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Thread: My ears were burning, so I thought I should drop by...

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    My ears were burning, so I thought I should drop by...

    I noticed a bit of traffic coming to my humble blog and followed the link back to this thread.

    It is always surprising to me when I hear myself described as someone who is very anti-salt. No one ever goes to a salt mfg's webpage and comes away saying, "Gosh! Those people are just too pro-salt for me!"

    Then, somebody said that I must be a pool store guy who sees himself out of business if this salt craze catches on. I'm not. I am a Pool Guy. I clean and repair pools. The only time I go into pool stores is to buy Optimizer test strips so I can check the 20 Mule Team Borax level of my pools. And the truth is, there's barely a tiny sliver of profit left in selling chlorine in a pool store, anyway. That's not what keeps pool store doors open and it never was. Chlorine is typically the loss leader to get you in the door to give them a chance to talk you into spending $18.99 for a 12 lbs. box of "Total Alkalinity Control", aka baking soda, or $30 for a quart of copper algaecide.

    Then, Richard, The Chem Geek, who I have tremendous respect for, posted that after a few of the posts at Pool Forum and after reading my blog, he started a thread about the down side of salt chlorine generators. I am glad to see that what I wrote in my blog made him take another look at issues with salt pools.

    And then there's Sean's comments about me. As he says, he and I have gone several rounds at my blog. It was inaccurate of him to include Richard in that adversarial statement, I think. Richard and I have corresponded quite amicably for a long time. But then, Richard is an impartial person looking for the truth. Sean sells salt systems. So it would be quite natural for us to disagree. To be honest, that guy's just too pro-salt for me. Further, Sean claims that I stonewalled him on some of his questions. Truth is, I got tired of covering the same ground with him over and over and over again. If you hunt through the archives at my blog you'll see the back and forth. I think a quick read will vindicate me on this.

    But the truth is, I'm the guy who hates salt. Why? Because it damages pools. Because salt water discharge is environmentally unsound. Because salt systems manufacturers are making obscene margins on salt systems, evidenced by that Intex system that sells for as little as $149 and produces exactly the same amount of chlorine - 24 grams per hour - as most of the systems you're paying over $1,000.00 for. Because everything else in our pools is going to cost more as a result of salt systems; marine grade stainless ladders and rails, cupro nickel upgrade heat exchangers for heaters (that's going to be a coupe hundred bucks right there), pretty much every metal in the pool environment will have to be upgraded to withstand the ravages of salt.

    But I hate salt mainly because they never told us this going in. None of the salt systems manufacturers have ever published a single word on company letterhead about material incompatibilities, about salt attack on stone, about electrolysis effects on metals, about galvanic corrosion. It gets talked about all the time in these forums, even by some of the salt reps. But when you go to their websites or read through their brochures or owner's manuals, there's not a single word about these issues and what you can do to mitigate them.

    The only exception so far is this. The story by WFAA about salt systems damaging pools includes Goldline Controls Full Statement to WFAA, where they finally admit that stone and salt MAY NOT be compatible

    So, that's why I hate salt and that's my story. Oh, and thanks for the traffic.

    The Pool Guy
    20 x 45 Inground vinyl, ~34,500 gallons,
    4 returns, 2 skimmers, dual main drain
    Pentair EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, MiniMaxNT 400, TR100 sand filter,
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  2. Back To Top    #2

    Re: My ears were burning, so I thought I should drop by...

    Quote Originally Posted by thepoolguy
    Then, somebody said that I must be a pool store guy who sees himself out of business if this salt craze catches on. I'm not. I am a Pool Guy. I clean and repair pools. The only time I go into pool stores is to buy Optimizer test strips so I can check the 20 Mule Team Borax level of my pools. And the truth is, there's barely a tiny sliver of profit left in selling chlorine in a pool store, anyway. That's not what keeps pool store doors open and it never was. Chlorine is typically the loss leader to get you in the door to give them a chance to talk you into spending $18.99 for a 12 lbs. box of "Total Alkalinity Control", aka baking soda, or $30 for a quart of copper algaecide.

    That was me

    I did qualify my statement with "from the outside looking in...", as I'll be the first to admit I know nothing about you. I read your comments in that particular area, and have not looked at any other part of your blog. I was not attempting to pass judgement, just sharing how those particular comments struck me initially.

    Your comments are very interesting, especially about the intex system. I think SWG in the USA will go the way of calculators. Intially, the cost hundreds of dollars for basic computations. Now you can get one that does about every formula known to man (I'm assuming as my math is limited to add, subtract, multiply and divide ) for $99.99.

    The Chinese will probably lead the charge. They ususally do when there's money to be made and a market to undercut.

    I have salt in my pool, about 1200 ppm (best guess) and the feel of the water is outstanding. To me it would be worth upgrading materials for compatibility if your claims are fact (not saying they are not). And I agree wholeheartedly that if they are fact, they should be fully disclosed and discussed so consumers can choose compatible materials up front. Even factoring the additional upgrades, SWG would be well worth it to me.

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    I think Sean's comments about me going several rounds has to do with the fact that I did not agree with some of the technical statements on the blog and have commented on that. I try never to question people's experiences -- we see what we see -- but I do want to understand the WHY so that we can prevent such problems from occurring if possible. I think the difference is more one of style than anything else. Personally, I think that if the SWG industry had just put out some cautionary statements from the beginning that some as yet unquantified acceleration of corrosion was possible so one should use somewhat heartier materials or seal or hose down, etc. and that proper bonding is important, etc. then there would be less issues. The fact that there have been very few reports of problems on pool forums with many users of SWG and yet in some areas of the country there are many more problems would seem to indicate that there are differences in environment and choice of materials and installation and maintenance practices. As noted elsewhere, Australia didn't have the same level of problems, but they built heartier pools to begin with since their salt levels from ground water were already relatively high.

    As I've said elsewhere, the only absolutely definitive very serious item we know is that CYA should be used in indoor pools to reduce the corrosive effects of disinfecting chlorine and that this is critically important when an SWG system is used indoors, especially if there is stainless steel exposed to the water (chlorides accelerate corrosion to stainless steel). Yet the current manuals for several manufacturers say that CYA is not needed for indoor pools even though the SWG industry study explicitly found that CYA significantly reduced the corrosion rate from chlorine (they didn't test the combination of chlorine and salt, unfortunately). It's not just very high levels of chlorine that are a problem (and are readily achieved with an SWG indoors since there is no sunlight to burn off any excess chlorine), but levels of 3-5 ppm in a couple of real pools led to serious stainless steel corrosion in less than a year.

    Richard
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

  4. Back To Top    #4

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    WARNING AND APOLOGIES IN ADVANCE!
    Sorry SeanB with my response to this person. I am personally offended when I've tried to reason with TPG and he continues to spew his anti-salt agenda, without reason.
    ************************************************************ ***************

    Ahh, hello TPG, welcome to TFP.
    Welcome to a site that you cannot spew your biased opinions, as there are moderators to prevent that. You suggest that readers "hunt through the archives at (your) blog, you'll see the back and forth (between you and I). I think a quick read will vindicate me on this". I have asked very relevant questions about consistency, to which you have never answered in your site. I think the first time you were to answer that not all your salt pools are experiencing these problems you're describing, you lose credibility. The first time you say that your Non-salt pools are also experiencing these similar issues, you will lose credibility. So, in response, you choose to call me thick headed, salt peddler, etc.... oh, and even "duh", but you have never answered my questions.

    You claim hydrogen gas exploded this guys cell,
    http://thepoolbiz.blogspot.com/2007_02_01_archive.html (Feb 11th entry)
    to which I asked questions about other factors that may have contributed to the damage he showed photos of, and of course, you refused to reply on line. I have to admit that you did confirm that he did have an infloor cleaning system, which typically runs at pressures greater than 25 psi? What does the manufacturer have in their manual in regards to the maximum pressure recommended?

    So while you have the liberty to pitch your anti salt agenda on your blog, you also state "That is exactly why the tone of my blog is so contentious. I am the counterweight to that lack of education. I am the natural consequence to the kind of marketing that's been done for salt systems so far." There is no logic to your blog entries, other than hatred to salt systems. I think it's because you have no one else to blame for these problems because everyone else you can blame (deck companies, plasters, stainless steel ladders and handrail manufactureres) have all denied responsibility?

    I met with a homeowner in Arizona with a salt system (mine) that needed service. He "claimed" that salt did deck damage because this is where people normally go in and out of the pool (Kinda like your line of "where people normally stand" (waiting by the diving board)). When I pointed out another area with similar deck damage, where NO ONE would normally stand, he had nothing to say. I mentioned the possibility of deck preparation inadequacies, bad materials, chemical spills on the deck, etc...to which he said, I think it was salt. Must be one of your readers. YET HE STILL WANTED TO GET HIS SALT SYSTEM REPLACED.

    Thankfully, the pool owners with salt pools here have not reported corrosion or deck damage issues as you're experiencing. Am I saying that these conditions do not exist? For course not! I would be a fool. I am saying though, that these types of conditions are not unique to salt pools, as these are also conditions that exist with bleach, tri-chlor, or cal hypo pools! Can salt accelerate these types of damages? Maybe. I think there's got to be a defect to begin with, such as the homeowner that mentioned in the paragraph above.
    Waste is a pool serviceman and contributor here, that has experience with many customers with salt pools and as of this opening season, have not experienced the damage you've described...and he's probably serviced as many pools as you've serviced.

    Again, if salt is doing this, would it not be consist to see this across the country? If so, why is this not being experienced by everyone with a salt pool? Is their salt lower in sodium or chloride? Are they smarter than the ones with problems?

    He quotes notable pool industry names like Buzz Ghiz, President of Paddock Pools, one of the largest pool companies in Arizona,
    http://thepoolbiz.blogspot.com/2007/03/ ... l-lot.html
    ...stating how bad salt systems are.

    By the way, what is Buzz Ghiz doing with salt systems these days?
    http://www.paddockpoolsandspas.com/pools/know.html (Go down to purification)

    I would love to see TPG put Paddock Pools, and Buzz Ghiz on the defense on his Blog site!

    While there are salt pool owners and non salt pool owners with beautiful pools, there are probably more ugly pools and more money spent on Baquacil type pools...where's your blog site on this?

    And by the way, when are you ever going to reply to my questions?
    Are you experiencing these same issues on all your salt pool customers?
    Are you experiencing these same issues on any of your Non-salt pool customers?

    I'll leave the questions of the clearwater cell and hydrogen gas alone...for now.
    Sean Assam - Sean@teamhorner.com
    National Accounts and Commercial Products Manager
    AquaCal Heat Pumps www.aquacal.com
    AutoPilot Salt Chlorine Generators www.autopilot.com

  5. Back To Top    #5
    SeanB's Avatar
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    Well...that was quite an introduction.

    It sounds like this dissagreement is already going on elsewhere but if you all want to continue this discussion here, please keep it civil and move it to a more appropriate area - the swg thread you linked to, for example.

    Thanks,
    SeanB
    TFP Founder

    My Pool: 13K gal IG gunite with 7' spa, Pentair Cartridge Filter, Intellichlor IC40 SWG, Polaris 280 Cleaner, TF-100 Test Kit w/ salt test.

  6. Back To Top    #6

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    A few quick comments:

    Rangeball, I bought my first calculator @ ~ age 9 it cost $10 and could do + - x / and %. I bought one 4 mos. ago that can do differential equasions for $24

    Poolguy, are you being ~ 'hasty' with the salt systems? I am the 'Waste' Sean mentioned in his response and I haven't noticed problems with the SWCGs re: coping, decks nor metal equipment. With 1 pool being 5 yrs old and 10 - 15 added yearly since than, I haven't noticed any 'undue' damage to the concrete decks nor aluminum coping we install on all our pools (* some do have cantelever concrete decks - again - no problem) I work and live in Ct. so there may be some area variations comming into play, but I'VE SEEN NO DIFFERENCE in pools with SWCGs and tri-chlor feeder pools - except, the SWCG pools don't need a new heat exchanger every year!
    It's late, and we can all agree to disagree - if you'd like more input on MY experiences, just ask. I gotta go spend time with my wife and child

    (ps poolsean - my wife LOVES your '3rd child'! - I had to talk her out of pm-ing you
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Hi and welcome to the group.

    I guess, I'm the one who instigated the issue that brought you here. I don't think anyone is wanting to call you crazy. I asked if anyone did not like SWCG and people kindly pointed to your blog/take on the matter. I didn't take your blog as being a disgruntled pool store owner, myself, but apparently you feel some do. I imagine, when you put yourself out there, you need to be able to listen to anything coming back your way and not be terribly surprised. You are doing a good service, IMO of pointing out some of the possible negatives and truths. Not a bad thing, at all. Perhaps your delivery of the info ruffled a few feathers that needed ruffling. Perhaps you are a bit too rough on them, after all, new technologies are born of need. I do agree, it would be nice if people are informed ahead of time, if possible, when known problems can occur.

    I'm thinking of converting to a SWCG and am also planning on renovating my pool and possibly my deck, this winter. I actually was happy to learn that I need to consider my decking and possibly other things if I am going to install a SWCG. It certainly is a concern, to me. Thinking about it, I really should have known better, already. I lived most of my life in the northern midwest and indeed know what salt does to surfaces after the icy roads have been treated with salt.

    After all, if I had blindly installed an expensive stone deck, boy, would I have been upset not knowing the possibilities of damage if I didn't do regular hosing off of the deck. I don't want any more work than I already have, so I will definitely not be getting anything that could easily be damaged.

    We are a friendly bunch, really, and love to discuss all aspects of pool care and equipment. Not everyone agrees on everything all of the time, but it's usually a civil 2-way conversation rather than one sided antagonistic rants. I know PoolSean as a most helpful person on this board. I even threw him a curve regarding what I heard about his company, when I first got here, and he handled it well with no antagonism, whatsoever.
    Buggs

    14,000 gallon, in ground, plaster, free form, play pool.
    Sta-Rite Max-E-Glass with a 1.5 hp Emerson motor
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  8. Back To Top    #8

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    To Rangeball, Richard, Buggs, Waste & Sean B:

    Thanks for the cordial welcome. I do understand that antagonistic one-sided rants aren't welcome here, and I admit that antagonistic one-sided rants are what I do best. But the proof is in the pudding. My style, which irritates the heck out of most everybody, has brought more attention to the down side issues of salt systems than anybody else has been able to. Since I started my blog, articles have appeared in our trade magazines asking questions about salt pool issues. Builders, like Buzz Ghiz, have gone on record in Pool & Spa News saying that he has had problems with deck and coping in AZ on salt pools for the last 3 to 5 years. A Dallas news station put together a news piece and showed the damage to limestone coping and metal parts caused by salt. Many poolbuilders now require a waiver before they'll install a salt system. Some won't even sell them any more. I think my blog was a catalyst that helped those changes come about. My blog got traction for one reason and one reason alone; I put into words what a lot of people were thinking and suspecting about salt. We all knew something wasn't quite right, but nobody wanted to jump out there and say "it's salt's fault". Because we had all sold salt systems and we all faced the potential liability of saying, "yeah, that product I sold you damaged your pool". But it needed to be said. So, I did. And now everybody knows that salt isn't 100% compatible with all equipments or building materials. And Buggs, you're right. We all should have known. Salt is a corrosive. There's no two ways about it. But they promised us it was different, those guys who sold salt to us. It was only a couple thousand ppm, nowhere near enough to cause any damage. And you gotta trust somebody, right? And there was a lot of money in selling those things when they first came out. I remember guys getting nearly $2,000 installled. And now there $149 at Cabella's. And Rangeball, you were right about the Chinese. Intex is a Chinese company. But I think that most salt cells are made in China. Not just the $99 ones from Intex. Even the $800 replacement cells that put out exactly the same amount of chlorine as the Intex cell are made in China. At least that's what I remember AutoPilot Sean alluding to once in an e-mail. And to me, that's the ongoing kick in the teeth of salt systems; they probably cost under $100 to manufacture and yet they still sell for an arm and a leg. And they ruin your pool, to boot.

    If you haven't seen any issues with salt, then I think that's great. And I'm interested in hearing about it. I'm looking at factors that might explain why some regions are experiencing significant issues while other regions aren't having any trouble at all, factors that go beyond the salt industry's explanation that if you're having issues with salt it's because you're a doodoohead.

    Sorry, just couldn't resist.

    I will now take Sean B's advise and post any further comments I may have on the threads. Although I must admit that I hardly have time to keep up with my blog and so I don't know how often I'll be able to contribute, which I know will make the Other Sean quite happy.
    20 x 45 Inground vinyl, ~34,500 gallons,
    4 returns, 2 skimmers, dual main drain
    Pentair EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, MiniMaxNT 400, TR100 sand filter,
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  9. Back To Top    #9
    SeanB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepoolguy
    I will now take Sean B's advise and post any further comments I may have on the threads.
    Thanks. We welcome honest debate. I think there is room for both sides here in a friendly discussion.

    Oh, and thanks for the traffic.
    Feel free to return the favor.
    TFP Founder

    My Pool: 13K gal IG gunite with 7' spa, Pentair Cartridge Filter, Intellichlor IC40 SWG, Polaris 280 Cleaner, TF-100 Test Kit w/ salt test.

  10. Back To Top    #10
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    Edited by SeanB - please keep things civil.
    thanks.


    TPG,
    I, personally, think any logical SWCG pool owner is going to take the extra precautions to hose down their deck and outdoor furniture after an "event" at the pool to gaurd against corrosion. Unfortunately, It's the less fortuitous about general pool maintenance that is the driver of this discussion, but in my observance, the people on this forum are the antethesis of this.
    11,000 gal. gunite w/midnight blue and white pearl PebbleTec
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  11. Back To Top    #11

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    ktdave,

    With all due respect. I don't think that all logical SWCG owners will necessarily hose down their stuff after an event. I'm not sure they would know or have it dawned on them to do that. How would they know? Would it be that the installer of the system told them to? - I would hope so, but I'm not so sure the installers realize it and if they do, whether they tell their customers. Heck, I recently had a whole new filter and multiport valve installed. The guy had to finish the install while I was at work. He acted like I was some kind of nut when I insisted he stop by and show me how to use it. I had never used a multi-port valve before and he didn't leave a manual.

    Until now, how many discussions have you seen that tell people to do such a thing? I never thought about it until someone pointed me to PG's blog and the ensuing discussion and I've done quite a bit of research - just haven't "hit" on any discussions about it, previously.

    Does it point it out in the owner's manuals of the SWCG system? Haven't seen one, but I take it, that's probably a big no.

    Heck, half the time when an installer around here installs something, they don't even leave an owner's manual.

    While PG's style may come on a little strong, he makes some very valid points. The marketers are not forthright with the information about the possible damage and what you need to do to prevent it.

    The costs/pricing of such things is not surprising. Many things sold started out at very high prices. A couple years ago I bought a 19" color tv for $79, whereas the last time I had bought one I paid 3 or 4 hundred for one. I bought a big screen tv recently because they are finally priced so that I felt I could afford the luxury. A year or so ago they were double the price.
    About 3 years ago a SWCG salesman wanted to sell me a system at "a heck of a price of $1800 plus only $850 to install it." Now, they are selling for almost half the price and with $100 to $200 install or throwing in the install for free. Sheesh, I hope he is right about the price going down to $100. (sorry PoolSean).

    I don't know - we seem to be down on pool stores and pool store water testers quite often, yet there are many fine pool stores and pool store personnel - some of which participate on this board and are very generous with their information. How do you think they must feel when we make caustic remarks about them. Same with pool builders. Some deserve it, some don't.

    I don't like some of the things he is predicting - ie the realtor's insisting you get rid of it, because people won't buy your home if you have one. Gosh, I hope that doesn't happen, but I've seen realtor's do such things that a few years before the items were a demand item. I hope it isn't an environmental issue - I'm definitely going to research that one more. I'm not what you'd call a tree hugger, but I sure don't want to do something that will destroy the earth or water for the couple of minutes it takes me to pour some bleach into my pool. I hope he's wrong, but these are things to consider.

    I truly think that PG does care about his customers and that is why he is fighting the fight for truth in information and marketing about SWCG's. I do wish that he would address the questions regarding issues he may be seeing in non-SWCG systems, though.
    Buggs

    14,000 gallon, in ground, plaster, free form, play pool.
    Sta-Rite Max-E-Glass with a 1.5 hp Emerson motor
    WaterCo Micron High Rate sand filter S750 490 lb, 4883 sq ft - using ZeoBest
    In floor Polaris cleaning system
    Blue Diamond robot for those after storm days when I can't wait overnight for the in floor to clean it.

  12. Back To Top    #12
    SeanB's Avatar
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    I've locked this thread as we have obviously moved past the introduction stage. You are all welcome to carry on this debate in the swg section of the site (minus any name calling).

    Thanks,
    Sean
    TFP Founder

    My Pool: 13K gal IG gunite with 7' spa, Pentair Cartridge Filter, Intellichlor IC40 SWG, Polaris 280 Cleaner, TF-100 Test Kit w/ salt test.

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