New Build Proposal Critique

scottrc

Member
May 18, 2018
20
Houston
Rattus Suffocatus

Thanks for all the information.
I will take all that into consideration. But, I am pretty sure with a pool this size I want to be able to stand it in every part of it. This pool is an adult lounging pool with lots of bench sitting more than a pool for diving and swimming.. in fact, there will be only the coping and beyond that flowerbeds and gravel no decking. no place to run and jump.
Every pool that I go to in my neighborhood, I end up finding a place to stand or sit with the water hitting me just below chest level... if it were too deep , I would have to put down my beer :)...... I won't be using it for exercise, but for cooling off after running or yardwork.

Still on the fence about swcg as early on I posted so many conflicting information about those in the Houston area.
I worry about my flagstone and being so close to the house.

I did not know that you can just add salt to pool without special equipment.. if you still need chlorine, what is the point in that? just to make the water feel better and require less chlorine?
 

spd500

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2020
564
Houston, TX
I did not know that you can just add salt to pool without special equipment.. if you still need chlorine, what is the point in that? just to make the water feel better and require less chlorine?
People say that it makes the water feel better. You will still need the same amount of chlorine if you add salt to the water. The only thing that I really even considered when deciding to go with the SWCG system was the added potential for rust on equipment and furniture, I don't think I would bother with adding salt if I wasn't going to get the benefit of it producing the chlorine
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
21,199
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Still on the fence about swcg as early on I posted so many conflicting information about those in the Houston area.
I worry about my flagstone and being so close to the house.

I did not know that you can just add salt to pool without special equipment.. if you still need chlorine, what is the point in that? just to make the water feel better and require less chlorine?
There is no perfect solution to sanitize a pool...
  • In-line chlorinator uses trichlor tablets that add chlorine, stabilizer and acid to the water. The stabilizer/CYA will accumulate in the water and you will need to significantly drain the pool every 6-9 months. You will need to periodically stock up on trichlor tablets to feed your chlorinator weekly. Ensure the tablets do not contain copper which can stain your pool. Never use any pool products that say "blue" on the label as it is a code word for copper.
  • Liquid chlorine can be used to directly add chlorine to the water. Downside is you need to forage for jugs of liquid chlorine and keep a stock to add daily. What is ususally not mentioned is liquid chlorine contains salt. For every 3 ppm or chlorine you will add 5 ppm of salt. In 2 to 3 years you will have as much salt in your water as a SWCG pool. To lower the salt in the water you will need to drain out water and replace it with fresh water.
  • SWCG - automatically generates the amount of chlorine your pool needs. You pay for a few years of chlorine supply in purchasing the cell. Nothing to do daily. Check your chlorine level weekly and salt level monthly. Top off the salt level of your pool every few months. Replace the cell when it is depleted every few years.

If you get a SWCG then get one that will operate with a salt level of around 3000 ppm. Some of the less expensive ones require more like 4,000 ppm of salt to properly function.

Some builders use high quality flagstone which has no problem with salt. Others use low quality stone that can have problems. Unfortunately there is no easy way to determine after it is installed what you have. Flagsatone and salt problems seems to be a Texas thing with the stone builders use there.

Those are the facts. Pick the method to sanitize your pool and understand what you are signing up for.
 
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scottrc

Member
May 18, 2018
20
Houston
There is no perfect solution to sanitize a pool...
  • In-line chlorinator uses trichlor tablets that add chlorine, stabilizer and acid to the water. The stabilizer/CYA will accumulate in the water and you will need to significantly drain the pool every 6-9 months. You will need to periodically stock up on trichlor tablets to feed your chlorinator weekly. Ensure the tablets do not contain copper which can stain your pool. Never use any pool products that say "blue" on the label as it is a code word for copper.
  • Liquid chlorine can be used to directly add chlorine to the water. Downside is you need to forage for jugs of liquid chlorine and keep a stock to add daily. What is ususally not mentioned is liquid chlorine contains salt. For every 3 ppm or chlorine you will add 5 ppm of salt. In 2 to 3 years you will have as much salt in your water as a SWCG pool. To lower the salt in the water you will need to drain out water and replace it with fresh water.
  • SWCG - automatically generates the amount of chlorine your pool needs. You pay for a few years of chlorine supply in purchasing the cell. Nothing to do daily. Check your chlorine level weekly and salt level monthly. Top off the salt level of your pool every few months. Replace the cell when it is depleted every few years.

If you get a SWCG then get one that will operate with a salt level of around 3000 ppm. Some of the less expensive ones require more like 4,000 ppm of salt to properly function.

Some builders use high quality flagstone which has no problem with salt. Others use low quality stone that can have problems. Unfortunately there is no easy way to determine after it is installed what you have. Flagsatone and salt problems seems to be a Texas thing with the stone builders use there.

Those are the facts. Pick the method to sanitize your pool and understand what you are signing up for.
Ajw22-
Thanks I am learning and that was very helpful!
Since I have not started my pool yet, I have time to decide.
The flagstone that I have is landscaper grade flagstone called Tennessee green (gray) and forms my back patio, so it preexists.
Not sure if you can tell, buy the blue tape on the patio is meant to show water's edge as we encroach off of the grass onto the patio by 12 inches.
Between the flagstone and the water will of course be the 12 " coping of plain smooth gray concrete that surrounds the perimeter of the pool.

Would you expect salt water to cause problems to the patio? I do not want it to degrade in any way.
 

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Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
1,258
Corona de Tucson, AZ
You should be okay with the Flagstone. There are some types of stone in Texas that it are reported that the salt degrades, but I don't know how true that is. The average running value for a Circupool SWCG (like I have) depending on model is about 3500 PPM of salt and they will run fine from 3000-4000 PPM. From a Google search: Seawater has a salinity of roughly 35,000 ppm, equivalent to 35 grams of salt per one liter (or kilogram) of water.

So literally you are looking at a 10th of the salt in sea water. Where you could potentially have more is if the water continually gets splashed on the flagstone, sits in puddles and then evaporates. But even then I don't hear much issue with it. Hosing it off once a week should be enough to completely mitigate this. My pool has has the SWCG for about 7 months now. I don't notice anything except for maybe a little LESS calcium scaling because of it. But I am also trying to keep my horrible Total Alkalinity down more to protect the cell, so that could be the real reason for less scaling now. I do have concrete pavers however.

We note that Texas pool builders in particular trash SWCG's. I suspect that is because they are much easier to take care of and have less problems over time. Can't sell you as much expensive service. And pools are expensive. No doubt about that.

I guess because I am 6'3" tall that 4.5' to me just isn't deep enough. I have a very small portion of my pool at 6' and I like it, honestly. If you are.. ahem... shorter.. 4.5' might be enough. Insurance companies don't like new pools deeper than about 7' but both 4.5' and 6' are okay. Maybe go five if you can, but not for the entire pool.

So for people adding salt for feel. That's it. It doesn't change the amount of free chlorine to CYA needed at all. It's kind of strange, and if you have time, read up in the pool school about all of this....

CYA holds chlorine ions in solution so they don't evaporate off as quickly. The more CYA you have the more free chlorine you need because the CYA snatches up those Ions. Any form of solid chlorine needs to be stabilized. They add CYA in every time. Once you hit about 120 PPM of CYA, you need so much chlorine to keep the pool sanitized you have to drain down and refill to lower it (since there is no real practical way to remove it chemically in any realistic time span.) So this is why TFP (and the BBB method) suggest to use bleach (or chlorine gas, either from a tank -- some services still do this -- or from a SWCG).. they are not stabilized. Bleach degrades to water and salt. I used my pool for 1/3 of a season and small amounts were added over the winter before I added the SWCG and my salt level was already at 800 PPM when I added the generator... so there are always tradeoffs no matter what method you use. Salt levels are one of the least damaging tradeoffs though in the grand scheme of things.... so in my case it would have taken just about 3 years to get to the 3500 PPM I am at now anyway. In comparison, most of my neighbors who use tabs generally are draining their pool every year and a half... and going higher than 3500 PPM of salt isn't bad for most pools... Note this doesn't matter what size pool you have because you have to proportionally add more bleach for a larger volume of water for the same FC levels.

Now the other part is the "balance" or "saturation index". This is almost completely separate from the CYA and free Chlorine. Enough to treat it separately in actual use. The salt does effect it a bit, but it's much less than Magnesium and calcium hardness, and this is why water softeners use salt for their ion exchange. The Pool Math program does take salt level into account and if anything it helps a little with scaling. But not much. You need to keep Calcium Hardness, Total Alkalinity, and pH in a balance... yes CYA matters in this a little too, but free chlorine does not. So there is a CSI calculation in the Pool Math app and on this website. You want to keep it as close to zero-- balanced as much as you can. If you have a SWCG it tends to make the water more alkaline, so a negative CSI is recommended. (Slightly Acidic).

It sounds complex but it's about once a week measuring those levels, putting it into a calculator and making adjustments when needed. It's not difficult. I encourage you to play with the calculators so you understand all of this. Even if you plan on having a service maintain the pool for you (which is completely unnecessary especially with a SWCG).



By the way.. you can always add the SWCG later. Honestly you can't add the salt to a newly plastered pool until 30+ days later... so you can do what I did. It was done in September. I added the SWCG myself (which is simple if you can do electrical work and PVC plumbing work) in May... No real issues at all with doing this. So you can think about it and get used to the other thrills about owning and managing a pool in the meantime. Doing it myself was $800. It was like $2.5K from the PB... for basically the same unit...
 

scottrc

Member
May 18, 2018
20
Houston
You should be okay with the Flagstone. There are some types of stone in Texas that it are reported that the salt degrades, but I don't know how true that is. The average running value for a Circupool SWCG (like I have) depending on model is about 3500 PPM of salt and they will run fine from 3000-4000 PPM. From a Google search: Seawater has a salinity of roughly 35,000 ppm, equivalent to 35 grams of salt per one liter (or kilogram) of water.

So literally you are looking at a 10th of the salt in sea water. Where you could potentially have more is if the water continually gets splashed on the flagstone, sits in puddles and then evaporates. But even then I don't hear much issue with it. Hosing it off once a week should be enough to completely mitigate this. My pool has has the SWCG for about 7 months now. I don't notice anything except for maybe a little LESS calcium scaling because of it. But I am also trying to keep my horrible Total Alkalinity down more to protect the cell, so that could be the real reason for less scaling now. I do have concrete pavers however.

We note that Texas pool builders in particular trash SWCG's. I suspect that is because they are much easier to take care of and have less problems over time. Can't sell you as much expensive service. And pools are expensive. No doubt about that.

I guess because I am 6'3" tall that 4.5' to me just isn't deep enough. I have a very small portion of my pool at 6' and I like it, honestly. If you are.. ahem... shorter.. 4.5' might be enough. Insurance companies don't like new pools deeper than about 7' but both 4.5' and 6' are okay. Maybe go five if you can, but not for the entire pool.

So for people adding salt for feel. That's it. It doesn't change the amount of free chlorine to CYA needed at all. It's kind of strange, and if you have time, read up in the pool school about all of this....

CYA holds chlorine ions in solution so they don't evaporate off as quickly. The more CYA you have the more free chlorine you need because the CYA snatches up those Ions. Any form of solid chlorine needs to be stabilized. They add CYA in every time. Once you hit about 120 PPM of CYA, you need so much chlorine to keep the pool sanitized you have to drain down and refill to lower it (since there is no real practical way to remove it chemically in any realistic time span.) So this is why TFP (and the BBB method) suggest to use bleach (or chlorine gas, either from a tank -- some services still do this -- or from a SWCG).. they are not stabilized. Bleach degrades to water and salt. I used my pool for 1/3 of a season and small amounts were added over the winter before I added the SWCG and my salt level was already at 800 PPM when I added the generator... so there are always tradeoffs no matter what method you use. Salt levels are one of the least damaging tradeoffs though in the grand scheme of things.... so in my case it would have taken just about 3 years to get to the 3500 PPM I am at now anyway. In comparison, most of my neighbors who use tabs generally are draining their pool every year and a half... and going higher than 3500 PPM of salt isn't bad for most pools... Note this doesn't matter what size pool you have because you have to proportionally add more bleach for a larger volume of water for the same FC levels.

Now the other part is the "balance" or "saturation index". This is almost completely separate from the CYA and free Chlorine. Enough to treat it separately in actual use. The salt does effect it a bit, but it's much less than Magnesium and calcium hardness, and this is why water softeners use salt for their ion exchange. The Pool Math program does take salt level into account and if anything it helps a little with scaling. But not much. You need to keep Calcium Hardness, Total Alkalinity, and pH in a balance... yes CYA matters in this a little too, but free chlorine does not. So there is a CSI calculation in the Pool Math app and on this website. You want to keep it as close to zero-- balanced as much as you can. If you have a SWCG it tends to make the water more alkaline, so a negative CSI is recommended. (Slightly Acidic).

It sounds complex but it's about once a week measuring those levels, putting it into a calculator and making adjustments when needed. It's not difficult. I encourage you to play with the calculators so you understand all of this. Even if you plan on having a service maintain the pool for you (which is completely unnecessary especially with a SWCG).



By the way.. you can always add the SWCG later. Honestly you can't add the salt to a newly plastered pool until 30+ days later... so you can do what I did. It was done in September. I added the SWCG myself (which is simple if you can do electrical work and PVC plumbing work) in May... No real issues at all with doing this. So you can think about it and get used to the other thrills about owning and managing a pool in the meantime. Doing it myself was $800. It was like $2.5K from the PB... for basically the same unit...
Rattus Suffocatus

Wow! thanks for that. that is a alot to chew on and I am starting to catch on.
I will do as you say and get more skilled at pool chemistry which apparently I will need for the first 30 days of the pool anyway.
Great idea on adding it later... I might just try out the traditional way first for a while and see how it feels.. knowing that I can upgrade later gives a lot of comfort
 

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
973
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
There has been a lot said above which is all correct. Some key takeaways for me
  1. Using pucks adds CYA over time, plus drives the need to keep FC levels higher to keep it sanitized properly per the FC/CYA Chart and only way to lower CYA is drain and replenish water. This is could be an annual to 2 year event.
  2. Using liquid chlorine requires daily maintenance to ensure your FC level is correct. Over time this adds Salt ppm as well so eventually you will need to drain and replenish water - not sure of time frame.
  3. Use a SWCG and reduce your daily maintenance plus due to weather in Houston area would keep it operating 9 or 10 out of 12 months a year. Salt could have an impact to some natural stones but on the forum some have used coatings or sealants to help protect it. I also read that you have more salt in your tears then you would with a SWCG.
    1. Ocean water has 35,000 ppm of salt, human tears have 8,000 ppm salt, and people only start tasting the salt in the water when it gets around 4,000 ppm.
I can speak to #1 as that is how I started. Drained many times and frustrated with the "stale" water (high CYA) as the pool store reps would call it. I have now transitioned to #2 and find it manageable at this time. I have seen my salt ppm increase over time but I am so much happier with a very clear and sanitized pool without concern of CYA increasing. With regard to #3, I am seriously considering a SWCG, I have some plumbing reconfiguration & electrical work to do so it is on my radar but have not committed to it yet. I have flagstone as coping and also as water tile and I am not concerned about the impact. I did put a sealant on my flagstone over 2 years ago and have not notice impact.

Hope this helps you think through it. If I were to build a new pool I would put in a SWCG, knowing what I know now.
 
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scottrc

Member
May 18, 2018
20
Houston
There has been a lot said above which is all correct. Some key takeaways for me
  1. Using pucks adds CYA over time, plus drives the need to keep FC levels higher to keep it sanitized properly per the FC/CYA Chart and only way to lower CYA is drain and replenish water. This is could be an annual to 2 year event.
  2. Using liquid chlorine requires daily maintenance to ensure your FC level is correct. Over time this adds Salt ppm as well so eventually you will need to drain and replenish water - not sure of time frame.
  3. Use a SWCG and reduce your daily maintenance plus due to weather in Houston area would keep it operating 9 or 10 out of 12 months a year. Salt could have an impact to some natural stones but on the forum some have used coatings or sealants to help protect it. I also read that you have more salt in your tears then you would with a SWCG.
    1. Ocean water has 35,000 ppm of salt, human tears have 8,000 ppm salt, and people only start tasting the salt in the water when it gets around 4,000 ppm.
I can speak to #1 as that is how I started. Drained many times and frustrated with the "stale" water (high CYA) as the pool store reps would call it. I have now transitioned to #2 and find it manageable at this time. I have seen my salt ppm increase over time but I am so much happier with a very clear and sanitized pool without concern of CYA increasing. With regard to #3, I am seriously considering a SWCG, I have some plumbing reconfiguration & electrical work to do so it is on my radar but have not committed to it yet. I have flagstone as coping and also as water tile and I am not concerned about the impact. I did put a sealant on my flagstone over 2 years ago and have not notice impact.

Hope this helps you think through it. If I were to build a new pool I would put in a SWCG, knowing what I know now.
HermanTX-

Thanks for that. After reading the through the pool school resources, I am becoming more familiar with the 3 major ways to keep a pool chlorinated.

One thing I wonder about when I read about them is the pros/cons of each:

QUESTION:

if the pucks provide for less daily work and convenience (at a cost of higher CYA over time) ...
AND if liquid chlorine only introduces pure FC (with some salt build up) and makes for beautiful clear water but at the cost of daily maintenance
then why isn't there something that marries the benefits of each like an "automated-liquid-chlorinator-drip-from-tank" kind of thingy?
Or have I exactly described what an swcg does? (I think not because it's source for operation is salt not liquid chlorine)


AND.. what is the chemical difference between pucks and liquid chlorine that requires the pucks to contain the conditioner or stabilizer that eventually raises the CYA?
is there no such thing as pure tablet chlorine that can be dissolved slowly

from the article how to chlorinate your pool

The huge advantage of liquid chlorine is that it introduces nothing into your pool except chlorine and a small amount of salt. It’s almost the perfect chlorinator except for one thing…it’s very bulky and, as a result, the handling of it is a nuisance compared to other forms.

Trichlor
you simply put into an automatic container that passes pool water over them and they slowly dissolve – putting chlorine and Cyanuric Acid
Cyanuric acid, often called stabilizer or conditioner, is an organic chemical compound added to pool water. .... over them and they slowly dissolve – putting chlorine and CYA into your water and lowers the pH. They are incredibly convenient and incredibly insidious. The CYA that they put into your pool water doesn’t get used up, and instead accumulates. Eventually the CYA level will build up to a point that renders your chlorine ineffective.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
21,199
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Not Herman but I will respond,

HermanTX-

Thanks for that. After reading the through the pool school resources, I am becoming more familiar with the 3 major ways to keep a pool chlorinated.

One thing I wonder about when I read about them is the pros/cons of each:

QUESTION:

if the pucks provide for less daily work and convenience (at a cost of higher CYA over time) ...
AND if liquid chlorine only introduces pure FC (with some salt build up) and makes for beautiful clear water but at the cost of daily maintenance
then why isn't there something that marries the benefits of each like an "automated-liquid-chlorinator-drip-from-tank" kind of thingy?
Or have I exactly described what an swcg does? (I think not because it's source for operation is salt not liquid chlorine)
What you describe is a Stenner pump. It is a tank that at programmed times or by trying to sense the chlorine level dispenses liquid chlorine into the pool plumbing.

Some folks use them. They require their own level of maintenance and adjustments. The focus of Trouble Free Pool includes trouble free equipment. Stenner tanks and automated chlorine dispensing systems are for the gadget geeks who enjoy keeping an eye on that stuff. We can discuss more if you are interested.

AND.. what is the chemical difference between pucks and liquid chlorine that requires the pucks to contain the conditioner or stabilizer that eventually raises the CYA?
is there no such thing as pure tablet chlorine that can be dissolved slowly

from the article how to chlorinate your pool

The huge advantage of liquid chlorine is that it introduces nothing into your pool except chlorine and a small amount of salt. It’s almost the perfect chlorinator except for one thing…it’s very bulky and, as a result, the handling of it is a nuisance compared to other forms.

Trichlor
you simply put into an automatic container that passes pool water over them and they slowly dissolve – putting chlorine and Cyanuric Acid
Cyanuric acid, often called stabilizer or conditioner, is an organic chemical compound added to pool water. .... over them and they slowly dissolve – putting chlorine and CYA into your water and lowers the pH. They are incredibly convenient and incredibly insidious. The CYA that they put into your pool water doesn’t get used up, and instead accumulates. Eventually the CYA level will build up to a point that renders your chlorine ineffective.
Chlorine is naturally a gas. You cannot manufacture a tablet with pure chlorine. You need to bind the chlorine gas to a solid substance to create a tablet. Trichlor tablets bind chlorine to CYA and acid. Cal Hypo tablets bind chlorine gas to calcium. Both solid chemicals accumulate in pool water and have undesirable effects after a while.

There are other methods to chlorinate pools like chlorine gas injection that commercial pools use. We recommend methods that work the best for the average pool owners.
 
Last edited:

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
14,963
Evans, Georgia
....and be aware- you can't mix pucks that contain stabilizer(Trichlor) with the type of pucks that contain calcium (CalHypo) as even using the same container is dangerous. The ingredients can make a huge combustible disaster. Soooo if you ever, ever decide to use pucks remember each type must have its own dispenser.

Kinda makes a Salt Water Chlorine Generator all the more attractive, in my opinion ;)
 

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
973
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Not Herman but I will respond,



What you describe is a Stenner pump. It is a tank that at programmed times or by trying to sense the chlorine level dispenses liquid chlorine into the pool plumbing.

Some folks use them. They require their own level of maintenance and adjustments. The focus of Trouble Free Pool includes trouble free equipment. Stenner tanks and automated chlorine dispensing systems are for the gadget geeks who enjoy keeping an eye on that stuff. We can discuss more if you are interested.



Chlorine is naturally a gas. You cannot manufacture a tablet with pure chlorine. You need to bind the chlorine gas to a solid substance to create a tablet. Trichlor tablets bind chlorine to CYA and acid. Cal Hypo tablets bind chlorine gas to calcium. Both solid chemicals accumulate in pool water and have undesirable effects after a while.

There are other methods to chlorinate pools like chlorine gas injection that commercial pools use. We recommend methods that work the best for the average pool owners.
Could not have said it better myself!!! :D Thanks Allen.
I would add 1 thought on the liquid chlorine injection. Although it does relieve some of the daily maintenance it is NOT maintenance free as indicated by @ajw22 Most noticeably is that you still have to go buy gallons of liquid chlorine and transfer to your storage tank connected to the injection pump. Thus as I stated earlier, if building a new pool, just go directly to a SWCG and skip all the other hassles.
 

scottrc

Member
May 18, 2018
20
Houston
ALL-
Thanks . I guess I am going to ask my PB to quote me on adding in an IC40 to the proposal... the SWCG should be the same mfr and the other components, in my case Pentair, correct?
 

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
973
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
ALL-
Thanks . I guess I am going to ask my PB to quote me on adding in an IC40 to the proposal... the SWCG should be the same mfr and the other components, in my case Pentair, correct?
Yeah!! Correct. Best to keep all in the same family of mfg. Your SWCG is recommended at 2x your pool volume.

Create Your Signature to help us understand what your future setup will be. You can edit it as you move forward in the process. Right now be good to have anticipated pool volume, and any equipment already selected. Just put at front - New Build in Process