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Thread: water softeners and saltwater pools

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    water softeners and saltwater pools

    I'm a new owner of a saltwater pool in west texas. my pool builder (whom I trust and is very experienced) is telling me to put a softener system on my pool to trickle water in when level drops. I'm using city water (midland, tx) instead of well water due to extremely high salt content in well. I have zero experience with pools so I'm researching everything we do. The pool is an inground plaster pool (plaster is quartzscape). I tested my calcium hardness and I got 350-400ppm (my pool builder got 710 on his kit and 420 on mine-we're going to get a third party test to confirm). He's concerned about scale formation. He says it'll gum up my SWG and produce ugly scale around the pool. He figures the softener will only lower the calcium load to a reasonable level and not to a low level. My research has showed that soft water can become aggressive with the plaster, the deck, tile, and grout (pool builder says the "new" plasters being used now a days won't leach calcium out like "old" plasters). The local chemical store tells me its a bad idea because it (the softener) will require adding NaCl which would throw the SWG's reading off and leach calcium from the pool structures. Basically my question is-are softeners a bad idea in general given my circumstance? Even though my pool guy has 40+ yrs experience, he has never used softeners before and I feel like i'll be the guinea pig. Please help!!
    WestTX Pool Dude
    Midland, TX

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: water softeners and saltwater pools

    Welcome to TFP.

    The best thing you can do to begin with is get a good test kit, if you don't already have one, so you can test the CH of the fill water there. If the CH is as high as you think, it's probably not a bad idea to put a softener on the fill water. It won't use a whole lot of water, but it would help keep the CH to a manageable level. A softener at fill level quantities probably won't add enough salt to account for splashout much less raise it enough to be a real problem.

    There are other owners for Midland here and I don't remember CH being a real problem for them. Maybe I'm just not remembering.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: water softeners and saltwater pools

    Thanks. I have a Taylor kit that was pricey. What would you consider too high for CH? How does high CH affect SWG? Would NaCl from softener affect the SWG (since the softener adds sodium to the water in exchange for the calcium). Thanks.
    WestTX Pool Dude
    Midland, TX

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: water softeners and saltwater pools

    If your CH is 400 it's about as high as i'd want it to get. The big difference between high salt and high CH is that high salt doesn't cause scaling. I don't think the salt will rise very much if at all. You can start with the salt level at the lower point for the swcg and see how it rises over time.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    justinfrancisjudd's Avatar
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    Re: water softeners and saltwater pools

    I filled my pool with water that all went through the whole house water softener and have had zero issues. The CH has been within the tfp accepted range and is doing great. My autofill is hooked up to the regular city line that feeds the irrigation which I may change down the road and connect to the house side of things if I have issues as we have hard water in our area.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Ill add my TA was a little high at first 180 but with regular acid addition and following the steps on here its at 70 now and holding
    2015 Build, Stonescapes Mini Pebble-Blue Sea, 46.5'x23', 9' deep, Paramount IFCS on steps and shelfs, 8' spa with spillover, Quartzite Flagstone Coping and Patio, 3" Suctions and Returns, 1 skimmer, 6 Jandy LED Watercolor lights, Baja Shelf w/ diving rock, 2x 2HP Jandy VS E-Pump, Jandy LXI 400K BTU Heater Cupro/Nickel exchanger, Cartridge Filter, Grotto/Waterfall/ Slide, Jandy SWG, I-aqualink 2.0

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: water softeners and saltwater pools

    Welcome to the forum Neighbor!

    Nothing wrong with filling the pool with soft water at all. Combined with the initial fill of our hard water the CH will still get too high over time. I'm way into the danger zone having mine filled a little over a year now. I cannot stress enough the importance of maintaining your water with a high quality kit, so it's great to hear you got one. Managing the pH and the TA is critical with high CH if you want to prevent scaling. Which kit did you wind up with BTW?

    That said, if your softener has enough capacity to keep you topped off, it will slow the rise of CH and make this more manageable. So, in this case, the builder is right about the water chemistry. Not something we always see. Glad you found us, and hope you enjoy the forum.
    TFP Moderator
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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: water softeners and saltwater pools

    Right, like the others have said, the softener will not add enough salt to make any noticeable difference. SWG's have a fairly wide operating range.
    As water spalshes out, and thorugh dilution from rain, you'll be required every now and then to add salt anyhow. The softener will just help with that.

    The key is keeping your pH and TA in check. If you do that, there will be no scaling. Too often folks point the finger at the CH, but that's only 1 part of the equation.

    if the TA and pH get out of hand, scaling can occur even at considerably lower CH level than what you have.
    Divin Dave,
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