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Thread: Energy Saving Trick with SWG

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    Energy Saving Trick with SWG

    To any who are interested, this is something I figured out I could do to save a lot on my monthly power bill. I realized my 1 HP pump draws 7 amps, but the SWG only 1 amp. I was initially running my pump 8 to 12 hrs a day, and my SWG on 30%. I figured out I could run the SWG up to 100%, drop my pump time back to 4-6 hrs (4 in cooler weather, 6 when it's really hot), and cut my energy use in half.

    I'm still getting the same amount or more chlorine into my pool (12 hrs @ 30% = 4 hrs @ 100%), and the reduced circulation time has not been a problem for me. Only downside is that I have a lot of trees & leaves, and the reduced skimmer time means I have more time with leaves floating on the surface. But if you don't have a lot of leaves where you are, that won't matter much.

    I know there are those who will insist 4-6 hrs is not enough circulation time, but I have been testing this out for nearly 3 yrs now. I run it on 4 hrs/100% almost the entire year, and always have beautiful, crystal clear water, usually with a very beefy chlorine level. During the 90-100 degree periods in the summer, I will crank it up to 5-6 hrs a day if I see the slightest sign of algae formation, and maybe superchlorinate it for a while once every weekend or two.

    I split my pump time up into 3 cycles, about 8 hrs apart (usually 10 am - noon, 7-8 pm, and 3-4 am). Depending on your swimmer load and other unique conditions, your required pump time and results might not be exactly like mine, but this could give you something to think about. Be sure to maintain a proper level of stabilizer!

    Affect on my SWG cell? Well, it still operates about the same total time each day as when it was set on 12 hrs/30%, and it's been fine for 3 yrs....

    My setup: 16x32x8' vinyl liner, 1 hp Water Ace, Goldline Aqua-Rite SWG (T-15 cell).
    16x32 IG vinyl liner, ~19K gallon, built with my own blood, sweat, & tears!
    1 hp Water Ace pump, Goldline Aqua-Rite 40K SWG
    300# Hayward sand filter, dual skimmers, pool open 12 mos/yr

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    Re: Energy Saving Trick with SWG

    Quote Originally Posted by poolcat
    Affect on my SWG cell? Well, it still operates about the same total time each day as when it was set on 12 hrs/30%, and it's been fine for 3 yrs....
    Average life of a cell is about 5 years. It would be interesting to see if you can get two more seasons out of it.
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    Re: Energy Saving Trick with SWG

    That's what we usually advise our customers, size your chlorinator to required turnover time, and not just required chlorine amount.

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    Re: Energy Saving Trick with SWG

    Quote Originally Posted by poolcat
    I know there are those who will insist 4-6 hrs is not enough circulation time,
    All very good points - and here on the forum we tell folks that every pool has it's own unique circumstances and you have to experiment, as you did, to find your ideal run time. So if it works for you then great. What's good is that you don't ignore it completely you still pay attention to small issues that pop up.

    So if you are seeing the occasional algae showing up, it's probably not enough run time because that shouldn't happen - and my only unsolicited 2 cents would be rather than use "superchlorinate" - just dump in a jug of bleach.
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    Re: Energy Saving Trick with SWG

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    So if you are seeing the occasional algae showing up, it's probably not enough run time because that shouldn't happen - and my only unsolicited 2 cents would be rather than use "superchlorinate" - just dump in a jug of bleach.
    This sounds like a great idea. Based on all I have read about SWCGs, turning it back to a reasonable setting should definitely extend the life of the cell.

    Just a FYI: Having your water circulated 3 X a day sounds great; however, I have also read that pump on/off is stress on the pump. Having it come on 3 X a day may also create more issues for the pump motor life.

    The pump people (those in the know ) will be along and give their comments.

    I hope it all works out for you
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    Re: Energy Saving Trick with SWG

    If your unit uses relays (most do) to cycle the cell power ON/OFF, then you just increased their lifetime by 70%!!!
    Cell life will be un-affected, it is running the same amp/hours.
    It sounds like you have your SWG and your pump powered by the same timer. If you have your SWG on a timer (or automation control system circuit) separate from the pump, you can run your pump more with out the SWG being ON, if you want more circulation and don't want/need more chlorination.
    22 x 40 IG vinyl lined, 23,570 gal.
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    Re: Energy Saving Trick with SWG

    Update and responses to all the previous comments: A lightning storm a couple of weeks ago took out my pump motor, as well as the photocell to the post lamp in my front yard. The photocell wasn't too bad, but the motor set me back by a couple of C-notes! So, all I'll be able to tell you for now about pump motor life under my "energy-saving trick" conditions here is that I got 35 continuous months of daily operation before it was zapped by lightning.

    To, "...if you are seeing occasional algae show up, it's probably not enough run time....": Yes, that's how I know to increase the run time. It's the same way a mechanic knows how to tune an engine (back when you could actually tune one, at least). You turn the adjusting screw until performance drops, then back off -- it's optimized. Actually, once one learns to stay ahead of the curve and increase the pump run time as the daily temperature increases in the summer, you don't see any algae. Bump up to 5 hrs when the daily highs hit 90, 6 hrs when they go above 95 -- whatever you find is optimal for your conditions. You will know you have to go a little higher if you see any green. If you do see any, just brush and/or vac it off and crank up the (pump and SWG) run time.

    We don't dump in bleach because my wife's skin and hair do not like the liquid & powder chlorine products, and she doesn't like the smell. She tolerates the SWG-generated chlorine much better (which is why we went with the SWG to start with -- I didn't know then that it would make maintenance so easy).

    I agree in that I don't think any of this should affect cell life, and that the controller life could possibly even be extended. I don't think on & off 3 times a day is excessive for a pump motor. I kind of think that it might even balance out by not building up as much heat, by not operating continuously for as long a time per cycle. But, I can tell you it certainly doesn't do one any good to be hit by lightning!

    With my system doing just fine with 4-6 hrs of pump operation and SWG on 100%, I really don't have much need to run my pump without the chlorinator on. On the rare occasions that I do, I can just dial back or switch the SWG off. With the pump drawing 7 amps and the SWG drawing only 1 amp, pump run time comes at a premium, while SWG run time costs little. Therefore, while the pump is running and burning that 7 amps, I like to take advantage, and for only 1 more amp, go ahead and generate some chlorine! So, the single timer setup does seem to work fine for me.

    I think these were all great thoughts/comments. I hope all our discussion here gives others something to think about, and that it will somehow be useful to them.
    16x32 IG vinyl liner, ~19K gallon, built with my own blood, sweat, & tears!
    1 hp Water Ace pump, Goldline Aqua-Rite 40K SWG
    300# Hayward sand filter, dual skimmers, pool open 12 mos/yr

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    Re: Energy Saving Trick with SWG

    its always a good idea to size the swg for your pool and if you can afford it go 1 or 2 sizes up, this will save the electrode but will also provide extra chlorine for the high demand times. most electrodes are made to last approx 5 years running at 100% for 6 hours per day so the less out put with the same run times will increase the life of the electrode.
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    Re: Energy Saving Trick with SWG

    Looks like he has the largest cell the Aqua Rite has - should be sufficient to manage a pool that size pretty well.
    18x33x52 Buttressfree Seaspray (Wilbar) AGP - 1.5hp Pentair Maxim w/22" Pentair Meteor Sand Filter, Aqua Rite SWG System, Biltmore Walk In Steps - 2/4x20 Solar Panel Setup - Doheny Jet Drive (RIP -Pool Rover Jr) - finally hard plumbed the whole darned thing -
    Beats Driving to the Lake!

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    Re: Energy Saving Trick with SWG

    malcolmb, makes me wonder if one should ever choose the 20K Aqua-Rite over the 40K, unless there is a really big cost difference. You can always dial down the 40K.
    16x32 IG vinyl liner, ~19K gallon, built with my own blood, sweat, & tears!
    1 hp Water Ace pump, Goldline Aqua-Rite 40K SWG
    300# Hayward sand filter, dual skimmers, pool open 12 mos/yr

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    Re: Energy Saving Trick with SWG

    We don't dump in bleach because my wife's skin and hair do not like the liquid & powder chlorine products, and she doesn't like the smell.
    Just so our new readers don't get confused, the chlorine in Clorox is identical in every respect to the chlorine generated by an SWG. The powders deliver an identical chlorine as well but also deliver some other chemistry into your pool that can be good for it or bad for it....depending.

    Nevertheless, the chlorine that sanitizes anyone's pool is the same regardless whether it's delivered by a jug of LQ, pucks, powder or an SWG.

    Sorry for the slight hijack but clarification of that topic is important.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
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    Re: Energy Saving Trick with SWG

    Well, I know that "Clorox" and SWG's both produce hypochlorous acid in the pool. While I'm just a dumb engineer and not a chemistry major, I think there [i]have[i] to be some kind of differences in the intermediate reactions, or even in just the physical processes that go on, between adding chlorine via Clorox and a SWG. Maybe it is just me. But, I used to do it via Clorox in my old (non-SWG) pool at my last house, and you could always tell by the smell (both, in the pool and on the swimmers), the effects on your eyes, and the reaction of my wife's skin. I think most everyone who has a SWG and has ever fooled with using Clorox in the pool would have to have witnessed the same (except for my wife's skin!). Part of the beauty of having the SWG to me is not having to fool with buying or handling any of that packaged/bottled chlorine. It also just works better, like at keeping algae out and keeping me from having to waste $$ on other chemicals. I definitely like it better this way, and don't want to go back. Guess I'll buy a cell every few years or so. Sorry -- didn't mean to stray so far off the original topic myself, either, but it is kind of a relevant discussion.
    16x32 IG vinyl liner, ~19K gallon, built with my own blood, sweat, & tears!
    1 hp Water Ace pump, Goldline Aqua-Rite 40K SWG
    300# Hayward sand filter, dual skimmers, pool open 12 mos/yr

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    Re: Energy Saving Trick with SWG

    It's mostly that when manually dosing a pool one gets to higher Free Chlorine (FC) levels (and FC/CYA ratio, so active chlorine level as well) than with the more steady-state and typically lower level from an SWG system. The chlorine is the same, but at a somewhat lower level with an SWG. The salt level is different as well, though that's something one can have while still manually dosing with chlorine. One can also get the more consistent chlorine level by using an automated dosing system such as The Liquidator or a peristaltic pump.

    Specifically, many SWG pools have around 4 ppm FC with 80 ppm CYA while many manually dosed pools have from 4 to 7 ppm FC with 50 ppm CYA which is from 60% to 180% higher in active chlorine concentration. That is probably the most likely cause for the difference in smell and noticeable effects.
    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
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    Re: Energy Saving Trick with SWG

    I've been doing this sort of experiment for the past two years.......tweak my run time and SWG %. For filtering, I have found that I don't need anything more than 5 hours/day. My pool is small and my pump is large. I haven't bumped up my SWG % yet (currently at 50), but will shortly (temps are going to be 100+ all weekend and my CYA is low). I always keep a big jug of cheap bleach to help my FC level.....it's cheaper than running my pump/SWG all the time and handy when it rains or we have a party (I can adjust the FC quickly).
    Mike

    16.5k IG gunite pool/spa, pebble-tec type plaster, Aquapure 1400 SWG, Jandy 2hp ePump main pump, Jandy 1.5hp Stealth on waterfall, Polaris 280, iAqualink wifi control, Colorsplash LED pool/spa lights

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    Re: Energy Saving Trick with SWG

    Great, ntx. It's good to hear about what others are trying. (Wow! You have 100+ degrees already?) Sounds like your pump time is close to what I'm doing. Only instead of using the liquid bleach, I am running the SWG on 100%. Maybe, over the life of the cell, the cost will be comparable between buying liquid bleach and any difference in cell life. I'm well into season 4 with this cell. I'll keep everyone posted on how my cell does over the long haul. I know I need to clean it now.
    16x32 IG vinyl liner, ~19K gallon, built with my own blood, sweat, & tears!
    1 hp Water Ace pump, Goldline Aqua-Rite 40K SWG
    300# Hayward sand filter, dual skimmers, pool open 12 mos/yr

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    Re: Energy Saving Trick with SWG

    Update for those who are interested in following my "experiment". We had 101 degrees this past weekend, so I am running my 1hp pump a total of 6 hrs a day now (2 hrs, 3 times a day), with the SWG at 100%. I have plenty of FC and no algae. During the periods of extreme heat such as we had last week, I do flip the bypass switch on the timer and let it superchlorinate an extra 6 hrs or so, about once a week. Fourth season now and still going with the same cell (although I'm sure I shouldn't say that!).
    16x32 IG vinyl liner, ~19K gallon, built with my own blood, sweat, & tears!
    1 hp Water Ace pump, Goldline Aqua-Rite 40K SWG
    300# Hayward sand filter, dual skimmers, pool open 12 mos/yr

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