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Thread: Salt water Generators

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    Salt water Generators

    I'm brand new to this forum, so sorry... my questions are so very basic.

    We bought a house last fall that has a 15' above ground pool with a cartridge filter and using chlorine tablets for treatment. We drained it down a bit as they instructed us and covered it for the winter as they recommended. To open it for the summer, I would like to put in a SWG because of skin sensitivity to the chloramines.

    When I asked about SWGs at the pool company that installed the pool, they strongly discouraged me and recommended Softswim (Baquifil?)as an alternative to chlorine. They said SWGs "will corrode your above ground pool in months", "too much chlorine is generated", "doesn't work well for above ground pools". They also suggested UV/ozone but said it would cost over $2000. None of the is consistent with what I am starting to research.

    So my basic questions:
    Are SWGs a good alternative to chlorine? Best Brands (Haywood vs. Pentair?)
    Who do I believe whether corrosion is an issue for above ground pools?
    I have read that a sacrificial anode reduces the impact of corrosion. Is that true?
    Do I need to drain the pool completely for fresh clean water to start? Pool company said that might cause the above ground pool to collapse.
    18' above ground, , Hayward Power Flo LX pump, Rainbow Lifeguard cartridge filter, newly purchase CircuPool RJ+30 SWG, TF100 test kit and trusty speed stir, solar blanket cover (in hopes of warming the pool up before August in VT!)

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Salt water Generators

    First, please understand that a salt water pool is a chlorine pool. A salt water chlorine generator takes the minute amount of salt in the water and through a chemical reaction creates chlorine. The exact same chlorine you get in a bottle of bleach.

    So, ignore those type comments.

    The salt level is minute. Most people,can't even taste it in the water.

    If they are trying to sell you with scare tactics, walk away from them.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Salt water Generators

    Sounds like somebody needs to sell a uv/ozone system to me, which we don't even recommend for an outdoor pool. Plenty of folks on here with an above ground pool and SWG for years, and years, and years....................
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
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    Re: Salt water Generators

    Welcome to TFP!

    I think it would be in your best interest to read a bit on the ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry.

    Chloramines are not an issue in a well balanced pool. To keep the pool water balanced, a quality test kit is required so you get accurate test results, see the test kit link in my signature for the kits we recommend.

    Once you understand the water chemistry then make a decision on how best to chlorinate your pool. We are here to help so you don't get "Pool Stored" as your post is suggesting is about to happen.
    16k gal plaster with raised spa, Jandy DEV60 filter, 2 HP 2-speed SHPF Jandy Stealth pump
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    Test Kits . Pool Math . Chlorine/CYA Chart . The SLAM Process

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Salt water Generators

    Welcome, Molly!
    Quote Originally Posted by mollyo View Post
    So my basic questions:
    Are SWGs a good alternative to chlorine? Best Brands (Haywood vs. Pentair?)
    Yes and yes. SWGs just generate Sodium hypochlorite right at the pool instead of at a big factory somewhere. It's the exact same process just on a smaller scale and you eliminate jugs and pallets and delivery trucks and warehouses.
    Who do I believe whether corrosion is an issue for above ground pools?
    Use the search box here. I suspect you'll find the word corrosion is almost always used in the same context you're using it: a warning and scare tactic. The exception is soft sandstone coping, which isn't a concern in your above-ground pool.
    I have read that a sacrificial anode reduces the impact of corrosion. Is that true?
    I don't know.
    Do I need to drain the pool completely for fresh clean water to start? Pool company said that might cause the above ground pool to collapse.
    Possibly and yes. If you've been chlorinating with pucks, it's almost certain that the CYA has built up far higher than you want and the easiest way to lower it is to replace water. The pool collapsing is possible, especially if a good wind kicks up while it's empty. But you don't want to empty a liner pool all the way anyway, or the liner may shift or wrinkle and you'll never get it right again. Like resticking scotch tape after you've loosened it. It just never goes back perfectly. How much top drain depends entirely on test results you can trust -- meaning yours, not the pool store.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Re: Salt water Generators

    Welcome to TFP

    I have an above ground intex pool and SWG works great..

    I like to tell people salt will take 1 year off your pool and equipment, so if they say your pool will last 20 years, it will now last 19 it will probably still last 20 years though...

    Here is a good chart for SWG, they are a little bias towards cucupool but I also love my curcupool SWG

    Full Market Comparison of Salt Water Chlorine Generators for Swimming Pools
    Pool: Intex 16x32 15000 gal, 2 speed 340042, Pentair CC320 Filter, CircuPool SJ45 Salt System, Intermatic PE653RC; Hot Tub: 650 Gal SWG Megachlor
    links: pool school * Recommended-Levels * SLAM * CYA chart * Test kits * How To Post Pictures * Poolmath * OCLT ** Support your website if we helped you :) **

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Salt water Generators

    Hi Molly,

    Good job on trusting your gut and knowing when someone is trying to BS you!! So many people get duped all the time about how "destructive" and "difficult" salt is and then they sold a bag of magic beans (UV/Ozone, minerals, etc) which ends up making their pool ownership miserable.

    Baquacil

    We have an entire sub-forum dedicated to baquacil and it is filled with post after post of people switching their pools AWAY from baquacil and back to chlorine. This is because Baquacil usually works well for about the first year and then, years 2 and later the problems start creeping in - white mold, pink slime, cloudy water, etc, etc. Not to mention the chemicals are ridiculously expensive with some pool owners paying thousands of dollars per season for the baquacil products. Stay away from Baquacil!!

    Corrosion

    Let me address this issue. Unless the pool manufacturer specifically prohibits you from using salt water in your pool (read the warranty), salt water pools are not anymore or less prone to corrosion than non-salt water pools. Even the term "salt water pool" is misleading - all pools that use any kind of chlorinating liquid or solid ARE salt water pools because the end result of ALL chlorine chemical reactions is for the chlorine to become chloride (aka, salt). People that convert their pools to salt water are often amazed at how high their initial chloride readings are from years of using bleach, acid, etc, in keeping their pools sanitized and balance. It is not at all unusual for a pool that is open all year (but maybe only used in the summer months) to see it's chloride levels go up by over 1000ppm per year. So the notion that somehow pools with bleach/puck chlorination are better off than SWG pools is complete nonsense.

    Additionally, the biggest determinant of corrosion is not salt (at least not at the levels SWGs operate at), it's pH. Pools corrode because people don't keep their water balanced and in the proper chemical ranges. Low pH (pH < 7) is far and away more corrosive to metal surfaces than salt concentration. So, if you keep your pool water chemistry properly balanced, you'll have nothing to fear from salt.

    Now, galvanic corrosion (the connecting of dissimilar metals in a conductive medium like pool water) can happen in any pool but usually happens in pools that have a lot metal in their construction and/or pools that use dissimilar metals in contact with one another (like aluminum liner tracks in contact with steel pool wall). A zinc sacrificial anode can help mitigate this problem and is best attached to the metal walls of the pool if there is a suitable point at which to clamp it to the frame. The connection needs to be secure and low resistance so if it's a powder-coated metal frame, you need to find a point where there is bare metal to connect a copper wire to (use proper wire clamps) and then attach it to a zinc anode buried in moist soil. Alternatively, one can use the bonding wire at the equipment pad to connect an anode to but it is always best practice to have your sacrificial anode connected as close as possible to the metal you want to protect. For example, metal boat hulls like those in the Navy have zinc sacrificial anodes welded directly to the metal hulls; this insures that the zinc corrodes before the boat hull does. In your case, a simple solid copper wire attaching the zinc anode to the metal pool frame will be totally adequate.
    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: Salt water Generators

    Thank you so much for all this great info. I just ordered my TF100 test kit today and will pursue SWCG as i hoped. Seems that my area pool stores are only interested in selling chemicals. Will pursue the SWG online and hope we can work out the installation piece. This pool (that came with our new house) has a cartridge filter that I assume was purchased with the pool, 2011. Am wondering if we should just try it with a SWCG system we install. Are there pros and cons to different filter systems that are perhaps better with SWCG.

    I am soon grateful for this site. Thrilled with all the great feedback from so many. Big kudos to Troublefreepools!!!!
    18' above ground, , Hayward Power Flo LX pump, Rainbow Lifeguard cartridge filter, newly purchase CircuPool RJ+30 SWG, TF100 test kit and trusty speed stir, solar blanket cover (in hopes of warming the pool up before August in VT!)

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    Re: Salt water Generators

    Thank you so much for your feedback. Big Kudos to all you folks at Troublefreepools. What a difference the right info makes!!

    I appreciate your link to the SWCG options. Looks like a reputable site from which to order. I ordered my TF100 today and am pursuing getting the generator online since I don't trust my area pool stores at this point. Hopefully can work out the installation.
    18' above ground, , Hayward Power Flo LX pump, Rainbow Lifeguard cartridge filter, newly purchase CircuPool RJ+30 SWG, TF100 test kit and trusty speed stir, solar blanket cover (in hopes of warming the pool up before August in VT!)

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    Re: Salt water Generators

    Thank you for the link to SWCG. Seems like a reputable site to order from. I don't trust my local pool stores at this point with the misinformation they have been giving me.
    I ordered my TF100 kit today and will probably order SWCG online. Hope we can work out the install.

    Sooooo appreciate all the help from TRP!!! What a difference the right info makes. Hats off to all of you
    18' above ground, , Hayward Power Flo LX pump, Rainbow Lifeguard cartridge filter, newly purchase CircuPool RJ+30 SWG, TF100 test kit and trusty speed stir, solar blanket cover (in hopes of warming the pool up before August in VT!)

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    Propbndr's Avatar
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    Re: Salt water Generators

    If someone in your family is handy with tools, installation of the swg itself is actually fairly simple. The generator is "hard piped" after the filter along with a flow switch. Both are connected to the control box. If you don't have a filter house, be sure the swg setup you buy has a weather proof control housing. The only thing you have to know before you buy is what voltage the electric supply is to your pump as that is usually where you get the required power from and the number of gallons your pool is. If your pump plugs into an outlet, then you can do the same with the swg. You size the unit you buy by the size of your pool. You want to size the unit for at least 1.5 times the size of your pool. Otherwise you may have to run the swg at 100% all the time.
    Steve
    32 X 16 inground, 17260 gallons, Vinyl Liner, Triton II TR-60 filter,
    Sta-Rite 1hp pump Model #MPRA6E-147L, CircuPool SI-30 Plus SWG, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Propbndr's Avatar
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    Re: Salt water Generators

    As a side note, many swg owners install a timer to control how long the pump and / or swg run during the day. For example, once I have everything balanced, my setup filter and swg run for about 4 hours per day with the swg set between 40 and 50 %. That can save you big bucks on your power bill.
    Steve
    32 X 16 inground, 17260 gallons, Vinyl Liner, Triton II TR-60 filter,
    Sta-Rite 1hp pump Model #MPRA6E-147L, CircuPool SI-30 Plus SWG, TF-100 Test Kit

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