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Thread: thinking of installing a salt/chlorine generator

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    thinking of installing a salt/chlorine generator

    people,

    I know the systems are pricey but I understand they will keep your pool almost algae free. Im so tires of brushing pool walls 3-4 x a week, and lugging bleach. Will this generator pretty much eliminate brushing? Also, I heard the ionic component (the electrolyser??) lasts only 4-5 years and costs $$$ to replace)....

    Thanks!
    16,000 gal in ground, marcite. FL.

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    Re: thinking of installing a salt/chlorine generator

    A SWCG will produce chlorine so that you won't have to add it yourself (unless you are shocking in which case you will still need to add it yourself). It doesn't do anything else. You still have to: brush, vacuum, test the water, adjust pH, control TA and CH, and basically everything else that goes with owning a pool.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: thinking of installing a salt/chlorine generator

    It's good testing and proper maintenance that keeps your pool algae free. No mechanical apparatus is going to do that for you. If brushing is your biggest concern then you should be looking at a robot or other scrubbing cleaner. You're still going to have to do some work but it'll do part of the cleaning for you.

    This would be a good time to put your info in your sig and post a full set of test results too.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    Puffin's Avatar
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    Re: thinking of installing a salt/chlorine generator

    Why do you brush your pool so frequently?

    It sounds like you might be doing more than is necessary.

    Pool School has a good article on pool maintenance schedule, what to check, adjust, clean and how often. Its a great starting place for developing your own schedule.
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/pool-..._care_schedule

    For the most part, I'm on the same time table described in this article. My pool needs the pool cleaner run more often (2-3x a week). But since my pool has become pretty stable, I have a pretty good idea how much chlorine it needs everyday. So I've begun testing it every other day, unless something is off, or come thing comes up (Big storm, heavier use than normal, etc...) Frankly, I don't spend much more than 15mins a day on pool maintenance, and a bit more on the weekends.

    Ultimately, its about getting to know your pool. Keep and eye out for the signs something is a miss. Testing is key, you need to know for sure that everything is ok, or why something is going a miss. Testing will help you know that.
    19,600 gal, Vinyl, Grecian L, StaRite Dura-Glas 1 HP pump, 3/4hp booster, Pentair Clean and Clear 420 Cartridge filter
    The Pool Cleaner 4x, PoolSkim

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    Puffin's Avatar
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    Re: thinking of installing a salt/chlorine generator

    Looking at my response, I didn't actually respond to your SWG question. Just the part about reducing your work. SWGs have a lot of up and downsides, although in general, people here seem to view the upsides as being greater. I've been considering adding and SWG so far these are the upsides and downsides as I understand them.

    Upsides
    Adds Chlorine automatically - This is the big one. You no longer have to add chlorine for routine pool use. You still have to test and add supplemental chlorine at times (shocking, etc.)
    Cost - This is and up and down side, see down sides below. There are numerous posts here that discuss the overall cost of and SWG and it works out to be similar to liquid chlorine (Bleach), which is generally considered the least expensive method.
    More consistent Chlorine Another big plus. Since its add chlorine so slowly over time, you don't have a large spike in chlorine that falls over time like you do with a once a day addition. All chlorine dispensers have this advantage (pucks, liquid chlorine etc...)
    Subjective water feel Many people claim the water feels nicer when useing an SWG. This is generally attributed to the salt, which you can add without the generator.

    Downsides
    Initial Costs They are expensive up front. Most tend to be around the 1k mark for a pool my size.
    Replacement Cell Costs The cells do have a life span and do need to be replaced. Cells are not cheap most of the ones I've been looking at are around $400. Again, the net cost works out to something similar to bleach, but its like buying 3-7 years of bleach all at once. And if you don't budget for it, it could definitely feel like a downside
    Raises PH This is a side effect that everyone seems to struggle with. Jasonlion, has some up with some great guidelines to help mitigate, this effect. (lower TA + borates) But something to be prepared for.
    Complexity For someone who likes to tinker like me this is almost and upside. But I list it here because if something goes wrong, your pool is now a bit more complex and troubleshooting can be more challenging. Additionally, during the troubleshooting phase, you may need to manually add/supplement the chlorine.

    I hope that helps
    19,600 gal, Vinyl, Grecian L, StaRite Dura-Glas 1 HP pump, 3/4hp booster, Pentair Clean and Clear 420 Cartridge filter
    The Pool Cleaner 4x, PoolSkim

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    Re: thinking of installing a salt/chlorine generator

    You guys have been great. Thanks. Yes, I should post results (I have it tested maybe 1X month at pool place).

    A budy I tink talked this swc too much and exaggerated its benefits. Let me think about this and go from there. I know, pools take care, which Ive been doing for 13 years here. Thanks again.
    16,000 gal in ground, marcite. FL.

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    Re: thinking of installing a salt/chlorine generator

    Just a thought- would benzalkonim chloride liquid be a good alternative as an algecide?? I can get it cheap at work, and a quart of it weighs way less than 4 jugs of bleach!
    16,000 gal in ground, marcite. FL.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: thinking of installing a salt/chlorine generator

    Are you talking about benzalkonium chloride? That is in no way a substitute for chlorine. For that matter, you shouldn't need to use any algaecide as long you maintain an appropriate chlorine level.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: thinking of installing a salt/chlorine generator

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    Are you talking about benzalkonium chloride? That is in no way a substitute for chlorine. For that matter, you shouldn't need to use any algaecide as long you maintain an appropriate chlorine level.
    OK, so why is it not a substitute? Cuz chlorine kills algae/mold and BAC does not? Just want to be clear (no pun)......
    16,000 gal in ground, marcite. FL.

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    Re: thinking of installing a salt/chlorine generator

    Quote Originally Posted by noquacks
    OK, so why is it not a substitute? Cuz chlorine kills algae/mold and BAC does not? Just want to be clear (no pun)......
    Benzalkonium chloride (Bactine) is not an approved primary sanitizer for swimming pools.

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    Re: thinking of installing a salt/chlorine generator

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW
    Quote Originally Posted by noquacks
    OK, so why is it not a substitute? Cuz chlorine kills algae/mold and BAC does not? Just want to be clear (no pun)......
    Benzalkonium chloride (Bactine) is not an approved primary sanitizer for swimming pools.
    It kills bacteria/mold/algae according to EPA (not that we need the epa). Who needs to approve it? Why do they sell it at pool places?
    16,000 gal in ground, marcite. FL.

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    Re: thinking of installing a salt/chlorine generator

    I've been thinking about a SWG too, I have a couple questions if the OP doesn't mind me piggy packing.

    I've heard people with SWG (who seem to not know much about maintence) say that the SWG keeps eyes from burning, doesn't bleach bathing suits, no chlorine smell and water feels much softer and doesn't dry out skin. It was my understanding that PH is what burned eyes, and chlorine smell was from improper levels of chlorine. Someone else told me it makes the water more clear.

    I cannot imagine my pool clearer than it is now. My pool is balanced and doesn't burn eyes or smell but when talking with pool owners and non-owners everyone goes on and on about how much better SWG is for these reasons. Is it just that using a SWG makes it easier for people to maintain so less of these problems come up or does it actually "cure" these issues?
    Currently Pooless

    Former Pool:Buster Crabbe resin and steel 30'x15' oval 52" ABG pool Pentair sand dollar filter 1.5 Pentair Dynamo pump13,500 gallons

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    Re: thinking of installing a salt/chlorine generator

    Having an SWG is primarily an ease of maintainence issue. You still have to check chemistry, brush, clean etc.

    Having said that, there are some things that are clearly benefits to SWG.
    First, an SWG generates chlorine at a slow, steady rate. There are less swings in the amount of chlorine in the water (in general).

    Second, an SWG is constantly "shocking" the water that passes through the generator. In the SWG, the chlorine levels are very high but are diluted quickly as the chlorine moves out of the generator. There is some disagreement as to whether the effect is large enough to really make a difference, but I think it is.

    Third, the salt in the water definitely provides a nice feel. When you dry off, your skin tends to feel less dry. Some folks don't like the taste (not salty normally, just different), but we got used to it pretty quickly.

    An SWG is definitely an "approved" alternative to the bleach in BBB - I consider myself a true BBB user even though I only use bleach when I need to supplement the SWG (on startup and sometimes after *really* heavy bather loads).
    20 x 40 vinyl IG. SWG. Solar. Ikeric VS pump.

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