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Thread: Salt vs Chlorine

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    Salt vs Chlorine

    Hi all. Finally taking the plunge and putting in a pool next week. This site is great, full of tips and insights so here every day. Can I ask you all for some advice on which system to install? The cost to convert to salt is minimal but is it worth it? I remember the old days where we all got a green tint with Chlorine and the red eyes. Is there an advantage one way or another. Looking for advice.

    PS. I'll be sure and post some pics since we are tearing up a basketball court covering an existing pool which was damaged from the '94 Northridge quake in California.



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    Re: Salt vs Chlorine

    There shouldn't be ANY green tint or red eyes with chlorine
    16x48 intex ultraframe. 5300 +or-
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    Taylor k2006.
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    NEED to add a skimmer!

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    Re: Salt vs Chlorine

    Thanks Hendu2875. I'm think of when j was a kid 40 years ago.



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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Salt vs Chlorine

    Welcome to TFP!!

    Understand, Salt IS chlorine. Through a chemical reaction the salt is converted to chlorine. During the sanitation process the chlorine is then broken back down into salt and the cycle repeats.

    Stinging red eyes is more of a problem with the pH.

    I'm afraid to tell you what the green tint might have been
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: Salt vs Chlorine

    I meant green hair!



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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Salt vs Chlorine

    Green hair is from copper in the water ... nothing to do with chlorine.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Salt vs Chlorine

    Some of these thoughts are so common, we have an article in Pool School: Common Swimming Pool Myths Dispelled
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: Salt vs Chlorine

    My pool build isn't even complete yet, so I'm obviously not an expert. But..... maybe I can help by sharing my reasons for going with the SWG system.

    From what I understand from TFP and my own research, the two different systems (using chlorine bleach and using a salt system to create the chlorine for sanitization) are pretty fairly comparable in costs and effectiveness in making sure the water is chemically safe for swimming.

    My reasons for choosing the SWG:

    1. I'd never heard of it until I swam all last summer in a friend's pool - about 4-5 times a week. I thought he must have some new form of chlorine (Ha, like there is a way to create a new molecular structure!), because the water felt so nice and silky while in the water.

    2. My hair and swimsuit didn't smell of chlorine. **

    3. My skin didn't itch and feel exceptionally dry. **

    4. I never coughed or had asthma symptoms after swimming there. (always did growing up swimming in "chlorine" pools - just thought it was allergies from something in the grass, etc).

    5. Soooo many people claim the SWG system is easier maintenance since you aren't manually adding chlorine on a regular basis. Of course there are others who believe the chlorine system is just as easy.

    ** From what I've read (not experience), these things won't occur if the water of the chlorine system is properly balanced and maintained. It seems the best way to do that is to follow the methods explained here on TFP (and less expensive, too!)

    I guess for the me, the main reasons were for the feel of the water and the hope of a little less maintenance (I'll take all the help I can get).

    There are downsides to the SWG system, but those are also debated. I'll let the people with experience on the negatives of a SWGS explain those.

    Hope this helps a little! Take care, and again, so glad you're here!! Suz
    Suz~Cypress area~ 2015 pool build. 23K gallons. IG swcg system. 35'x18'; 573sf; 104' perim; depth 4'-7'. Bubblers, sheer descents, 7' spa. Jandy: color LEDs; 2HP 2sp pump; 1HP 2sp pump; spa pump; 580 cartridge; 400K BTU; Dolphin M500; PS8; Inline chlorinator not used; Aqua Pure 1400. Blue Granite Sheen. Travertine deck. Lightstreams Peacock Blue TF-100, K-1766, SpeedStir

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    Saturn94's Avatar
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    Re: Salt vs Chlorine

    For me the main benefit of a SWCG is convenience. It's nice not to have to manually add chorine everyday. When I go on vacation, I don't worry about returning to a green pool.

    A couple seasons ago, my main pump died. I had to manually chlorinate for about 10 days until a new pump arrived. Even manually chlorinating for just 10 days was a pain, UMO, compared to the convenience of the SWCG. I was so glad to have my SWCG back online!

    For reference, I've had the SWCG for 11 years.

    As was mentioned, a properly chlorinated, balanced pool according to the methods taught here will not result in the problems you mentioned, no matter if you manually chlorinate or use a SWCG.
    20k IG vinyl liner/Aqua Rite SWCG, T-15 cell/Hayward Pro Grid 6020 DE filter/Polaris 280 with booster pump/Hayward Superpump 1 hp/city water/pool installed March 2004

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    Re: Salt vs Chlorine

    There are pros and cons to both. No one is better than the other as I heard horror stories both ways.

    Take care.

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    Re: Salt vs Chlorine

    There are pros and cons to both. No one is better than the other as I heard horror stories both ways.
    Well, that sort of has a negative connotation. I am sure what was meant is that while there are some stories of failure (not willing to learn), there are also stories of remarkable success.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Salt vs Chlorine

    It all costs about the same in the end. Your pool needs chlorine everyday. You can buy liquid chlorine/bleach and add it every day. You can buy an SWG and it will make chlorine every day. Or you can use a Stenner pump or Liquidator to add liquid chlorine/bleach automatically every day.

    We have lots of people doing all of the above here at TFP. Most are happy with what they have and will say they wouldn't have it any other way.

    Like me, I am on my second SWG pool and my next one will be saltwater too.
    TFP Moderator
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Re: Salt vs Chlorine

    Three easy steps:
    1) Understand each
    2) Choose wisely
    3) Enjoy
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
    Hayward equipment (cartridge filter, 2-speed pump, SWCG, automation) View Our Build
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    Re: Salt vs Chlorine

    We love our SWG....
    18k: IG: Black Granite Liner: Aspen: 16x33.5: SWG: Polaris 280

    My pool build new-pool-build-in-nh-t60957.html

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    Re: Salt vs Chlorine

    Like one of the above mentioned posters, I liked the feel of the SWG pool; although it might be because I had only swam in over chlorinated pools in the past.

    For my busy lifestyle, it has been great. My pool did get an algae outbreak, but that was due to my lack of knowledge on pool chemistry (testing ph regularly, FC/CYA levels, CSI, etc.). Now that I am a TFP convert, I have my SWG dialed in and my FC level stays pretty constant. I still test at least every other day since I'm a newbie, but so far it has maintained well and I'm learning when to adjust the %output based on TX seasons.


    26,000 IG, pebble tec, flagstone, pentair Triton II TR100 sand filter & VS+SVRS 3hp multi-speed pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWG, Pentair Booster Cleaner, spillover spa, waterfall, Taylor K-2006 testkit
    [It is better to know how to learn, than to know. - Dr. Seuss[/I]

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    Corleone's Avatar
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    Re: Salt vs Chlorine

    I have a SWG and love it but I think the real game changer has been the borax we're using. I've never felt pool water so refreshing and clean feeling. Everyone thinks it's the salt that makes the water feel great, but I don't tell them our little laundry detergent secret.
    13K Gallon IG Pool/Spa -- First time pool owners -- Completed in 2015 Caribbean Blue Pebble Tec Pentair 4000 Series 47 sq. ft. D.E. Filter Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump Pentair SWG Jandy LXi Heater 400,000 BTU S.R. Smith Typhoon Slide Pentair LED 12v Lights Dolphin Nautilus Robotic Cleaner TF-100 Test Kit
    Our Build Thread

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    Re: Salt vs Chlorine

    All great tips. Thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts and debunking some myths.



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    Re: Salt vs Chlorine

    While my new pool isn't quite finished (initial fill happening RIGHT NOW), I can offer my motivation for going with the SWCG. Salt water generators help break down the cloramides that are the main contributors to the "chlorine smell" and red eyes typically associated with having a pool. I am hoping that I will be able to keep these CCs down to basically undetectable levels without too much intervention.
    Partially operational.
    17,000 g, SWG, tanning shelf, bubbler, slide grotto, Prism Matrix - Deep Blue Sea, 2x Hayward Ecostar VSP (one filter, swg, and bubbler; one slide and grotto).

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    Re: Salt vs Chlorine

    Can the SWG effectively produce chlorine when a variable speed pump is running at its lowest speed?
    That way, the pump can run for longer without incurring much cost (low speed) plus get the chlorine in the pool..
    2015 build (link)| 16.5 K gal | Salt Water | IG rect | 35'x16' | 568 sf | 105 ft peri | depth 3'-5' | PV3 in-floor | 2 Venturi skimmers | MDX+SDX drains | T-CELL-15 SWG | Hayward Ecostar VS pump | Hayward 7220 DE Filter | Aqua Cal Icebreaker Heat / Cool pump SQ166 | Hayward Sense & Dispense PH Controller| Omnilogic | Pebble Sheen Blue Surf | Ultra UV | Stenner acid pump | Coverstar Automatic | TF-100

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Salt vs Chlorine

    Maybe not at the lowest speed. It is a little bit of trial and error to determine what the lowest speed that has enough flow rate for the salt water chlorinator to work.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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