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Thread: INTEX 12'x36" Metal-Frame pool with a Salt Water Generator

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    INTEX 12'x36" Metal-Frame pool with a Salt Water Generator

    Hi there,
    We have been using this new pool for about a month now. As indicated in my subject heading, we have the Intex Salt Water Generator for our "small" pool. I only use pool test strips to use to monitor the water.
    All I have added was the salt initially and nothing else (because after all, I am trying to have a "chemical" free pool as much as possible).
    My pump is 1,000 gph (I upgraded from the 500 gph that it comes with). I use filter letter "A".

    I also keep a solar cover on every night.

    I have been running the SWG 2 hours every evening, and the pump just slightly longer before and after the SWG running time.

    Some days the water clarity is great. Some days it is a bit cloudy. The AquaCheck test strip readings are slightly on the low side also.

    APPROXIMATE numbers (according to the back of the AquaCheck bottle):
    PH 6.8-7.2
    FC .5-1
    TA 40-80
    Stabilizer under 35

    Tonight I am experimenting with running the SWG for 3 hours. Maybe that will help?

    Also, what are the hazards to swim occasionally in water with low readings, as I mentioned above?
    I greatly appreciate your help or thoughts on any of the above.
    Thanks!!

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    reebok's Avatar
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    Re: INTEX 12'x36" Metal-Frame pool with a Salt Water Generator

    chemicals aren't bad. they prevent things like bacteria, viruses and algae from running rampant in your pool. (these things would be the risk that you run by keeping such a small amount of fc in your pool. and algae is not so much a risk as an absolute sooner or later) that said, an swg is an excellent tool, but you need to do a couple things. you need to increase your cya/stabilizer level. and you need a higher fc level. and because I decded to write in reverse order tonight, you need to get a good set of test results first. unfortunately, test strips won't cut it. can you bring it to a pool store to get it tested? pool stores are often as bad as strips (and sometimes the lazy bums actually use strips themselves, *sigh*) but a verification, however faulty, would at least help somewhat.
    in the meantime, read the pool chemistry articles in pool-school/
    lots of good information there that will help you understand your pool much, much better. also, a good test kit is highly highly highly recommended if you want to keep your pool sparkling clear all summer. and spring. and fall. and winter too for that matter :)
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

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    Re: INTEX 12'x36" Metal-Frame pool with a Salt Water Generator

    Welcome!
    You really should add stabilizer, it will help keep your pool sanitized longer and prolong the life of your SWG. Read the Pool School section, it'll explain why. Get a drop based test kit, the Wal-Mart HTH 6 way kit is WAY better than strips, the TF-100 is the Gold Standard.
    A chemical free pool sounds nice and environmentally good, but Mother Nature has a way of growing things that you really don't want to be swimming in. Your Salt Water Chlorine Generator is making chlorine gas to kill (purify) the stuff in the water that you don't want in there. Give a little help by keeping your water balanced,(it really isn't very hard - once you understand what that means ) and you will have as close to a chemical free pool as is SAFE to let children play in.
    Enjoy your pool!
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    Re: INTEX 12'x36" Metal-Frame pool with a Salt Water Generator

    Thank you both! I will get the better test strips at Walmart (I hope they still have them), and also the Stabilizer.
    Would anyone know how much stabilizer to buy, how much to put in a pool this size and how often do I add it?
    Also, how would I add it - just drop it in the center of the pool and mix it?

    (And why can't I add any smilies to my posts????)

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    Re: INTEX 12'x36" Metal-Frame pool with a Salt Water Generator

    Quote Originally Posted by LovingSummer
    Thank you both! I will get the better test strips at Walmart (I hope they still have them), and also the Stabilizer.
    Would anyone know how much stabilizer to buy, how much to put in a pool this size and how often do I add it?
    Also, how would I add it - just drop it in the center of the pool and mix it?

    (And why can't I add any smilies to my posts????)
    No test strips. This is a drop based kit we're talking about - called HTH 6-way kit and it looks like this:
    http://www.poolgeek.com/HTH-6-Way-Te...ign=googlebase

    Okay, first things first...the reason we need to know accurate results is this: For example on PH 7.2 is acceptable (low, but ok) while 6.8 is not. For TA 80 is great, 40 is not. See what I mean?

    We need to know accurately what your CYA level is, to know how much to add. You will need no more than 1.7 lbs of Cyanuric Acid. Wal-mart sells it in 3-4 lb cannisters. You may be able to find smaller cannisters at a pool store or Lowes, etc., type stores that have pool departments. It will say "stabilizer" or "conditioner" but you want like 94% active ingredient Cyanuric Acid.

    If you can't find stabilizer, you can also increase the CYA level using Dichlor (granular chlorine powder). Let us know if you have trouble finding the CYA. When you get it, let us know and we'll tell you how to add it, via the "sock method".

    Once we get accurate PH/TA readings, we're going to help you shock your pool, so that if there is something lurking there (pre-green algae phase is cloudy water) the high chlorine level will zap it and then you're SWG should easily be able to keep up. You shouldn't have to run the SWG part of the unit for more than an hour or 2 a day to keep up, given the size of your pool.

    Pick up a couple of jugs of bleach today JIC, if you can't find the stabilizer, we'll have you shock with the Dichlor instead. (But it's always handy to keep a couple of jugs of bleach around in case you need to rapidly increase the FC level.)

    As for smilies, go to User Control Panel, then Board Preferences, then Edit Posting Defaults. Make sure that the "enable smilies by default" is set to "YES".
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
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    Re: INTEX 12'x36" Metal-Frame pool with a Salt Water Generator

    Your pump run-time sounds low

    You should really consider upgrading the filter and getting a real pump.

    The Intex pumps are too small and the filters are a joke

    The good news is the SWG will work well with the new pumpa nd filter and make your pool upkeep eaiser
    12x24 AG 8.7k, 27" sand filter w/1 HP 2 speed Dynamo ,1 main,1 skimmer and 2 returns, 2" PVC

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: INTEX 12'x36" Metal-Frame pool with a Salt Water Generator

    For a 2,500 gallon pool, the SWG/filter unit she has should be sufficient enough - yes they are lacking but I don't think a larger filter/pump is justified here. If anything I think the SWG unit is overkill - as many folks with larger AG pools over 12,000 gallons use the unit and it only runs a couple of hours for their pool.....

    The Intex filters are lousy, no way around it. But if you prevent problems from happening in the first place, you can make them work for small pools like this.

    Just remember to change the filters out once a week, 2 at most as they are disposable. This is "normal" use. If the water turns green or cloudy, they should be changed out more often.

    Once the pool is clear you should be fine. I think you caught the problem in time.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
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    Re: INTEX 12'x36" Metal-Frame pool with a Salt Water Generator

    I appreciate your great advice! So to make sure that I get this straight... running the SWG longer will not make a difference?
    I have not tested the pool today because it has been raining cats & dogs all day. Last night I ran the SWG for 3 hours for the first time so I am curious if it will even make a difference. I will wait tomorrow to see if it does. It will run another 3 hours tonight. After today, I will revert back to the 2-hr cycle that I have been doing. It seems to basically work before.

    But, I will be adding stabilizer though. I have not bought it yet.

    As far as the SWG goes for a pool this size, I know it is a "bit" ridiculous (I even laugh about it) but I just didn't want a regular chlorinated pool. (The generator cost as much as the pool did.) I figured that I can always use the SWG for a larger pool if I chose to buy one next year.

    Regarding the pump... I have read that the intex pumps are not the best that come with the pool sizes they are selling (ex. 12'x36" with a 500gph pump is no good). That is why I upgraded to the 1000 gph pump for this size pool. Next year I would like to get a 15' AG pool. My yard is not very level so I think I can get away with at most a 15' pool (I will still probably have to do some leveling even at that size).

    Are there other manufacturers filters that are better that can fit into the Intex pump? I thought the filter needs to be changed or cleaned every two weeks? I keep a cover on the pool daily when not in use, so the filter does not get completely dirty. I did clean it out with a hose and reused it once.

    Any recommendations or advice on the Intex 15'x48" metal frame pools, or other AG pools this size?


    NOTE: For anyone that has the 12' Intex metal frame pool, there was one drawback to it that annoyed me (besides the inadequate pump size). It was the inlet plugs (they look like small black tophats) that are supposed to plug up the holes so one can access the pump. They would not fit AT ALL! I tried all the techniques that the Intex customer support said to try and they would not fit. We discovered an easier remedy. We bought some white drain plugs from ACE hardware (the 1-3/8" size) and tape around the plug part with a couple of layer with duct-tape or water-proof tape and it fit perfect. You will need two. Other than this, this pool is great and the water is generally refreshing to swim in because of the salt water.

    Thanks!!

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    reebok's Avatar
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    Re: INTEX 12'x36" Metal-Frame pool with a Salt Water Generator

    Quote Originally Posted by LovingSummer
    As far as the SWG goes for a pool this size, I know it is a "bit" ridiculous (I even laugh about it) but I just didn't want a regular chlorinated pool. (The generator cost as much as the pool did.) I figured that I can always use the SWG for a larger pool if I chose to buy one next year.
    I think swg's are nice, but fwiw there is no difference between your pool and any other chlorinated pool besides the fact that you don't buy chlorine products, it's generated by the swg for you. the chemicals in the water are exactly the same.
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

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    Re: INTEX 12'x36" Metal-Frame pool with a Salt Water Generator

    Once you have a problem (like yours), the SWG won't be able to keep up, so running it more right now is not the best idea. You need bleach to shock the pool.

    If you did not add stabilizer, that's part of the problem. You need your CYA at 70-80 for an SWG:
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/pool-...ater_generator

    Once your water is balanced, the SWG shouldn't need more than 1-2 hours of run time - the filter part, that should run at least 8-12 hours a day for the best filtration.

    Right now, so that the chlorine you add isn't completely destroyed by sunlight, you need to get your CYA level up to 30ppm. Then your shock level will be 12ppm FC. You'll complete shocking, and once the FC is holding overnight, then you can finish increasing the CYA up to 70. (It's better to shock at the lower CYA level since you'll use less bleach.)

    There are "cleanable" filters sold that will fit the pump, it's more of a "size matters" issue...and the design of the system itself....look online for the non-disposable type. Using the disposable ones it's 1-2 weeks, tops. Right now, especially when you start to shock, you'll probably see it gunk up a bit and will need to change it out after a couple days.

    So get the test kit, and post a set of results so we can check the PH/TA.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
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    Re: INTEX 12'x36" Metal-Frame pool with a Salt Water Generator

    Here is an update on my salt water intex pool:
    The pool water has "stabilized". I ran the salt generator pump for 3 hours two nights in a row. I am not sure if that really did the trick, because I always have been running it for 2 hours and that is adequate for my size pool. I agree that the chlorine levels are not holding until the next 24 hours that the generator and pump have to run. I haven't bought the stabilizer yet.
    Last night it really rained heavy so I decided to "shock" the pool today by JUST running the generator this afternoon. AND, in just under 2hours, the chlorine levels went up to the appropriate levels. The solution, I believe, is to change the times I run the salt generator so the chlorine levels will hold during the day when the pool is really in use. Up to now I had the generator run from 8:30pm-1130pm (every evening), which by the next afternoon, the chlorine levels have already begun to dip. I will now begin to run the salt generator in the morning for two hours. Basically, I really want to rely on the salt generator to work for my pool (after all I paid enough for it to produce chlorine naturally from salt). I didn't want to add any packaged pool chemicals because 1) they are costly, 2) they may have byproducts, and 3) I can't stand the smell. If my new time system doesn't work, I guess I will be forced to buy the stabilizer (so the chlorine levels can last until the next time the generator goes on). I hate to buy so much of it for the small amount that I actually will use in my pool.

    Also, here is some other helpful info: I did buy the HTH 6-way test strips because I was using the AquaCheck test strips that were left over from last year and apparently were expired in Jan 2008, according to the bottle. Well I didn't throw them out because I wanted to really see if they actually were faulty after the expiration date. I dipped both strips, the new HTH and the "expired" AquaCheck strips in at the same time, waited exactly 15 sec without shaking the water off the strips. The readings were the same. But the HTH did test for TH (total hardness) that the AquaCheck does not. So, basically the AquaCheck still work even after the expiration date.

    Ultimately, I am amazed how the salt water generator really makes chlorine (through the cell) and it is automatic. Of course, there is a slight learning curve on how to work it best.

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    Re: INTEX 12'x36" Metal-Frame pool with a Salt Water Generator

    what does stabilized mean?
    you didn't shock, but since you put it in quotes, I suppose you know that.
    packaged pool chemicals are generally not recommended. whatever your reason, although I'm not sure what smell you're talking about. actually it sounds like you mean a specific chemical, though you don't specify what it is. granular chlorine?
    you can do what you like, but if you come to this forum you will get the same advice that thousands of other people have based on years of collective real world pool knowledge. if you don't want to play the game, you don't have to, but you'll have a more difficult time sooner or later.
    strips are strips. they're unreliable and give such a broad range of readings that they're almost useless for testing the water.
    swg's are cool and very convenient, but they're no different than adding bleach/liquid chlorine as far as chlorine goes.
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

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    Re: INTEX 12'x36" Metal-Frame pool with a Salt Water Generator

    My responses are in bold, and also below your quote.

    Quote Originally Posted by LovingSummer
    Here is an update on my salt water intex pool:
    The pool water has "stabilized".

    Not really, you have a false impression that your pool issues have been resolved. They haven't, I can pretty much assure you. I'll be blunt here, I don't mean to offend.

    I ran the salt generator pump for 3 hours two nights in a row. I am not sure if that really did the trick, because I always have been running it for 2 hours and that is adequate for my size pool. I agree that the chlorine levels are not holding until the next 24 hours that the generator and pump have to run. I haven't bought the stabilizer yet.

    Please read the article I posted above. It explains why you need CYA. There are other articles in Pool School that explain the science behind the recommended chemicals. Ignoring these recommendations won't help you or your pool.

    Last night it really rained heavy so I decided to "shock" the pool today by JUST running the generator this afternoon. AND, in just under 2hours, the chlorine levels went up to the appropriate levels.

    Please elaborate on "Appropriate levels"? According to test strips?
    When shocking, you should always use liquid clorine to shock. Operating your SWG in this manner will surely shorten the life of the cell and you will see early cell failure. Even the Intex manufacture recommends CYA for maintaining proper FC levels, ensuring the unit functions properly througout its useful life. There is a reason to have CYA, the science behind it is sound, and CYA at the recommended level is perfectly safe and causes no harm.


    The solution, I believe, is to change the times I run the salt generator so the chlorine levels will hold during the day when the pool is really in use. Up to now I had the generator run from 8:30pm-1130pm (every evening), which by the next afternoon, the chlorine levels have already begun to dip. I will now begin to run the salt generator in the morning for two hours. Basically, I really want to rely on the salt generator to work for my pool (after all I paid enough for it to produce chlorine naturally from salt).

    The solution, just to be clear, is to complete the steps as I outlined in my post above, including raising the CYA level into range, protecting the FC and thereby the SWG unit itself.

    I didn't want to add any packaged pool chemicals because 1) they are costly, 2) they may have byproducts, and 3) I can't stand the smell. If my new time system doesn't work, I guess I will be forced to buy the stabilizer (so the chlorine levels can last until the next time the generator goes on). I hate to buy so much of it for the small amount that I actually will use in my pool.

    BBB is all about keeping it simple and inexpensive. We wouldn't recommend unneccessary or unsafe chemicals. This is important for the proper balancing of your pool. As I advised above, if you can't find Stabilizer, or you don't want such a large container, then you can use Dichlor, which is sold in 1 lb bags at the pool store and/or Lowes. You need 3, 1 lb bags, shouldn't cost more than $10... Instructions for adding it are below.

    These products are perfectly safe to use as directed. While they may appear costly, they will save you money in the long run by preventing your SWG from failing early. Allowing the FC to drop to zero in between SWG run time means Algae can take hold, but it also means that swimmers in your pool are swimming in unsanitized and unsafe water. It is not advisable to allow swimming with no chlorine present to kill harmful bacteria and viruses.


    Also, here is some other helpful info: I did buy the HTH 6-way test strips because I was using the AquaCheck test strips that were left over from last year and apparently were expired in Jan 2008, according to the bottle. Well I didn't throw them out because I wanted to really see if they actually were faulty after the expiration date. I dipped both strips, the new HTH and the "expired" AquaCheck strips in at the same time, waited exactly 15 sec without shaking the water off the strips. The readings were the same. But the HTH did test for TH (total hardness) that the AquaCheck does not. So, basically the AquaCheck still work even after the expiration date.

    As I stated above, You need the HTH drop based 6-way test kit - Not strips. Strips are inaccurate regardless of the expiration date.

    Ultimately, I am amazed how the salt water generator really makes chlorine (through the cell) and it is automatic. Of course, there is a slight learning curve on how to work it best.
    Your PH and TA were questionable above and you still haven't provided accurate readings. Adding CYA or Dichlor may lower both, which is why you need an accurate way to test. Should they require adjusting, use Borax and Baking Soda, and the Pool Calculator can help you determine how much to add.

    To use Dichlor to raise your CYA level into range, simultaneously shocking your pool:
    For 3 consecutive nights, add 6 oz of Dichlor. Then for the next 10 days, add 3 oz of Dichlor each evening. The first three days this addition should keep your pool at shock level, which will rid the pool water of organics and the early stages of algae that may have been lurking. The next 10 days, the Dichlor additions will keep your FC level in range. Your SWG should easily keep your FC in range during this process. Then, after the 14th day, you should be able to run the SWG for an hour or two and maintain the chlorine consistently for a 24 hour period, protecting your family and friends who use your pool.

    (Predissolve the Dichlor in a bucket of pool water and pour it into the return flow.)

    Hope this helps. I hope you heed this advice.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
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    Re: INTEX 12'x36" Metal-Frame pool with a Salt Water Generator

    I really do appreciate all your helpful advice and I will buy stabilizer. I guess I just thought if the chlorine levels were within range during pool use during the day then that is fine.

    I am not disputing what you wrote and I do think you definitely know much about this. But I am questioning why Intex customer service said to me previously that stabilizer is not necessary with the salt water system. I told them that I had read that some people use it but they still said it was not necessary. They said that I just need to run it a bit extra after days of extra swimming or rainfall. (And I even spoke with a knowledgeable-sounding representative.)
    Also, another time I called HTH support customer service to ask about how much stabilizer to put in a 12'x36" pool with a SWG and they told me 9oz of their stabilizer. They also told me to run the salt generator after heavy rainfall to "shock" the pool. (??)

    Ultimately, I will probably only add stabilizer to the pool. Thanks!!

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    Re: INTEX 12'x36" Metal-Frame pool with a Salt Water Generator

    if you read through the forum here, you will see post after post after post of bad advice from pool store and the pool industry. they simply don't believe some things (chlorine/cya relationship) and other things they're just clueless on. and the chances of any of these people actually owning their own pool is probably pretty small.
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

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