Diary of a Guy Converting to Salt!

Cody

Bronze Supporter
Aug 17, 2014
205
Prosper, TX
After much deliberation, and some great comments and advice from the TFP community, I've decided to make the leap and convert to SWG system. I thought I'd document the process, as it may be helpful for others considering the same.

First a little background:

Had our pool built about 5-6 years ago. Every single pool builder we talked to her in North Texas told us salt was the devil, and we need to go with the latest and greatest thing ever, OZONE! I didn't know any better, so I got Ozone generator, Nature 2 system with minerals (again, I hadn't discovered TFP yet), and a Polaris with booster pump. Started using tablets in the Nature 2 system and trichlor granular (that's what Leslies told me to do!!!). Also put other junk in like PhosFree, etc.

I had some algae over the years (Leslies told me it was just pollen falling through the water to the bottom....seriously) because I NEVER had my FC high enough and my CYA was too high. Also, I just KNEW it was all good because I had the mineral cartridge and the ozone that was killing all the bad stuff.

I then really dug into TFP...i had seen the site before but never really dug in. As I learned that I was doing just about everything wrong, and that the pool store was leading me down that path, I made the following adjustments from that point up until now:

Bought my own test kit from TFTestkits
Switched to Liquid Chlorine
Stopped using tabs, except rarely when leaving town for several days and when CYA needs a little bump anyway
Stopped replacing the mineral cartridge in the Nature 2 (i have since also busted the pellets out of it)
Stopped depending on anyone to test my water other than me
Realized my ozone generator isn't really doing anything, although i still have it
Replaced my Polaris with a Robot (Polaris was fine, but Robot is superior)
I have NO MORE ALGAE PROBLEMS (and that "pollen" has magically stopped falling my my pool)

My only issue at this point is that my chlorine demand here in Texas is REALLY HIGH in the Summers....about 4 ppm per day right now. I'm finally sick of buying so much liquid chlorine, finding fresh stuff stored indoors, and noticing that it's harder and harder to find it on sale.

So -- I've decided to go SWG with my pool. I had a few worries, which I've gotten past thanks to the TFP community. I was worried about the salt water destroying all my stone and all metals anywhere in my back yard (that's what pool companies told me). We have travertine coping and that stuff is expensive...plus the wife would kill me if I destroyed it. I am now convinced that if I keep my chemicals properly balanced the salt water will NOT destroy my things.

The thing that was amazing to me is how hard it was to find someone willing to do this conversion for me, or someone local that knows AT ALL what they are doing. Owner of Pinch a Penny told me salt would destroy my equipment, metal furniture, and my stone. Pool builder that built my pool told me basically the same. I called Marina Pools in Denver (that's where I bought my robot) to see about buying a SWG from them....they told me the same...DON'T USE SALT. I didn't want someone installing it on my pool and preaching to me what a mistake it is at the same time. Finally, I reached out to ASP in Frisco, TX and the guy was really helpful. The option we have chosen is TruClear from Jandy because:

My equipment and automation is Jandy, so I want it to match and be seamless
Joel from ASP said it would be the best install because he will remove the Nature 2 and the TruClear will occupy that same space without having to cut a bunch of PVC.

He is scheduled to do the install in two days. Leading up to that I have:

- Ordered a Taylor Salt Test Kit from TFtestkits (should arrive tomorrow)
- Added 720 ppm of salt to my pool --- this SWG recommends 3000 ppm, and I know I'll be starting from a number greater than zero, so I plan to add a total of 960 ppm (Four 40lb bags for my pool size), then do the test to see what's needed from there.
- Used trichlor for the past few days instead of liquid chlorine (I had 4 bags that housekeeper uses when we are away, and my CYA will need to be raised anyway from current level...two birds with one stone using something sitting in my garage)
- Do a full battery of tests this evening so I can get other numbers correct

I'll post some before and after pictures of equipment when we do install, and I'll update to give feedback on how I and my family are feeling about this as we move forward.

For now, any advice from any of you that have been through this? Anything major I'm missing or forgetting?
 
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wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
271
Spring Valley, NY
Your doing good. Get that salinity test going and see what you have in the water. Aim for 3400 ppm or so and do the math for the salt. If you have zero in the water after testing, you'll need approx 14 bags of water softener salt preferred would be crystals and not nuggets. Read the SWG section of the forum and ask any questions you have. We're all here to help the ones that want help.
 

JJ_Tex

Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
230
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Awesome. We are getting our equipment delivered from ASP this week, including our SWG, and have the same concerns as you with our travertine but also taking the leap. I'll be following your diary very closely. By the way, Walmart on Preston still has some Mortons pool salt and liquid chlorine left. Where do you get your supplies?
 

Cody

Bronze Supporter
Aug 17, 2014
205
Prosper, TX
Got salt at HD in West McKinn
Awesome. We are getting our equipment delivered from ASP this week, including our SWG, and have the same concerns as you with our travertine but also taking the leap. I'll be following your diary very closely. By the way, Walmart on Preston still has some Mortons pool salt and liquid chlorine left. Where do you get your supplies?
Picked up 6 bags of salt at HD off Custer. Cheaper than Mortons and there were some concerns with Mortons on some other threads....if you buy at least 6 bags there's a bulk discount...all in, with tax, 6 bags were about $45. It's pool salt, can't remember brand, but they have a lot of it. I've put 3 bags in so far and it dissolves easily...will put another bag tomorrow, then my test should be in and I'll see how much more is needed.

I'm thinking of sealing the travertine but haven't decided on which product yet. Will keep you informed on that.
 

Cody

Bronze Supporter
Aug 17, 2014
205
Prosper, TX
Okay, quick update for today....

ASP coming tomorrow for the install.

I got my Taylor Salt Test in the mail today from TFTestKits and did an initial test. Remember, I've already added 3 bags which should equate to an addition of 720 ppm on my 20k gallon pool.

Salt test showed 2400 ppm.

That means that my pool, BEFORE ADDING A DROP OF SALT, was already at 1700 ppm. I already had a salt pool! lol

Since I want to settle in at 3000-3200, and since I have exactly three bags of salt left in my garage, I just added the other three bags about 15 minutes ago and brushed them in really good.

This should give me a final reading of 3100-3200 tomorrow, just in time for the install and I should be producing chlorine right away!
 

ckendalls

Active member
May 17, 2018
26
Clermont FL
This should give me a final reading of 3100-3200 tomorrow, just in time for the install and I should be producing chlorine right away!
For some reason ... my salt [conc] takes a couple days to come up to the calculated level even though the Morton granular dissolves quickly and is mixed very well by our swim jet system, whether read on the SWG or test strip. All my other chemicals pretty much read what one expects very quickly.
 

BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
119
Katy, Texas
FWIW, I see you guys are in Texas. I don't know salt prices, but I use Potassium Chloride in my water softener, and HEB sells Morton brand Potassium Chloride waaay cheaper than HD, Lowes, or Ace Hardware: $23.98 vs $30 to $32 at the other places. So...their Sodium Chloride may be priced low as well. It's at least worth a look, if you have an HEB nearby.
 

Cody

Bronze Supporter
Aug 17, 2014
205
Prosper, TX
Question for the experts:

Owners manual says this new SWG can generate .93 lbs of chlorine per day.

When I go to Pool Math app, I go to "Effects of Adding" and input .93 lbs of "Chlorine Gas" (is this correct on what I enter??)

If that is indeed correct, it says that at 100%, if I run pump 24 hours, it will add 5.6 ppm of chlorine per day.

I want to start by adding around 4 ppm or just over, so here is my question:

Would it be better to run the SWG at 100% and have pump run 17 hours per day
OR
Would it be better to run the pump 24 hours per day (most of it on low speed) and set the SWG at 70%?

I am assuming 24 hours per day on pump at 70%, but just checking...I've never run my pump 24 hours per day in normal day to day operation. Just want to do this right!

Let me know your thoughts.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,036
Laughlin, NV
Would it be better to run the SWG at 100% and have pump run 17 hours per day
OR
Would it be better to run the pump 24 hours per day (most of it on low speed) and set the SWG at 70%?
The pool does not care. So run it however it works for you.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,004
Bedford, TX
Cody,

You should not use your cell to get your FC from zero up to your target.. Use Liquid chlorine to do that, and then let the cell maintain it..

As far as run time, the cell does not care.. Running at 100% for 1 hour is just like running at 10% of 10 hours.. The same amount of FC production is used up.

My personal opinion is that unless you have Time-of-Day electrical costs, that running 24/7 makes more sense than running 17 hours a day.. It means that you are generating a little chlorine all the time and you are skimming all the time.

If I had a single speed pump, I would run my SWCG at 100% and the pump for the shortest amount of time needed to generate the chlorine needed.

With a VS or 2-speed pump, then the cost to run the pump is minimal, so I would do the opposite, and run the pump 24/7 and set the SWCG at the lowest output % that generated the chlorine I needed..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Poolmama!

Silver Supporter
Feb 20, 2019
81
Dallas, Tx
Question for the experts:

Owners manual says this new SWG can generate .93 lbs of chlorine per day.

When I go to Pool Math app, I go to "Effects of Adding" and input .93 lbs of "Chlorine Gas" (is this correct on what I enter??)

If that is indeed correct, it says that at 100%, if I run pump 24 hours, it will add 5.6 ppm of chlorine per day.

I want to start by adding around 4 ppm or just over, so here is my question:

Would it be better to run the SWG at 100% and have pump run 17 hours per day
OR
Would it be better to run the pump 24 hours per day (most of it on low speed) and set the SWG at 70%?

I am assuming 24 hours per day on pump at 70%, but just checking...I've never run my pump 24 hours per day in normal day to day operation. Just want to do this right!

Let me know your thoughts.

In your Pool Math set up you can put in your brand and model of SWG...I didn't see it scanning the prior posts. Then it converts that pounds of chlorine per day to Free Chlorine PPM based on your pool volume and saves that info so when you go to New Log, Chemical Additions, Choose SWG as your 'choose a chemical type', pick your % and run time, Pool Math calculates the FC that will generate.
 

Poolmama!

Silver Supporter
Feb 20, 2019
81
Dallas, Tx
In your Pool Math set up you can put in your brand and model of SWG...I didn't see it scanning the prior posts. Then it converts that pounds of chlorine per day to Free Chlorine PPM based on your pool volume and saves that info so when you go to New Log, Chemical Additions, Choose SWG as your 'choose a chemical type', pick your % and run time, Pool Math calculates the FC that will generate.

Oops...now I see Jandy Truclear. So just choose that brand/model using the magnifying glass. Maybe you already did that. That seems slightly undersized for your pool? We have 18,000 gallons and an IC40, which is 1.4 pounds per day. I see a Jandy Aquapure in Pool Math that says 1.25 pounds per day...maybe that's a better fit? But maybe too late now? If not, you'll just have to run it at higher % or longer run time to meet your pool needs.
 
Last edited:

Cody

Bronze Supporter
Aug 17, 2014
205
Prosper, TX
In your Pool Math set up you can put in your brand and model of SWG...I didn't see it scanning the prior posts. Then it converts that pounds of chlorine per day to Free Chlorine PPM based on your pool volume and saves that info so when you go to New Log, Chemical Additions, Choose SWG as your 'choose a chemical type', pick your % and run time, Pool Math calculates the FC that will generate.

Very cool! I didn't know Pool Math did that. I just selected it and changed by pool to SWG.

On other points -- my electricity costs are the same all times of day, so it sounds like it doesn't matter. I guess I was trying to figure out if it is better to:

Run pump less to lengthen it's life
or
Run SWG at lower than 100% to lengthen it's life

Not even sure if either of those would actually lengthen life, but there is so much knowledge on these boards it's worth asking the question!
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,004
Bedford, TX
Cody,

I have no proof, but I think starting and stopping does more harm to a pump than running 24/7, I guess I'll know as time goes on... :)

Your pool will need x amount of chlorine each day.. Running at 100% to generate that amount of chlorine is exactly the same as if you run at 10% and generate the same amount of chlorine.. It does not matter to the cell...

And yes, your SWCG is too small for your pool.. If it has yet to be installed, you need one for a 40K pool.. Yours is for a 25K pool. We always recommend that the cell be rated for 2 x the volume of your pool. Will it work? Yes it will, but that is why you will need to run at 70% or higher...

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Cody

Bronze Supporter
Aug 17, 2014
205
Prosper, TX
Cody,

I have no proof, but I think starting and stopping does more harm to a pump than running 24/7, I guess I'll know as time goes on... :)

Your pool will need x amount of chlorine each day.. Running at 100% to generate that amount of chlorine is exactly the same as if you run at 10% and generate the same amount of chlorine.. It does not matter to the cell...

And yes, your SWCG is too small for your pool.. If it has yet to be installed, you need one for a 40K pool.. Yours is for a 25K pool. We always recommend that the cell be rated for 2 x the volume of your pool. Will it work? Yes it will, but that is why you will need to run at 70% or higher...

Thanks,

Jim R.

Yes, I was shooting for something rated for 40k gallons. This one is rated for 35k gallons, and the quote was less than half to get this one installed versus the 40k Jandy option. I decided I'd run at 70% for $1200 instead of getting one I could run at 50% for $2600. Did I make a huge mistake? He's coming this afternoon, so I guess I could pull the plug if I'm really messing this up.....
 

Cody

Bronze Supporter
Aug 17, 2014
205
Prosper, TX
CYA question as well....when referencing the chart from this site, I noticed something I never noticed before....here's the chart:

Non-SWCG Pools

SWCG Pools

CYA (Stabilizer)Minimum FCTarget FCSLAM FC
60*3424
703528
804631


For my new SWCG Pool, I plan to keep CYA at 70....chart shows Target FC at 5.

For the past 5 years (liquid chlorine, no swg), I've kept CYA around 40, and my minimum according to the chart is the same as CYA of 70 with swg. Why is this?
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,004
Bedford, TX
What you bought will work fine as long as you understand the output level required..

When I look up a T-9 cell, I show it is rated for a 25K pool, so maybe yours is different.. :scratch:

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Cody

Bronze Supporter
Aug 17, 2014
205
Prosper, TX
Okay, another update...

ASP is here now. Joel owns ASP Frisco...really good guy. He's working on the install, and I'll post before and after photos once he's done.

I just did a full battery of tests, and here are the results:

FC 5.0
CC 0.5
pH 7.6
TA 80
CH 275
CYA 60
Salt 3200
Water Temp 93
CSI per Pool Math is -0.18

My plan over the next few days (PLEASE poke holes in my plan if needed)

Raise CYA to 70
Dial in FC and try to maintain 7.0
Keep a close eye on pH over the next couple of weeks and work to keep around 7.4-7.6, add acid when it gets to 7.8

Should I adjust TA or CH at this point at all?


Thank you all once again. I'll be making a donation to this site in the next couple of days as well. Great, great resource and I want to do my part.
 

Cody

Bronze Supporter
Aug 17, 2014
205
Prosper, TX
Install is complete!

Photo below before the conversion...shows the Nature 2 and the Polaris Booster Pump

Photo below after conversion as well, showing the TruClear installed

Last photo is of the components I'll be trying to sell....


I have set the swg on 80% for 22 hours of runtime, which according to Pool Math will generate 4.0 ppm....will monitor it to see how we're doing.
 

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