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Thread: New Build - Salt water system vs. Chlorine system

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    New Build - Salt water system vs. Chlorine system

    We are making final decisions on our new pool and one builder is suggesting the salt system while the other is suggesting the chlorine system. Any pros and cons to consider would be appreciated as well as what system any of you went with and why.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Silver Spring, MD

    Re: New Build - Salt water system vs. Chlorine system

    Welcome to TFP!

    I recommend the salt system. Salt systems are one form of chlorine. A salt system converts salt in the water into chlorine using electricity, and when the chlorine gets used up it turns back into salt. They cost more up front, but usually end up just about breaking even in saved chemical costs in the long run. You still have to test and adjust the chemical levels regularly, but there is less to do and less to carry each time with a salt system, which we call a SWG around here.

    There are several other forms of chlorine. The most common is a trichlor tablet feeder. Trichlor contains chlorine and CYA and lowers the PH. Lowering the PH isn't so bad, as it can easily be compensated for. But the CYA level builds up constantly and tends to get too high eventually causing problems.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    BobinBaltimore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Northeast of Baltimore, MD

    Re: New Build - Salt water system vs. Chlorine system

    I faced the same question in our build about 18 months ago. I had grown up with standard chlorine pools and was confident in them. After lots of research and talking to many people, we went with a Pentair IC40 salt system and it has been great. Both standard Cl2 and SWG are perfectly good, sanitary approaches, so it's not like you can make a "bad" decision. But we find the the salt water system is easier to maintain (as Jason notes), results in a softer water feel (basically you're swimming in saline, so it's easier on the eyes and nose), and greatly reduces stiff, dry hair after swimming. It is a more expensive at install than most typical Cl2 systems, for sure. But the better experience was worth it. Despite my skepticism, it is one of the features I would absolutely have to have in any pool I own in the future.
    25' x 37' freeform, 22,000 gallon saltwater, 3'6" to 6'6" deep, including baja shelf and benches, 120 ft EP Henry retaining wall
    Pentair equipment (CC420 cartridge filter, VS-3050 variable speed pump, IC 60 salt cell, EasyTouch), 200 sq ft pool house
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    mas985's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Pleasanton, CA

    Re: New Build - Salt water system vs. Chlorine system

    I've had a salt system for 5+ years now and happy with my decision. However, if I had to make the decision again, I would go with a unit that also has an acid dispenser. You may not run into this issue but I have high TA fill water and use a lot of it during the summer. Combined with the SWG, I get constant PH drift upwards so I use a lot of acid. I built myself an acid dispenser but several SWG units now have the option for an acid dispenser which cansense the current PH and dispense the appropriate amount of acid. This also helps keep scale down.
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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