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Thread: Any special concerns about using SWGs in Texas (Austin area)?

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    Any special concerns about using SWGs in Texas (Austin area)?

    We've been talking to pool builders in the Austin, TX area, and are surprised about general opinion they have about salt water pool. We have a salt water pool in Florida (lived at the Florida home for 3 years, and still have that home as our rental property now). In fact, we converted from chlorine-based pool to salt-water-based pool and love it. I felt comfortable as a DIYer maintaining chemicals in our salt water pool (and had no trouble maintaining back when it was chlorine-based as well). Uses/purchases TFTKits as recommended by this forum.

    With that said, is there really any special concerns about having a salt water pool in Austin, TX area? I wonder if I should chalk it up to just regional difference of opinion toward salt water pool in general, between Florida and Texas, and that it's not due to certain climate effects that puts salt water pools at a disadvantage.

    Just want to confirm before I spend money on having a pool built for our Texas home.

    Thanks in advance!
    Florida-style enclosure (lanai) housing 18,000-gallon outdoor in-ground salt pool/spa, PeebleTec finish. Spa water waterfalls into pool. Hayward model 17502 cartridge filter system, Hayward SP3400VSP EcoStar Variable-Speed Pool Pump. One skimmer, Baracuda Zodiac MX-8 cleaner. Palm Harbor, Florida

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Any special concerns about using SWGs in Texas (Austin area)?

    We have seen quite a bit of this lately in the south-west area with PBs suddenly denouncing salt water pools as "evil". I think it's because salt pools are so easy to maintain and the SWGs are getting so cheap that the profit margins are shrinking and the PBs can make more money selling you all the nonsense "low chlorine" mineral systems.

    In more arid climates (heck, I live in the desert), salt does pose some additional cautions. In Florida, you get lots of rain (LOTS of rain) and so any splash-out gets rinsed away and diluted pretty quickly. In dryer climates, splash out will penetrate stone work and tend to evaporate before getting rinsed away and so salt can build up on stone work around a pool. The added salt to a porous, soft stone (think limestone materials) is know to degrade the stone surfaces faster than otherwise would happen. However, we're not talking instant, overnight collapse of stone work; so your flagstone coping might only last 15 years before getting shabby as opposed to 20-25 years. For some, that's good enough. As well, there are techniques to protect stone surfaces using high quality masonry sealers but that does add an on-going cost of having to reseal surfaces every couple of years or so.

    So I say, if you want a salt water pool (which, by the way, is a chlorine pool), demand one. If the PB refuses or tries to red-line your warranty because of it, then move on to the next PB who is willing to do what the customer wants.
    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 woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Any special concerns about using SWGs in Texas (Austin area)?

    It's simply amazing how so many builders know so little about SWGs. It's your pool, not his!
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
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    Re: Any special concerns about using SWGs in Texas (Austin area)?

    SWG is the closest you can get to a maintenance free pool. I think that some builders in the southwest don't like the fact that salt water can cause degradation of stonework. They end up getting call backs and warranty claims years latter. They don't like the stale call backs, warranty claims and people trashing their names over a salt system they installed seven or eight years ago.

    As Matt points out above Florida is different than Texas. More rain means less salt in the stone.

    If you keep the stonework away from the pool it will do better.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Any special concerns about using SWGs in Texas (Austin area)?

    All of Texas and Austin in particular, pool builders seem to preach against SWG pools. In Texas, stone that is very soft and very porous is very cheap. It's also very easy to work with and it really looks terrific. So pool builders (and many of their customers) love it. The bad part is it's also very prone to salt damage, particularly in a hot dry climate. So it makes a perfect recipe for problems.

    When my pool was built, my PB said "stone or salt, take your pick. You can have either, but not both." That's maybe just a bit of an overstatement. Just be aware that salt will damage all stone in time. We built as a salt pool without the use of any stone. The concrete pool deck is even acrylic coated to protect it against the salt. Meantime, I see my neighbor's flagstone deck flaking and eroding into a powder after ten years exposure to his salt pool.
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Re: Any special concerns about using SWGs in Texas (Austin area)?

    Those of us that have been here a long time have watched this discussion sort of "mature"

    At first there were some real flamers who insisted that Salt was ruining their pool and then equal flamers telling them they were crazy.

    As the argument progressed, it became obvious that the soft limestone used in Texas and Oklahoma pools deteriorated at a greater rate than most other stonework available around the country so it has dawned on most that it is a regional issue.

    Because that great-looking soft limestone became a part of more and more pool design in the Southwest, the problem showed up even more.

    My uneducated guess is that salt will affect most all stone.......but to widely varying degrees. Limestone is perhaps the most porous stone commonly used.......if everyone would just use granite, all would be well.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: Any special concerns about using SWGs in Texas (Austin area)?

    +1 for using SWG. Even if you have soft stone around the pool, it can be sealed to help protect it. Well worth it if you ask me.
    A SWG is just easy.
    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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    Re: Any special concerns about using SWGs in Texas (Austin area)?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post

    My uneducated guess is that salt will affect most all stone.......but to widely varying degrees. Limestone is perhaps the most porous stone commonly used.......if everyone would just use granite, all would be well.
    Now wouldn't that make for some really really gorgeous pools!
    Marla
    No longer living vicariously through other people's pool builds. Pool build is complete on my IG SWCG pool, approx 10,000 gallons. All Jandy equipment - VS 1.5 hp pump, 580 cartridge filter, AquaPure 1400 salt cell, AquaLink PDA system. Dolphin m500. PebbleSheen Blue Surf with shells and beads added. TF-100 w/ SpeedStir. A Houston Pool Build Inside the Loop

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Any special concerns about using SWGs in Texas (Austin area)?

    In Dallas it all depends on the builder, some love them and some hate them. Some warn about flagstone and some say go for it. I am on my second saltwater pool and I wouldn't have it any other way.
    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: Any special concerns about using SWGs in Texas (Austin area)?

    FWIW, I've had a salt water pool and limestone coping since 2008 and have not seen a problem. But we get a lot of rain, relative to the southwest. So YMMV
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Any special concerns about using SWGs in Texas (Austin area)?

    You can also do a search of the forum to find Austin pool builds. I know there have been several. Probably some that are salt water, but I don't remember. Just send the OP a PM and I'm sure he/she would be happy to help you with builder recs if needed.
    Marla
    No longer living vicariously through other people's pool builds. Pool build is complete on my IG SWCG pool, approx 10,000 gallons. All Jandy equipment - VS 1.5 hp pump, 580 cartridge filter, AquaPure 1400 salt cell, AquaLink PDA system. Dolphin m500. PebbleSheen Blue Surf with shells and beads added. TF-100 w/ SpeedStir. A Houston Pool Build Inside the Loop

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    Re: Any special concerns about using SWGs in Texas (Austin area)?

    Saying a non swg pool is not a salt water pool is almost like saying a SWG pool is not a chlorine pool. Nearly every form of chlorination, pH control and even calcium add salt to some degree.... Even most fill water sources have some measurable amount of salt.

    I agree that soft stone is not optimal around SWG pools but more should be said about lack of maintenance and poor water chemistry. Salt can be just as much of an issue in a non SWG pool.

    With that said, every pool I've built has had a SWG and I don't see that changing until something better comes along.
    -Brian-
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    skylar18's Avatar
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    Re: Any special concerns about using SWGs in Texas (Austin area)?

    I am in Austin and just finished my third season with salt and flagstone. No issues yet but I seal the stone every year. Can't imagine having a pool without a SWCG.
    43 x 19 Gunite Pool w/ spa and fire pit, 19,000 gallons, Pebble Sheen Aqua Blue finish, Jandy 2 HP VS E-pump, Jandy 580 sq ft Cartridge Filter, Jandy LXI 400k Heater, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWCG, 4 Jandy LED color lights, Aqualink PDA and Iaqualink, Polaris 280 with Booster Pump. Polaris 9550 Robot Cleaner. 1 HP Silencer Air Blower for Spa http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...NAL-INSPECTION

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    Re: Any special concerns about using SWGs in Texas (Austin area)?

    If you recently bought a house outside Dallas with a SWG and soft stone coping
    what would you recommend to keep it in decent shape ?
    Pool inspector warned that it was hard on the stone and recommended switching away from SWG

    If sealer, what to apply, how to prep, how to apply and how often ?

    I have to get the plaster redone this year
    I was considering redoing the fiber lights at the same time
    I have no idea what the cost to redo the coping would be
    Doug - Purchased 1/2016, 1995 house with 16x31 ft, ~23000 gallon Gunite pool w 11x7 spa, 3 Pentair VS pumps, a boost pump for polaris 3900 and a BaduŽ Jet super-sport swim jet pump, 1.5 hp blower, a CL460 Cartridge filter. TF-100 test kit. Aquapure SWG, iAqualink - Lots to learn. New Aquabright, Jandy LEDs, CMP LED Sheers.

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    Re: Any special concerns about using SWGs in Texas (Austin area)?

    I just completed a pool build with Cody Pools in Austin in October 2015. My designer and foreman were both very experienced. Randy, the foreman, said he has built over 1000 pools in the Austin area and I believe it - I even had the random experience of being dropped off at home by an Uber and the driver seeing the Cody Pools sign and asking me if Randy was building my pool.

    That said, they both said that they had seen real damage from the salt water on the coping. They had little to lose (if I recall, they said the warranty wouldn't extend to the coping if we did SWCG) and they stood to gain from selling me one more piece of equipment if they had recommended the SWCG. They would do it if we really wanted it, but dissuaded us heavily from doing it, so we didn't.

    I do have to say I'm a touch envious of the people with SWCGs, but I haven't had to haul that much chlorine yet. If it becomes too much I would think about some kind of in-line chlorinator, but I haven't found any good sources of the 15 gallon chlorine hoppers locally.
    Pool: 16,000 gallons, 16x31, 500SqFt gunite pool, White Pebbletec interior, built by Cody Pools. Pentair Intelliflo VS-3050 pump, Pentair Clean & Clear 420 Cartridge Filter, In-line chlor with Ultra UV, PV3 Infloor cleaning, Pentair Easytouch-P4 control. TF-100
    Spa: 525 Gallons, Coast fiberglass spa of unknown vintage and suspect previous care with a 2-speed main pump and a blower motor, both 4HP. 3-step bromine sanitized.

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    Re: Any special concerns about using SWGs in Texas (Austin area)?

    ive read here and elsewhere that the coping materials available here are more porous than other locations and thats what causes some of the issues
    Doug - Purchased 1/2016, 1995 house with 16x31 ft, ~23000 gallon Gunite pool w 11x7 spa, 3 Pentair VS pumps, a boost pump for polaris 3900 and a BaduŽ Jet super-sport swim jet pump, 1.5 hp blower, a CL460 Cartridge filter. TF-100 test kit. Aquapure SWG, iAqualink - Lots to learn. New Aquabright, Jandy LEDs, CMP LED Sheers.

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    Re: Any special concerns about using SWGs in Texas (Austin area)?

    There are many different options for coping that are available everywhere. It just that soft, porous stone is so attractive, so easy to work with, and so very cheap in Texas. Choose cast cement, a very hard stone, tile, or like I have, no coping at all, and you will never worry about salt damage to a coping.
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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