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.