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Thread: Why is PB so against the SWG?

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    Why is PB so against the SWG?

    I have a really, super nice PB.
    He's been in business for 40 years, and at least on BBB he doesn't have a single negative review.
    He's very polite, honest and fair with everything that we covered so far.

    He's installing Viking's Island Breeze II pool with all Pentair equipment: VS or VF pump, filter, heater and what looks like Rainbow 320 Chlorinator.
    The whole setup is fairly simple with an automatic pool cover, 3x LED lights and 3x water shooters.
    He allowed us to get our own slide and diving board and even gave us credit for it.
    We're putting down flagstone decking with an 8" Travertine accent around the top (deck) edge of the pool.

    He's very flexible and accommodating, but every time I bring up SWG, he almost twitches, and really tries to steer me away from it.
    He told me that the salt waste (?) is so bad for the drainage system and environment that Cali started outlawing it.
    He also told me that MFGs started to void warranties on equipment in salt pools.
    I was also told that automatic pool cover is not going to last nearly as long, and in fact, with salt, my warranty for the cover may not be honored.

    My only real concern about the chlorine is that my 9 year old daughter seems to be sensitive to some things. Not like end up in ER sensitive, but wife does buy her certain shampoos, and she only uses unscented soap for example.
    I don't remember any reaction to her going to the swimming lessons at the public pool, but those were only a 30-45min lessons.
    My concern is that 6-8 hours in our brand new pool may cause some irritation, etc.

    Now that the construction of the pool is almost done (today, they are pouring concrete for the equipment pad) I want to see if I should push the issue about not using chlorine, or if I should trust my PB?
    BTW, PB is not standing to make or loose any money either way, so it's not a financial motive on his part.

    I'm also ordering the Pentair Intellitouch and need to make a decision on weather I should get the 521213 which comes with transformer for the SWG or 521215 which does not.

    Please help this newbie out.
    Viking fiberglass Island Breeze II (16'x40'x8'); Pentair pump/filter/heater/chlorinator; IntelliTouch with iX+3; Autelis.

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: Why is PB so against the SWG?

    If you go salt, you'll still have the same amount of chlorine in the pool. With CYA as part of the equation, but that's another discussion sort of.

    Salt corrodes things faster, and there is a little argument it degrades flag stone more quickly. As for CA outlawing it, I'm not so sure. A salt pool is a great thing, but many builders don't like it. Some make you sign warranty variations if you go that route. Things that cover decking and various other equipment. Will he install a SWG if you want it? Some PBs are against it simply because they don't understand it.
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    Re: Why is PB so against the SWG?

    Your decking choice is probably his number one reason. There has been some issues with salt and flagstone. If you are getting an aluminum auto cover mechanism it will most likely cause the manufacturer to not stand behind it. Go for a stainless mechanism and you will be ahead of that.
    Over 30 years in the pool business
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Why is PB so against the SWG?

    No, California has not outlawed salt pools. That is just making things up to support his position.

    Chlorine in an indoor public pool and chlorine the way we recommend in an outdoor pool might as well be two unrelated chemicals. Almost no one is actually sensitive to chlorine. What they are sensitive to are chlorine disinfection byproducts. Those are fairly common in indoor public pools and almost unheard of in outdoor pools following our recommendations.

    As Patrick_B already mentioned, a salt pool is a chlorine pool. It gets the chlorine by creating it locally, instead of having you add it, but once in the water the chlorine is the same chlorine.
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    Re: Why is PB so against the SWG?

    The PBs use of the term Salt Waste leads me to believe it has been quite some time since he worked with SWGs. Some early systems used anodes to separate caustic in-solution for a tank that supplied chlorine to the pool. The waste was bad stuff, and I do think California outlawed that type of system.

    Modern SWGs are inline, with salt in water (1/10th Ocean Salinity) and do not have a caustic waste component.
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    Re: Why is PB so against the SWG?

    Quote Originally Posted by swimcmp View Post
    Your decking choice is probably his number one reason. There has been some issues with salt and flagstone. If you are getting an aluminum auto cover mechanism it will most likely cause the manufacturer to not stand behind it. Go for a stainless mechanism and you will be ahead of that.
    Will I have same issues with chlorine or is this specific to the salt?
    I know chlorine is 'byproduct' of salt, but not sure how it affects softer sandstones. My decking guy (separate company) said that he's sealing the deck, both travertine and flagstone, but I don't want to count on that alone.

    Also, track unfortunately is already in.
    Will I have issues with SWG and aluminum track?
    Viking fiberglass Island Breeze II (16'x40'x8'); Pentair pump/filter/heater/chlorinator; IntelliTouch with iX+3; Autelis.

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    Re: Why is PB so against the SWG?

    My PB swears that the Rainbow 320 Chlorinator (or whatever he ends up putting in) is super easy to maintain and that he's done countless installations and with fiberglass pools there is minimal to no maintenance.
    I'm willing to give it a try for the first season since the pool will be under warranty and 'his care' as far as equipment setup, maintenance, chemical balance, etc.

    With that said, do you guys know what the difference in the Pentair's load centers between the 521213 which comes with transformer for the SWG or 521215 which does not?
    The ~$200 price difference suggest that there should be more to it than just a transformer.
    Viking fiberglass Island Breeze II (16'x40'x8'); Pentair pump/filter/heater/chlorinator; IntelliTouch with iX+3; Autelis.

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    Re: Why is PB so against the SWG?

    The flagstone issue is specific to salt.

    You can completely avoid any problems with the aluminum and salt by installing a zinc anode connected to the bonding system and buried in damp soil.

    The Rainbow 320 Chlorinator works really simply and well until your CYA level gets too high and you start to have major problems.

    The only difference in the load centers is the transformer, which sells for $300 separately.
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    Re: Why is PB so against the SWG?

    Take his advice sure, But it is your pool. Do what you want and what you know is best. also, This thread is gonna be great! please update with pics of the installation!

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    Re: Why is PB so against the SWG?

    Thanks ruski.

    As for doing what I know best -- that's the problem; I don't know what's best.
    We never owned nor do we know anyone that owns a pool, so I don't have first hand experience.
    I want to believe & trust that it'll all be fine, but my CDO doesn't allow it. After all, we're spending a ton of money on this pool.

    I'm going to see what the PB does and what kind of test kit he provides and if I'm unsatisfied then I'll change accordingly.
    Viking fiberglass Island Breeze II (16'x40'x8'); Pentair pump/filter/heater/chlorinator; IntelliTouch with iX+3; Autelis.

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    Re: Why is PB so against the SWG?

    I've had two pools, both salt. Love salt, will never have a pool that is not salt. I do maintain our hot tub with bleach. The real difference for day to day and week to week is whether you want to buy, haul and add bleach/chlorine to your pool every few days. Or get a chlorine dosing system to add it automatically. You can't use pucks for long because your cya will get too high in a hurry. Salt water lets you go on vaca for a week or two and not worry about the chlorine level.

    What is a CDO? Chief Design Officer? LOL.
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    Re: Why is PB so against the SWG?

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    I've had two pools, both salt. Love salt, will never have a pool that is not salt. I do maintain our hot tub with bleach. The real difference for day to day and week to week is whether you want to buy, haul and add bleach/chlorine to your pool every few days. Or get a chlorine dosing system to add it automatically. You can't use pucks for long because your cya will get too high in a hurry. Salt water lets you go on vaca for a week or two and not worry about the chlorine level.

    What is a CDO? Chief Design Officer? LOL.
    Well, shot -- then that automatic chlorinator will not work.
    I will ask him how long his clients have had systems going without issues. Maybe there is something in the air here in New Mexico that defies logic?

    CDO is like OCD, but in alphabetical order.
    Viking fiberglass Island Breeze II (16'x40'x8'); Pentair pump/filter/heater/chlorinator; IntelliTouch with iX+3; Autelis.

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    Re: Why is PB so against the SWG?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post

    The Rainbow 320 Chlorinator works really simply and well until your CYA level gets too high and you start to have major problems.

    The only difference in the load centers is the transformer, which sells for $300 separately.
    In your opinion, what percentage of people end up going with SWG? I'm trying to weight the risk of wasting $200 on transformer I may never use if I don't convert to SWG, vs. getting load center that doesn't contain it and regretting it later.
    Viking fiberglass Island Breeze II (16'x40'x8'); Pentair pump/filter/heater/chlorinator; IntelliTouch with iX+3; Autelis.

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    Re: Why is PB so against the SWG?

    Just under half the people on the forum have SWGs. I believe the US national stats are just a little lower than than, perhaps just over 1/3 of the pools nationwide. SWG usage is somewhat regional, with far fewer of them in Texas, and more in Florida and California.

    Nearly all of the pool industry is in complete denial about the problems of high CYA. The chances are excellent that he will blame what we call high CYA problems on other things and won't admit any relationship with using a chlorine tablet feeder.
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    Re: Why is PB so against the SWG?

    No, nothing in the air, it wil happen in time. When you use pucks in the feeders he's talking about, your stabilizer level will get too high. It's only a question of how long that takes. Often, it is one season or less. When it does, and your free chlorine gets low for a little too long, your pool will have an algae outbreak. At that time, you may come back and ask how to fix it. We will tell you to get a kit, test the cya level, and we will find that it's too high. We will then suggest reducing the cya, and adding a non stabilized form of chorine to kill the bloom with a shocking procedure we call a SLAM.

    There is nothing wrong with a feeder or that form of chlorine if you understand and prevent your pool from becoming over stabilized with it. I realize I sound harsh, but I'm giving you the truth. If you watch this season, there will be many, many, people that come to the forum with over stabilized pools that we will help fix as I described above. The feeder really is fine, they work great, but at some point you'll have to use another source of chlorine. Or alternate sources along the way. Given the material choices installed, I would be a little leary of salt. I agree the anode Jason mentioned can work for the Aluminum track, but NM soil conditions make it harder. Not a lot of consistently moist soil around AQ. I love SWG technology, but salt is harder on materials around the pool.

    A off topic side conversation on some of the disadvantages of a SWG has been moved here.
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    Re: Why is PB so against the SWG?

    For in-ground pools, a large number (perhaps a majority) of new pools get an SWG while for above-ground pools it's a much lower amount. As for the installed base of pools (in 2010), 22% of in-ground pools have a saltwater chlorine generator while 10% of above-ground pools have one. They are more prevalent in the South and the West than in the Northeast or Midwest.
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    Re: Why is PB so against the SWG?

    Hi Mario,
    Just to chmie in about why TFP doesnt recommend the Rainbow chlorinator....etc.

    If you dont understand the chemistry (or at least trust those that do), about the Cyanauric Acit / Chlorine relationship, then you don't have the knowledge to pick which means of chlorination is most practical or you and what you are willing to do in order to keep your pool clean.

    Quick Chemistry Lesson simplified,

    Cyanauric Acid (CYA), buffers chlorine - makes it less effective.
    CYA does not evaporate from the water.

    The chlorine level needed to keep the pool clean and algae free is 11.5% of the CYA level.

    Tablets that are used in teh Rainbow contain a large amount of CYA.
    For every 10 ppm of Chlorine added to the water by a chlorine puck, it also adds 6ppm of CYA.

    The chlorine gets used up, but the CYA remains behind.
    When the pucks dissolve, you add more - and the CYA level continues to climb and climb over time.

    At some point, the CYA level becomes so high, it is not feasible or possible to keep a chlorine level high enough to keep the pool clean.
    You will eventually have to at least partially drain the pool in order to resolve the problem. Of that, you can be certain.

    This is why we do not recommend using Chlorine Pucks as the main vehicle to keep chlorine in the pool. YOu simply cannot win.

    Unfortunately most of the Pool Industry either doesnt understand or refuse to acknowledge this CYA/ Chlorine relationship.

    I think it's great that you and your PB have a good relationship. We wishall PBs and clients got along so well.
    However its obvious that he doesnt realized the issue with pucks etiher....Im not bashing your PB for this. He gets his knowledge from the Pool Industry Im sure.

    Neither SWGs or Liquid chlorinators add anything to the water except chlorine, which is why they are recommended over any form of stabilized chlorine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario P View Post
    Well, shot -- then that automatic chlorinator will not work.
    I will ask him how long his clients have had systems going without issues. Maybe there is something in the air here in New Mexico that defies logic?

    CDO is like OCD, but in alphabetical order.
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    Re: Why is PB so against the SWG?

    Since the equipment isn't installed yet, what options do I have with regard to chlorinates?
    Dave, you mentioned liquid chlorinator; what are my options there?
    Viking fiberglass Island Breeze II (16'x40'x8'); Pentair pump/filter/heater/chlorinator; IntelliTouch with iX+3; Autelis.

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Why is PB so against the SWG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario P View Post
    Since the equipment isn't installed yet, what options do I have with regard to chlorinates?
    Dave, you mentioned liquid chlorinator; what are my options there?
    You have two basic choices:

    Liquidator



    Stenner Pump


    I chose the pump due to reported problems with the Liquidator when different pressures/pump speeds affected chlorination.
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    Re: Why is PB so against the SWG?

    I have an alternate theory about the PB's comment regarding "Salt Waste" in CA. Maybe he is talking about the difficulty in disposing of pool water. You can not discharge into the storm drains (which is true with or without salt), and you won't want to put the salt water onto your lawn or garden, so when the pool overflows, you'll need to pump it to Sanitary Sewer. If you are using DE, it is even more limiting since you aren't supposed to backwash DE into the sanitary sewer either.

    The filter on my pool is pretty oversized, so I've stopped backwashing altogether. I do a full teardown and cleaning of the filter 1-2 times per year in a corner of the back yard. There is a minor DE hill growing there.

    I've never run a pool without a SWG, but I'm glad I have it, despite the complexity I mention above. It is really nice to know that there is a constant (and easy to adjust) source of Free Chlorine, and also that the water is being super chlorinated as it passes through the SWG, which seems to prevent algae growth even at pretty low FC.
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