I'm so excited to have found this forum and wish that I'd found it 7 years ago. Y'all would have saved me a lot of $$$$$$$ and a lot of headaches! A friend just told me about this forum over the weekend (thanks, Andy!) and I couldn't wait to start reading.
Here's my history: Small IG fiberglass pool installed 7 years ago with a SWG from the beginning. Before the end of the first season, that SWG's control panel stopped working. Since it was near to closing, the pool store held off repairs until the opening of season 2. Beginning of season 2, they ordered parts which never came in. End of season 2, they replaced the SWG system with a Frog hybrid system and SWG. At the opening for year 3, I followed some horrible advice from a pool store and spent a lot of unnecessary dollars fighting phosphates for an entire summer. I still want to strangle the folks at that pool store for this. At the end of that summer, I encountered an elderly gentleman in a small mom-and-pop store who said to me, "Aw shoot! We've had pools for 50 years and we didn't worry about no stupid phosphates. It didn't hurt our pools none." Beginning of year 4, I just drained the whole shebang and filled with hose water. (To fill my entire pool is only a cost of $45 to my water bill - plus chemicals, of course.) I've never tested for phosphates since; nor will I ever again. I tossed the phosphate test kit into the trash.
With the SWG, I generally only need to worry about lowering the PH and adding stabilizer. (For some reason, I just seem to burn through that stuff! LOL)
I have a GREAT pool guy who always opens and closes my pool for me (He also handles any mechanical repairs that may arise like when a storm blew a gas grill into the pump and filter and took out the PVC pipes.)
Last year, a crack developed in the SW cell. (Made by King who no longer makes SWG.) He was able to patch the crack but the control box wasn't working quite right. Hubby was able to dismantle the cell, clean off the contacts and it operated "okay" for the summer with some assistance from liquid chlorine now and then. (I've usually had to add some after use anyway.)
This year, the same crack reappeared (yes, I store it indoors over the winter) and he was able to again patch it. King will honor their warranty on the cell, but only if we pay $500. (Doesn't feel so much like a warranty to me.) The pool store told me it'd be $1500 to replace the salt system and were kind of snarky when I was displeased to shell out this much money. (They feel that I had the system for 7 years and should be happy to keep spending $1500 every 7 years.)
After reading a LOT of posts about this, I *think* we can get this system through another season and I think we may have identified that the salt is too low. We've found a system through an online company (I don't know if I can post the company here). We're looking at the CompuPool Salt Chlorine Generator CPSC24. If we can last the season, we'll order it for next season. If we can't, we'll order sooner. (The people on the phone have been really helpful.)
Since we just replaced the pump last week, I'd sure like to wait before shelling out more moolah.
In closing, thanks for a wonderful site with easy to understand advice. I cannot adequately express how grateful I am to have found you!