Ever know of anyone who doesn't like a SWCG pool?

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DavidD

Well-known member
Mar 29, 2007
91
Re: SWCG problems? Yes.

Wendy the Water Woman said:
Coming late to the party, I see. Nevertheless...have I ever known anyone who has had problems with a SWCG? You bet.

He has a 54,000 gallon pool and went through 2 DE filters because of corroded and leaking tanks, and 1 pool sweep, because of corrosion on the drive shaft. Now that he has decided to get rid of his salt system (and he wishes he'd never bought it), he is faced with a dilemma. The new system he chose requires a TDS of <200 and sodium of <200. He cannot drain the pool completely because he lives in an area with aquifers and springs, and won't take the chance of popping his pool out of the ground due to a high water table. So he's faced with multiple change-outs of maybe 1/4 of the water at a time. BUT, what to do with the salt-filled water? He's on a septic system, so down the drain is not an option. He can't drain it out to his perfectly landscaped property or his 2 acres of organic vineyards, because it will pretty much kill everything. And heaven forbid it should make it's way down the hill to the neighbors. And he's discovered that the area where the pool guy backflushes the filter has 2 trees that are almost dead. He's got a real problem. Like having a pool full of toxic waste in his backyard.
Wendy,

What you have posted here is full of holes (and I'm being very polite).
1. Why and what kind of D.E. tanks are SOOO adversely affected by salt? I wouldn't buy this type and I don't have a SWG!
2. Can't drain it out to the perfectly landscaped property, killed trees, TOXIC WASTE???? All from Salt?? Come on. I'll bet the "copper ions" that stay effective for 7-10 days will really improve the organic vineyards and lets not send salt water down to the neighbors, lets send copper!

Why is it that every copper based chemical/system pusher is always so full of Crud and overall sleazy in their sales tactics? Your last name isn't Digirolamo is it????? Someone should probably delete Wendy's post as to not cloud a newbie's judgment with this load.....

Dave
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
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May 7, 2007
37,879
Silver Spring, MD
Unless your soil already has very high salt concentrations or you are growing the very most tempermental plants in the world SWG pool water will be just fine for watering plants for years and years. Salt does accumulate in the soil, so eventually many decades from now there could be a problem and at that point it could be very difficult to fix.
 

SeanB

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
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JasonLion said:
Unless your soil already has very high salt concentrations or you are growing the very most tempermental plants in the world SWG pool water will be just fine for watering plants for years and years. Salt does accumulate in the soil, so eventually many decades from now there could be a problem and at that point it could be very difficult to fix.
Our deck-o-drain drains out to the side of our directly into a small flower bed. Out of all our new plants, it is probably doing the best, so you'd be hard pressed to convince me that a little low salinity water is bad for plants - let alone "toxic waste" :lol:
 

thepoolguy

In The Industry
Jun 22, 2007
30
dallas, tx
It's funny. This has to be the most active and and most contested thread on this forum. And the title says it all: Ever know of anyone who doesn't like a SWCG pool? There is a reason that you've all been going on for ten pages about the ups and downs of salt pool ownership; because there are more problems than you can fix with salt chlorine generation technology. If you think I'm kidding, look at this:

http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/new ... 3b&k=25981

This is a link to a story in the Calgary Herald about how their wave pool suffered 2.6 million dollars damage from the salt system that they installed 2 years, 7 months ago, because of salt splash and salt spray. Seeing BrettC's pool made me think about how he's going to have the same issues down the road. I know that in a perfect world we'd get the kind of research that Richard is talking about to prove or disprove this stuff, but that ain't gonna happen. And in the meantime, pools, like the wave pool and enclosure in Calgary, keep dissolving. But of course, there will be folks here who will be able to look past the destruction up there in Canada, make excuses for it and continue to recommend salt chlorine generators. Some will say that the wave pool is an indoor pool and probably didn't have cya and that if it suffered corrosion it's because of the high chlorine levels. And I say, what about before when they were using gas? That was unstabilized, too, right? But it didn't eat everything up until they added salt. But that's my point. All of these problems present when there's salt involved and we all just keep talking about it instead of doing the ovious thing, stop using salt chlorine generators.

My Two Cents...
 
G

Guest

And I say that if SWGs were destroying pools all over the place then the technology (which is close to 40 years old now) would NOT still be in use but would have faded away a while ago. Anyone remember when just about everyone was selling magnets to put on your pipes to prevent scaling? I thought not.
 

TomU

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 22, 2007
93
Wyoming, Michigan
thepoolguy said:
All of these problems present when there's salt involved and we all just keep talking about it instead of doing the ovious thing, stop using salt chlorine generators.
For those who didn't read the article, it also stated that all of the city's flat pools had been converted to salt as well and none of them were having any issues. I think the trick here is to not throw out the baby with the bath water. It looks like there may indeed be certain applications where salt systems are not the best fit, but that doesn't mean the technology can't still be useful and beneficial for a large number of pool owners.
 

thepoolguy

In The Industry
Jun 22, 2007
30
dallas, tx
Yes, Tom, you're right. As long as you have no water features, as long as you don't allow anybody to create any splash out, forego metals and natural stone in the construction of your pool, basically if you turn the hands of the clock back to the sixties and get yourself a kidney shaped pool with concrete coping and decks, forego the idea of a heater, use all plastic pumps and filters and plumbing, accept that you'll probably have corrosion/tarnish issues with your pool light, expect to replace your ladders and rails on a regular basis, forget about installing a retractable cover due to the known problems of track corrosion with salt pools. Yes. That would be a pool where a salt system would cause minimal damage. That's the thing about folks claiming that "salt systems have been around since Noah piloted the Ark", and "salt systems have been going strong in Australia since the sixties." Well, in the sixties most swimming pools were just what I've described; concrete lagoons with no water features.

Too, it's funny that you could read that article about the wave pool suffering 2.6 million dollars damage and amid all that damage and destruction, quote the only slightly pro-salt comment in the whole article, that the flat pools hadn't suffered any damage. That quote is from the same guy who also said this: "What's happening is, in a wave pool situation -- which no one could have really anticipated -- the salt is going airborne as a result of the wave action." No one could have anticipated????? This is also the same guy who is probably trying desperately to hold onto his job after leading the charge to change to salt less than three years ago.

My question would be, how is it that the folks who sold him the salt system for his wave pool didn't mention that, "hey, we've been seeing issues with splash out and maybe this wave pool on salt isn't such a good idea"? Why didn't they have that conversation? And that's one of my main points about salt systems. These salt system manufacturers don't know what's going to happen when they sell these systems in different applications. And the reason that they don't know is because they've done no research about salt's impact on stone and metals, and then they throw it in everybody's face when they're questioned about the problems with salt that "you're evidence is anecdotal. Show me your research." Whose job is it to research these things? The consumer or the manufacturer?

I think the more appropriate comment to come away from the article with would be the one by the Alderman who has to pay for the damage; "I think there's a disease, and we're looking at a very big symptom here".
 

KurtV

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
270
SE Louisiana
Not that I'm shilling for you, TPG (though I do enjoy your ranting style). I think you engage in a bit of hyperbole yourself on salt-caused damage; though your cause and intentions seem noble enough. I don't know that you aren't right, but there's much anecdotal evidence here and on other forums from owners and from other pool service people to the contrary.

I agree with you that the SWG industry should have been and should be studying these potential problems and addressing them if there's any substance there (which by PoolSean's own admission there seems to be).
 

JasonLion

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May 7, 2007
37,879
Silver Spring, MD
thepoolguy said:
Yes, Tom, you're right. As long as you have no water features, as long as you don't allow anybody to create any splash out, forego metals and natural stone in the construction of your pool, basically if you turn the hands of the clock back to the sixties and get yourself a kidney shaped pool with concrete coping and decks, forego the idea of a heater, use all plastic pumps and filters and plumbing, accept that you'll probably have corrosion/tarnish issues with your pool light, expect to replace your ladders and rails on a regular basis, forget about installing a retractable cover due to the known problems of track corrosion with salt pools.
All of these things have problems once in a while, all of them can be completely fine in a salt pool better than nine times out of ten. You are way overgeneralizing. Some stone has problems, some stone has no problems what so ever. Same with metals, most are just fine, some have serious problems. And on and on.

It is unrealistic to look for a technology that never has any problems. Floor drains kill people now and then, does that mean that we should abandon floor drains? Rather it means that we need to work on the design of floor drains until we find a way to build them so they don't kill people (something that has been resolved for years now).

Every possible alternative to salt pools also has problems, some of them are far more serious than the problems with salt pools. The only difference is that the problems with salt pools are newer then the problems with most of the alternatives. Not everyone yet knows how to avoid the pitfals of salt. But that knowledge is slowly getting out there. Thousands and thousands of people are happy with their salt pools. Some poeple have had salt pools for more than 30 years and never had problems. It is possible to get it right and be happy, with all the modern design elements and features you could possibly want. It is also possible to do it wrong and have problems, just the same as with anything else.
 

Backglass

Well-known member
Jun 4, 2007
146
Putnam County, NY
These same discussions have happened before I am sure. Have mosquitoes? DDT is the best mosquito pesticide ever created. Asbestos floor tiles last practically forever and are fire resistant. Lead paint dries faster and is more durable than any other kind and has been used for over 100 years. A proven technology! :p

The thing is, salt water pools feel awesome and are very low maintenence...they do a great job! However sometimes, like the above examples, when something does such a GREAT job for a market niche, we tend to ignore the ugly side as the benefits are so good.
 

chem geek

TFP Expert
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Mar 28, 2007
12,083
San Rafael, CA USA
I hate to be a broken record on this, but anyone who puts in an SWG system (actually, it's the salt in the pool, not the SWG itself, that is at issue) into a pool with no CYA in it (as is likely with the indoor wave pool in Canada referred to in the above recent posts) is asking for trouble. The combination of at least 20 times higher disinfecting chlorine (hypochlorous acid) levels (due to no CYA) combined with higher salt levels is very corrosive to stainless steel. This was borne out in by a couple of users having serious stainless steel corrosion in less than a year at 3-5 ppm FC with no CYA and an SWG system. Though ThePoolGuy is focussed on salt issues, the SWG industry's own study here notes that high chlorine levels (above 5 ppm) with no CYA are corrosive and that using CYA significantly reduced (virtually eliminated) such metal corrosion. Unfortunately, the study did not look at the combination of chlorine with no CYA AND salt together, but the EPA document I linked to in The Pool Forum thread (here) I've referred to before does have such info at least generally.

It is irresponsible for pool builders and SWG sales/installers to put in SWG systems into pools (typically indoor pools) with no CYA. But then again, I believe it's wrong not to use CYA in indoor pools even without an SWG, just to reduce corrosion rates further and to reduce the rate of production of disinfection by-products (DPBs) and degradation of swimsuits, drying/fraying of hair, etc. Oh, but according to Trichor/Dichlor manufacturers, these things predicted by the chemistry (and borne out by experience) don't happen in "real" pools.

Richard
 

thepoolguy

In The Industry
Jun 22, 2007
30
dallas, tx
KurtV; thanks. I enjoy writing my rants, too. As far as the hyperbole, just look at the facts that I cite. I'm no research scientist, but I do try to back up what I say with links to research studies or pictures of salt damage. A perfect example is the pic in this post:

http://thepoolbiz.blogspot.com/2007_01_01_archive.html

You can click on it to enlarge it. What you're looking at is about 2 year old limestone directly above a sheer descent. In the enlargement, you can see the spalling that has occured because of the slightest of aeration that occurs with a sheer descent. I mean, there's no more perfect ribbon of water than a sheer descent, which ought to give you the least amount of aeration. And you can see too that the spalling drops off to nothing when you get just a few inches back from the edge where the aerated water is settling. And last but not least, this is the top of a wall that sits three feet above the surface of the pool, so you can't say that it gets a lot of foot traffic or other type of splashing.

Like I say, I try to back up what I say with references or pictures. But here's the loop that we get into; Someone, like me, posits that salt and stone may be a bad match, or salt and stainless steel may not be compatible, and the mfg's say "prove it. Where's your research?" Then, you show them what you've got and they say, "Nah, that's just an isolated case". So then you show them several pools with the same problem and they say, "nah, it's bad water chemistry", even though you can't find similar damage on tab or liquid pools. So then you cite research that's been done on salt with rock, and they say, "nah, that's sea water", as if 10 splashes at 3500 ppm won't get you to the same place one splash of 35,000 ppm will get you. So then, you cite stone experts, who have been saying all the way back to the sixties that the recrystallization expansion pressure of salt is tremendously destructive to all types of stone, and then they say, "Ah, you just hate salt systems".

Now, the thing that's really puzzling to me is, why don't the salt mfg's ever have to prove that they're NOT doing the damage that some of us insist they are? Why can't I say, "Prove it", and wait for them to show me their research which proves beyond any doubt that I'm just imagaining all of this.

I challenge you all to do one thing. Go back in the pool forums to posts from this time last year and look at how the general opinion from salt mfg's was, "you guys are smoking something! No way does salt damage stone!" Now, they say, "well, yeah, we see that now". So, does that mean that their arguments they're putting forth this year will all be disproved by next year, after another several million dollars of damage has occured to swimming pools?

And JasonLion, you're right. EVery type of sanitizer brings it's baggage with it. But show me a ten, going on eleven page thread about tabs or liquids.

It's the salt, folks. It's the salt.
 

KurtV

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
270
SE Louisiana
TPG,
I agree that the SWG makers own this issue (along with, to a lesser extent, the pool builders). I think it's plain wrong to make claims about non-corrosiveness and material compatability without having done the science to support those claims. After-the-fact blameshifting (e.g. must have been the water chemistry) makes it even worse.

Beyond that, it would seem to make good business sense to put yourself in a position to defend your product with solid science.
 

thepoolguy

In The Industry
Jun 22, 2007
30
dallas, tx
Richard: You've cited that report many times on the effects of 3-5 ppm FC without cya, ad I know that whenever the mfg's get cornered, they reach for that report to explain away their issues. If it's such a definitive report and so widely accepted by all the salt system mfg's, why isn't it cited in any of their owner's manuals or guides? Why isn't the importance of this driven home every time a salt system is sold?

I suspect that the reason why s because of it's dubious credibility.

To be honest with you, I've been to your link. I downloaded it a long time ago, and it's not really a study. It's a letter saying they've done the research. It's the salt industry, back when stainless steel filter tanks were blowing out everywhere a salt system was installed, back in the 1990's, sayng that it's not the salt, it's the FC without cya that's causing the stainless steel failures. And we've been down this road before, Richard. We've talked about that report ad nauseum. Where is the actual research to back it up? Where are the facts? All it is is a letter from a salt mfg saying that one of their research hired guns came up with a good reason why stainless steel filter tank failures weren't their fault.

Even the anecdotal info you have from that incident with the indoor pool reported over at pool forum last year dealt in numbers far in excess of 3-5 ppm FC. Most commercial or municipal indoor pools on any type of chlorine run at levels around 3 to 5 ppm FC, but they don't experience the kind of corrosion your article references.

Richard, you know I think you're great, and I have a deep and abiding respect for your depth of knowledge, but please admit that your link is to an "article", not the actual guts of a study. If there really is a study, let's look at it and review it. I've never seen the study. Have you?

It's the Salt, Richard. It's the Salt.
 

crazycanuck

Well-known member
Mar 29, 2007
294
Ontario, Canada
Many people know that you can get experts to say this or find a study to say that. Hey, find a expert that proves your point, I can find one to prove my point... the point is that there is a lot of people who have had success, and there are some people who have had problems. And while salt is an easy one to blame... and I am sure it could be the cause in many cases, you really have to dig down into each problem and look at ALL the evidence. Could location play a role, do you live by the sea? where was the rock quarried from? who installed, what grade of materials were used... how was the pool maintence, do they experience a lot of rain, heat, ice, snow. Somebody has to do a study with all these factors in mind before you can come out and say... yes, its WAS the salt!!!

IF pool owner A who lives in texas has the exact same setup as pool owner B that lives in Michigan, will they experience the same problems with their stonework, stainless steel? Give me 100 of those senarios and then we can see if there is a pattern emerging. But don't give me 4 pictures, 6 testimonials, and a rock expert.... and really, that goes for both sides of the argument.
 
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