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Thread: TFP SWG Startup Guide

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    TFP SWG Startup Guide

    This year I plan to install a Pentair IC-60 for my pool. I've read a lot of threads and obviously the Salt Water Balance page .

    Aggregating information from various threads, I came up with the following list:

    Step 1. Balance pool water normally following TFP methodology

    Please see the Pool School pages for more details. If algae is present or you have not passed an over night chlorine test (ONCT), then you need to continue to SLAM until you do so. Before proceeding any further, your pool should be at the recommended levels for non-SWG as per this page.

    Step 2. Measure your salt levels of your existing non-SWG pool water

    Your pool's water, whether it comes from your well or your public utility or a mix of both, may have already some residual salt in it. Therefore it is a good idea to first measure that salt so you can determine how much salt you want to add in the next step.

    Step 3. Add your SWG's recommended amount of salt around the perimeter of the pool

    Most SWG's want approximately 3000ppm of salt in the water give or take. You will need to figure out how much salt to add based on the number you found in step 2 as well as how many gallons of water is in your pool to reach your SWG's optimal level (e.g. the Pentair IC-60 considers 3400ppm optimal). There are many calculators on the web to give you an idea of how many pounds of salt you'll need based on these two parameters.

    When you do add salt, make sure the pump is running. If you want to accelerate the process even further, stir the salt around after pouring it in so it dissolves faster. Usually 1-2 hours is enough to get the salt fully dissolved.

    Step 4. Measure the salt level and verify you are at the right level

    If you are not at your target for your specific SWG, add more salt or backwash to remove some of it. Again, continue to do this until you reach the optimal level.

    Step 5. Turn on SWG but make sure percentage is set to zero (0%)

    The SWG should be turned on now but you don't want to generate any chlorine just yet. Verify your SWG's cell salinity reading with your test kit/strip readings and make sure your unit is operating nominally (i.e. no error codes on the unit).

    Step 6. Adjust the CYA, FC, pH, CH, and TA to optimum SWG levels

    Please read the Water Balance for SWG article as well as the optimum FC/CYA charts for the optimum levels of these parameters.

    Generally speaking, you'll want your CYA to hover around 70 and your FC to be around 5. TA around 60-80 and a pH in the upper 7's (7.6-7.8). CH depends on what type of pool you have. Again, read the articles above for details.

    Step 7. Raise percentage of your SWG to start generating chlorine

    You are now a GO! Depending on your SWG, you'll want to start with a high enough percentage to generate enough FC to maintain your pool and prevent an algae outbreak. A lot of folks seem to start with 40%, wait a few hours, and then retest their FC/CC chlorine levels. Your optimal time to test is in the late afternoon/evening when the sun is down so you can get a FC measure that is less effected by the sun and/or evaporation. Your goal here is to see if the SWG is maintaining enough FC throughout the day so you never dip below your target number (again around 5 with a CYA at 70). If you are dipping too low then you need to raise the percentage on the SWG; too low, then you need reduce the percentage on your SWG.

    Please be aware that you now may have to run your pump longer to cycle the water through the SWG to manitain levels. So if you were running your pump say 6 hours a day, depending on your SWG that may now jump to 8 or even 12 hours a day depending on your pool size. On bigger pools, you may be running your pump 12 hours or more depending on how much FC your SWG makes. Some folks invest in a variable speed pump to mitigate the added energy costs because of this fact. Again, it all depends on your pool's size and particular SWG model.

    Step 8. Check, check, and double check your pool's chemistry

    Since this is your first install using SWG, you want to make sure there are no problems with your pool's chemistry after you are up and running. At least initially, once a day you want to test your FC/CC count as well as your TA and pH levels to ensure they are maintaining their nominal targets. It is imperative that you get this right to prevent problems down the road. Once the pool seems stabilized over a week or two, you can begin to back off testing every other day or however you feel is appropriate. Finally, you want to pay attention to your SWG's salt meter as well as do additional salt level tests throughout the season, especially if you get a lot of heavy rains. After a while you'll get a feel of how much adjusting/testing you'll need throughout the seasons based on ambient temperature and the size of your pool.

    I'd really appreciate if some of the experts could confirm the list above. I also think a list like this should be a sticky (and I can volunteer to write it after confirming and cleaning up the above).
    Last edited by pisymbol; 05-18-2016 at 02:31 PM. Reason: Making it even sexier!
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    Re: Clarification on startup/migration to SWG from Non-SWG

    I would bring the pool up to desired FC level with liquid chlorine (bleach) first, then let the SWG start to maintain it. It will take too long for the SWG to get up to the desired level before risking algae breakout.

    Test the pH and FC/CC daily at first, then as it seems settled you can extend that to every other day....do the TA weekly, the CH maybe every other week or so and the CYA a couple of times in the swim season will be plenty unless you've altered something. Always test more often after adding/changing something.

    Otherwise, looks good!

    (I'd hold off on borates until you are *very stable* as once added they make tweaking the pH/TA harder)
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    Re: Clarification on startup/migration to SWG from Non-SWG

    1. check

    2 & 3. Measure the salinity before adding any salt. Old pool water will have salt in it already, you don't want to add too much salt. When I add salt, I put it in the shallow end and brush it around to help it dissolve. You can add salt any time before you install the SWG so you can turn on the SWG when it is installed.

    4 & 5. check

    6. Don't add borates until you know that you want to. They are optional and many members skip on them.

    7. Test the FC a few times a week at first, then once you start to get a feel for your pool you can back off on how often to test.
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    Re: Clarification on startup/migration to SWG from Non-SWG

    My two cents:
    - I think you should add a step to test salt levels before step 2 - adding salt (many lc pools have 500-1000 ppm in them).
    - Then add salt in 2 (maybe 3) steps to limit overshooting.
    - Add note in step 4 to ensure water temp is >70 (maybe 60) degrees.
    - Add note to monitor pH as often as FC and subsequent TA tweaking to SWG levels (assuming this is inherent in step 6). You could link the SWG level chart here.
    - Swap steps 6 and 7.

    Thanks. You are saving me a lot of time as I am prepping to do just this.

    Update - Ping beat me to most of this
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    Re: Clarification on startup/migration to SWG from Non-SWG

    Alright, I will start to incorporate these steps.

    When should you turn on the SWG? I thought it was AFTER all the salt has been dissolved and you've adjusted CYA, TA, and pH accordingly, right?
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    Re: Clarification on startup/migration to SWG from Non-SWG

    Yes step 4 is right for start up of generator. I was talking more about the subsequent FC and pH testing in the days or weeks following the startup. For example, TA may have to go from 80 to 60 to counter pH rise from the SWG running. I guess I was looking at this as a month or weeks following startup. Maybe its best to remove the Borate line altogether if this is more of a get off the ground SWG startup. Oh and step 7, i think normally ilo nominally. Thanks again.
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    Re: Clarification on startup/migration to SWG from Non-SWG

    A SWG can be turned on once the salt level is in range to operate it. It is highly recommended to raise the FC to the target level with bleach before turning on the SWG.

    All the other water parameters are to keep the water in balance.
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    Re: Clarification on startup/migration to SWG from Non-SWG

    Can folks please give it another proof read and let me know if I missed anything?
    20x40 L-shape 35k gallons, Pentair FNS 60 SQFT DE Filter, Pentair Multi-port Valve, Hayward Super Pump w/1 glorious HP, Vinyl Liner, Dolphin Z5, TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: TFP SWG Startup Guide

    One thing I didn't think of before. Step 4 should include. Set SWG to off or 0% then turn unit on. Confirm cell salinity and strips readings are +- 400 ppm. Then Step 6 would be to have cell start generating.

    Note Step 7 - strike test weekly. Although many folks may be comfortable with this, it shouldn't appear to be a direction.

    It definitely looks sexy now, ha!
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    Re: TFP SWG Startup Guide

    How do you confirm cell salinity?

    EDIT: I made some changes.
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    Re: TFP SWG Startup Guide

    It looks and reads good. Sorry, I should have said confirm cell salinity reading. It will be on the display of most units. Confirm that the cell reading ~ matches the test strips, because at the end of the day the cell will only work based on it's reading.

    Thanks again.
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    Re: TFP SWG Startup Guide

    Make the correction PT. Thank you!
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