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Thread: SCG - 2 years later

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    mitch08's Avatar
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    SCG - 2 years later

    Ok... I am relatively new here and could be opening up a bag of worms considering 2 previous threads from years ago have been locked.

    But I want to tell a recent story that is pretty funny. I'll keep it short.
    I use pucks. Just about everyone I know with a pool (LI, NY - Lots of pools) use pucks.
    I have a very good friend that uses SCG. Very nice pool. Very wealthy guy.
    Always brags about how his pool doesn't use chlorine
    Brags about how the pool feels better, is much more easily maintained, etc...

    Anyway, he has a party. 2 of his friends who are also wealthy with amazing yards and IGPs with SCGs are swimming and having a good time. They are constantly talking about how amazing the water feels. How great it is. How that irritating chlorine feeling is not present.

    Later that night my friend the pool owner comes over to me. Says, "I didn't have the heart to tell them, but I had a lot of work done in the yard, had the pool acid washed and redone... The SCG is temporarily out of commission and all the water in there now has no salt and Im using pucks until we set it all back up." I laughed my *** off for a while over that one.

    For this reason, I think a lot of the SCG "feel" is hype. I personally can't tell a lick of difference. If I could, I would either switch or just dump a bunch of salt in my pool.

    I know there are tons of benefits to having a salt water system. I know the experienced people here love them and I am actually considering switching next year. But I honestly think the whole "salt feel" is more mind over matter than anything else. Just my opinion.
    18x38 Inground Liner (25k gal) Paver surround, multi-speed pump, DE Filter, Raised spill over spa, TF-100

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: SCG - 2 years later

    There are a couple of components to the SWG water "feels better" effect. First, there is a difference when you add salt. Not everyone notices it, but most people do. It doesn't matter if there is a SWG, or if it is on or not. Salt alone makes the water feel "softer" and easier on your skin. The pool presumably had salt in it, even if the SWG was not currently in use.

    The second effect has to do with the CC level. In this paragraph I am talking about very low CC levels, below 0.5. Typically, a SWG results in a pool with a lower CC level than a pool maintained in any other way. It is possible to have an extremely low CC level using other sources of chlorine, but most people using other sources of chlorine don't do the right things to keep CC extremely low. Even extremely low CC levels can be sensed by people, though not always consciously. If CC can be held to exceedingly low levels, as a SWG usually will, the water will seem "fresher" and less like "chorine" (even though that is technically wrong). They might have gotten "lucky" with the trichlor and happened to have a very low CC level.

    Adding borates will also improve the water feel and lower the CC level. Since borates don't have a catchy name, people know about "salt pools" but not "borate pools", most people end up associating the effects of borates with other things. This pool might have had borates. Pool store sales people like to sell expensive products to wealthy people, so borates are common in the situation you described, while most people avoid them because the pool store version is expensive and not required.
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    mitch08's Avatar
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    Re: SCG - 2 years later

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    There are a couple of components to the SWG water "feels" better effect. First, there is a difference when you add salt. Not everyone notices it, but most people do. It doesn't matter if there is a SWG, or if it is on or not. Salt alone makes the water feel "softer" and easier on your skin. The pool presumably had salt in it, even if the SWG was not currently in use.

    The second effect has to do with the CC level. In this paragraph I am talking about very low CC levels, below 0.5. Typically, a SWG results in a pool with a lower CC level than a pool maintained in any other way. It is possible to have an extremely low CC level using other sources of chlorine, but most people using other sources of chlorine don't do the right things to keep CC extremely low. Even extremely low CC levels can be sensed by people, though not always consciously. If CC can be held to exceedingly low levels, as a SWG usually will, the water will seem "fresher" and less like "chorine" (even though that is technically wrong). They might have gotten "lucky" with the trichlor and happened to have a very low CC level.

    Adding borates will also improve the water feel and lower the CC level. Since borates don't have a catchy name, people know about "salt pools" but not "borate pools", most people end up associating the effects of borates with other things. This pool might have had borates. Pool store sales people like to sell expensive products to wealthy people, so borates are common in the situation you described, while most people avoid them because the pool store version is expensive and not required.
    Everything you are saying makes a lot of sense. Not that I needed to tell you that. LOL.
    But there was definitely no salt in the pool because it was refilled without it according to my buddy.

    However the CC and borates are a very strong possibility.

    I think people expect salt pools to feel much better and therefore had a psycho sematic effect when going into those types of pools. Or at least what they 'think' are those types of pools.
    18x38 Inground Liner (25k gal) Paver surround, multi-speed pump, DE Filter, Raised spill over spa, TF-100

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: SCG - 2 years later

    Well, I swam in a friends SWG pool - I could tell a difference right away - and I didn't learn till after I got out that it was an SWG, because I commented to her how nice her water was. She said "oh we don't use chlorine its a saltwater pool." I didn't feel like arguing with her that it was chlorine, but I definetly noticed a nice feel to the water, what I would describe as "softer" or "soothing".
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    mitch08's Avatar
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    Re: SCG - 2 years later

    Ok... So assuming that many people really do experience a better quality water when swimming in salt. Maybe instead of switching over since it is so easy for me to maintain my pool the way I do, I will just dump salt in it.

    Is this going to be dangerous for my pavers or worse, my spill over spa that is paved and not sealed around it?

    I would hate to have about $5k in damages because I wanted my mom to say the water felt smoother than usual the next time she comes over. If I want her to feel that good, I could always just put extra rum in her Pina Colada.
    18x38 Inground Liner (25k gal) Paver surround, multi-speed pump, DE Filter, Raised spill over spa, TF-100

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: SCG - 2 years later

    While I'm a big fan of SWG's, I agree with the sentiment of your post. There's a lot of mis-understanding/information out there regarding "salt water pools". I think a lot of folks in the industry, from manufacturers to store salespeople, are to blame here for creating an air of intrigue or mystique around them so that they're easier to sell without properly explaining.

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    Re: SCG - 2 years later

    Ha Ha I vote for the Pina Colada
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
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    Re: SCG - 2 years later

    Quote Originally Posted by mitch08
    Is this going to be dangerous for my pavers or worse, my spill over spa that is paved and not sealed around it?
    It's all relative so the answer is yes, but it may not matter. If your stone is porous and sensitive to begin with, such as some limestone, and if you don't have regular summer rains, then it's possible for the salt to be harsher on your stone, causing it to deteriorate more quickly -- and yes, sealing would prevent that. If your stone is more hardy, then the slightly faster corrosion rate may not be noticeable relative to other factors that cause stone to wear. Most people who like the saltwater feel raise the salt level to 1500-2000 ppm and not all the way to 3000 ppm required by most SWG cells.
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    Re: SCG - 2 years later

    When we bought the house with the pool it was a straight fresh water pool with an inline puck chlorinator.

    My first step was adding the borates which made a very clear difference in water feel. We liked it and several months later we dropped in 2200 ppm salt which made a big improvement as well. A few months later we brought the salt up to 3400 ppm and installed the SWG. With this change the only improvement in water feel was we floated more easily in the higher salt content.

    Due to the ozonator we have never had an issue with CC for any of the above situations.

    My personal opinion is that a SWG produces some beneficial compounds besides chlorine which you just don't get the benefit of if using pucks or LC chlorine sources. I suspect it is making some H2O2 and other oxidative radicals but can't prove it yet.

    Lee
    IG 24k plaster with overflow spa. Goldline PS-8 SWG. Tristar 0.75 HP filter pump, Polaris 280, large cartridge filter, 400k BTU NG Max-E-Therm HD, SR Smith Turbo Twister, Life Saver pool fence, ORP managed.

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