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Thread: SWG Lifespan/Parts Cost

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    SWG Lifespan/Parts Cost

    Hello all, I am new to the forum and just starting out so please excuse my ignorance. I am glad I found this site as it is full of great information. I am helping my dad plan for his upcoming DIY inground build. He is in the very early stages of planning but is getting close to ordering his kit. I have a question about SWGs. My dad had considered going the SWG route for all the benefits so many people seem to enjoy (easier maintenance, less chlorine, more comfortable...). He was discouraged from a SWG early on due to information he got about having to replace corroded SWG parts at high $$$ as well as other pool corrosion issues. He is now considering a chlorine option combined with a UV filter to reduce the amount of chlorine needed. He's hoping this will reduce replacement parts cost and be more comfortable than the standard chlorine amounts required with non UV supplemted systems. We live in MN, I think his pool will be 18x36 a lagoon shape vinyl lined, possibly sport 4x5x4. We know that SWGs can have a higher set-up cost but this seemed worth it for the benefits until my dad found out SWGs would also require more money in parts more often.

    My questions.
    1. Are there really greater parts replacement costs with SWGs and is their lifespan that much shorter than chlorine systems
    2. Anyone have expierence supplementing chlorine with a UV filter? Will this reduce the chlorine by half as some have told my dad? Will the reduction be enough to effect comfort levels (dry skin, hair, and fabric fade)?

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    Re: SWG Lifespan/Parts Cost

    Being a SWG owner for about 10 years, here's my thoughts:

    1. Reliability has been questionable. Ive had flow sensor problems 4 or 5 times and replaced the unit this year for the thrid time. There seems to be many updates to the current jandy design and boards on this latest version so hopefully more reliable. Other brands may be better. Considering cost of chlorine consumption each week in the summer the cost is likely close to break even over three years (life expectancy of cells) even with the issues.

    2. Make sure to substantially oversize the SWG or else you will be spending $ for elecricity to run the pump 24hrs a day to make enough chlorine to keep up. I have. 40k unit on our 18k pool and run about 8 hours a day. If I could buy a bigger unit I would have to the ability to reduce filter run time some more.

    3. Once up and running, they are pretty maintenance free. Just add a little acid each week to keep the pH in check. Nice being able to leave for a week and come back to a crystal clear pool.

    4. Probably the lowest cost option would be to install a liquid chlorine injection system (stenner setups are popular here). This provides automatic dosing allowing the pool to be maintained when you are away for 4 or 5 days but does require you to buy liquid chlorine in bulk to keep it cost effective. Doseage can be set to work,with any circulation pump run time you desire.

    5. UV doesnt have many proponents on this site. For a spa they probably work fine but most see chlorine as more reliable and effective- wheteher SWG or direct liquid method.
    18,000 gunite pool/spa combo. Pebble tec, iaqualink rs8, cl580 filter, aquapure 1400, 400k btu lx heater, 10 solar panels, jandy 1hp, 1 1/2hp, and 2hp stealth pumps for circ, spa, waterfall

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    Re: SWG Lifespan/Parts Cost

    You can search this site for UV and find a LOT of information, most of which will show you it's either not effective other than in limited situations, and not cost effective. Also, if you read the white papers most manufacturers refer to it says it can reduce "consumption". That's much different than what the retailers turn it into and claim you can maintain a lower level of chlorine in the first place.

    The cost of an SWG is roughly equal to the cost of chlorine over the same time span, and most here report 5 to 6 years. However, you must maintain your chemistry to prevent scaling, not rely on "Super Chlorinate", and other things that will shorten its life.

    For ME the SWG is perfect. No CYA, no hauling jugs, and I can be lazy


    Pool School - Salt Water Chlorine Generators
    Scott
    15,000 Gallons vinyl in-ground screen enclosed, Hayward Eco-star SP3400VSP, Hayward Aqua Logic PL-Plus, Hayward T-15 Salt Cell, Hayward S244T Sand Filter, Polaris 380 with booster pump, Hayward heat pump HP50HA. K-2006 kit.

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    Re: SWG Lifespan/Parts Cost

    Thank you so much for your quick responses. I appreciate all the information I can get. Another question I have: is there a brand/model of SWG that seems to be out performing others or lasting longer than others? Thank you in advance.

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    Re: SWG Lifespan/Parts Cost

    I can't attest to the other brands.. but it feels like from reading the posts over the years that Hayward's seem to last longer (just my perception). From my direct experience I installed a Goldline (hayward) with an Aquarite controller and T15 cell (40K) on a 20K pool. The original unit had a 5yr warranty (I don't think they warranty them for this long anymore, 3 is the normal) and I got almost 10 years out of it before I had to replace it. Granted the last year was flaky as I figured it was failing for good. It ran great for the first 5yrs and then there was a noticeable drop off each year after that. I see this is a long run for this cell, I guess we got a good one/got lucky/the conditions were good for the cell. And when we did replace it, it was under $500. So I think that was a pretty good run for the money. There are some ways to extend the life of the cell in the way you use it. I'm going to try that on the next round with my new cell and see what happens. We weren't particular congnicent of maintenance excepect for acid washing it every now and then.

    As to the corrosion issue, I installed our SWG along with replacing all the pool equipment on an existing pool. We haven't had any corrosion related issues. I think a sacrificial anode is supposed to help with that, but it wasn't mentioned when we first put it in. Hope that helps...
    20K IG gunite with attached spa, dark plaster and lava rock waterfall, very 90's. Pool equip refit in 2005 with all Sta-Rite cartridge filter, pump, and heater; Polaris sweep; Goldline Controller(Hayward) with T-Cell-15 SWG

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    Re: SWG Lifespan/Parts Cost

    My Pentair intellichlor is about to celebrate its fifth birthday and I've never had any issues with it. I also do not experience PH rise. As for corrosion, we didn't have a metal ladder installed in the pool but have a swim out bench in the deep end so there isn't much to corrode?

    With the initial cost of a SWG vs what you'll spend on chemicals in a normally chlorinated pool, I'd say neither is more cost effective over the other in the long run. The SWG buys you convenience of not lugging chlorine.
    18*36*23 true "L" vinyl IG 29,000 gallons. SWG. TF-100 test kit.
    http://tftestkits.net/splash-page.html

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    Re: SWG Lifespan/Parts Cost

    Thanks everyone. This is very helpful. I am wondering why another pool owner would have told my dad that that he could expect to be spending $2,000+ every 3-5 years when it sounds like just the cell will require replacement. Any thoughts on this? Is there more than just the cell that will need to be replaced?

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    Re: SWG Lifespan/Parts Cost

    Quote Originally Posted by Ilex View Post
    Thanks everyone. This is very helpful. I am wondering why another pool owner would have told my dad that that he could expect to be spending $2,000+ every 3-5 years when it sounds like just the cell will require replacement. Any thoughts on this? Is there more than just the cell that will need to be replaced?
    That doesn't seem right to me. I looked recently at the cost of replacing mine buying online and it was in the $600-700 range......but I'm not yet in need of a replacement. I don't plan on it being difficult to replace as its fitted with unions on the PVC and easily comes out.

    Maybe this was someone who would never DIY and was taken advantage of?
    18*36*23 true "L" vinyl IG 29,000 gallons. SWG. TF-100 test kit.
    http://tftestkits.net/splash-page.html

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    Re: SWG Lifespan/Parts Cost

    Thank you. I asked for more information and it sounds like in addition to the cell this other pool owner also had replace two pumps. He seemed to relate the premature pump failure to the fact that he is running a saltwater set-up. The pool retailers are also saying that premature pump failure can be expected with saltwater. I believe my dad is looking at a Pentair Intelliflo vs2 ($725) with a Hayword Progrind filter ($495) and an Omnilogic 40k salt cell ($2,000) for a 36x18 which he thinks is 20,000 gallons.

    1: Is there really a shorter lifespan of the pump because of saltwater? Is there a better pump brand/model for saltwater?
    2: Thoughts or opinions on the equipment we are looking at?

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    Re: SWG Lifespan/Parts Cost

    Omnilogic is Hayward and your pump is Pentair. Interoperability is pretty much non-existent so for those components at least it's best to pick a brand and keep them the same.
    Scott
    15,000 Gallons vinyl in-ground screen enclosed, Hayward Eco-star SP3400VSP, Hayward Aqua Logic PL-Plus, Hayward T-15 Salt Cell, Hayward S244T Sand Filter, Polaris 380 with booster pump, Hayward heat pump HP50HA. K-2006 kit.

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    Re: SWG Lifespan/Parts Cost

    Our 3 original jandy stealth pumps still going strong after 10 years. Wetted parts are either plastic or stainless steel so saltwater impact is neglible. This type of construction is typical of most quality pool pumps. Perhaps if you bought a very low cost pump maybe some parts are carbon steel and would be damaged but that's just my guess.

    To be honest, even replacing complete system every 3 years only cost ~ $1000 each time. If you dont have control or power supply issues like I had and just need a cell each time, they can be had from $400~ $600 and take 10 minutes to replace.
    18,000 gunite pool/spa combo. Pebble tec, iaqualink rs8, cl580 filter, aquapure 1400, 400k btu lx heater, 10 solar panels, jandy 1hp, 1 1/2hp, and 2hp stealth pumps for circ, spa, waterfall

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    Re: SWG Lifespan/Parts Cost

    Quote Originally Posted by Ilex View Post
    ...The pool retailers are also saying that premature pump failure can be expected with saltwater...
    I have never heard of that. The salt concentration is actually faily low, not like seawater. Here's a real world example: I replaced all my pumps when I put in the SWG, and I just had a booster pump for my sweep go out.. so I got 10 years out of it. I doubt that was due to salt, unless 10yrs is considered premature.

    $2000 every 3-5years sounds like they are replacing everything (controller and cell). Typically you should just have to change the cell. With a little shopping you can find one for under $500 and DIY.

    Sounds like the pool owner you talked to was feed a line or had a bad experience with multiple things that he thought were related.
    20K IG gunite with attached spa, dark plaster and lava rock waterfall, very 90's. Pool equip refit in 2005 with all Sta-Rite cartridge filter, pump, and heater; Polaris sweep; Goldline Controller(Hayward) with T-Cell-15 SWG

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