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

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anotherpyr

Well-known member
Jun 22, 2007
94
Columbia, MD
Poolsean said:
What if Buggsw started a post on "HOW MANY BBB OWNERS DO NOT LIKE THEIR METHOD OF SANITIZATION?"
Well I had a purple stain on my truck's Line-X bedliner from where a bottle of bleach leaked.....
It may still be there, but it is covered in dirt at the moment so I can't say for sure.

And I got a little bleach on a shirt once.....


Makes me wonder ... "Do you want bleach or salt with that???" :-D

I'll take either over a green algae filled pool.
 

KurtV

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
270
SE Louisiana
Poolsean said:
BrettC, I can only recommend that you approach your PB to ensure that your system is NOT undersized as you suspect.
...
Which Model do you have?
What size cell?
What is your salt level (according to an actual salt test, not what the system shows)?
Free Chlorine
Total Chlorine
pH
Total Alkalinity
Calcium Hardness
Cyanuric Acid

How large is your pool? How many hours per day is your pump running? How old is your pool? When was your swg installed?

...

What if Buggsw started a post on "HOW MANY BBB OWNERS DO NOT LIKE THEIR METHOD OF SANITIZATION?"
...
Sean,
Why does he need to test all that stuff? I thought SWG users didn't need no stinking testing.

So now you want to start a bleach bashing party? I thought the grocery store chemical pool care method was the basis for this site (as a successor to poolforum.com). Besides, the negatives of bleach as a sanitizer are pretty well known: It's heavy and bulky and you have to handle it every 1, 2, or 3 days.
 

Rangeball

Well-known member
May 25, 2007
785
Just to refresh my memory, didn't Buggs originally ask the question as he was a potential SWG consumer and wanted to hear if their were any negatives?
 

crazycanuck

Well-known member
Mar 29, 2007
294
Ontario, Canada
KurtV said:
Poolsean said:
BrettC, I can only recommend that you approach your PB to ensure that your system is NOT undersized as you suspect.
...
Which Model do you have?
What size cell?
What is your salt level (according to an actual salt test, not what the system shows)?
Free Chlorine
Total Chlorine
pH
Total Alkalinity
Calcium Hardness
Cyanuric Acid

How large is your pool? How many hours per day is your pump running? How old is your pool? When was your swg installed?

...

What if Buggsw started a post on "HOW MANY BBB OWNERS DO NOT LIKE THEIR METHOD OF SANITIZATION?"
...
Sean,
Why does he need to test all that stuff? I thought SWG users didn't need no stinking testing.

So now you want to start a bleach bashing party? I thought the grocery store chemical pool care method was the basis for this site (as a successor to poolforum.com). Besides, the negatives of bleach as a sanitizer are pretty well known: It's heavy and bulky and you have to handle it every 1, 2, or 3 days.

I can't find anywhere where anyone said that SWG users don't need to test their water?

and the last time I checked the name of this site was called "trouble free pool" not "pool care using grocery store chemicals"... I believe it encompasses all methods of pool sanitation. Why don't you start up a site called
"BBB purists who use salt to augment the feel of their pool"

you know, maybe SWG's are overmarketed, but so is everything else in the world... Can my old 35mm manual everthing 25 year old camera take as good pictures as todays $2000 Digital SLR , sure, in the right hands, with someone who has experience, patience and and understanding of photography. But that DSLR sure can make things a lot easier, quicker and more enjoyable for the average enthusiast. Will the pictures be better, in some cases yes, some no, but I bet you a dollar you will take 10x more pictures and have more fun with the DSLR.
 

SeanB

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
I don't really have anything to add to this debate, other than to ask that everyone remain civil.

I would agree, however, that this site is not dedicated any any one method of pool care. Whatever sanitation method works best for you is what you should use and it is my hope that you will find whatever help you need here.
 

brettc

Active member
Jun 25, 2007
34
Houston
JasonLion said:
Usually you have to talk about politics or sports teams to get this much of a debate going.

brettc - If you start a new thread with a full set of numbers we might be able to help you simplify your daily pool work.
Thanks, I will get to that.
 

brettc

Active member
Jun 25, 2007
34
Houston
Poolsean said:
BrettC, I can only recommend that you approach your PB to ensure that your system is NOT undersized as you suspect.
The maintenance effort is not substantially less, it's not cheaper, and the SWG doesn't have anything to do with the feel of the water.

Now tell me why I'm hearing from four different industry sources that I should be concerned about all that rock work and all that metal in my pool equipment. That's not an accusation by the way. I'd love to think I can sort out some of the chemistry issues I've been having, which are fairly minor. That would be great, but it does concern me greatly that minor advantages of the SWG could be overwhelmed by damage to my rock work and expensive pool equipment. If you could educate me on how I shouldn't be concerned with those things, I'd feel a lot better.
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,879
Silver Spring, MD
If you go back and read some of the posts at the very start of this thread you will see a good discussion of the risks of having salt water around stone work. The short version is that if you have soft/porus stone there can be significant issues. Harder stone just needs to be rinsed off (perhaps by rain) occasionally.
 

brettc

Active member
Jun 25, 2007
34
Houston
crazycanuck said:
I can't find anywhere where anyone said that SWG users don't need to test their water?
My point was that if I'm taking time out of my day to test the water daily or at least every other day, and I'm adding acid frequently anyway, how many minutes a day do I save not having to add bleach? When you add the time associated with all the maintenance for the pool in general, what percentage of a savings is that?

you know, maybe SWG's are overmarketed, but so is everything else in the world... Can my old 35mm manual everthing 25 year old camera take as good pictures as todays $2000 Digital SLR , sure, in the right hands, with someone who has experience, patience and and understanding of photography. But that DSLR sure can make things a lot easier, quicker and more enjoyable for the average enthusiast. Will the pictures be better, in some cases yes, some no, but I bet you a dollar you will take 10x more pictures and have more fun with the DSLR.
You know I have a little 35mm automatic camera that took great pictures, and I got lot's of them. I got a lot of marketing hype about how much easier, cheaper, and more fun the digital camera would be. I bought a new PC, a $400 camera, and a new printer. Only my wife doesn't know flip about computers. She doesn't have the experience, patience or understanding, and now, we get very few pictures. It doesn't take nearly as good of pictures as the little 35mm camera. The printer doesn't print high quality pictures as promised. I'm still paying to have the pictures printed at the drug store, and I'm still paying for 35mm film development for all the important pictures. It's not cheaper either. So much for marketing hype!
 

Rangeball

Well-known member
May 25, 2007
785
The other night I walked out to my pool, added a .75 gal of bleach to my skimmer, and was back inside in under 1 minute.

My wife asked me what I was doing. I told her that's how long it takes to take care of a pool when you stay ahead of it :)
 

brettc

Active member
Jun 25, 2007
34
Houston
JasonLion said:
If you go back and read some of the posts at the very start of this thread you will see a good discussion of the risks of having salt water around stone work. The short version is that if you have soft/porus stone there can be significant issues. Harder stone just needs to be rinsed off (perhaps by rain) occasionally.
That's not very reassuring or quantitative. If you tell me I might have a pool lamp rust out, that's one thing. If you tell me I might have to replace tens of thousands of dollars of rock work, that's another. My pool builder is going to be putting a waiver into his contracts to warn SWG customers that their rock work may have to be replaced in a short time. I had a neighbor tell me his pool builder is doing the same thing. My pool builder is telling me I can expect to replace the heat exchanger on my heater in short order. I'm reading a blogger that shows pictures of my Polaris vacuum with rust, and assures me I may be replacing the drive shaft. What about the pumps? I've got four. I'm going to go home today and check out what looks like rust on one of my 6 month old pool lights. Especially given the minimal benefit, this, to me, is not an insignificant risk that can just be brushed away with a bit of hand waiving.

My pool builder told me that he has a competitor that has replaced 19 flagstone coping jobs recently due to salt water corrosion. So my question is, if this is a non-issue, why am I hearing so much about this, after, I've purchased a SWG system? I'm curious what representation we have here on this web site from the SWG owners that may have had problems. Where does my pool builder get the idea that my heater may fail? Why is he concerned about my rock work and pump motors? Why is my neighbor being discouraged from buying a SWG for the same reasons? Why have industry sources led me to be concerned about the infrastructure of my pool instead of encouraging me to enjoy the pool and to be satisfied with all the benefits of the SWG? Why aren't they doing that and just enjoying their profit for selling it to me?

Surely this is accusatory, but I will be very satisfied to find out none of this is true, and it's all just rumor and misconception.
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,879
Silver Spring, MD
The problem is that even though quite a bit is known about which materials work with salt pools and which don't there aren't any reliable sources for this information. That means that real risks, such as limestone, get mixed together with incorrect rumors, like pool heaters failing quickly, and it becomes impossible for most people to tell what is true and what isn't.

In an outdoor pool with CYA, pool heaters and pumps are at far more risk from improperly maintained PH than from salt. The added corrosion from salt is somewhere between nothing and trivial. Indoor pools without CYA have a different set of risks, which might be where some of the rumors come from.

On the other hand limestone, sandstone, and slate can all be destroyed in a year or two if they aren't properly sealed. Even with sealants people have had mixed results with those stones.

A large experienced builder should know which materials are suitable for use with a SWG. It is completely possible to build a pool that will be totally fine for years and years with 4000 ppm of salt. I would happily pay a little extra to have a new pool built with proper materials so I could keep my SWG.

We need to encourage someone to collect reputable information about which materials have issues and which are safe. It is a shame that SWG manufacturers have not taken this on. It wouldn't be too much of a strech to sue a SWG manufacturer after suffering damage to stone work that they either knew was at risk or should have known.

Builders are stuck in the middle of all this. They don't have any reliable source of information beyond their personal experience. Meanwhile buyers are all demanding SWG and telling wonderful stories of what a dream they are. What is a builder to do?
 

KurtV

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
270
SE Louisiana
crazycanuck said:
I can't find anywhere where anyone said that SWG users don't need to test their water?
I engaged in a bit of hyperbole, but not too much:
poolsean said, "It does not require you to do much, other than test (occasionally, but MUCH less than bbb owners for sure) to ensure your pH is where it should be.
Me: That certainly implies (and I'm being generous in using that word) that you only need to test occasionally and then only for pH.

and the last time I checked the name of this site was called "trouble free pool" not "pool care using grocery store chemicals"... I believe it encompasses all methods of pool sanitation. Why don't you start up a site called
"BBB purists who use salt to augment the feel of their pool"
My comment to poolsean was not that this site is or should only be exclusive to grocery store pool care; it didn't even imply that. Rather, I was saying that, considering the genesis of this site, to engage in bleach bashing was sorta silly. It's also a little ironic considering how defensive some have been when anything remotely negative about SWGs has been put forth.

Does this site encompass "all methods of pool sanitation"? It encompasses what SeanB says it does, but I don't think that includes advocating or endorsing copper/silver ionization systems, oxygen purifiers (e.g. ecosmarte), or magnets. Does it?I don't consider myself a BBB purist at all. In fact, I don't even use that term. I think it's a misnomer and misleading. Many of us never use the second two Bs and some SWG users don't use any of them at all. The name aside, most of us do follow and advocate the poolforum.com pool care principles (I think).
Over and over in this thread I've said that I think SWGs are a good method of adding chlorine to your pool water. I've only pointed out that some, and maybe even most, of the SWG industry claims are marketing hype. If I'm right, why is that bad? If I'm wrong, please point out the factual errors and I'll correct them.
 

crazycanuck

Well-known member
Mar 29, 2007
294
Ontario, Canada
Sorry to hear about your "Digital Camera" problems. We too had a great 35mm camera that took
fantastic pictures. I guess its how easily it is for you and your family to adjust to new technologies, everyone is different.
I bet when you first got your hands on a 35mm camera there was a learning curve, just like with computers etc etc.
Anyways, not to stray off topic.

My only negative experience with the SWG is my stainless steel screws on my Colorlogic lights are rusting. It started
happening about 2 months after I got the pool up and running. Apparently this was due to the quality of the stainless.
The replacement stainless is on backorder. That would be my only problem (so far) just make sure you replace any suspect stainless... I have a stamped concrete deck that was sealed, so no problems with that yet. I do have three diving rocks called
Armour stone and so far there have not been any staining issues with it. I'm running about 3800ppm salt.
 

brettc

Active member
Jun 25, 2007
34
Houston
crazycanuck said:
Sorry to hear about your "Digital Camera" problems. We too had a great 35mm camera that took
fantastic pictures. I guess its how easily it is for you and your family to adjust to new technologies, everyone is different.
I bet when you first got your hands on a 35mm camera there was a learning curve, just like with computers etc etc.
Anyways, not to stray off topic.
My point was that it didn't live up to the hype. It's not that I can't get used to the technology, and I thought the point was that it was supposed to alleviate the need for me to get used to a complicated technology. Same thing with the SWG. The SWG supposedly makes the job of managing the pool much less complex for people that are unlikely to be able to manage something as complex as a pool. In the scheme of supporting the entire pool, I can't see that it has any impact on the complexity of supporting it. I'm an engineer. I will overcome the complexities. My wife would not with or without a SWG.

My only negative experience with the SWG is my stainless steel screws on my Colorlogic lights are rusting.
I'm glad to hear that. How long has your SWG been installed?
 

crazycanuck

Well-known member
Mar 29, 2007
294
Ontario, Canada
This is year 2 with the pool and SWG. About 85% off the pools installed now have them put on (in our area), I am sure the percentage is very low for retrofits.

If you were sold on an SWG taking care of most of your pool maintence then you were misled. In my opinion it does one thing and it does it well, deliver chlorine on a consistant basis. Now, the side benefits of that are use of salt, which can be argued as a positive and negative. The convenience of not having to buy, lug and store pucks/bleach. And lastly, it allows you to go on short vacations... without having to have a neighbor come over and feed your pool chlorine. Now, there are people out there running SWG's that don't take care of their other chemicals and I think thats where SWG's get a bad wrap. It won't solve your pH issues, or your low CYA, calcium, alk, copper, leaves clogging, sun, rain, pump, filter problems. Those are up to you. Once you get all of those in control and balanced then I think thats where you will begin to see how an SWG really makes things easier. If your pool is dirty, high alk, high CYA, there is nothing an SWG is going to do for you.
 

brettc

Active member
Jun 25, 2007
34
Houston
JasonLion said:
The problem is that even though quite a bit is known about which materials work with salt pools and which don't there aren't any reliable sources for this information. That means that real risks, such as limestone, get mixed together with incorrect rumors, like pool heaters failing quickly, and it becomes impossible for most people to tell what is true and what isn't.
Granted, the reliability of what I base my concerns on is in doubt. However, with respect to this OP, I am not happy about owning a SWG system based upon the information that I'm hearing from the industry that sells and installs them. As a satisfied owner, I would need to have the comfort of knowing that a $1000 piece of equipment doesn't put the infrastructure of my pool at risk. Rather than receiving that assurance, pool builders are putting into their contract that I should be concerned. With respect to the OP, I am not happy about owning a SWG for this reason whether or not there is any real merit for those concerns.

In an outdoor pool with CYA, pool heaters and pumps are at far more risk from improperly maintained PH than from salt. The added corrosion from salt is somewhere between nothing and trivial. Indoor pools without CYA have a different set of risks, which might be where some of the rumors come from.
The pool builders in my area are not putting waivers in their contracts associated for the risk of CYA and PH levels, and they're not putting those waivers in contracts for non-SWG pools. They face a profit dis-incentive for making that waiver, and they face a more significant competitive dis-incentive when other pool builders are eagerly willing to take the business of a customer that has a predisposition to buy a SWG. I have to expect that their concerns of financial liability, customer disatisfaction, and a loss of referral compensate for that. I expect that their experience, which we are not privy to here on this web site, that these types of problems affect salt water pools moreso than non-salt pools is more than just rumor. It's seems there's a lot of profit and competitive risk to their business to take based just upon rumor. I suspect there's more to it than just that. In fact, I'm assured there is.

On the other hand limestone, sandstone, and slate can all be destroyed in a year or two if they aren't properly sealed. Even with sealants people have had mixed results with those stones.
The same rock work on a non-salt pool gets the full backing of the builder. The salt pool gets a warning and a waiver of liability. The waiver comes with a significant competitive and profit dis-incentive. The truth of the matter is irrellevant. This is definitely a reason for a SWG owner to be unhappy about owning one or buying one.

A large experienced builder should know which materials are suitable for use with a SWG. It is completely possible to build a pool that will be totally fine for years and years with 4000 ppm of salt. I would happily pay a little extra to have a new pool built with proper materials so I could keep my SWG.
More than one large experienced builder is saying that the same rock work is not compatible with salt.

We need to encourage someone to collect reputable information about which materials have issues and which are safe. It is a shame that SWG manufacturers have not taken this on. It wouldn't be too much of a strech to sue a SWG manufacturer after suffering damage to stone work that they either knew was at risk or should have known.
My pool builder didn't put a waiver in my contract, but he's telling me I should be concerned now, after the fact. My neighbor tells me he did face signing a contract with that waiver. The fact that some builders in a large metropolitan area are waiving support and warranty for major pool infrastructure is a real issue whether there is any merit to the underlying claim about salt and what it may do to the pool.

Builders are stuck in the middle of all this. They don't have any reliable source of information beyond their personal experience. Meanwhile buyers are all demanding SWG and telling wonderful stories of what a dream they are. What is a builder to do?
I'm told they do have a reliable source of information. I'm told their own personal experience with building salt water pools and problems only associated with the salt pools is the basis for their decisions. What are they to do? They risk loss of profit on SWG products and loss due to competition to those who are willing to sell them. Apparently some builders see those risks the lesser evil when compared to liability, customer satisfaction, and profit through referrals. In lieu of any other reliable information, I'd say this is significant.

I'm definitely concerned about it, and with respect to the OP, I'm not satisfied being a SWG owner. After spending $1000 on one, I shouldn't have the industry that sold it to me lead me to be concerned that this $1000 dollar product could put tens of thousands of dollars of pool infrastructure at risk. Again, convince me I'm wrong. Tell me pool builders aren't waiving support and warranty. Tell me SWG customers aren't replacing pool equipment prematurely due to salt corrosion. I'd be happy to leave my SWG powered on, maintain my salt concentrations, and continue to enjoy all that soft water "feel" and "convenience" of owning a SWG. I'm not confident that's the decision I'm going to make though.
 

brettc

Active member
Jun 25, 2007
34
Houston
crazycanuck said:
This is year 2 with the pool and SWG. About 85% off the pools installed now have them put on (in our area), I am sure the percentage is very low for retrofits.
Some of the pool builders in my area are not so sure.

If you were sold on an SWG taking care of most of your pool maintence then you were misled. In my opinion it does one thing and it does it well, deliver chlorine on a consistant basis. Now, the side benefits of that are use of salt, which can be argued as a positive and negative. The convenience of not having to buy, lug and store pucks/bleach. And lastly, it allows you to go on short vacations... without having to have a neighbor come over and feed your pool chlorine. Now, there are people out there running SWG's that don't take care of their other chemicals and I think thats where SWG's get a bad wrap. It won't solve your pH issues, or your low CYA, calcium, alk, copper, leaves clogging, sun, rain, pump, filter problems. Those are up to you. Once you get all of those in control and balanced then I think thats where you will begin to see how an SWG really makes things easier. If your pool is dirty, high alk, high CYA, there is nothing an SWG is going to do for you.
Agreed. That's a fair characterization of what you get. Not too far from my expectations although, I was lied to by marketing hype about the taste level of the salt. I've had zero comments on the "feel" of the pool, but almost everyone has commented on the salty taste of the water. I was misled about the simplicity of chemistry management and the SWG added components to it like rising PH. Reading comments like from PoolSean on the stability of PH doesn't match reality of what I see personally and what I see reported here.

What you posted is the positive, and in my opinion, it's not much. By itself, I'd be pretty happy, and I'd be very reluctant to switch off the SWG. Now what about the negative? What about the risk of prematurely failing equipment and rock work?
 

tphaggerty

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 27, 2007
218
Poughquag, NY
This is a "stick vs. automatic" debate as far as I can see. Clearly, KurtV and Brettc don't really care for an SWG and that is fine. And they think that buying, pouring and getting rid of lots of bleach jugs is low maintainence stuff - also fine (but I don't agree). Stick owners like control, automatic owners like to eat in their cars while driving.

But, I really think the REAL debate isn't between BBB and SWGs, it's between the Pool Store way of doing things (erosion feeders basically) and SWG. I have an SWG, love it - love it - love it. I really doubt that the salt has much more effect on my concrete than the acid rain or freeze/thaw cycle here in NY (probably the same for most rock work). And, to be fully on the up and up, I keep several jugs of bleach in my shed for those times when high winds or rain overwhelm my SWG. And I don't have PH creep and I do test my water most every day and the convience factor is HUGE for an SWG versue bleach, IMHO. And the water DOES feel great, much better than any other pool in the neighborhood.

Most of the pools in my neighborhood use erosion feeders and tri-chlor. Great for about 3 to maybe 5 years. Then, like my neighbor this year, they get green water. "But I'm doing everything the same". Her CYA was over 150 (according to my tests, the Pool store was 200 to 400). Am I (slowly) trying to get her to put in an SWG? YOU BET!! Could I ever, in a million years, convince her to buy bleach on an ongoing basis - NO WAY!! (although she did take my advice and switch over on a temporary basis). She could drain and refill, but only by trucking in water, which is pretty expensive where we live. An SWG would be heaven for her! (Given our high rain, she could switch over and be at 60 to 80 ppm CYA in a year or two at most).

I would LOVE for the cost of a replacement cell to come way down, but come on guys, we are all paying $29.95 for a fine filter bag for our PoolBusters (or Dolphin or whatever) - a stinking piece of fabric sew on a .20 cent piece of plastic. Pools are a LUXURY, not a necessity (at least for most of us) and they are a pretty low volume industry as well, that is why we pay more for these things. Is the price of an SWG out of line compared to the overall cost of the pool - not in my view.

Don't buy an SWG if you think they will hurt your rocks. But, as for commenting on whether they work well or not, I think you have to go with those of us that have them. And in that population, the vote seems to be overwhelmingly a YES vote.
 

crazycanuck

Well-known member
Mar 29, 2007
294
Ontario, Canada
The fact is, until they either create an SWG that doent require the use of salt or some scientist does a 5 year study on the effects of splash water containing 4000ppm of water on limestone rocks you will never know the answer. IF PB's are making you sign waivers then... for you... an SWG is not the way to go. If you are happy with BBB like others are then thats your choice. I think you have done the research, heard the pros and cons, talked to neighbors. PB's (poolSean) who sells SWG's and I am going to assume you have all the ammo you need to make your choice.

As for the salt taste, I too was told you can't detect it, and when i tasted it for the first time, I could detect it, but after months of swimming in the pool, the taste doesnt bother me at all, kinda like that background noise that you become used to. Oh, and one more thing, the difference I find between an SWG pool and a regular puck pool, is more when you get out and dry off. There is less of a "chlorine" smell and your skin does feel softer.
 
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