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Thread: SWG or another system in Arizona

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    SWG or another system in Arizona

    I am in the process of building a new pool, about 12,000 gallon gunite/shotcrete with in floor cleaning system. Since this my first pool I am looking for any advice on what would be an acceptable system. We are working with prices from three builders, two of the builders are set against an SWG system. They will install them if I really want them but one builder says he hasn't installed any in 2 years and the other says the majority of their service complaints are dealing with SWG's. Of course the third builder has an SWG and says he has no issue with his or their SWG installations.

    Since this pool will be constructed at our second home, the pool will be used at various times with various bather loads. I am looking for the system that will provide the least amount of maintenance since I would like to have a pool maintenace company only stop by once a week( is that a reasonable maintenance schedule?).

    I understand water balance is critical with any system but I am wondering why the two builders are so against the SWG systems. Is the hard water in Phoenix the reason the builders are recommending against the SWG? Is there a way to bring down the hard water? The two builders recommendations in place of the SWG was to use chlorine pucks, does anyone have opinions on pucks?

    Thanks for any assistance you may provide.

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    polyvue's Avatar
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    Re: SWG or another system in Arizona

    Quote Originally Posted by newpoolinphoenix
    I am looking for the system that will provide the least amount of maintenance since I would like to have a pool maintenace company only stop by once a week( is that a reasonable maintenance schedule?).

    Obviously, an automated system provides the most convenience; dump the salt in the pool, set your SWG and test the chlorine, along with the other pool water balance components (pH, CH, TA, etc) once a week if you can. The maintenance company should be able to do this for you when you're gone, but you may have to instruct them on what you want tested and how you want the water treated. If they do inadequate testing and/or just throw in pucks when there's a problem, you risk coming back to a mess. A once a week schedule should work, but if the service only includes testing and chemical additions, you or someone else will have to brush the pool down and check skimmer/pump baskets occasionally.

    I understand water balance is critical with any system but I am wondering why the two builders are so against the SWG systems. Is the hard water in Phoenix the reason the builders are recommending against the SWG? Is there a way to bring down the hard water? The two builders recommendations in place of the SWG was to use chlorine pucks, does anyone have opinions on pucks?

    Some builders may be opposed to SWGs because salt water splash-out can be hard on certain types of pool surrounds (flagstone?) or they have had to field complaints from customers who don't take adequate care of the SWG unit or pool water, etc. Using pucks certainly relieves them of having to coach indifferent pool owners on the finer points of pool water maintenance, but over time the use of pucks can lead to excessive levels of Calcium or Cyanuric Acid (CYA).

    My pool is chlorinated by a Hayward Aqua Cell (PS-8) and I consider it a great convenience. I've not noticed any pitting or other effects on the poured concrete coping and deck in the two years I've had the pool and SWG operating.

    Other than starting with fill-water that does not have too much calcium or magnesium, I don't have any suggestions about reducing the hardness of the water.
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: SWG or another system in Arizona

    I don't know why the two are against SWG's

    SWG's are a good idea expecially since it's going to be at a second home.

    You really need to read Pool School and when you're done you need to read Pool School .... again.

    If you allow the pool company to use pucks you're asking for trouble. Over time it'll raise your CYA until it becomes a problem and then you'll be paying them to fight the very problem they created.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: SWG or another system in Arizona

    You have to ask those builders what there concern is. A lot of it is just plain ignorance, or misinformation that they keep buying into. Some of the concerns may be legit. But research the unit carefully before you buy.

    If you read the various threads about SWG problems - alot of times the "problems" can be as simple as a simple water chemistry issue - low salt, too much salt, not enough CYA, CH and PH caused scaling on the cell so it's not functioning.... Once you understand the various issues involved with owning an SWG you can be prepared should a problem occur. Sometimes the problems are technical ones or simple unreliable brands, units, etc.

    I think since this is a second-home situation an SWG would be ideal. I would also suggest you do go with an inline chlorinator as well - the first year on a plaster pool the PH can rise dramatically. Using pucks at the beginning to chlorinate, will help control the ph rise because the pucks are acidic. The pucks will build your CYA up to the 60-80 range that we recommend for an SWG. Then once you have the SWG up and running - the chlorinator is a nice back up to have on the system if you were to have a problem.

    The first 30 days having a pool you aren't supposed to add salt. You can't use the SWG at first - so you need a way to chlorinate. If you are looking for convenience - go with both, and use the inline chlorinator at the beginning and then use the SWG and if a problem develops you've got a back up.

    The key is knowledge. Understand what water chemistry issues happen with new pools and how that can affect an SWG. Understand what overuse of an inline chlorinator can do too. Proper testing and applying the knowledge will give you a trouble-free pool - there is no system that will do it all for you.

    So in the first year with new plaster, watch for the rising PH. If the water is hard in the area, high CH combined with high PH can cause scale on your new surface AND on the SWG cell. So this must be monitored.

    With constant puck use, the CYA can get too high and water replacement is required. Pucks are acidic and they can lower PH/TA so keep an eye on those.

    So first things first, read a lot on this forum, not just in pool school but various threads so that you can get an idea of typical situations....

    and then order a good test kit, either the TF100 or the Taylor K-2006. If you go with salt be sure to order salt test strips too, Aquachek.

    Hope this helps
    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
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: SWG or another system in Arizona

    Thanks Polyvue, Bama & FPM

    Your comments and suggestions definately help, I have done alot of researching all the different threads here, reading the pool school as well as pool forum, the information provided has definately helped me in wanting an swg system. I like the idea of having an inline chlorinator with the swg, great suggestion I hadn't thought of combining the two.

    After questioning the two builders against the SWG system the following were their reasons:
    The one builders salesman had an SWG but it corroded his acrylic deck off, after questioning him about it and his pictures he showed me he mentioned his dog swam in the pool daily and laid in that spot, so the accumulation of water and salt may be why the acrylic lifted, he also mentioned they haven't installed any SWG's in the last two years since the majority of their problem call outs were due to calcium build up on the SWG's cells and pool owners having to replace the cells every two years or so. This builder also has a rep (who they provided me his contact info) that is against the SWG's for the above mentioned issues and is big on the ozone with inline chlorinator and nature 2 system (which with all the ozone generator chemistry info I have read here and agreed with is not really necessary).

    The other builders salesmen (one of the bigger companies) only reasons mentioned were I would really have to twist his arm to get one installed because he doesn't recommend it, when I pushed for a reason just basically said they are nothing but a headache and don't work in the Arizona environment ( I assume the hard water and summer heat).

    Thanks

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