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Thread: SWG vs. BBB, looking for answers

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    SWG vs. BBB, looking for answers

    Hi, I am new here. I know that this question has been asked before as the links I found when googling that question brought me here. However, all that posts seemed old (like 2008 - 2012) and I am hoping for at least some more up-to-date information to make this decision.

    I am getting ready to give my pool a facelift. New coping, new tile and new colored quartz. I thought that would be the perfect time to put in a SWG but am more confused than ever. I have been trying to manage my pool with liquid bleach. That lead me to Walmart in a search of a better price. I am currently paying $3.65 for 10% chlorine, 1 gallon bottles. When I buy 12, it lasts me 2 -3 weeks. I would like to stop going to walmart so much but fear that buying more would give it more time to degrade. I could go on and on, but perhaps it would be best to ask those of you with more experience than myself what the pro's and con's of each are. Can anyone help? I would especially like to hear what someone that has had a SWG for several years thinks about it now.

    Thanks,
    Patrick
    36000 gallons in ground Quartzcapes plaster
    Hayward DE6020 w/ Cellulose fiber
    Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump (3HP Max)
    Pentair Intellichlor IC60 SWG
    Easy touch 4 w/ screen logic

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: SWG vs. BBB, looking for answers

    Welcome to TFP!

    I have had SWGs for 7 or 8 years, this is my second pool with SWG, built in 2012, pics in sig. SWG is mandatory equipment for me. Every pool I ever own will be SWG from here on out.
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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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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: SWG vs. BBB, looking for answers

    I would not own a pool if I could not have an SWG. You might be interested in this post -

    Economics of Saltwater Chlorine Generators

    With a good quality SWG, you pay for all the chlorination up front. BUT, the convenience factor can not be overstated enough...SWGs make operating a pool so much easier and it's nice to be able to go on a week's long vacation and not have to think about how you will keep your pool from going green. If your budget allows for a significant equipment upgrade, then pairing a new SWG with a full automation panel (eg, Pentair IntelliChlor + EasyTouch Automation) is a great investment in your pool.

    Good luck.
    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: SWG vs. BBB, looking for answers

    I have to agree. The feel of the water is fantastic. But more importantly, it is so much easier to maintain an even chlorine level. That is particularly true when out of town on vacation. I can leave for a few weeks and the pool is perfect. The cell requires a cleaning every season with some diluted muriatic acid, and they fail here and there, but totally worth it. My pool is from 2008, and I replaced my original cell last year. So I got 6 seasons out of the first cell. Furthermore, I never shock my pool. The cell shocks it as the water passes through it. I would not have a pool without it.
    18,000 gallon in ground pool built 2008, PebbleSheen surface, Aquapure salt system, Jandy 580 filter, Polaris sweep with booster pump, 2 stage filter pump, Suntopia solar heat; Marquis 630 ultimate spa, 2008, 390 gallons, built in ozonator, Saltron Mini Salt Water chlorine Generator for spa

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    Re: SWG vs. BBB, looking for answers

    We've had a SWG (the same one) since we built the pool in 2008. Love it.
    19,000 gallons, Well Water
    Stay-Rite System 3 Cartridge filter
    IG vinyl, MasterTemp 400 Propane heater
    Intellichlor 40 SWG, 2006 Taylor Test Kit with Speed Stirrer
    1.5 HP Pump

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    Re: SWG vs. BBB, looking for answers

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    I would not own a pool if I could not have an SWG. You might be interested in this post -

    Economics of Saltwater Chlorine Generators

    With a good quality SWG, you pay for all the chlorination up front. BUT, the convenience factor can not be overstated enough...SWGs make operating a pool so much easier and it's nice to be able to go on a week's long vacation and not have to think about how you will keep your pool from going green. If your budget allows for a significant equipment upgrade, then pairing a new SWG with a full automation panel (eg, Pentair IntelliChlor + EasyTouch Automation) is a great investment in your pool.

    Good luck.
    until it stops working - right at the time when you're on vacation (Murphy?). I think kimkats has a better solution for vacation- tabs in the floater. Otherwise- yes, seems like great convenience.
    44k plaster pool, Pentair 011018 pump, DE6020 filter, LED lights, K2006 test kit

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: SWG vs. BBB, looking for answers

    Quote Originally Posted by max2k View Post
    until it stops working - right at the time when you're on vacation (Murphy?). I think kimkats has a better solution for vacation- tabs in the floater. Otherwise- yes, seems like great convenience.
    Ha! Pumps break, too. Are you going to change to a paddle to circulate water?
    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: SWG vs. BBB, looking for answers

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    Ha! Pumps break, too. Are you going to change to a paddle to circulate water?
    I'll bite: floater would still provide some chlorination even with broken pump. But SWG in that case ...
    44k plaster pool, Pentair 011018 pump, DE6020 filter, LED lights, K2006 test kit

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    Re: SWG vs. BBB, looking for answers

    I do not have a SWG. I have to constantly monitor my FC. I am home all swim season, so it's not too bad. If I could afford the upfront cost of a SWG, I would install one in a heartbeat. My two cents.

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    Re: SWG vs. BBB, looking for answers

    Love my SWG. Would never do without one.
    16K Gal Plaster | Compupool SWG | Intelliflow VF | TF-100

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: SWG vs. BBB, looking for answers

    Quote Originally Posted by max2k View Post
    I'll bite: floater would still provide some chlorination even with broken pump. But SWG in that case ...
    Well played!
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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: SWG vs. BBB, looking for answers

    Pumps break. SWG's break. Why are we going there?

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    Re: SWG vs. BBB, looking for answers

    Quote Originally Posted by MarianParoo View Post
    Pumps break. SWG's break. Why are we going there?
    because floaters don't- it was a joke mostly.
    44k plaster pool, Pentair 011018 pump, DE6020 filter, LED lights, K2006 test kit

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    Re: SWG vs. BBB, looking for answers

    Okay, Patrick. You have had lots of responses here. Your thoughts?

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    Re: SWG vs. BBB, looking for answers

    Patrick, I just switched this year and have some math homework for you, because you have a large volume pool and if you make the switch there's some things you will need to get right in terms of sizing

    First off, I switched because I realized when hubby injured arm/had surgery last year that there might come a day where I would have trouble lifting a case/4 pack, let alone getting to the store I also can't reliably trust others to test and pour in my absence. My water was already soft (use softened water to fill) and salt had built up to almost operational levels.

    So in my pool I was hauling and pouring an average of 4 gal per week of 12% (from a pb who refills to recycle bottles)in a 23,000 gal pool. So from May to Oct lets call that $300 ish. My chlorine habit wasn't designed to be cheap...I paid more than you would for Walmart bleach but the recycled bottles meant enought to me to do so.

    An aquarite T15 cell rated for 40,000 gallons costs a bit under $500 itself, is rated for 500+ pounds of lifetime chlorine gas production, is warrantied for 3 years, and in my pool if running 100% 24/7 can produce a maximum daily FC of 7.8 ppm (in 23,000 gal...you can work this out in pool math if you use mfg rating of daily pounds produced...the t15 is about 1.5 lbs per day.)

    So, in my case, the cell pays for itself in a season and a half, though in actual use, I might get up to 7 years. My controller cost is amortized (in my mind) over a much longer period. Either way, SWG wins on both the economic and convenience fronts in my case. The unit and cell together on Amazon were $913. A pool co quoted me $2200 I did pay about $100 for pool guys to plumb it, and had an electrician friend do the wiring and bonding correctly.

    In YOUR case, you have a much larger pool...and TFP recommends majorly over sizing your cell. So depending on your run time (b/c you gotta run your setup to generate the chlorine) and your daily FC consumption, you might need to look at brands that are rated for 60,000 gallons...Hayward aquarite only goes to 40,000 gal. I think circupool is one that goes to 60,000.

    So before you switch, work out your daily FC needs and your preferred run time, using pool math and mfg specs which the all supply in documentation. That way you'll be sure to be happy. However, I've also found that I actually use a lot less, eg 1.5 ppm per day versus average of 2.5 prior ... This is due to constant incremental FC as opposed to large target dose that burns off in the sun. Knowing that this happens might help you calculate.

    Also remember that SWGs can't produce in cold water, so if you have shoulder seasons where the water is left at 50 etc. you still need supplemental chlorination. For me, that's April startup and mid Oct shut down.

    To optimize your production/preservation levels, TFP rcommends keeping cya at 70-80 with swg (and FC 3-5 and 4-6 respectively). If you need to slam, use bleach, not the cell. On seasonal startup, use bleach to get to target, then run swg to maintain.

    If you tend to get high ph now, you may need to watch ph, or consider borates at 50 ppm to control ph rise. Mine rises very little, maybe enough for a small dose of MA every week-10 days. If you have high calcium, and even if you don't, cell cleaning is recommended about every 3 mos/or 500 hours of actual run time.

    Hope that gives you some concrete means for analysis. In my case, love it and wouldn't go back. If you keep the parameters right, size it right, and dial everything in, it really is set it and forget it
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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    Re: SWG vs. BBB, looking for answers

    Quote Originally Posted by MarianParoo View Post
    Okay, Patrick. You have had lots of responses here. Your thoughts?

    Well for starters, it sounds like those of you that have swg love it. Not one response of "I hate my swg." That always says a lot to me.

    I was quoted $3k for the pentair easy touch 4 by the pool remodel company. That is a controller and swg as I understand it. But it sounds like I'll need to research it for size and maybe buy it myself and hire a plumber to save a little money.

    Cleaning / maintaining the cell sounds no worse than cleaning a DE filter system.

    As you see by the handle I choose I need to do some more reading and try to get past the confusion of pool chemistry. My pool currently looks great. I put in bleach / walmart chlorine as needed at least every 1-3 days and put muriatic acid to bring down the ph when it starts to climb to the top of my test kit 7.8 - 8.0. But, I don't really understand the term shock and slam. So I feel like it may just be a few days from falling off. It feels far better, without the chlorine smell, than it did when I had a pool guy. And, my pool guy had the CYA up to 80 from whatever method he was following. There is no algae trying to take hold since I took it over a year ago. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that I'm taking care of it, but know I still have a lot to learn. I am a fireman and go to work for 1 - sometimes 5 days at a time and having a swg sounds like it would help me to know the pool was getting taken care of in my absence.
    36000 gallons in ground Quartzcapes plaster
    Hayward DE6020 w/ Cellulose fiber
    Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump (3HP Max)
    Pentair Intellichlor IC60 SWG
    Easy touch 4 w/ screen logic

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    Re: SWG vs. BBB, looking for answers

    Quote Originally Posted by bbbwanabe View Post
    ... Cleaning / maintaining the cell sounds no worse than cleaning a DE filter system.
    It's much easier - just 2 unions on the cell. Please make sure whoever installs the cell puts them in there. It takes some skills to get those right so it's simpler and easier to take a shortcut and glue cell in without unions. No way for you to clean it later.

    Can you handle electrical part? The thing about pool equipment is you need a guy who is both electrician and plumber. Please also note SWG is intended to compensate daily FC loss from the Sun it does not auto- adjust your water balance or anything of that sort for very simple reason- there's no reliable sensor to measure those parameters. While making control system is not a challenge since it doesn't have good 'eyes' it's pretty useless. Think about using test strips instead of FAS/DPD test and base your decisions on those. Please keep this in mind when shopping - nobody can do full chem automation yet, it's technologically impossible for mass market.

    Since SWG requires pump to be running you want SWG which is rated at about 3x size of your pool which in your case is the biggest you can find (IC60, RJ60). The popular T15 won't be enough: you want your SWG to run fraction of the day for 2 reasons: pump needs to be running as well and it will last longer. It is great you have VS type as it will allow to run it at low speed, SWG is not demanding it terms of flow rate. Manufacturers rate cells based on 100% run time and 100% setting so if you want it to run part of the day and not at 100% you need to go after the biggest you can find, 'oversizing' the cell so to speak.


    Quote Originally Posted by bbbwanabe View Post
    As you see by the handle I choose I need to do some more reading and try to get past the confusion of pool chemistry. My pool currently looks great. I put in bleach / walmart chlorine as needed at least every 1-3 days and put muriatic acid to bring down the ph when it starts to climb to the top of my test kit 7.8 - 8.0. But, I don't really understand the term shock and slam. So I feel like it may just be a few days from falling off...
    Only if you completely neglect your pool for a week in hot season but then again mine would do exactly the same.
    Shock is just level of chlorine significantly higher than normal maintenance level. SLAM is a multi- day process Shock Level And Maintain when you bring FC to shock level and maintain it until everything biological dies in the water. You end SLAM when your FC stops falling overnight indicating there's nothing to kill. TFP doesn't recommend 'shock' as a single event: it takes time to kill things in the water so we use SLAM process instead. Hope I didn't confuse you more.

    The confusion might come from different meaning of 'shock' in the pool store world. They call 'shock' 2 things there: single event when granular chlorine is dumped to the pool to bring chlorine level to shock level and keep it there as it slowly dissolves. Sounds similar except it's much less controllable process and it brings a lot of CYA with it as byproduct of granular chlorine. Nobody tests water at the end 'assuming' it's good enough. The store also calls 'shock' the granular chlorine product used to do it. Just to mud the waters IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by bbbwanabe View Post
    ... I am a fireman and go to work for 1 - sometimes 5 days at a time and having a swg sounds like it would help me to know the pool was getting taken care of in my absence.
    My respect and most likely SWG will serve you well.
    44k plaster pool, Pentair 011018 pump, DE6020 filter, LED lights, K2006 test kit

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    Re: SWG vs. BBB, looking for answers

    We have about the same size pool. I wanted the Pentair so I could have automation, but it would have a hard time producing enough chlorine. You'd have to run the pump 24/7 and supplement with bleach. Alternatively, you could plumb two Pentair generators into your plumbing. Here is a comparison of output from the various models: Full Market Comparison of Salt Water Chlorine Generators for Swimming Pools

    I was a jug tosser until this year. My son and I installed the Circupool RJ60 model and it was rather simple. It was cheaper and with the DIY install I was able to purchase a top of the line robot with the savings. I don't have automation, but I'm not missing it. I have intermatic timers run my pump and SWG. My SWG run time is about 6 hours at 100%.

    I've had some health issues and really hated having to run out and get bleach and toss when I wasn't feeling well. Now, I don't have to worry about it.

    I now just have to add a little acid every week to 10 days. Two jugs of acid are lasting me a long time.
    Karen
    33K IG w spa plaster, Pentair 1HP Whisperflo, DE Filter, SWG CircuPool RJ-60, Dolphin Triton Plus, Raypak Dig 336K BTU, TF-100.
    Pool Math Chlorine / CYA Chart SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
    2017 replaster/retile

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    Re: SWG vs. BBB, looking for answers

    Just a quick note - $3k is waaaay overpriced.

    You can get an ET-8 panel and load center with an IC-60 SWG (2lbs/day) for around $2k online. All you need to do is have it professionally installed in order to get the full Pentair warranty.
    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: SWG vs. BBB, looking for answers

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    Just a quick note - $3k is waaaay overpriced...
    That too ^^^

    BTW, what type of VS you have? This might define what make of control system to go with- Pentair, Hayward, etc. You need control center to be able to control both pump and cell power unit and it works better if pump and control center are from the same brand.
    44k plaster pool, Pentair 011018 pump, DE6020 filter, LED lights, K2006 test kit

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