Best Salt Chlorine Generator for In-ground 20,000 gallon Pool Hayward, Pentair Other (Jandy, Circupool)?

mikeyliny

New member
Oct 14, 2020
3
long island, new york
I'm looking for a salt-chlorine generator that will be reliable. If it does break down it shouldn't be too hard or take too long to find parts or get service for it if it does break down. Another consideration, but lower priority is long-term cost, if all else is equal, but I am going to save a few hundred dollars in energy costs or part-replacement costs over the next few years with one model over another, I would go with that as a tie-breaker to make a decision.

I'm considering some better known brands but also some smaller companies. I have narrowed it down to a few models and included my pool information below.

Which of these would you choose and why?
Hayward Aquarite AQR15
Pentair IC40 or IC60
Circupool CORE35*
Other

Circupool is a smaller US based company. However, what caught my eye was an 8-year warranty and good online reviews. It seems like if you want something fixed though you might have to ship the entire model to them for service.

Pool specs & regional variables
Type: 40x15 Fiberglass in-ground outdoor pool
Size: 17,000 gallons
Planned Heater: Cupronickel Gas 300K+BTU
Planned Pump: 2.0-2.5 HP,
Automation: Unsure, probably not
Temperature: May operate in cold weather
Location: New York, northeastern USA.
Altitude: regular (sea level + ~30 feet/10 meters)
Energy cost NY: Electric- $1020/kWh Natural gas - $0.50 per therm
Installer: professional
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,751
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I can't compare the various models for you. Others might be able to. But unless you are planning on using Pentair automation, I wouldn't recommend the Pentair IC. Without one of a few Pentair controllers, the chlorine output of a stand-alone Pentair IC can only be adjusted in increments of 20%. Pentair controllers up that control capability to 1% increments. Generally speaking, all your components should be of the same brand to maximize their capabilities (everything Pentair, or everything Hayward, etc), though that's less true for heaters and filters don't matter.

All SWGs will poop out in cold water. A Pentair IC stops working at about 52°. There are no considerations at your elevation or location.

All SWG cells have a lifespan: they produce X amount of chlorine for Y amount of hours, then need to be replaced. Some have user-replacable cells, others require complete replacement of the entire SWG. Pentair's ICs must be replaced in their entirety (though not their power supply). You can calculate your long-term costs if you can find the "stats" on each model you're considering. Some here know many of those stats, or you can hunt them down on the 'net. A Pentair IC40 lasts for 10,000 hours. How long any SWG lasts in your pool will depend on how much chlorine your pool will require over time, which is a difficult number to predict accurately. But if you apply the same use case to each SWG, then you can at least compare that.

If you only need a stand-alone SWG and there is no automation, I believe the Circupool brand would rise to the top of the heap, as it gets good reviews here on the forum. Pentair warranty for a SWG maxes out at 3 years, and only then if you follow specific rules about buying and installing it. Without buying it in a bundle with other Pentair gear, the warranty would be 2 years.
 
Last edited:

mikeyliny

New member
Oct 14, 2020
3
long island, new york
thanks. Does it matter if SWG doesnt work below 52F? I'll be using the pool with a heater & perhaps will run a pump w/out heater while maintaining in winter but seems bacteria doesnt grow well in cold anyways & chemicals seem to last longer in cold

 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,751
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
It only matters in that below 50-ish, your SWG will shut itself down and not produce chlorine. So you'll have to switch to an alternate method of sanitation. Typically that means dosing your pool manually with liquid chlorine. I lose my SWG for about two or three months. Chlorine cunsumption goes way down during that time period, so I typically only need to test and dose once a week. That's for my climate.

If your climate gets cold enough, you might have less, or no, sanitation to do, I couldn't say. And perhaps in your area it's customary to close the pool altogether, in which case the SWG in cold water would be a non-issue, as you would not run an SWG in a closed pool, even if you could (I think most pools close/open around 60°, so the SWG will work fine while the pool is open).

Some folks remove their SWG and replace it with a dummy cell, to keep it out of the elements. I don't, I just unplug its power.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,751
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I'm not sure I answered your question. I keep my FC level at its target level year-round, no matter how cold it gets, with SWG or manually. If the FC level drops, I figure the pool is using it somehow, and so I restore it. Maybe in the winter the loss is due to UV alone, and not any organics, but I'm not going to experiment to find out. By maintaining a good amount of FC in the water at all times, I know I don't have to worry about any sort of algae outbreak. That's worth the dozen-or-so times I need to dose in the winter, because that's about a total of two hours of chores. Cleaning up algae is a significantly bigger and much more expensive task, so it's not worth the risk.

But, again, that's for a pool that stays open year-round. If you close your pool in the winter, the sanitization strategy is completely different while its closed, and there are others here that can better help you with that.
 

twilk

Member
Sep 23, 2019
16
Brenham, TX
Bought a Circupool Core series for our pool. Had it for about 6 months. Super please with how easy it was to install. I have all Jandy equipment plus Jandy automation. I tied the Circupool to start when my pump starts. Could not be happier with the Circupool Core series. Where I am at in Texas cold weather is not a major issue. I choose the Circupool because I could install it myself and it was easy. Which ever way you go the SWCG way is the best option as far as I am concerned. Just my 2-cents worth!
 

chiefwej

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 12, 2011
3,533
Tucson
If you have or are planning any automation, stick to that brand. If not, based on my 15 years of experience and what I have seen from other pool owners that I know both here and on the forum, the Hayward AQR-15 is a great choice. I had one in service 15 years, the cell life has averaged 5 years in a 20k pool that, is here in the desert and open year-round. I have had to repair the controller once. The replacement thermistor cost about $5 and the repair took about 15 minutes. Most of my neighbors are using the same units and seem very satisfied.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: TPKnight