Does salt shorten the life of an inground pool?

John2934

New member
Oct 23, 2020
2
Round Rock, TX
None of the 3 builders I've had out recommend an SWG setup for an inground gunite pool. One has even insisted I sign a waiver to have a SWG installed. I'm being told there are not many SWG pools being installed anymore. The rationale is that "you see what salt does to roads, it does the same to pools." Does anyone regret having a SWG pool? Have you had to refinish the pool earlier than expected? What tips can share in the design process and picking materials that work with SWG pools? Are there other setups that result in similar feeling water (ie mineral setups, UV light, etc...) and about the same maintenance/cost? Thanks all!
 

thetekgeek

Bronze Supporter
Jun 8, 2018
291
Nebraska
This is simply bad information from the builders. I wouldn't trade my SWG for 100 gold bars. In fact, if I had 100 gold bars, I would buy more SWG pools.

We have heard all the horror stories about salt pools here. A quick search of the forum will produce many of the horrors of salt pools. The fact is that salt pools are easier to care for, require less maintenance and the water feels better/softer. If I had 100 pools, they would all be salt pools. If and when my salt generator fails, I will be installing another one.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
23,534
Bedford, TX
John,

A total ton of Bull Feathers!!!

I have three saltwater pools and have seen zero salt related issues.. They are just not true. I'm in the DFW area and my pool builder had no problems with my request for a saltwater pool.. If he had told me I needed to sign a waiver, he would not have gotten my business, just based on being clueless about what he is selling/building.

As other have said... A saltwater pool is the easiest type of pool to maintain.. When you get out of a saltwater pool, you feel like you just took a shower and not like you need a shower.

Easy maintenance does not mean no maintenance.. You still have to routinely test your pool water and keep things in balance.

I suggest that you find a qualified pool builder.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
11,561
NY
If and when my salt generator fails, I will be installing another one
When mine reached end of life the only question was if I should change models. The Mrs was hands off for all the maintenance stuff and asked what I was doing mid-research. When she heard that the SWG died she immediately asked if I bought a new one yet. Lol. Soon sweetie, but thanks for the vote of confidence in the SWG........ and unintentionally approving an unlimited budget for a new one.
 

country living

Active member
May 30, 2019
38
Virginia
I recently converted to a salt water pool and while I do not have the longevity experience that some here have. I would never go back to pouring jugs again.

I think the big issue for most is the misconception of what a salt water pool is. Even for pool owners, most think a salt water pool is just like swimming in the ocean which we know is not the case.
 

gingrbredman

Gold Supporter
Jun 10, 2020
402
Chicagoland
Pool Size
11200
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I have been reading just about as much as I can about pool building, maintenance, problems, solutions etc. since about April, and a couple things I have seen to be just about universally true.

Florida builders love very small filters
Texas builders hate salt water

Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but from what I have been able to piece together, not ALL builders hate salt water, but the ones who are adamantly against it, just do not understand it. And if they do not understand it, and are so dead set against it that you have to sign a waiver, I'd be worried there are other things the builder does that may be an older way of doing things, and just doesn't keep up with the times. Do you mean to tell me that Pentair, Hayward, and Jandy, the three largest pool equipment manufacturers are making equipment for salt water pools that are going to destroy your investment?!?! Come on, that's just not true. These companies have been innovative with new solutions for your pool, and make equipment for everyone. Not everyone wants a salt water pool, not problem, we have equipment for you too. But for a builder to make such crazy statements would give me pause for sure in going with them.

I tend to believe that the builders who are just so angry about salt, are not willing to make changes with the times, and are very comfortable with the pool and equipment they know and trust, and have been doing it the same way for years and years. This is their tried and true workhorse, they will sell a ton of them, any outliers will be shot on site. They may build a very nice pool, with very capable equipment, but that doesn't mean that is the builder for you, because your wants and needs just doesn't align with theirs.

My builder in particular does not prefer to install salt systems. But that is not to say he didn't, or wouldn't, he just prefers his tried and true system. He also wanted to install an Easy Touch 8 system vs. the Intellicenter I wanted. Again, his tried and true workhorse. In the end, we worked through the discussion, and got my salt water pool and Intellicenter. If he was even a little hesitant to work with me on my needs, we would have went with a different builder.
 
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John2934

New member
Oct 23, 2020
2
Round Rock, TX
That was my suspicion...just a CYA. Are you pairing up a UV light and DE filter with SWG, or is a cartridge w/ SWG sufficient? Also, is limestone coping fine? Water features - deck jets and weeping water falls - any concerns? Or, is it all good? For those that built, did you make sure the builder copper meshed up everything back to an artificial anode? Thanks for all the responses! Always trust the owners over any builder!
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
23,534
Bedford, TX
John,

My guess is that no one in Texas uses an "artificial anode".. that is done some in the North East, but I have no idea why.. as it is just not necessary. Maybe if you had an auto-cover..

We do not recommend UV or Ozone or other magic systems..

A lot of older pools were built with DE filters.. Here is my story... I bought a couple of HUD homes that had pools with DE filters.. After redoing these houses my wife decides that we need a pool at our house.. Sigh!! Anyway, I really wanted a DE filter and was very disappointed that due to city permit issues, I had to go with a large cartridges filter. That was about 6 years ago and now I can't wait for the old DE filters to die, so that I can replace them with large cartridge filters.. No messing with DE, no multi-port valve to break, leak or not turn. Dirt simple plumbing.. I will never go back to DE.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
657
"Old" Katy, TX
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
John, asking about negative aspects of SWCG systems on this site is like asking "Why doesn't Glock offer a manual thumb safety?" on a Glock forum. Fanboys are fanboys regardless of the product type. I'm still using liquid chlorine. For short periods I'll use tabs in a floater when my CYA drops below 40. I have twice looked into SWCG. The first time, the quotes I got for the equipment seemed out of line, and I questioned one of them, his solution was to get a smaller unit! Meanwhile I kept reading here. It seems like the two most common equipment problems I see on the What's new page relate to SWCG devices and heaters. Nonetheless, I still have an open mind--something you can't say about some people here...or Glock owners.

A few weeks ago, I started a quote search again, when my Leslies store raised the price for 4 gallons of 12.5% chlorine from $17 to $20. This time I found a maintenance, installation, and repair company in Sugar Land Texas with really good reviews and lots of them. They were listed as an authorized dealer-installer at Pentair--a plus. I called and then sent pool specs along with pictures of my equipment setup. The guy (who was mentioned by name in some of the reviews on Yelp) called back. Keep in mind, this is a guy I am asking to sell me something and get paid to install it, plus is an authorized installer and warranty station for Pentair. Short reply: He said don't do it. He said, "You have natural stone, and you're going to have to seal it every year to protect it from the salt." He went on to say my equipment layout was less than ideal for retrofit of a SWCG, although it could be done. He added, "We have both the IC40 and IC60 here, and if you really want it, I can send you a quote for both installed, and if you don't want to take care of sealing your coping yourself, I can suggest a couple people who do that. I just don't recommend it for you."

That's where I am now. I found another Leslies still selling 4 gallon jugs for $17, so I feel less urgent a need to go forward. As to what salt does to roads, that's new to me. I've lived in Houston for 50 years and grew up in Baton Rouge for 23 years, except for a year in Vietnam...and none of those places ever put salt on roads. We only used salt in ice cream makers.
 

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jark87

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2011
523
Flower Mound, TX
Pool Size
25500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
I’ve only had a salt water pool, so I don’t have personal experience with anything else, but I know others who use other forms of chlorine (liquid and/or pucks). We’ve had our SWCG for 13+ years and have had no stone erosion, and we have natural stone coping (flagstone). I really didn’t have an opinion one way or the other, except I kept hearing from others about what a pain or how costly pool maintenance is. I never really understood what they were referring to because I only have to add a few ounces of muratic acid once a week. I offered to take care of my neighbor’s pool while they were on vacation (non-SWCG) and I discovered why people were complaining, as chlorine levels would decrease daily under the hot Texas sun. With my SWCG, I have it dialed in so well that I can go days without even checking chlorine levels, because I know it’s going to test out the same every time unless there’s been a lot of people swimming or some other event that got debris in the water. To me, it’s a matter of enjoyment vs. a chore. No regular trips to buy chlorine, no storage of chlorine and no regular chlorine additions - that’s all done by the SWCG. One other note - a salt pool is maintained with 3000-3500 ppm of salt. Your chlorine pool will end up with 1500-2500 ppm because chlorine contains salt. Point of reference: ocean water has 34,000 ppm. Pool water just isn’t as corrosive as people think. Good luck!
 
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country living

Active member
May 30, 2019
38
Virginia
It seems most concerns about a salt water pool have more to do with the material used for the pool deck and other items and not the actual pool itself.

Is anyone aware of a situation where damage to a pool was caused by salt? There are lot's of discussions about the pros and cons of salt with almost all cons pointing to damaging a pool. Except for heaters being damaged has anyone experienced it first hand?

Are there any cases of vinyl crumbling or plaster having to be chipped out and replaced due to salt damage?

All pools have some level of salt in them. Read through most posts about people converting to salt and being shocked when they test the water and finding out how much salt already exists in the pool. Some are close to the recommended level of salt required for a swcg.

Even the naysayers have salt in their pools. The only pools with no salt were just filled and had zero chemicals added.

Keeping in mind the level of salt being discussed is less than the amount of salt in human tears.

I don't think I have ever seen a disclaimer on any decking material that refers to salt. I am sure there are some stone that is more susceptible to damage caused by salt. But a blanket statement that salt is bad, does it exist? Besides pool builders and pool stores owners of course.

There was a mention of using salt on roads and the damage it causes. It is not the same scenario. Salt is thrown down on the road where it sits waiting for water to be mixed together to prevent icing conditions, plus whatever other chemicals that were on the road. Has anyone ever tested the concentration level of salt to water from the road? I bet it is way more concentrated than what is in the pool and the type of salt is different. Even the salt bags in the store mention if it is safe to be used in a water softener or pool. Think of all of the stores, malls, whatever that throw lot's of salt down during the winter. How many of them do you see with damaged sidewalks and such caused by salt?

I wouldn't have a problem drinking a glass of salt water from a pool but a glass of salt water from the road, I think I will pass.
 

jimbethesda

Gold Supporter
Jul 2, 2018
528
Austin, TX
John, asking about negative aspects of SWCG systems on this site is like asking "Why doesn't Glock offer a manual thumb safety?" on a Glock forum. Fanboys are fanboys regardless of the product type. I'm still using liquid chlorine. For short periods I'll use tabs in a floater when my CYA drops below 40. I have twice looked into SWCG. The first time, the quotes I got for the equipment seemed out of line, and I questioned one of them, his solution was to get a smaller unit! Meanwhile I kept reading here. It seems like the two most common equipment problems I see on the What's new page relate to SWCG devices and heaters. Nonetheless, I still have an open mind--something you can't say about some people here...or Glock owners.

A few weeks ago, I started a quote search again, when my Leslies store raised the price for 4 gallons of 12.5% chlorine from $17 to $20. This time I found a maintenance, installation, and repair company in Sugar Land Texas with really good reviews and lots of them. They were listed as an authorized dealer-installer at Pentair--a plus. I called and then sent pool specs along with pictures of my equipment setup. The guy (who was mentioned by name in some of the reviews on Yelp) called back. Keep in mind, this is a guy I am asking to sell me something and get paid to install it, plus is an authorized installer and warranty station for Pentair. Short reply: He said don't do it. He said, "You have natural stone, and you're going to have to seal it every year to protect it from the salt." He went on to say my equipment layout was less than ideal for retrofit of a SWCG, although it could be done. He added, "We have both the IC40 and IC60 here, and if you really want it, I can send you a quote for both installed, and if you don't want to take care of sealing your coping yourself, I can suggest a couple people who do that. I just don't recommend it for you."

That's where I am now. I found another Leslies still selling 4 gallon jugs for $17, so I feel less urgent a need to go forward. As to what salt does to roads, that's new to me. I've lived in Houston for 50 years and grew up in Baton Rouge for 23 years, except for a year in Vietnam...and none of those places ever put salt on roads. We only used salt in ice cream makers.
Since you’re using liquid chlorine, have you ever tested your salt level? I bet it’s around SWCG levels
 

steelman93

Bronze Supporter
Jun 18, 2012
45
SE TX
Pool Size
12000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
I have been reading just about as much as I can about pool building, maintenance, problems, solutions etc. since about April, and a couple things I have seen to be just about universally true.

Florida builders love very small filters
Texas builders hate salt water

Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but from what I have been able to piece together, not ALL builders hate salt water, but the ones who are adamantly against it, just do not understand it. And if they do not understand it, and are so dead set against it that you have to sign a waiver, I'd be worried there are other things the builder does that may be an older way of doing things, and just doesn't keep up with the times. Do you mean to tell me that Pentair, Hayward, and Jandy, the three largest pool equipment manufacturers are making equipment for salt water pools that are going to destroy your investment?!?! Come on, that's just not true. These companies have been innovative with new solutions for your pool, and make equipment for everyone. Not everyone wants a salt water pool, not problem, we have equipment for you too. But for a builder to make such crazy statements would give me pause for sure in going with them.

I tend to believe that the builders who are just so angry about salt, are not willing to make changes with the times, and are very comfortable with the pool and equipment they know and trust, and have been doing it the same way for years and years. This is their tried and true workhorse, they will sell a ton of them, any outliers will be shot on site. They may build a very nice pool, with very capable equipment, but that doesn't mean that is the builder for you, because your wants and needs just doesn't align with theirs.

My builder in particular does not prefer to install salt systems. But that is not to say he didn't, or wouldn't, he just prefers his tried and true system. He also wanted to install an Easy Touch 8 system vs. the Intellicenter I wanted. Again, his tried and true workhorse. In the end, we worked through the discussion, and got my salt water pool and Intellicenter. If he was even a little hesitant to work with me on my needs, we would have went with a different builder.
well put. I had a salt system in Virginia and loved it. And they were very common. In Texas when I was looking at houses I didn't see a single salt pool and every single builder I talked to advised against, but without a great explanation.
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
None of the 3 builders I've had out recommend an SWG setup for an inground gunite pool. One has even insisted I sign a waiver to have a SWG installed. I'm being told there are not many SWG pools being installed anymore. The rationale is that "you see what salt does to roads, it does the same to pools." ...
Well since this thread got revived and nobody commented on this I thought I would. PLEASE PLEASE dont let them use that logic on you... here is the ammo to battle that stupid misinformed comment:
The salinity of an SWG pool is in the range of 3400 ppm
The salinity of your tears is in the range of 7000 ppm
The salinity of the ocean is in the range of 34000 ppm

The Salinity of the road where a bunch of salt was dumped is likely Much higher.. and Does that pool builder even know what they dump on the roads to deice them? Sometimes they use other stuff like calcium chloride (aka Calcium UP! Does that doofus know that!) or who knows what. Add to that the traffic and road grime. So YEAH.. if they treated my pool like they were deicing a highway and I had trucks driving over my plaser/gunite.. I'm sure my pool would fall apart in one season.

I have been reading just about as much as I can about pool building, maintenance, problems, solutions etc. since about April, and a couple things I have seen to be just about universally true.

Florida builders love very small filters
Texas builders hate salt water
These are truisms.
 
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jimbethesda

Gold Supporter
Jul 2, 2018
528
Austin, TX
Well since this thread got revived and nobody commented on this I thought I would. PLEASE PLEASE dont let them use that logic on you... here is the ammo to battle that stupid misinformed comment:
The salinity of an SWG pool is in the range of 3400 ppm
The salinity of your tears is in the range of 7000 ppm
The salinity of the ocean is in the range of 34000 ppm
Great cheat sheet! I just want to add:
The salinity of a “chlorine” pool is not zero. A fresh fill will start at close to zero, but every chlorine product adds some, especially liquid. Chlorine pool owners seldom test for salt, so they are in ignorant bliss. A chlorine pool can easily have a HIGHER level of salt than a “salt” pool. Even if not fed with liquid, salinity can reach 1,000 - 1,500 within in a year or two.

So now we should be concerned about 3,400 ppm vs 1,500? Nope!
 

red-beard

Gold Supporter
May 27, 2019
1,395
Houston, TX
Pool Size
25000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite Pro (T-15)
John, asking about negative aspects of SWCG systems on this site is like asking "Why doesn't Glock offer a manual thumb safety?" on a Glock forum. Fanboys are fanboys regardless of the product type. I'm still using liquid chlorine. For short periods I'll use tabs in a floater when my CYA drops below 40. I have twice looked into SWCG. The first time, the quotes I got for the equipment seemed out of line, and I questioned one of them, his solution was to get a smaller unit! Meanwhile I kept reading here. It seems like the two most common equipment problems I see on the What's new page relate to SWCG devices and heaters. Nonetheless, I still have an open mind--something you can't say about some people here...or Glock owners.

A few weeks ago, I started a quote search again, when my Leslies store raised the price for 4 gallons of 12.5% chlorine from $17 to $20. This time I found a maintenance, installation, and repair company in Sugar Land Texas with really good reviews and lots of them. They were listed as an authorized dealer-installer at Pentair--a plus. I called and then sent pool specs along with pictures of my equipment setup. The guy (who was mentioned by name in some of the reviews on Yelp) called back. Keep in mind, this is a guy I am asking to sell me something and get paid to install it, plus is an authorized installer and warranty station for Pentair. Short reply: He said don't do it. He said, "You have natural stone, and you're going to have to seal it every year to protect it from the salt." He went on to say my equipment layout was less than ideal for retrofit of a SWCG, although it could be done. He added, "We have both the IC40 and IC60 here, and if you really want it, I can send you a quote for both installed, and if you don't want to take care of sealing your coping yourself, I can suggest a couple people who do that. I just don't recommend it for you."

That's where I am now. I found another Leslies still selling 4 gallon jugs for $17, so I feel less urgent a need to go forward. As to what salt does to roads, that's new to me. I've lived in Houston for 50 years and grew up in Baton Rouge for 23 years, except for a year in Vietnam...and none of those places ever put salt on roads. We only used salt in ice cream makers.
Get someone to check the salt level in your pool. 4.5 months after draining and refilling my pool, my salt level was 1800 ppm. I only needed 3000 for the SWG. All pools are salt water pools. Bleach is Sodium Hypo Chlorite. After it does its thing, it turns into salt. If the pool builder does not understand the chemistry, I would talk to someone else.
 
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