt or Chlorine--info from builder has me scratching my head

    I've been wanting a swg for our future pool. I'd just about convinced hubby (even though EVERY builder tries to talk us out of it). The other night a builder really got into the topic and was very impressed with my limited knowledge of pool chemistry. I told him my concerns about trichlor tabs, cya levels, etc, and he attempted to allay my fears saying that a uv system combined with tabs and/or "dichlor" tabs would keep these problems at bay. He said eventually the cya in any pool even salt would be irreversibly high and require draining. I hadn't heard this before so I didn't have a rebuttal! What do yall think?


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    Re: Salt or Chlorine--info from builder has me scratching my head

    SWG doesn't increase CYA in any way. The reason it goes up is because it is added to help the chlorine last longer in tabs and shock sold by pool stores. If you use straight muriatic acid with your SWG you won't get CYA. That is why people who run an SWG actually put in in their pool to get it up to the required levels.
    Pool is done! Only took 17 months! - Natural shape in-ground pool: 37x23, 505sq ft, 96ft perimeter, 7ft deep end, 18,950 gallons, tanning ledge, blue surf pebble sheen/luminous blue blend, Belgard coping, 910 sqft paver deck/walkways, retaining walls out the yinyang. Jandy SWG, 2 LED Color lights, VS 2HP Pump, 460sqft cartridge filter, PDA RS P8 controller. My build

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    Re: Salt or Chlorine--info from builder has me scratching my head

    Um, I'm sorry but Muriatic Acid does NOT increase stabilization. It lowers pH, which can rise over time with the use of the SWG. Actually almost everyone needs to lower their pH at one time or another.

    Cyanuric Acid (aka CYA, aka Stabilizer) is what is in pucks and granular chlorine products, and added on its own to shield chlorine form the sun.
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    Re: Salt or Chlorine--info from builder has me scratching my head

    It is true that salt builds up over time because pretty much everything we do with chlorine eventually means the chlorine turns into chloride. All water eventually becomes salty water. Using bleach regularly in a pool that is open all year long can easily build up 1000ppm/year of salt just from the bleach alone.

    BUT, this is true FOR ALL POOLS! And you're talking about many years before salt becomes an issue. As well, with judicious use of rain water and partial drain and refills, one can easily extend the time frame before a full drain becomes necessary. And, when water becomes too saturated with salt or calcium (or both), some parts of the country have access to reverse osmosis (RO) filtration which can easily return 80% of your pool water volume back to you completely remediated of excess salt. If RO is not available, then for a few hundred dollars (maybe even less), a full drain and refill is a small price to pay when extended over many years.

    As for CYA, that only builds up though use of stabilized chlorine pucks or operator error in adding too much stabilizer. Your PB's fight against salt water chlorine generators because it cuts into the bottom lines of their service packages.

    Oh, and please search the forum for threads the "UV" and "Ozone" as keywords. You will see that these systems are just fancy toys that are good at wasting your electricity but doing actual little good for your pool water.
    Matt
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    Re: Salt or Chlorine--info from builder has me scratching my head

    The only way for a pool to overstabilize is by adding too much CYA. It doesn't just magically appear, it must be added either in pure form or through stabilized chlorine (trichlor or dichlor). In fact with an SWG you will have to add a little bit extra CYA every few months as splash out and oxidation lowers it.

    Pool builders are good at building pools but never take chemical advice from them. It seems they are all either genuinely misinformed or get a commission for every UV system they install...
    JD - 28' Round Above Ground Pool, 17,000 Gallons. Dual speed Jacuzzi pump with cartridge filter. Dual speed 1 HP pump, Hayward S210T sand filter
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    Re: Salt or Chlorine--info from builder has me scratching my head

    Quote Originally Posted by YippeeSkippy View Post
    Um, I'm sorry but Muriatic Acid does NOT increase stabilization. It lowers pH, which can rise over time with the use of the SWG. Actually almost everyone needs to lower their pH at one time or another.

    Cyanuric Acid (aka CYA, aka Stabilizer) is what is in pucks and granular chlorine products, and added on its own to shield chlorine form the sun.
    I didn't say that Muriatic acid raises CYA. I said if you use straight Muriatic acid with your SWG you "won't" get CYA.
    Pool is done! Only took 17 months! - Natural shape in-ground pool: 37x23, 505sq ft, 96ft perimeter, 7ft deep end, 18,950 gallons, tanning ledge, blue surf pebble sheen/luminous blue blend, Belgard coping, 910 sqft paver deck/walkways, retaining walls out the yinyang. Jandy SWG, 2 LED Color lights, VS 2HP Pump, 460sqft cartridge filter, PDA RS P8 controller. My build

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    Re: Salt or Chlorine--info from builder has me scratching my head

    The fact that your PB is recommending UV should be a major clue that he doesn't know a darn thing about pool chemistry. Leave the fabrication to him and then take care of your own pool sanitation by either addition of bleach or by using SWG. By the way, SWGs are really awesome.
    23' x 37' IG 18.5k gallon SWG w/ raised spa, Build Thread -->Here
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    Re: Salt or Chlorine--info from builder has me scratching my head

    The fact that your PB is recommending UV should be a major clue that he doesn't know a darn thing about pool chemistry.
    Plus one!!
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    Re: Salt or Chlorine--info from builder has me scratching my head

    Chem Geek beat this horse pretty well in a recent thread. If someone can find and link that it would take care of 99% of everything we could probably say here. It was an almost identical scenario.
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
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    Re: Salt or Chlorine--info from builder has me scratching my head

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post

    Your PB's fight against salt water chlorine generators because it cuts into the bottom lines of their service packages.
    .
    Not sure I would go so far as to say that. We are also in Austin and most of the PB's that we interviewed did not offer an ongoing chemical/cleaning service that they were trying to profit off of. In fact I am sure all of them would have loved to sell us the controller and SWCG cell to the tune of ~$1500 or more with their markup. Not one of them pushed it at all. Not sure why that is always said here but they only stand to gain off of selling a SWCG and all of them warned us against it. The UV system is much cheaper and I am sure markup is less so not sure why they would push that over the SWCG. Perhaps it is more of a CYA thing so they don't have to replace any failed stone work for any SWCG pools? That being said none of them refused to sell us one. I would also say they didn't try to dissuade us from purchasing one either. They merely said they cannot honor the warranty on the stone and said the salt could cause damage to the softer stone.

    I know this forum is very pro SWCG but based on the warnings from the PB's, red lining their warranties and just looking through the SWCG sub-forum here we decided against it. We instead compromised and went with a Stenner pump in an attempt to avoid any trouble or questions of warranty and free choice of stone and still get almost all of the convenience of the SWCG.

    My $.02, I am sure I will be flamed
    Gunite Phase || 16500 gal FreeForm 33'x18' IG, 89 perim, 491 sq ft. || Blue Surf Pebble Sheen || Pentair Intelliflo VS || Pentail C&C 520 || 2 Pentair Intellibrite 5G
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    Re: Salt or Chlorine--info from builder has me scratching my head

    Stenner is a great second choice. You still have to deal with lugging chlorine around, and worry about it losing it's punch while it sits in the tank. But once you get it dialed in it should work good for you.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: Salt or Chlorine--info from builder has me scratching my head

    My $.02, I am sure I will be flamed
    Nope. Not on this site
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    Re: Salt or Chlorine--info from builder has me scratching my head

    Haha I know y'all aren't like that. Just an expression I guess meaning I know I am going against the grain a bit. Just a little. I know Stenner also has a good following here. Great site and group of folks you have here.
    Gunite Phase || 16500 gal FreeForm 33'x18' IG, 89 perim, 491 sq ft. || Blue Surf Pebble Sheen || Pentair Intelliflo VS || Pentail C&C 520 || 2 Pentair Intellibrite 5G
    Previous Pool || 13500 gal. FreeForm 31'x19' IG, 87' perim, 481 sq ft.|| Pebble Sheen || Pentair IntelliFlo VS || Pentair C&C 420 || Pentair Intellibrite 5G

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    Re: Salt or Chlorine--info from builder has me scratching my head

    In Texas there are legitimate reasons not to have one like you pointed out, but really those reasons can be pretty much eliminated by sealing the stone and rinsing it regularly. Despite that though nobody can blame you for not going against the warranty. I still wonder why so many PBs are dead set on UV systems for outdoor pools though.
    JD - 28' Round Above Ground Pool, 17,000 Gallons. Dual speed Jacuzzi pump with cartridge filter. Dual speed 1 HP pump, Hayward S210T sand filter
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    Re: Salt or Chlorine--info from builder has me scratching my head

    Quote Originally Posted by sbpse View Post

    Perhaps it is more of a CYA thing so they don't have to replace any failed stone work for any SWCG pools? That being said none of them refused to sell us one. I would also say they didn't try to dissuade us from purchasing one either. They merely said they cannot honor the warranty on the stone and said the salt could cause damage to the softer stone.

    I know this forum is very pro SWCG but based on the warnings from the PB's, red lining their warranties and just looking through the SWCG sub-forum here we decided against it. We instead compromised and went with a Stenner pump in an attempt to avoid any trouble or questions of warranty and free choice of stone and still get almost all of the convenience of the SWCG.

    My $.02, I am sure I will be flamed
    I promise, no flames from me, just a passionate SWCG user with a $0.02 opinion to spare

    But I think you hit the nail on the head - CYA (no, not cyanuric acid, the other C.Y.A.). It seems a lot of PB's make this claim that your stonework will simply disintegrate right before your eye if you have an salt water pool. They make these claims, without any definitive proof or any publicly available information from a relevant Trade Association, and then red-line their warranties. So what's a prospective pool buyer to think - "Wow, he red-lined the warranty, I guess we're not going that route...." SWCG's have been around for many years and there has to be tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of salt water pools out there. If the problem was as dire as these PB's make them out to be, then you'd be seeing huge numbers of complaints related to saltwater pools.

    Sorry, but unless someone can show me some definitive proof that this problem is as widespread and dangerous as the PBs make it out to be, then my natural inclination is to just chalk their comments up to ignorance and a reluctance to learn something new.

    As for mark-ups on SWG's versus UV/Ozone systems, I have no idea which gives the PB the better revenue. But it's not about that, it's about what's best for the pool owner. SWG systems have proven performance and benefits for the pool owner. UV/Ozone systems for residential outdoor pools have no such proven track record. And, if you search this forum for them, I think you'll find lots of people who have had more problems than benefits as well as a good number that either discontinued using them or removed them all-together.

    I actually love the idea of a Stenner pump, but I probably would not install one simply because of how my pool equipment is setup. The bleach tank would be exposed to very high heat and lots of sun and so I'm pretty sure I'd be tearing through bleach like crazy just trying to keep up with the loss in strength. But for folks that have a different setup than me, I'm always happy to plug a Stenner purchase when it makes sense.
    Matt
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    Re: Salt or Chlorine--info from builder has me scratching my head

    No arguments on the UV system. I was just pondering on PB's not pushing a higher dollar line item.

    If I may though, our PB showed us photos of coping that was only 2 years old if I remember correctly that several stones were heavily deteriorated and they attributed that deterioration to the salt. Now, I know you will say, well those stones were soft to begin with but if the PB has the replace them that is $$ out of their pocket and they won't want to "gamble". If they even begin to think that a couple of their SW pools had to have warranty $$ paid out they are going to stop that quick. I think two of the PBs told us they used to install them a lot but then stopped as they attributed stone problems with them.

    So, I honestly believe that they think the salt causes early deterioration of the stone. I honestly believe that you think the stone was just soft. I guess we will never know for sure.

    ETA:
    I offer the above based on your comment
    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    So what's a prospective pool buyer to think
    because we were just prospective buyers.
    Last edited by sbpse; 07-30-2015 at 07:06 PM. Reason: I offer the above based on your "whats a prospective buyer to think" because we were just prospective buyers!
    Gunite Phase || 16500 gal FreeForm 33'x18' IG, 89 perim, 491 sq ft. || Blue Surf Pebble Sheen || Pentair Intelliflo VS || Pentail C&C 520 || 2 Pentair Intellibrite 5G
    Previous Pool || 13500 gal. FreeForm 31'x19' IG, 87' perim, 481 sq ft.|| Pebble Sheen || Pentair IntelliFlo VS || Pentair C&C 420 || Pentair Intellibrite 5G

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    Re: Salt or Chlorine--info from builder has me scratching my head

    At the end of the day, the thing that matters most, is what you want and what fits you best and most importantly, what Works!

    All forms of adding chlorine have their pro's and cons.
    Manually dosing bleach is a daily task that you cannot skip. Lugging jugs of chlorine from the store every shopping trip is more than some folks want to do. Others dont mind doing it. Testing and adding chlorine every day...the same. It's a personal decision that you have to make about how much "hand on" time you want to invest in your pool.

    SWG's may speed up corrosion to metal pool furniture and some forms of soft natural stone, and there are ways to mitigate that such as using pool furniture made of more rust resistant materials, and perhaps adding stone sealer to soft stones.
    SWG's are expensive up front, but vs cost of bleach over a period of years, the investment is about equal.
    SWG's will put chlorine in the pool whether you are home or not. This is the most advantageous feature of a Saltwater system.

    Liquid chlorine can be added by an automated liquid chlorinator sytem, so for the of dosing liquid chlorine, this brings using luquid vs SWG closer together in terms of convenience.

    UV systems are wothless if used outdoors. It's ludicrous of the PB to even offer it.
    Tabs add CYA to the water and after a short time, the chlorine they provide cannot overcome the build up of CYA. WIth each 10 ppm of FC aded, it trichlor also adds 6ppm of CYA. It doesnt take a mathemetician to realize that trichlor pucks will lead to the need to drain the pool so as to get the CYA back to a manageable level.

    Mineral Packs add metal to the water and can precipitate out and cause ugly stains on the pool surface.

    I have serous doubts that continued use of either Chlorine or a SWG system will lead to you having to drain the pool at some point because of the built up of salt content.
    Unless you are in the desert with no rain, most of the US gets plenty enough to dilute the salt level so that draining isnt an issue. If you end up with a filter than requires backwashing, that will also negate excessive build up.

    I live in Texas too and I have to add about 2 bags per season to maintain my salt level.

    My recommendation is do research the pro's and cons of chlorination systems and make an educated decision.

    Also TFP is not necessarily pro SWG systems. What we are, is pro - use whatever method that doesnt add detrimental other chemicals into the pool at the same time.

    That leaves out pucks and ozone and mineral packs and all of those things.

    Quote Originally Posted by alliecat View Post
    I've been wanting a swg for our future pool. I'd just about convinced hubby (even though EVERY builder tries to talk us out of it). The other night a builder really got into the topic and was very impressed with my limited knowledge of pool chemistry. I told him my concerns about trichlor tabs, cya levels, etc, and he attempted to allay my fears saying that a uv system combined with tabs and/or "dichlor" tabs would keep these problems at bay. He said eventually the cya in any pool even salt would be irreversibly high and require draining. I hadn't heard this before so I didn't have a rebuttal! What do yall think?


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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: Salt or Chlorine--info from builder has me scratching my head

    <Yippee makes note to self that if ever we build a pool down in Texas, to use a SWG and stamped/stained concrete>
    My Amazon Smile for November12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
    Our pool build--> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard Skippy's Cheap Pool Cooler -->Skippy's New Fountain

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    Re: Salt or Chlorine--info from builder has me scratching my head

    Quote Originally Posted by sbpse View Post
    ETA:
    I offer the above based on your comment because we were just prospective buyers.

    Thanks for the insight. I appreciate our discussion but don't want to hijack the OP's thread with a side-conversation. I'll end my part by saying I just find it sad that some PB's distort the market on SWCG's with such general claims (scare-tactics, I would call them) based on anecdotal evidence at best and then basically put the proverbial gun to the buyers head by holding the warranty hostage. It's the old Henry Ford quote -

    Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.
    But I agree that, to them, the cost of warranty coverage outweighs any extra money they would make selling the SWCG systems.
    Matt
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    Re: Salt or Chlorine--info from builder has me scratching my head

    Quote Originally Posted by YippeeSkippy View Post
    <Yippee makes note to self that if ever we build a pool down in Texas, to use a SWG and stamped/stained concrete>
    That's exactly what I did....
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