Conversion Costs/ Potential Benefits

JPMorgan

Well-known member
May 22, 2018
400
Elmhurst, IL
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
What should I expect to pay to convert my 20,000 gal pool to salt water? I painted my pool this year with epoxy paint and usually get 4-5 years before it needs to be redone. Should I expect any longer life on the paint job if I install a salt water generator? Thanks.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
11,273
NY
Hey JP !!! I did some maths a while ago and the break even point for SWG was around 12k-15k gallons. Climate didn’t matter because those folks need more/less chlorine for the longer/shorter duration either way. So they’ll use their unit lifespan sooner in the hot places with longer seasons, but they’d be adding just as many extra jugs so it’s a wash there.

I wouldn’t expect the salt to change anything about the paint job. Not in your favor or against.

The convenience of the SWG cannot be oversold. Period. :)

Also, so many people enjoy the feel of salt pools better (10% of seawater instead of 5% of seawater) that many liquid chlorine users add some to their traditional pools.

Go 2X + the size of your pool. Getting the next bigger unit usually costs around 20% more but nets 100% more lifespan at the first upgrade from 20k-40k and 50% more lifespan from 40k-60k. A 60k unit in IL would probably have electronic failure before you used up the plates in the SWG, So there is that to consider going too big. But barring any failure, more is more and costs less pound for pound.
 
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s_mark

New member
Apr 2, 2019
4
DFW, TX
What should I expect to pay to convert my 20,000 gal pool to salt water? I painted my pool this year with epoxy paint and usually get 4-5 years before it needs to be redone. Should I expect any longer life on the paint job if I install a salt water generator? Thanks.
Don't do it. Ignoring the upfront cost, you will spend more on Muriatic and Cyanuric Acids and salt than you ever will spend on chlorine tablets, and it's more work. I regret that I converted my pool, and once the cell wears out I won't replace it.
 
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HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
2,667
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Don't do it. Ignoring the upfront cost, you will spend more on Muriatic and Cyanuric Acids and salt than you ever will spend on chlorine tablets, and it's more work. I regret that I converted my pool, and once the cell wears out I won't replace it.
It has been a long time since I have read a negative post regarding use of a SWCG. Can you expand on your comments with regard to time and costs of other chemicals? I have a plan to convert to SWCG in 2022 and your info is interesting, even I just need it to prepare for my switch over as I still see advantages such as convenience, water softness and automation of the process over any negative aspects. Thanks.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
11,273
NY
Can you expand on your comments with regard to time and costs of other chemicals
+1. In the interest of getting all the info out there. Many people shy away from being anti-SWG for fears of going against the norm. Surely it didn’t go amazing for everyone. Even if your thoughts are different from mine, or anybody else’s we welcome them :)
 

bonsey

Well-known member
Oct 7, 2018
131
PA
Don't do it. Ignoring the upfront cost, you will spend more on Muriatic and Cyanuric Acids and salt than you ever will spend on chlorine tablets, and it's more work. I regret that I converted my pool, and once the cell wears out I won't replace it.
Echoing others, please explain.

I've documented my expenses this season since converting to a SWCG last season. I am at $97.50 total since opening (April 2021) and don't expect much more purchases until closing. Liquid chlorine and/or tablet chlorine would be well over my total cost so far.

That total includes:

annual pool.png

I would hedge a guess that most other SWCG users here, if following the TFP method with properly balanced chemistry, would have similar savings and experience.
 
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Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
11,273
NY
would hedge a guess that most other SWCG users here, if following the TFP method with properly balanced chemistry, would have similar savings and experience
My mileage matched yours. I had a big pool so it cost more either way. 8 bags of salt each spring at $7 each, 30-40 lbs of CYA ($60?) and I was good to go. I did need a mid season tweak most years with a bag of each but that was due to the rain.
 
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JPMorgan

Well-known member
May 22, 2018
400
Elmhurst, IL
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Don't do it. Ignoring the upfront cost, you will spend more on Muriatic and Cyanuric Acids and salt than you ever will spend on chlorine tablets, and it's more work. I regret that I converted my pool, and once the cell wears out I won't replace it.
Like others I would be interested in hearing more about your experience. I don't plan to convert my pool, but my daughter (who will be buying our home) seems interested in this. I think the automation and the "feel" of the water are the things that interest them most about converting to a SWG system.
 

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jark87

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2011
513
Flower Mound, TX
Pool Size
25500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
The convenience of the SWG cannot be oversold. Period
Forget the economics. The above statement is the reason to do it. Imagine going from daily additions of chlorine to adding muratic acid once a week. While I test regularly, I probably could add the acid without even testing, as I know the pH levels my pool operates within. Other than adding MA, I primarily just enjoy my pool. And there’s the added convenience of knowing my pool remains chlorinated even if I’m out of town. No need to hire a service or instruct someone on how to test and maintain chlorine levels. I wouldn’t own a pool without a SWCG.
 
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Katodude

Silver Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
1,718
West Palm Beach/Florida
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
Even the acid additions are overblown. Most of that is because of high TA. Over time as you get that in check your acid additions will decrease. I am at the point where I cant remember the last time I had to add acid to my pool. My pH stays between 7.7 and 7.8 pretty much all the time.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
11,273
NY
+1. We moved an inherited a semi inground that we were going to use if we didn’t build another inground right away. As it turns out we decided to build, but I had every plan of adding salt while maintaining the pool with liquid chlorine for as long as it took.
 

Katodude

Silver Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
1,718
West Palm Beach/Florida
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
And BTW…

Do you know how many threads there are in the last year on “I CANT FIND ANY CHLORINE!!!”. Just not having to deal with that.

And “I AM GOING ON VACATION FOR TWO WEEKS, WHAT DO I DO?”

You know what I dont have? Either of those two problems.
 

superuser

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2020
210
Spring, TX
Economics are variable, based on individual situations if you really think about it.
You know what's easily worth the purchase price of chlorine for me? Not having to go to the store to buy it.

Don't do it. Ignoring the upfront cost, you will spend more on Muriatic and Cyanuric Acids and salt than you ever will spend on chlorine tablets, and it's more work. I regret that I converted my pool, and once the cell wears out I won't replace it.

I don't consider myself a rich man, but the monetary cost to convert my pool to SWG was the smaller part of the equation. It was a pretty straight forward cost/benefit analysis. My time is my most valuable asset, and the SWG offered a lot of savings in that area.

I did the install myself, it was easier and faster than getting the job quoted, scheduled, and completed. Took about the same amount of time as a trip to Home Depot to buy chlorine ONCE. The kids and I even had fun dissolving the salt. Dialing in the run time and percentage was actually pretty darned easy. Now that it's running, I basically only touch my pool with my swim suit and my butt in it. Test the water every few days to see the numbers have stayed the same, maybe each week or two pour 8-12oz. of MA in the pool because my spillover runs in pool mode and the pH looks like it might be higher than 7.8 which would push my CSI from -0.08 to 0.02.

So while I'm not the kind of guy to track the dollars spent, I'm feeling like I'm coming out ahead regardless. If an SWG is more expensive and more work, I'm genuinely at a loss how.
 
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Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
11,273
NY
With a large 35k pool the savings were considerable. It wasn’t even CLOSE to breaking even as going up 2 sizes was about 40% more expensive but got 3 times the production / life expectancy from the 20k to 60k.

It’s a much harder decision at 10k-15k gallons if immediate cost is the main factor.

I also valued my time more than anything else so the SWG would have won either way, but I do see the other side’s points with average sized pools.
 

JPMorgan

Well-known member
May 22, 2018
400
Elmhurst, IL
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Great conversation and points.... exactly what I was looking for.

One other point - you can get the “feel” without adding a SWCG. You can always add salt, which softens the water. While I’d still be an advocate based on the convenience factor, feel can be accomplished with or without.
I had never heard of this. How do you add salt to a pool to get that soft water feel... and how much do you add? Are there any downsides to doing this? Do you really notice the difference in the feel of the water when adding salt and do you need to start measuring salt in the pool to keep CSI in range?

I'm retired so I don't mind maintaining a chlorine pool. I have time on my hands, but my daughter and son-in-law will be looking for convenience (or relying on pops to maintain the pool)!
 

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
2,667
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
How do you add salt to a pool to get that soft water feel... and how much do you add? Are there any downsides to doing this?
When you add liquid chlorine you are also adding salt. Even though I use LC, I also have a K-1766 test kit and have seen my salt rise from 1000 back in April to 1400 now. So it is a slow process, but you have to take into account we have had a lot of rain in TX so dilution played some part in that as it also kept my CYA low even though I was trying to increase it with granular stabilizer. Now the salt has not gotten out of hand using LC so I will continue to use it but a SWCG is in my future - hopefully 2022.
 

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