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Thread: Why doesn't everyone use a SWCG

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    Why doesn't everyone use a SWCG

    My pool is about 8-9 years old and I got a Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWCG. Given the simplicity of a SWCG and the almost maintenance free aspect, why doesn't everyone use them? I can understand cost but my annual chlorine "cost" is a couple of bags of salt and a bit of CYA when my pool is opened in May, plus a new $500 cell every five years or so. So is the all in cost any different, especially when I don't have to go to the store and lug jugs of bleach?

    What's not to love? Am I missing something? Why futz around with liquid chlorine? It may be frowned upon at TFP but testing once or twice a week is enough with a SWCG when your pool is properly balanced - I rarely add anything else.
    Vinyl 18'x36' in-ground 100,000 L, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWCG, Jandy Lite2 heater, StaRite System3 filter, Evac tube solar heating panels

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    n240sxguy's Avatar
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    Re: Why doesn't everyone use a SWCG

    About the only time it's not a good idea is when soft stone is used around the pool. All other times, and even with soft stone if you are vigilant about keeping it sealed and washed off, it is an awesome convenience. I would never have a pool without one.


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Why doesn't everyone use a SWCG

    Everyone has their reasons. Many folks like the simplicity of jug-dumping. Many folks don't want the added complexity of more equipment at their pump pad.

    As you will find out soon enough, SWGs are not as "simple" as you think. When you add an SWG to your pool, many times you will find that your manual bleach additions go away or diminish but your manual acid additions increase. SWGs tend to require more careful attention paid to pH, CH and TA than does a pool using manual chlorine additions. The cells require maintenance and they wear out.

    So it's not the simplistic picture you think it is. Don't get me wrong, I own an SWG and love it. But it's not cost-free or problem-free by any stretch.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Why doesn't everyone use a SWCG

    One of these years I'll take the SWCG plunge but with my short swim season, I only spend about $100 on chlorine and acid every year. Disposing of jugs gets tiresome... but I'd need a cell to last 5 years or more to make sense from a pure financial side, but the convenience would also be great.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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    Re: Why doesn't everyone use a SWCG

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    Everyone has their reasons. Many folks like the simplicity of jug-dumping. Many folks don't want the added complexity of more equipment at their pump pad.

    As you will find out soon enough, SWGs are not as "simple" as you think.
    I have had a pool with SWCG for 8-9 years. I have had cells die and I had some issues maintaining CYA levels last year but that wasn't too hard to sort out. And when my SWCG was down for a few months I found jug dumping way more work and potentially fatal to clothes you are wearing due to backsplash.

    I have a vinyl pool so my understanding is that CH doesn't matter. My TA stays around 80 and I never have to adjust other than at the beginning of the season. I add CYA at the beginning of the season and keep an eye on it every week or two but it doesn't change to much. So IMHO it is pretty much maintenance free, after the initial balancing at the beginning of the season. It may be even easier if you don't have a seasonal pool.

    I agree that it isn't cost free but as long as the cell is operating it is pretty much problem-free. I didn't discover TFP until three years ago but before that I added CYA on the advice of my pool shop and tested for FC with strips and literally did nothing else. I never had issues with the pool turning green - it has always been crystal clear. When the test strips showed no chlorine and my SWCG had an error code I knew that my cell was dead.

    The only real hassle I have had with my SWCG was having to change the unions since Jandy changed the size of them a few years back. That was a PITA.
    Vinyl 18'x36' in-ground 100,000 L, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWCG, Jandy Lite2 heater, StaRite System3 filter, Evac tube solar heating panels

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: Why doesn't everyone use a SWCG

    I love my SWG. Wouldnt have a pool without one.
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Why doesn't everyone use a SWCG

    I suffer from extremely high CH, so I'm constantly replacing small amounts of water and using it on the lawn. Here's something you might not be able to grasp in Canuckistan: my pool never closes. It never freezes where I live. On the one or two days a year we have frost, it's gone twenty minutes after sunrise. We don't lower the water level over the winter, and we don't get much rain to dilute things - way below average the last few years. So CH builds and builds and builds and draining the whole pool is a really expensive proposition. So a few inches at a time is what I do.

    If I switch to salt, I'll be salting the grass (It doesn't like that) and losing CYA and salt along with the high CH. Then I get to buy more salt and CYA. Right now I let CYA go down and use pucks when I leave town and it comes back up. I've read here often enough that the cost between bleach and a SWG over the life of the cell is about the same. What do I gain? A small amount of convenience and a lot of grief. I'm outside smoking anyway. It's no big deal to tote a jug over and pour in a quart.

    Adding a SWG would also mean cutting into plumbing that is already a tight fit and doesn't leak a drop. Why mess with success?

    And you hardly ever see a thread that says "My jug of bleach died" or "What does code XXX mean on my Clorox?"
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
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    Re: Why doesn't everyone use a SWCG

    Quote Originally Posted by wayner View Post

    I have a vinyl pool so my understanding is that CH doesn't matter. My TA stays around 80 and I never have to adjust other than at the beginning of the season. I add CYA at the beginning of the season and keep an eye on it every week or two but it doesn't change to much. So IMHO it is pretty much maintenance free, after the initial balancing at the beginning of the season. It may be even easier if you don't have a seasonal pool.
    CH may not mean a whole lot to vinyl but it is CRITICAL to an SWG. SWGs have very high pH levels inside the cell because of hydrogen generation. Therefore even TFP recommended levels of CH and TA can easily cause scaling inside the cell. Borates can moderate that effect greatly but one still has to be concerned with CH in the SWG even when the pool is vinyl.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Why doesn't everyone use a SWCG

    Good point about the lawn. We would like the convenience of a SWG but without the worry to our plants and trees. That's why I'm looking to automate the liquid chlorine dosing by using a stenner pump.
    28,000 gallon freeform, Stonescapes Tropics Blue Minipebble with abalone, 3.5' to 8.5' depth. 2 skimmers, 5 returns, dedicated vacuum port, Dolphin Z5 robot. All Pentair equip: EasyTouch 8, IC60 SWG, VS pump, 520 Cartridge Filter, 3 Intellibrites, 2 Color Cascade Bubblers. TurboTwister Slide and 8' Salt System Jump Board. TF-100. My Jan-Mar 2016 build:
    Waxahachie, TX Owner Build - A race to beat the baby!!

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    Re: Why doesn't everyone use a SWCG

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post

    And you hardly ever see a thread that says "My jug of bleach died" or "What does code XXX mean on my Clorox?"
    Richard,

    Hahahahaha!

    When your Clorox bottle throws you a 15001 code, you know Walmart has done you wrong



    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Why doesn't everyone use a SWCG

    Quote Originally Posted by Divin Dave View Post
    I love my SWG. Wouldnt have a pool without one.
    +1 on that!
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    Re: Why doesn't everyone use a SWCG

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    I suffer from extremely high CH, so I'm constantly replacing small amounts of water and using it on the lawn. Here's something you might not be able to grasp in Canuckistan: my pool never closes. It never freezes where I live. On the one or two days a year we have frost, it's gone twenty minutes after sunrise. We don't lower the water level over the winter, and we don't get much rain to dilute things - way below average the last few years. So CH builds and builds and builds and draining the whole pool is a really expensive proposition. So a few inches at a time is what I do.
    I believe the correct term is "Soviet Canuckistan" Why does the CH build? Is it the calcium in the gunnite leeching into the pool over time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    If I switch to salt, I'll be salting the grass (It doesn't like that) and losing CYA and salt along with the high CH.
    Every hear of Seashore Paspalum Grass? It is used on golf courses in areas without freshwater for irrigation (like small Caribbean islands) and it might be an option given the scarcity of water in CA.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    And you hardly ever see a thread that says "My jug of bleach died" or "What does code XXX mean on my Clorox?"
    That is true. You make some very good points that I was not aware of.
    Vinyl 18'x36' in-ground 100,000 L, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWCG, Jandy Lite2 heater, StaRite System3 filter, Evac tube solar heating panels

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Why doesn't everyone use a SWCG

    CH builds because water evaporates but calcium stays in the pool. You add more water with more calcium in it, repeat. Same for salt, CYA, borates. None of those evaporate.
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    Re: Why doesn't everyone use a SWCG

    In the southwestern US it is not unusual for municipal water supplies to have CH levels well in excess of 200ppm. Much of the water here in the southwest comes from surface source (ie, the Colorado River) which is high in CH. In my part of town (Tucson, AZ), my fill water is never lower than 280ppm CH.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Why doesn't everyone use a SWCG

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    CH may not mean a whole lot to vinyl but it is CRITICAL to an SWG. SWGs have very high pH levels inside the cell because of hydrogen generation. Therefore even TFP recommended levels of CH and TA can easily cause scaling inside the cell. Borates can moderate that effect greatly but one still has to be concerned with CH in the SWG even when the pool is vinyl.
    I hadn't thought about that. The recommended CH level on TFP is "CH 0-300 (Don't add)". So what is the correct level if you have a SWCG? I would assume that lower is better, but how do you lower the CH other than draining? I haven't tested it in a few weeks but looking back at my worksheet (whenever I test I enter the results on an Excel worksheet on my phone) my CH tends to be 50 +/- 10. So maybe I should pay more attention to CH but given that it is already low and doesn't fluctuate then do I really have to worry about it?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    CH builds because water evaporates but calcium stays in the pool. You add more water with more calcium in it, repeat. Same for salt, CYA, borates. None of those evaporate.
    Ok, I get it but I guess this is only an issue if you have high CH in your fill water and is less of an issue for those of us that drain a portion of our pool at the end of the season. Isn't lack of evaporation of salt and CYA a good thing as it means that you don't have to worry about these readings fluctuating? Doesn't that make a SWCG even more maintenance free?
    Vinyl 18'x36' in-ground 100,000 L, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWCG, Jandy Lite2 heater, StaRite System3 filter, Evac tube solar heating panels

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    Re: Why doesn't everyone use a SWCG

    Quote Originally Posted by wayner View Post
    I hadn't thought about that. The recommended CH level on TFP is "CH 0-300 (Don't add)". So what is the correct level if you have a SWCG? I would assume that lower is better, but how do you lower the CH other than draining? I haven't tested it in a few weeks but looking back at my worksheet (whenever I test I enter the results on an Excel worksheet on my phone) my CH tends to be 50 +/- 10. So maybe I should pay more attention to CH but given that it is already low and doesn't fluctuate then do I really have to worry about it?
    The answer is - whatever combination of CH, pH and TA produces a negative CSI. Those of us who practice TFPC method in the more arid, calcium rich climates with year-round pools absolutely rely on CSI calculations to guide our chemical dosing. CH just rises and we compensate with pH and TA adjustments. Eventually, if the CH gets high enough, you either RO filter your water or you do a partial drain and fill.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Why doesn't everyone use a SWCG

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    Those of us who practice TFPC method in the more arid, calcium rich climates with year-round pools absolutely rely on CSI calculations to guide our chemical dosing.
    But for those of us in cool weather climates that aren't calcium rich does this mean that we don't need to worry about CSI? Especially if we have a vinyl pool?

    I am not trying to be argumentative, I am just wondering if this is something I should be calculating?
    Vinyl 18'x36' in-ground 100,000 L, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWCG, Jandy Lite2 heater, StaRite System3 filter, Evac tube solar heating panels

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Why doesn't everyone use a SWCG

    Yes, you should manage your CSI to keep scaling in your SWG to a minimum.
    TFP Moderator
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Re: Why doesn't everyone use a SWCG

    Quote Originally Posted by wayner View Post
    But for those of us in cool weather climates that aren't calcium rich does this mean that we don't need to worry about CSI? Especially if we have a vinyl pool?

    I am not trying to be argumentative, I am just wondering if this is something I should be calculating?
    Negative CSI won't leech Calcium from the vinyl walls the way it will a plaster pool. Positive CSI can still lead to scale formation on the vinyl. And you can't loosen it with a stainless steel brush, either. Try the search function to learn about CSI. It's quite a popular topic.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Why doesn't everyone use a SWCG

    Well, me personally, I have been on the fence... I was very infatuated with going salt a month or so ago... I had not been in a saltwater pool in quite a while and the though of not having to get jugs and pour every night sounded appealing. I went on vacation and ended up swimming in a bunch of saltwater pools and honestly I didn't really care for it. apparently I let a lot of water into my mouth when I swim and the taste of the saltwater is just awful. This is from a guy that LOVES salt... seriously you have never seen someone put as much salt on their food as I do.

    I am still on the fence... however a big roadblock is initial investment. I'm looking at probably 850+ dollars to convert. I could get a doseing machine for chlorine but I don't really have room for a tank so.

    I probably will go salt eventually, just because of the limited pad space. Maybe I will learn to like the taste.
    7-10 year old In ground 20,000 gal, Aquabright ecofinish W/ Spa, waterfall and infinity jet, 60 sq foot DE filter, Single speed pump, Racer cleaner

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