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Thread: Is a SWG best for overly sensitive/itchy skin?

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    selkieinme's Avatar
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    Is a SWG best for overly sensitive/itchy skin?

    After years of "begging" for a pool, I have finally put down a deposit on a 24' round Radiant and I am beyond excited even though it may be July before the pool gets in! Due to some serious skin issues, I am also more than a little nervous about spending this kind of money and possibly not being able to swim in my pool. Let me explain.... I have a gorgeous 1.5 surface acre swimming pond (man made, aerated, but not a natural swimming pool so there's no filtration) that I swam in for years but at some point, I started itching like mad every time I got out of it (no, we don't now have ducks in our pond) - we're talking insane, claw your skin off itching! I started taking Benadryl every time I went in and that only took the edge off. Nothing else has helped. It takes a good 15 minutes for the itching to stop and it's so maddening that I very rarely swim now. We have a hot tub and I have no problems with that (we use the Carefee Spa system & no chemicals) so I assumed it was just something in my pond. However, I swam in the ocean last summer and had one of the worst spells I have ever had when I came out of there so now I'm really paranoid!

    My thought is that there is something in the natural bodies of water that is bothering me and that the filtered water of a pool won't be an issue so I am keeping my finger's crossed. However, I do want to choose the best system to help me avoid potential problems. I went into this convinced I wanted a SWG as it would be more gentle on my skin but when I explained my reasoning to the pool guy, he started talking to me about ProTeam Supreme Plus. He said he had another customer who came in with the same sort of skin issues who, like me, really wanted a pool and was looking for something that would work for her. He set her up with the ProTeam Supreme Plus and it has worked out wonderfully for her (I'm getting her name and number) and she just has a regular system and not a SW one.

    Has anyone else here experienced this sort of itching or do you know anyone who has? Do you think a SWG would be a beneficial addition? If so, why (pool guys always seem to want a reason, lol)? What other benefits are there to a SWG? (For example: Is the chlorine produced by a SWG a "healthier" chlorine? Does it allow for lower chlorine levels? Is it easier and/or less expensive to maintain? Etc.) And lastly (I think), what would you recommend for an SWG for this pool? Would a Hayward Aqua Troll RJ SWG work? I've pretty much maxed out my budget so I need to keep the cost of an SWG down, even if it means replacing it in a few years.

    If you think I should post my questions to a different forum, please let me know! I've never had a pool before so I'm a total newbie. I absolutely LOVE to swim (hence, my user name!) and I cannot imagine going the rest of my life without being able to so I'm really hoping getting a pool and the right system will allow me to. Thanks in advance for your advice!

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    cowboycasey's Avatar
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    Re: Is a SWG best for overly sensitive/itchy skin?

    Welcome to TFP, I see a test coming ready for this...

    fill your bathtub with 40 gallons of warm water (80 degrees) put 1/2 pound of salt in and 1 tablespoon of regular bleach you use in laundry and mix... You have just made a saltwater pool chlorinated at 2ppm with 3500 ppm salt

    jump in and see if you have a reaction.. I have psoriasis so I know all too much about itching like crazzzzzzzzzy and my SWG and pool actually help and does not bother my skin...

    I love a SWG pool, they are easy but they are still a chlorinated pool, you are just not using bottles of bleach

    The haward unit is very good and many people here have them..
    Pool: Intex 16x32 15000 gal, 2 speed 340042, Pentair CC320 Filter, CircuPool SJ45 Salt System, Intermatic PE653RC; Hot Tub: 650 Gal SWG Megachlor
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    Re: Is a SWG best for overly sensitive/itchy skin?

    Most likely there is something organic in your pond. As you know a salt water pool is a Chlorine pool. It will not necessarily have significantly lower levels of clhorine then a pool maintained by other methods.

    Salt pools maintain sufficient chlorine to sanitize and oxidize. I suspect your problem is not with chemicals, because that what the carefree system is full of, it's with the lack of sanitation and oxidation of organic matter.


    I would suggest reading more on this site about the trouble-free pool method. Proteam Supreme and other brand-name pool systems like the carefree spa system introduce other chemicals into the equation. Note that the carefree spa system recommends the use of bleach on a regular basis to kill algae. It's not a complete sanitation system . I suspect if you follow the trouble-free pool system taught here you can swim in your new pool without itchy attacks.
    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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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Is a SWG best for overly sensitive/itchy skin?

    Actually Proteam Supreme is just Borates. An expensive way of getting borates in your pool. You can read about borates in Pool School.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Is a SWG best for overly sensitive/itchy skin?

    ProTeam Supreme (and Supreme Plus), are just chemical additives that add borates to your water. I use borates in my pool for additional pH control but I do so by MUCH cheaper means than buying into these fancy packaged pool chemicals. You still need a source of chlorine to sanitize pool water.

    I like Casey's idea of testing out the water in a bathtub. You could add 2oz by weight of 20 Mule Team borax to the water to simulate 50ppm borates as well but the only problem is the pH might go a bit too high without balancing it with some acid (~0.5oz of muriatic acid). So it may not be a good test.

    I also agree that the natural water bodies are not good to swim in (I'll swim in oceans but lakes gross me out). You can get pseudomonas bacteria (hot tub rash) or any other number of pathogens creating a mild skin rash which would be really itchy.
    Matt
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    selkieinme's Avatar
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    Re: Is a SWG best for overly sensitive/itchy skin?

    I've actually been reading through TFP for over a year now but, honestly, my head is spinning with all the info. I like the idea of your test, cowboycasey, I'll have to try that! Thanks, everyone! I'm really leaning towards the SWG and I'll take a closer look at the TFP method, Borax vs. ProTeam Supreme, and see if I can wrap my head around it all.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Is a SWG best for overly sensitive/itchy skin?

    Borates is alot to take in, completely optional, and definitely not something we recommend to the new folk
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
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    Re: Is a SWG best for overly sensitive/itchy skin?

    my head is spinning with all the info
    for some reason that happens here it is a steep learning curve at first then it becomes very easy.. Just like driving, overwhelmed to start and then it becomes second nature
    Pool: Intex 16x32 15000 gal, 2 speed 340042, Pentair CC320 Filter, CircuPool SJ45 Salt System, Intermatic PE653RC; Hot Tub: 650 Gal SWG Megachlor
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    Re: Is a SWG best for overly sensitive/itchy skin?

    Might be worthwhile consulting with a dermatologist to see if you can determine the cause of the sensitivity.

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    selkieinme's Avatar
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    Re: Is a SWG best for overly sensitive/itchy skin?

    JamesW - Unfortunately, seeing a dermatologist isn't an option as I don't have health insurance. I've done a lot of research and actually found a forum with a ton of people who have the same exact issues and who have done allergy testing and seen dermatologists and everything was inconclusive. But thanks for the suggestion!

    frustratedpoolmom - after talking to the pool guy and hearing that ProTeam Supreme helped someone with very similar issues (I'm hoping to speak with her directly, soon), I do think I will try that or other borates if it's all the same. Would using a product like the ProTeam Supreme be easier for a newbie? I figure I can always change things up in the future as I learn and get more comfortable with the chemistry of pool ownership so I would like to keep it as simple as possible to start!

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Is a SWG best for overly sensitive/itchy skin?

    Quote Originally Posted by cowboycasey View Post
    Welcome to TFP, I see a test coming ready for this...

    fill your bathtub with 40 gallons of warm water (80 degrees) put 1/2 pound of salt in and 1 tablespoon of regular bleach you use in laundry and mix... You have just made a saltwater pool chlorinated at 2ppm with 3500 ppm salt

    jump in and see if you have a reaction.. I have psoriasis so I know all too much about itching like crazzzzzzzzzy and my SWG and pool actually help and does not bother my skin...

    I love a SWG pool, they are easy but they are still a chlorinated pool, you are just not using bottles of bleach

    The haward unit is very good and many people here have them..
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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Is a SWG best for overly sensitive/itchy skin?

    Quote Originally Posted by selkieinme View Post
    I do think I will try that or other borates if it's all the same. Would using a product like the ProTeam Supreme be easier for a newbie?
    you will find that this is common in the pool industry, fancy name for a common product. They are going to be added to the pool the same, you are just going to pay more for the fancy name.

    Think about it, you go to a fancy restaurant and order escargot; you are still getting snails......

    The pool industry thrives on this "deception". They want customers who are in the dark and just a little unsure of what they are doing. This brings you back to the store over and over to buy the "specialty pool chemicals"

    We have heard them all here, like the pool store employee who says laundry bleach (8.25% chlorine) will destroy a vinyl liner but liquid pool shock (10% chlorine) is fine to use.
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    Re: Is a SWG best for overly sensitive/itchy skin?

    If you want to borate (AKA ProTeam) the easiest way is by using boric acid. It won't throw tha pH way off and require the muratic acid to rebalance. The cost is about the same as using 20 Mule Team Borax and muratic acid, and a fraction of the cost of the same thing sold as ProTeam.
    chiefwej
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    selkieinme's Avatar
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    Re: Is a SWG best for overly sensitive/itchy skin?

    Thank-you, chiefwej, that's good to know! Where do you purchase boric acid in large amounts?

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    Re: Is a SWG best for overly sensitive/itchy skin?

    Thankfully, tim5055, I'm pretty confident that I've found a fairly decent and honest pool guy. He said he doesn't expect me to travel an hour down there to continue buying chemicals from him once the pool is set up so since he has nothing to gain there, hopefully he'll react positively to the TFP method! He even offered to continue to help me with anything I needed if I decided to buy an Intex pool. I went to several other places, much closer to home, and I had such a hard time getting anyone to take any time to talk to me! I realize that they're busy this time of year but aren't they in the business to sell pools? I've never had such a hard time getting someone to take my money! I actually think they didn't take me seriously because I didn't have financing at the time - NOT good business, to say the least. It was well worth driving an hour to talk to someone who actually wanted to give me the time of day whether he was going to sell me a pool or not.

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    Re: Is a SWG best for overly sensitive/itchy skin?

    Quote Originally Posted by chiefwej View Post
    If you want to borate (AKA ProTeam) the easiest way is by using boric acid. It won't throw tha pH way off and require the muratic acid to rebalance. The cost is about the same as using 20 Mule Team Borax and muratic acid, and a fraction of the cost of the same thing sold as ProTeam.

    Ditto!!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by selkieinme View Post
    Thank-you, chiefwej, that's good to know! Where do you purchase boric acid in large amounts?

    Here's were I get mine

    Boric Acid - ChemistryStore.com
    20k IG vinyl liner/Aqua Rite SWCG, T-15 cell/Hayward Pro Grid 6020 DE filter/Polaris 280 with booster pump/Hayward Superpump 1 hp/city water/pool installed March 2004

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    selkieinme's Avatar
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    Re: Is a SWG best for overly sensitive/itchy skin?

    I just saw on another thread that I should look for a SWG that is rated at least twice the #gallons of my pool, is this correct? Anything else I need to know?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks, Saturn94! Would the largest bucket get me through the summer?

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    Re: Is a SWG best for overly sensitive/itchy skin?

    Quote Originally Posted by selkieinme View Post
    I just saw on another thread that I should look for a SWG that is rated at least twice the #gallons of my pool, is this correct? Anything else I need to know?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks, Saturn94! Would the largest bucket get me through the summer?
    Correct. The reason is that the salt cell will last much longer, giving you better value for you money.

    I initially you'll use a bit depending on the size if your pool (how many gallons is it?). After that, it doesn't get "used up" or evaporate. It will only get diluted if you replace water (i.e. after backwashing the filter, pumping out excess water from rain, etc). So if you don't have to replace a lot of water you won't have to use much boric acid to maintain the desired level.

    The last time I bought a 55# bag was in April 2014, and I still have some left (maintenance only).
    20k IG vinyl liner/Aqua Rite SWCG, T-15 cell/Hayward Pro Grid 6020 DE filter/Polaris 280 with booster pump/Hayward Superpump 1 hp/city water/pool installed March 2004

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Is a SWG best for overly sensitive/itchy skin?

    Duda Diesel sells the boric acid, often cheaper on ebay. It is an add once and it sticks around product like CYA.
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    Re: Is a SWG best for overly sensitive/itchy skin?

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    Dude Diesel sells the boric acid, often cheaper on ebay. It is an add once and it sticks around product like CYA.
    And doesn't biodegrade over the winter like CYA can.
    20k IG vinyl liner/Aqua Rite SWCG, T-15 cell/Hayward Pro Grid 6020 DE filter/Polaris 280 with booster pump/Hayward Superpump 1 hp/city water/pool installed March 2004

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