I just put up a new pool. Its the Intex metal frame 18 foot round by 4 foot tall pool.
I'm throwing in a bunch of background so those who want to know where I'm coming from can. To skip the gory details, skip to the bottom.
We decided (read that as: my wife talked me into) to get this pool instead of waiting a few years and get a permanent pool. At least in my city I didn't need to pull a permit for a storable non-metal sided pool. It'll be torn down in the fall and put back up in the spring. Aside from leveling the area it only took a couple hours to set up.
I started reading as the pool was filling up and I read the Intex flier included with my pool that talked about salt water. My impression from hotel pools is that I really didn't like the chorine much, so I was intrigued. I found more info on salt water on various sites, and found a deal on e-bay for the Intex model 6110 Low Salt Automatic Saltwater System. Of course I ordered it, even before I figured out pool chemistry.
A little more background on me. I'm a computer programmer by profession, and an electronics techie by nature. I own and run a software development company for the last 25 years. I can deal with pool chemistry pretty well. I ran a 75 gallon salt water aquarium back in the 90's for about 5 years. Also about 2 years ago I started a new 95 gallon salt water fish + reef system. When the budget allows I'm going to start another tank at around 200 gallons. So pH, ALK, Ca, are items I deal with every week or two. The nice thing about the saltwater aquarium, is once the tank is running for a year or so, everything sorta "balances" and runs itself with minimal maintenance.... Unless you decide to add new live rock, then its test test test until it balances again. One glaring difference... Cl is a definite no no in the aquarium.
Of course after I buy the Intex salt water system, I finally find this site. Of course its after I go to the pool store and see the racks of buckets of "stuff" that I have no idea what to do with. I of course asked someone about it... he said... "most people buy this... and ummm this.... (pointing) and if its green then this... (pointing somewhere else). Quite an expert I thought....... So anyway I find this site, and read about BBB. Then I read lots of postings about pool chemistry here, and I think I have a good handle on the theory. Now I need to implement the practice side.
I went to the pool store and picked up the CYA, and the test kits. The CYA was called "conditioner" not stabilizer, but armed with real info from this site, at least I could read the ingredients and know what I was getting. I went to the hardware store for the muriatic acid, the grocery store for the bleach, baking soda, but I couldn't find borax.
Of course you'll find this funny, and quite predicable.... I found the bleach, alot of the no-brand bleaches don't list the % of the ingredients. After a little looking I found one clearly showing 6% sodium hypochlorite... $2.05 for a 1.42 gallon jug (don't know why its an odd volume). Then, 3 or 4 isles down, I see boxes of "pool shock". So I just had to look. In the boxes were 1 gallon jugs "pool shock". I pulled one out.... "10% sodium hypochlorite".... at the price of $9.99. Amazing, and just the type of upcharge for the "same stuff" I've read about here.
Ok... I have most of what I need. The pool is full. The pump (and what I now understand is a undersized filter) is running.
TA 400+ ppm
So in what I've read so far here, I start by fixing the pH. Using the handy dandy Pool Calculator (the link I found here too) I added the Pool Calculator amount of muriatic acid.
And just like magic, the pH went to 7.3. So now I need to dump in the bleach and/or the CYA, if I'm reading things properly. I've read that I shouldn't worry about the high TA right now.
Oh, I'm using my aquarium pH meter. Some would say that it couldn't work, like the pool store guy, but of course it works fine.
So to the point.....
I really feel like trying the salt water system. However, this salt water system (Intex 6110) isn't like the salt water systems I usually see described. Instead of adding salt to the pool, instead there is a tank on the unit. The tank gets manually filled (a little built in valve) and you add salt. The tank gets enough salt to get to 35,000 ppm. Yes I have the decimal in the right place. It cycles for a certain amount of time per day (in my case its supposed to be 6 hours) and makes chlorine.
And my questions:
1) I haven't found out from any reading of the manual or on the internet how much of this salt makes it into the pool.
2) Also, other salt water systems I've seen described you put the salt in once. With this, you add salt every time you fill the tank on the unit. I'm just wondering why other salt systems don't "consume" salt, but this one does.
3) Again, if I read things and interpreted them correctly, since the salt water system is really a chlorine based system, I should be able to start with the bleach and turn on the salt water unit later.
4) With either method I have to control pH, CYA, TA, etc in the same way, right?
5) I'm really curious if I'll get alot of "forget the salt water" responses.
Also, don't hesitate to point out where I'm really off base. This is a learning process for me, of course.
And of course my wife says.... "is it ready yet, is it ready yet, is it ready yet?" for swimming. I try to adhere to the sage advice "happy wife, happy life".
P.S. oh, I'm long winded too.