BioGuard Mineral Springs

EmilyOTR

Bronze Supporter
Feb 15, 2017
337
Ferndale, MI
#1
We are buying a house and switching our new pool from chlorine tablets to a SWG. The local pool store is a bioGuard dealer and uses these products. Is this recommended? I tried searching but didn't see much current info.
 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jun 12, 2009
3,285
NW Ohio
#2
Most of it is just relabeled and upcharged versions of their other chemicals. ProTeam does the same thing, repackage the same stuff, raise the price even more than normal and say it is for "salt pools". I see Bioguard even made up the term "Certified Salt Pool Expert" to try to convince you that they are somehow different, cute.

Avoid the pool store as much as possible. Most any chemical you need can be found at Walmart cheaper and without the sales pitch. Don't get your water tested there, do it yourself. Pool equipment and toys are about the only thing they are good for.
 

EmilyOTR

Bronze Supporter
Feb 15, 2017
337
Ferndale, MI
#3
Most of it is just relabeled and upcharged versions of their other chemicals. ProTeam does the same thing, repackage the same stuff, raise the price even more than normal and say it is for "salt pools". I see Bioguard even made up the term "Certified Salt Pool Expert" to try to convince you that they are somehow different, cute.

Avoid the pool store as much as possible. Most any chemical you need can be found at Walmart cheaper and without the sales pitch. Don't get your water tested there, do it yourself. Pool equipment and toys are about the only thing they are good for.
But I need someone to install a SWG. can I use the bio guard SWG and get salt elsewhere? Not Walmart though please.


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JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,488
Tucson, AZ
#4
What are they trying to sell you - the Renewal and the Begin products?

The Mineral Springs Begin product is just a small amount of cyanuric acid (~1.5%) and the rest is inert, probably salts like sodium chloride. You certainly don't need to buy that as you can simply buy a 6 lbs container of cyanuric acid and use that. The Mineral Springs Renewal product is nothing more than a combination of dry acid (sodium bisulfate), boric acid (adds borates) and phosphonic acid (scale inhibitor). Totally unnecessary as well since you should control pH using muriatic acid, borates you can add separately by purchasing boric acid directly and scale inhibitors are not needed unless you have a high calcium hardness problem or metals in the water.

What you have to realize is that most of these pool store specialty chemicals are just heavily marketed, high priced chemicals that basically are unnecessary for your pool. You can buy all them, individually and for a lot less than the marked up prices you find in the pool store.

If you are converting a pool to a salt water chlorine generator then you don't need to add anything"special" to your water other than the manufacturer's recommended amount of salt and then follow the recommended levels that TFP has for all other water chemistry parameters (pH, CYA, TA, CH, etc).
 

EmilyOTR

Bronze Supporter
Feb 15, 2017
337
Ferndale, MI
#5
What are they trying to sell you - the Renewal and the Begin products?

The Mineral Springs Begin product is just a small amount of cyanuric acid (~1.5%) and the rest is inert, probably salts like sodium chloride. You certainly don't need to buy that as you can simply buy a 6 lbs container of cyanuric acid and use that. The Mineral Springs Renewal product is nothing more than a combination of dry acid (sodium bisulfate), boric acid (adds borates) and phosphonic acid (scale inhibitor). Totally unnecessary as well since you should control pH using muriatic acid, borates you can add separately by purchasing boric acid directly and scale inhibitors are not needed unless you have a high calcium hardness problem or metals in the water.

What you have to realize is that most of these pool store specialty chemicals are just heavily marketed, high priced chemicals that basically are unnecessary for your pool. You can buy all them, individually and for a lot less than the marked up prices you find in the pool store.

If you are converting a pool to a salt water chlorine generator then you don't need to add anything"special" to your water other than the manufacturer's recommended amount of salt and then follow the recommended levels that TFP has for all other water chemistry parameters (pH, CYA, TA, CH, etc).
He's not trying to sell me anything currently. I told him I wanted to switch the pool from tablets to SWG and he told me they are a bio guard dealer. That's all I know. He said once it's installed we'd dump about 15 bags of salt in and It could last all season depending on rain and splash out.


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JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,488
Tucson, AZ
#6
You can buy solar salt at Home Depot or Lowes, that's the salt that is used in salt-based water softeners. Works just fine. However, the pool stores will all tell you that is cheap salt with lots of contaminants and it will destroy the SWG so, at the very least, please buy our very over priced 40lbs bags of pool salt...

I understand you need some help getting the cell installed but have you tried calling around to pool builders and asking them how much they would charge for a cell and install? Pool stores are notorious for selling equipment that is highly marked up and charging A LOT for labor. See this chart for a comparison of SWG's -

Compare and Review Saltwater Chlorine Generator Prices and Features

Ideally you want to buy one of these systems yourself and then find someone to install it. You will pay a lot less for an SWG (and get a better quality unit) by not buying some rebranded model at a pool store.
 

EmilyOTR

Bronze Supporter
Feb 15, 2017
337
Ferndale, MI
#8
You can buy solar salt at Home Depot or Lowes, that's the salt that is used in salt-based water softeners. Works just fine. However, the pool stores will all tell you that is cheap salt with lots of contaminants and it will destroy the SWG so, at the very least, please buy our very over priced 40lbs bags of pool salt...

I understand you need some help getting the cell installed but have you tried calling around to pool builders and asking them how much they would charge for a cell and install? Pool stores are notorious for selling equipment that is highly marked up and charging A LOT for labor. See this chart for a comparison of SWG's -

Compare and Review Saltwater Chlorine Generator Prices and Features

Ideally you want to buy one of these systems yourself and then find someone to install it. You will pay a lot less for an SWG (and get a better quality unit) by not buying some rebranded model at a pool store.
Ok. So do I just google pool builders in my area to find someone?

Or what if, for ease, I get the bioguard installed by my pool store and use the cheaper salt you recommended? Or would that not work right?

So far no one seems to have said the SWG isn't good? Maybe just more expensive.


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JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,488
Tucson, AZ
#9
Ok. So do I just google pool builders in my area to find someone?

Or what if, for ease, I get the bioguard installed by my pool store and use the cheaper salt you recommended? Or would that not work right?

So far no one seems to have said the SWG isn't good? Maybe just more expensive.


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See JamesW's post. It looks like the BioGuard unit is just a rebranded AquaRite (Hayward) system. So compare what your dealer is trying to sell it at with what it would cost you to get it yourself. That's the equipment markup he's charging you.

Yes, you can call around to pool builders in your area and ask if they do the kind of installation you're thinking of. If they say, "No, I only build pools or do remodels..." then ask them for recommendations of a reputable plumber/electrician that might be able to do the installation for you. If you buy the unit yourself, you can probably save oin the markup and then if you can get a professional to install it, then you'll be able to get the full warranty as many of the SWG manufacturers only offer full warranties if the unit is professionally installed.
 

ping

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 24, 2011
2,931
Long Beach, CA
#11
T-15 is the cell size and it is rated for 40,000 gallons but that is with running the pump 24/7.

It is best to buy an oversized cell such as the T-15 for your pool size. It will save money in the long run over a smaller cell because it will let you run the pump for a shorter amount of time and the cell itself will produce more chlorine over its lifespan compared to a smaller sized cell.

To install this SWG your actual cost should be around $1000 plus whatever amount of labor you pay.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,488
Tucson, AZ
#14
So, is he right? Will I add 15 bags (how big?) of salt in the beginning and be good for the season? Do I need to test and how often?
You need to know your pool volume, what your starting salt concentration is (it's not zero) and what your target salt concentration is (typical SWGs need about 3200-3600ppm salt).

Pool Math can calculate the amount you'll need. Typically is a few hundred pounds of salt and salt is usually sold in 40lbs bags.

You should consider investing in one of the high quality test kits recommended on TFP and I would only use a Taylor K-1766 salt test kit for measuring salt. Strips are worthless in my opinion.


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EmilyOTR

Bronze Supporter
Feb 15, 2017
337
Ferndale, MI
#15
Turns out, they are a bioguard dealer but they didn't care for the SWG. They sell the one pictured instead. They do recommend the bioguard mineral springs as they have said they have seen longer lasting cells with it. That said, they don't care if I want to use regular pool salt.




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JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,488
Tucson, AZ
#16
That's a Pentair IntelliChlor. It's considered a top line SWG cell but they're not that great unless you pair them with an automation system (Pentair EasyTouch). They are expensive to replace because all of the control electronics are built into the cell. That makes replacement cells very expensive. If you're just doing an SWG installation, you'd be better off going with a Hayward as the controller/power supply are all built as one unit and the cell is separate; replacement cells are nearly half the price of the equivalent Pentair unit.

If you do go with the Pentair, then you want an IC-40 or IC-60 for your size pool. As SWG's go, the bigger the cell the better.

- - - Updated - - -

The mineral springs stuff is just borates which you can easily add to your pool on your own either by using 20 Mule Team Borax with muriatic acid OR buying boric acid granules. That can be done independent of adding salt and it can be done later. As long as you keep your water properly balanced with respect to calcium levels and scaling potentials (Pool Math figures that all out for you), then your cell will be fine with no other additives needed.