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Thread: Backwashing bad for yard; thinking of switching from saltwater

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    Backwashing bad for yard; thinking of switching from saltwater

    Hello everyone!

    I joined TFP years ago and asked a couple of questions last year about pump size, I think. What a wonderfully helpful site!

    Here's my issue. I did a lot of research about whether to use a SWCG V chlorine and last year opted for saltwater due to all the usual factors (it's less effort, it's cheaper (once you've bought the SWCG), saltwater feels nice, etc...). I did have concerns about saltwater getting in the ground, because our half acre is full of fruit trees and has two huge pecans. But I rationalized my choice by deciding I wouldn't drain my pool, it would be a one-off fill up and, if I ever needed to drain the pool, I had a spot where I could drain it just the once without affecting anything too much (and then I'd douse the ground with well water to wash the salt away...).

    As you're all a lot more informed and experienced than I am, you will have noticed I forgot about backwashing, which we have had to do quite regularly because of all the tree debris and bug debris that gets in the pool, and that the vacuum misses.

    Until the other day I didn't make the connection that we were backwashing saltwater regularly, and that the water was not draining where I was expecting, which was supposed to have been out onto some scrubby grass and concrete, but instead was travelling down the slight incline to an orange tree, and possibly a pecan. Very bad news. I just can't run a saltwater pool anymore because I can see the backwashing's going to kill our fruit trees, if it hasn't already.

    My realization coincided with our SWCG dying, despite our best efforts at CPR, which then got me thinking 'Maybe I should not replace it and just go with a regular, chlorine pool?' That way backwashing won't be an issue for my beloved yard plants and trees.

    The thing is, my Intex pool's water is still salty. Can I just switch to doing the chlorine thing with the salt in there? I realize that over time the salt will leave the pool as I backwash some more and replace the water with fresh.

    Is there going to be anything fiddly to do or consider if I just switch my pool maintenance regime to chemical, whilst having a salty pool?

    I have the TF100 but haven't used it yet. I've just been using 6 way test strips because I'm lazy and the pool looked and felt nice and I couldn't be bothered to do more detailed testing. Since the SWG died a few days ago I've been dumping 7 cups of bleach in the pool every night, to shock it, while I decide what to do. I have no stabilizer or anything else in the pool yet. By the time the Florida summer sun has shone on the pool for a few hours every morning, the chlorine is all but gone, but the water is absolutely clear and feels good for now. However, I need to move onto the chemical maintenance regime asap, once I know it's OK to do so with the salt.

    Any advice or thoughts are most welcome!

    Thanks everyone!
    Intex Ultra 14' x 42", 3500 gallons, on carpet on concrete pad; Intex sandfilter 2700 gallons; Krystal Clear SWG. NE Florida.

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
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    Re: Backwashing bad for yard; thinking of switching from saltwater

    Break open that test kit and run a full set of tests. That is all you need to do. Well and adjust your levels as needed.

    Hugs to the orange and pecan trees.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Ontario, Canada
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    Re: Backwashing bad for yard; thinking of switching from saltwater

    Get that CYA in there asap.

    You are fine to jump over to bleach and continue on that path. Based on the PPM salt I am surprised that it is having any effect on your trees. Not so certain that the bleach will be any different.

    Things may look good but coming down to 0 is a recipe for disaster.
    18' x 36' vinyl steel wall pool with deep end, 2 lights and 6' steps, main drain, SWG, Cartridge Filter, 320,000 BTU Rheem heater, 3/4HP 1 stage pump - Ontario, Canada

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    Join Date
    May 2015
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    River Falls, WI
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    Re: Backwashing bad for yard; thinking of switching from saltwater

    There's no problem at all using bleach in a salted pool.

    Many people who don't have an SWG, and use bleach exclusively, still salt their pools just to get the feel of the softer water. The salt is usually kept a little lower at around 2000 ppm.

    You don't need to do anything but enjoy your pool and ensure you keep your FC at appropriate level for your CYA, which BTW, you need to get in there!
    ~19k Gal, IG Vinyl, Hayward SP2607X10 1hp pump, Hayward S200 Sand Filter, built in 70s, has 8 deep end with diving board, 1 skimmer, 1 return, 1 low hole, Polaris booster pump PB4-60, old Polaris robot not sure model, Rheem P-M266A-EN-C 266,000 BTU heater, solar cover, Taylor K-2006 test kit, Speedstir

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    poolnoob.ca's Avatar
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    May 2014
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    Georgetown, ON, Canada
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    Re: Backwashing bad for yard; thinking of switching from saltwater

    Yep your pool won't know the difference whether you are putting the chlorine in, or the SWG. But shouldnt the SWG have some warranty left? Surely it should last longer than 1 season? Anyway, as they said above, get that TF-100 open and add some chlorine and CYA and whatever else it needs or you will soon have a green saltwater pool. Post your results and we'll be glad to help.
    32,000L Fibreglass Leisure Pools IG 12.5'x23'x5' Pump: AstralPools BX1 1.0HP
    Filter: AstralPools ZX-310 SWCG: AstralPools VX7T
    Heater: Hayward H250FDN Test Kit: TF-100

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    Re: Backwashing bad for yard; thinking of switching from saltwater

    'Not so certain that the bleach will be any different.'

    I've read that bleach contains salt, though Clorox has least... Is that what you mean?
    Intex Ultra 14' x 42", 3500 gallons, on carpet on concrete pad; Intex sandfilter 2700 gallons; Krystal Clear SWG. NE Florida.

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    Re: Backwashing bad for yard; thinking of switching from saltwater

    Ahem... I have skirted around the reason why the SWG died... Can I just say a senior male partner in the family (AKA Captain Jerry Rig) took out the copper bars, as per my request, and then decided to improvise a sealant to fill up the holes, instead of going to Home Depot to get the proper stuff. The improvised sealant, over the suitability of which there had been a rather heated discussion, failed and this led to a dramatic dousing of the SWG inner workings with saltwater. And then it died. Bit of a sore point, but apologies were offered, along with guarantees that all future TFP instructions will be properly followed, and I accepted them, so now we're all moving forward into a brighter future. Without our SWG.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks everyone!

    Now I'm off to Pool School to learn how to use my TF100!
    Intex Ultra 14' x 42", 3500 gallons, on carpet on concrete pad; Intex sandfilter 2700 gallons; Krystal Clear SWG. NE Florida.

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