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

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Rangeball

Well-known member
May 25, 2007
785
Something that's been mentioned in this thread that I'd like to know more about-

SWG generates chlorine only, without "additives" found in ultra bleach. What are these "additives", and how much is generally added per .75 gallon of 6%? How long do these additives stay in the pool water, ie do they dissipate or build up like CYA and salt?

I had assumed the 94% "other ingredients" referred mostly to salt and water, similar to what an SWG uses, but would like to know definitively.
 

KurtV

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
270
SE Louisiana
Water, salt, and a little (less than 0.2% for Clorox Ultra) Sodium Hydroxide (aka NaOH aka lye). I think there can also be some small amounts of some metals (I've seen iron, nickle and copper mentioned) as well.

If the lye concerns you, please be aware that SWGs also produce it.
 

JasonLion

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May 7, 2007
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The NaOH will tend to combine with muriatic acid and turn into salt and water, so the NaOH won't usually accumulate in either case.

There are other trace contaminates in bleach on occasion, typically metals, but generally they are at levels low enough that they are insignificant compared to sources like blown in dust. Just stay away from bleach that has real additives, like sents. Those can accumulate and cause problems.

If you use more than the average amount of bleach and have less than the average amount of water replacement you might see noticable salt accumulation over time with bleach. It would be quite unusual if this ever got up to the level of salt used with a SWG though. All of the other chlorine sources end up adding salt also, though not as much.
 

crazycanuck

Well-known member
Mar 29, 2007
294
Ontario, Canada
KurtV said:
Water, salt, and a little (less than 0.2% for Clorox Ultra) Sodium Hydroxide (aka NaOH aka lye). I think there can also be some small amounts of some metals (I've seen iron, nickle and copper mentioned) as well.

If the lye concerns you, please be aware that SWGs also produce it.
Doesn't muriatic acid nuetralize lye?
 

Rangeball

Well-known member
May 25, 2007
785
See, that's what I was thinking. Adding sodium hypochlorite adds basically the same chlorine and components to the water as chlorine produced via SWG.

But I took from some of the comments in this thread that the chlorine produced with SWG was "different" and more gentle than manually added bleach.
 

JasonLion

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There are two differences between a SWG and adding bleach. First, adding bleach will raise the salt level very slowly. A SWG leaves the salt level constant. In a SWG salt is turned into chlorine and then when it reacts with something it turns back into salt. The chemistry is more complex, but that is the net effect. Bleach contains extra salt to begin with and then when the chlorine reacts it also turns into salt.

Second, there is a very high level of chlorine in a small portion of the water flow inside of the SWG cell. Pouring bleach into the pool does not result in as high a local concentration in any useful way. (There is some technical complexity here, trust me it doesn't mater.) This will destroy some of the CC and possibly have some other small benifits. However, as KurtV pointed out, a normal bleach pool hardly ever has any CC issues, so this is not typically significant.

There is some debate about the significance of the superchlorination in a SWG cell. Some people feel that this feature is what allows you to run SWGs at a lower FC level. I believe that the ability to run at a lower FC level comes from more uniform FC levels across the day and thus could be achieved with a bleach pump. I don't know of anyone who has done meaningful experiements in this area.

Poolsean, "SWG was 'different' and more gentle" - this kind of reaction/misunderstanding is part of what I suspect is causing KurtV's reaction.
 

Backglass

Well-known member
Jun 4, 2007
146
Putnam County, NY
JasonLion said:
Poolsean, "SWG was 'different' and more gentle" - this kind of reaction/misunderstanding is part of what I suspect is causing KurtV's reaction.
This confuses me as well. The BBB mantra is "Chlorine is Chlorine" just different concentrations. Isn't this true for SWG generated chlorine as well? Or it is somehow different?
 

chem geek

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Mar 28, 2007
12,083
San Rafael, CA USA
The chlorine generated from an SWG is identical to the chlorine that comes from any other form of chlorine. Some sources of chlorine add additional chemicals to the water -- Trichlor and Dichlor add CYA while Cal-Hypo adds calcium to increase CH. Bleach and chlorinating liquid are sodium hypochlorite and add the same chlorine as in an SWG, but as was pointed out they also add extra salt (that's also found in Cal-Hypo and Lithium Hypochlorite, by the way) and a very small amount of extra base (sodium hydroxide). So keep the mantra "chlorine is chlorine" in mind as far disinfection and oxidation in the bulk pool water is concerned.

Other than the salt, the only other difference is in how the chlorine is added to the pool. Bleach and chlorinating liquid are high in pH so where that gets added to the pool the pH is high. In practical terms, this means that though the Free Chlorine concentration is extremely high until the added liquid gets diluted, the actual disinfecting chlorine concentration never gets extremely high (equivalent to around 10 ppm which is still very high, but not extreme) because most of the chlorine is in the form of hypochlorite ion (due to the high pH). This is in contrast with what goes on in an SWG cell where the pH near the chlorine generation plate is very acidic. So the chlorine in this region, measured at 80 ppm between the plates (and I suspect even higher near the chlorine generation plate), is virtually all in the form of disinfecting chlorine (hypochlorous acid). So for the portion of water that gets into this region of the salt cell, it is accurate to say that such water is exposed to EXTREMELY high disinfecting chlorine levels. This exposure is brief and is only to a portion of the water flowing through the cell near the chlorine generation plate, but it does occur. Once this water mixes with the basic/alkaline water from the hydrogen gas generating plate, the pH is high (just like bleach).

We simply do not have sufficient data to know whether the super-chlorination effect in the SWG cell contributes significantly towards better oxidation of organics or killing of hard-to-kill pathogens in the bulk of the water. We would have to compare many pools with automatic bleach or chlorinating liquid somewhat continuous feeders in order to draw conclusions since near-continual dosing is important to maintain consistent FC levels. Another place to look would be in indoor pools since without sunlight they have a much harder time keeping CCs low. If SWGs in that environment and with CYA added (or else the comparison isn't the same) resulted in consistently lower CCs, then that would be evidence towards super-chlorination in the SWG cell being significant.

Richard
 

JasonLion

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Backglass said:
This confuses me as well. The BBB mantra is "Chlorine is Chlorine" just different concentrations. Isn't this true for SWG generated chlorine as well? Or it is somehow different?
I agree with you, chlorine is chlorine is chlorine. There is a possibility, which I doubt, that something else goes on inside the SWG cell, the chemistry gets very complicated in there. Certainly by the time it gets out of the cell things are back to being everyday ordinary chlorine. Plus, as KurtV pointed out, whatever is happening inside the cell can't be all that important because there isn't any major difference between a SWG and consistent bleach additions once you subtract out the effects of having salt in the water.

I was quoting Rangeball who said he thought that someone else said that there was a difference. I don't think anyone actually said that, though some of the things Poolsean said could very easily be misread to imply that there was a difference. This I think is the crux of the whole second half of this thread: Do the things which SWG vendors say mislead people?

I think that SWG manufacturers mislead people by failing to list materials incompatibilities. There is also an argument, more tenuous, that the kinds of language Poolsean was using is misleading, even though he had his facts right. What Rangeball said about what others said suggests that he was at least partially mislead.
 

Rangeball

Well-known member
May 25, 2007
785
Richard, thanks for the detail.

Leads me back to where I think others were headed; Compared to a properly maintained BBB pool, SWG is more about convenience.

It's up to each individual to decide what this convenience is worth.

At what I pay and use currently for bleach, it's about a 3 year break even period compared to SWG, assuming self install and diligent shopping. If I could get more than 3 years from the cell, SWG would save me money past this point.

Maybe next year :)
 

crazycanuck

Well-known member
Mar 29, 2007
294
Ontario, Canada
The Chlorine is not different, just the method of delivery, the BBB method relies on the human factor, while the SWG is
"computer" controlled to some degree, which is argued, over a long period of time, seems to be a more consistant delivery system for chlorine. It would be interesting to take 100 people with similar pools and 50 have SWG's and 50 do the manual method and see who has more CC's and algae blooms over the course of a season.
 

Rob

Well-known member
May 23, 2007
165
You guys have it all wrong.

BBB and SWG's are both inferior methods for taking care of a pool.

I simply dropped a bar of Plutonium in the deep end. It heats my pool, kills off all sources of bacteria and algae, and lights up the pool at night, all without having to provide any electricity or additional chemicals!
 

TarheelPool

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
86
Burlington, NC
Well, after following what must be the most heated debate in TFP's short history, I must say that I'm glad the discussion has returned to "room temperature". And I thought the disappearance of Ben was a hot topic.

For someone like me who is pondering the purchase of a SWG at some point in the future, the discussion is most helpful. Although it remains on the horizon, I will probably wait for the prices to come down before taking the plunge. I still consider myself a rookie (1st pool in Oct 2006) so I'm still keeping busy learning the basics. In the meantime, there may be more info to come in as to any negatives associated with a SWCG. But the fact is we don't buy pools for the low-maintenance factor because they are not maintenance-free regardless of the chlorine method. It's like getting a dog and thinking you can just stick him in the backyard. The dog comes with a whole new set of responsibilities but hopefully the joy you get from owning a dog offsets the work you put in to take care of him (sometimes my 3 crazy canines make me wonder about that). Same with pools.

Whether you're using BBB or SWG+BB, you'll have to deal with some negatives such as loads of plastic bottles, muriatic additions, sealing rock, or whatever. The bottom line is either of the two beats the alternative which is let the pool store do your testing and sell you boatloads of wonderful stuff while at the same time relieving you of any unnecessary money accumulating in your wallet.

Kevin
 

Rangeball

Well-known member
May 25, 2007
785
Jason, I went back and re-read some things, and you are right, this is the post that lead to my question, particularly the statements in bold-

Poolsean said:
No offense Kurt, but this is starting to sound like a "Gun's don't kill people. People kill people." type discussion.

A Salt Chlorine Generator has a single purpose, generate chlorine on site by using a salt solution added to the pool.

The additional benefits are the "attributes", which are as a result of adding salt and generating chlorine in this manner. While you can have the same "soft water feel" just from adding salt to the pool, really, no one would have ever thought of doing so on their own, so how the idea came about came about is germane. Kinda like Borates...who would have thought to add 20 mule team to their pool?
Do I have supporting evidence to my statements? I guess the comments from the previous posts are only attributes for adding salt?

Look, I'm not trying to say everyone needs to have a salt pool. I am saying there ARE unique benefits to a SWG, not just convenience. Are there "pools that are just as well sanitized and just as sparkling as any SWG equipped pool. We just have to work at it a bit more. Which is just another way of saying it's less convenient to keep a pool this way."? I'm sure there are many pools maintained this way! I have faith in poolforum and TFP members using the BBB method, having well sanitized and sparling pools! SeanB has a whole slide show of these types of pools!

I think we can agree that properly maintained pools can have equal water characteristics as a SWG.
I think we can agree that just adding salt to a pool provides similar soft water feel.

However, I don't think there's any denying statements about differences (kids not wanting to swim in non salt pools, people with dermatitis conditions being able to stay for hours in a SWG pool, etc) from people going from a traditional chlorine pool to a salt water pool...and not wanting to go back. The neighborhood kids use to go pool hopping, but where do they ultimately end up? THEY tell me they like my pool better. Do I tell them it's a salt pool? (no, I don't - I just smile :-D )
It's amazing when I hear from commercial property owners who comment to me that their members know there's been a change in their public pool, from the apparence, to the feel of the water. And these are suppose to be well maintained pools to begin with.

I'm NOT looking to be confrontational (and to me, I think my last few posts have been that way - sorry), I just don't agree with you that it's all contributable to adding salt.
Poolsean, what are the "unique benefits to an SWG", comparted to a well kept and maintained BBB pool with salt added?
 

crazycanuck

Well-known member
Mar 29, 2007
294
Ontario, Canada
Rob said:
You guys have it all wrong.

BBB and SWG's are both inferior methods for taking care of a pool.

I simply dropped a bar of Plutonium in the deep end. It heats my pool, kills off all sources of bacteria and algae, and lights up the pool at night, all without having to provide any electricity or additional chemicals!

Plutonium costs $25,000 per month, well over the $21/per month for SWG's or the $12 for Bleach. Plus you can' t just go to walmart to get it.
 

crazycanuck

Well-known member
Mar 29, 2007
294
Ontario, Canada
SWCG = Salt water Chlorine Generation
BBB = Bleach Borax bicarbonate

salt is a key ingredient to an SWG system, to unfairly deduct that out of the equation when
talking about the benefits is not correct (soft skin, non-stinging eyes) Its funny that when you
talk about the drawbacks (staining, corrosion) it is conventiently put back into the equation. you
can't have it both ways.

Salt is not a integral component to a BBB method.
 

TarheelPool

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
86
Burlington, NC
I'm not sure if you're addressing my use of SWG+BB in my last post or not but let me clarify.

I was referring to the use of a SWCG (SWG) in conjunction with the last two elements of BBB (borax, bicarb). In other words, using a saltwater chlorine generator in place of the bleach in the BBB method.

If you're post was not directed at me, please disregard.

Kevin
 
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