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Thread: New Member thinking about taking the Salt Water plunge

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    DencoPaul's Avatar
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    New Member thinking about taking the Salt Water plunge

    Greetings all...

    I am happy to have found this site with such a wealth of information for the DIY pool care homeowner. I need a new testing kit and that speedstirrer looks like the bomb, so I will be purchasing those through the owner of this site to hopefully show my appreciation for keeping this in place. In time, when my outgoing funds slow down a bit (long story but let me just say divorce is involved!!!), I will also become a TFP supporter.

    Anyway, enough of the accolades and whining ...to my point of posting.

    I have a 30 plus year old pool that was refinished about 8 years ago. It is in great shape and part of that has been my diligence in keeping up with maintenance. I moved into the house about 16 years ago and after a couple of trying summers, I got things leveled out and it really has been smooth sailing since. Since I had the pool refinished, I have put nothing but Trichlor tabs, cal hypo shock, occasional mur acid and occasional clarifier in the pool. Nothing else and nothing else needed. The handful of times I have had algae bloom, it was minor and eradicated with a boost of extra shock and brushing.

    My details: 24K gallons in-ground gunite, Pentair Triton Sand Filter, Pentair Whisperflo 1 hp uprated pump, 3/4 hp Pentair booster pump driving Pentair Legend pool cleaner, Rainbow 3" tab autochlorinator. No other water features or attached spa--although trying to find the time to make me a unique waterfall out of PVC that can slip into the booster pump fitting for the relaxing sound and provide occasional aeration.

    As I said, my routine has been Trichlor tabs and cal hypo shock. Since having the refinishing done, I probably test my water about once every month or more often only when we get rain. I have it down that pat. In fact, I could probably go without testing and know exactly what to add based on weather, rainfall, etc. but the OC (no D!) in me will just not allow it!!! My CYA levels will sometimes creep up from the trichlor but the one fortunate part of having a pool in hot North Texas (north DFW burbs) is that we get a lot of evaporation, so during the high use summer months, there is enough regular water replacement to keep that from being too big an issue.

    So, if things are going so well, why consider switching to salt? Cost primarily and secondarily, further less maintenance and the supposedly silkier and better for swimming water quality. I have swam in a few salt pools and when kept right, you can tell a nice difference. I have considered going the BBB route, but cannot justify the lugging of the chlorine jugs, so if I am going to make a change, it will be to salt. But when I went to Leslie's (yuck, I know, but their fine granuale Power Powder Cal Hypo outperforms all others available locally and with shipping, no savings online for chlorine) to reup on cal hypo, the cost had jumped by $30 since last purchase. I figure my annual chemical costs will now be in the $500 range (tabs gone up too but did not need any) from $400. So in two years, I can more than pay for the SWG for what I will spend on chemicals. So here are my questions:

    1. Which one? Seems a lot around here like the CompuPool and CircuPool units. Thought I read somewhere that both made by same company, just one is higher end with a better warranty. The CPS36 model and similar unit in the other brand (forgot who makes what and too lazy to jump over and check right now LOL) seems to be the right fit for my pool. Anyone got new thoughts on those brands, suggestions on different size, and whether it is worth the additional $300 for the 7 year warranty vs. 3 year warranty? What about other brands? I have had good luck with Pentair products (the liberal in me cringes at the conglomerate they have become but what are you going to do? Not shopping at Walmart for ANYTHING has to be enough of a measure for me right now but I digress...) but do not see their SWG mentioned much around here.

    2. The installation looks pretty simple and I am pretty handy, having completely replumbed my pad when the pool was refinished and rewired my electrical just before last summer. But my question is if there is a better time to make the switch to a SWG? Is there anything you need to do to prepare to install this thing, such as water drain, letting certain chemicals dissipate, etc? How long until you can be swimming in the pool once you install this thing, test for salt, add the proper salt into the pool, and fire it up? Same day? Few days? Weeks? This is important because I will go out of town over Memorial Day but will have time to do the installation the week before. But I want to make sure 4 or 5 days is enough time to make sure all is well before leaving the pool for 4 days. Plus, have a housesitter to watch the pets and she will definitely want to swim (why she is a cheap housesitter!!!) while I am gone, so I want to have the pool useable for her. Can anyone comment on if I should wait until when back in town to do the install or if it is simple enough to move forward immediately? Because of the cost increase on cal hypo, I bought a smaller portion, so if I do not do this within two weeks, I will have to purchase additonal chemicals.

    3. Should I leave the rainbow tab chlorinator in place or remove it when installing SWG? I thought I would leave it in as a backup but there may be negatives to that plan. I can shut it off and it will be bypassed. Then, should I need to increase CYA levels, I can always run a few trichlor tabs to help raise those levels. And should I have a malfunction with the SWG, it is always in place to use in case I need it temporarily. Thoughts on pros and cons of leaving it?

    OK, yes I am long winded and hopefully had a few knowlegable stick around long enough to advise me! HA! If there is anything about this change that I am not considering and should or anyone that thinks going to SWG is a mistake, I am all ears.

    Thanks in advance for your assistance and for this great resource.

    Paul
    21.5K Gallon Inground Plaster Pool (Built 1977/Acquired 1996/Refinished 2002)
    Triton II TR60 Sand Filter (New 2011) WhisperFlo 3/4HP Pump (New 2011)
    Boost-Rite Booster Pump (New 2016) Legend Pressure Side Cleaner (New 2010)

    “To know and not to act is not to know.” - Lao Tse

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New Member thinking about taking the Salt Water plunge

    Welcome to TFP!

    CompuPool is the current low price favorite. I wouldn't bother with CircuPool. If you want something a one step up from that I suggest looking at AquaRite.

    Given your experience, installing the SWG should be simple. There is no wait, no conversion process, no waiting to swim. The only two startup projects are adding salt (which you can do in advance and takes 24 hours to dissolve), and adjusting the SWG percentage (which can take a while, however if you go higher than required the pool will be fine, you are just wasting a tiny bit of SWG cell lifetime). You may or may not also need to adjust the CYA level, and might possibly want to lower the TA, but that isn't usually much of an issue.

    Sure, leave the chlorinator in place. They are nice to have every once in a while. The SWG might break at some point, and you will already have a backup in place.
    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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    bobodaclown's Avatar
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    Re: New Member thinking about taking the Salt Water plunge

    Doing the SWCG is way better than lugging jugs. X2 compupool.
    17K Kidney Shaped Pool Concrete (Diamond Bright) Pool, 3/4 hp 2 speed 115V Sta-rite Duraglas PEA5D-180L/P2R5D-181L (Impeller C105-92PS Diffuser C1-216P), 1.5 piping, Pentair CC100 Filter , Heat Siphon 100K BTU Heat Pump Pool Heater, Flow meter Blue White Flowmeter Model No. F-30150P, Hayward Astrolight SP0581N, SWCG CalimarTitanium Edition TE45 , Dolphin Nautilus Plus with CleverClean, Lakeland Florida

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: New Member thinking about taking the Salt Water plunge

    Welcome to tfp, DencoPaul

    I love having a swg!
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    DencoPaul's Avatar
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    Re: New Member thinking about taking the Salt Water plunge

    Thanks to all for the advice.

    I have a couple of other questions and then will be ordering the SWG. I always operated under the assumption that my pool was 24K gallons. But did a complete remeasure and I came up with 22K. I realize that unless you empty the pool and refill with meter on the fill hose, you will never get an exact calculation--steps in pool, curved corners, and sloping into the deep end all make this an approximate calculation. To me, 22K or 24K, all in the same ballpark.

    1. My plan was to get the CPSC36 even though by all calculations, the CPSC24 should be adequate by manufacturer specs. Then I see bobodaclown has a CPSC48 on a 17K pool. So my question is should I go even another step up and what are the advantages/disadvantages of going bigger? Obviously the initial price and cell replacement cost but other than that? Do these things have a brain that tell it when to back off on chlorine production when it reaches a certain level or do they simply put out what they are capable when on, assuming that the salt level is adequate? If they are smart enough, then does getting a bigger output mean it will run less, therefore maximizing the life of the cell? Or would I even be just fine with the CSPC24?

    2. I evaluated where to install this on my current pad. I have two options. One option is directly after the return coming out of my valve. The only problem I see here is this is before the split back to the pool and to the pump for the pool cleaner. Now, I have always disconnected my Pentair Legend when I shock the pool, so my concern is that having the SWG constantly sending newly chlorinated water through the pool cleaner could shorten the life of at least the debris bag if not the entire Legend unit. Obviously, it will not be sending a blast of chlorination like shocking does, so any thoughts on if this is a bad location or just fine? My other option, without getting into major plumbing pad reconfiguration, is to mount this past the split to the pool cleaner and as the last thing the water hits before making its way back to the pool. The only issue there is that it would require removing the Rainbow tablet chlorinator, something I was hoping to keep in the mix as a backup plan. There is simply not enough room (again without reconfiguration) for both to fit in that pipe run.

    3. Any suggestions on where to buy this from for the best price/service value? Seems like the best price is at Discount Salt Pool online. They are right at $600 for the CSPC36. Can anyone comment on their service? Anyone know of a better price? Anyone familiar with online coupons currently that might make another dealer the better option?

    Thanks again for all the help and to all the Mom's out there, Happy Mother's Day!!!

    Paul
    21.5K Gallon Inground Plaster Pool (Built 1977/Acquired 1996/Refinished 2002)
    Triton II TR60 Sand Filter (New 2011) WhisperFlo 3/4HP Pump (New 2011)
    Boost-Rite Booster Pump (New 2016) Legend Pressure Side Cleaner (New 2010)

    “To know and not to act is not to know.” - Lao Tse

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: New Member thinking about taking the Salt Water plunge

    Let the fun begin!

    1) We normally recommend going between 1½ to 3 times the size of your pool with the swcg. If you go with an exactly matched unit you'll have to run it at 100% for 24 hours a day to maintain FC. Going more than 3 times the size of your pool means that the output steps (i.e. percentage) will be larger and therefore you may be constantly adjusting it up and down to maintain the FC because it won't match your requirements closely enough.

    They do not have a brain. They operate on a percentage of output manually set by you and continue to operate at that percentage no matter what the FC is until you change it.

    2) I would remove the tablet feeder and not look back. I pulled the Pool Frog out of our system before I'd used one whole bac-pak thanks ot TFP!

    3) I don't know where to buy one, but Compupool's customer service is excellent from the reports we've seen here.
    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
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    Re: New Member thinking about taking the Salt Water plunge

    Certainly good cs with compupool. Mine is a year old so I cant speak to long term reliability. I have had a control board failure but quickly handled by them under warranty. I havethe 36 on a 24k pool and run right around midrange, about 50% output for 10 hours.

    Boba is running the 48 on a bit smaller pool, but I seem to remember him mentioning he has quite a bit of leaf debris, etc.

    The advantage to the larger cell is longer life, in theory but I think either one would provide enough cl for your pool.
    24000 gal vinyl IG; CPSC36 SWG, TA-60 Sand Filter

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    bobodaclown's Avatar
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    Re: New Member thinking about taking the Salt Water plunge

    Hello,
    My turnover time is about 5 hours or so I've got my timer set to run approx 6 hours. Water looks good. I've got my CPSC 48 set currently to 70% output water temp 80ish it's gotten up to 86. My pool is in the open so I do get leaves in it and such. I did research and found a site that gave recommended daily chlorine usage for estimated number of bathers. I used that as a base line for the daily chlorine usage that and what I was pouring in. I took the daily output and then divided it by 3. My pump run time was originally set for 10 hours. I'd rather have excess capability then be the other way around. The output is adjustable in 10% increments, and it has a winter mode that reduces the output by another 50% of whatever is set. I haven't had to use it, but I figure if I needed to I could set it to 10% output then winter mode and that would put the output to 5%. The price difference between the 36 and the 48 was about 100 bucks. It made sense to me to go with the larger unit.
    17K Kidney Shaped Pool Concrete (Diamond Bright) Pool, 3/4 hp 2 speed 115V Sta-rite Duraglas PEA5D-180L/P2R5D-181L (Impeller C105-92PS Diffuser C1-216P), 1.5 piping, Pentair CC100 Filter , Heat Siphon 100K BTU Heat Pump Pool Heater, Flow meter Blue White Flowmeter Model No. F-30150P, Hayward Astrolight SP0581N, SWCG CalimarTitanium Edition TE45 , Dolphin Nautilus Plus with CleverClean, Lakeland Florida

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    Join Date
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    Re: New Member thinking about taking the Salt Water plunge

    I'm a few days late weighing in, but I wanted to share my thoughts on choosing.

    I've been on SWG since we installed the pool in '05. The first unit (installed by the contractor) was called Eco-Matic or something like that. It was awful. It would randomly blow fuses for no apparent reason and customer service had little insight. The cell on that unit went bad after three seasons. When I tried to find a new one, I discovered the unit was manufactured in Australia and nobody, I mean nobody in this hemisphere had one to sell me. I was forced into buying a whole new unit... which stunk, but frankly, did not break my heart.

    I replaced it with an AquaRite, and couldn't be happier. My primary reason for choosing that unit was market share. Of all the units out there, when I need a cell, I know I'll be able to get one 3/4/5 years down the road.
    Greg R.

    12,000 gallon fiberglass in-ground, Aqua-Rite SWG, 1 HP single speed Hayward Super Pump, Hayward 200# top valve sand filter, 150K BTU Natural Gas heater, automatic cover, Blue Diamond robot, and lots of noodles.

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Join Date
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    Re: New Member thinking about taking the Salt Water plunge

    Paul, you've been getting some good advice.......size up the SWG so it doesn't have to run so often. I'm a fellow N.Texas resident. My older Aquapure 1400 is sized for a 40k pool, yet mine is 16.5k (I didn't make that decision....pool builder did it....about the only thing they did right). Right now I'm only running my pool pump 4 hours per day and my SWG is set at 45%.....everything is ok, but I'll have to bump it up (pump time and SWG) when it gets hotter. I still have the puck holder in my system (again, a move by the builder, not me), but haven't used it at all. If I need to tweak my CYA, I add CYA. If I need a fast bump on chlorine (rain, party, etc...), in goes a jug of bleach.
    Mike

    16.5k IG gunite pool/spa, pebble-tec type plaster, Aquapure 1400 SWG, Jandy 2hp ePump main pump, Jandy 1.5hp Stealth on waterfall, Polaris 280, iAqualink wifi control, Colorsplash LED pool/spa lights

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