Pros or cons of SWGs

Stockdale Pools

In The Industry
Nov 3, 2016
1
Bakersfield, CA
If conserving water is your priority don't get a salt system. Your draining frequency is sometimes cut in half with swg pools. I know everyone on here loves swg but I have never been a fan so I will be the devils advocate. I have many IC40s that cannot handle a 25k gallon pool and need tab support in the summer. They require a lot of acid, are much more fickle about water chemistry, need to be drained more often, usually from TDS, I have never come across a system that I would call "reliable", and 99% of the time will never pay off in the end (you may get lucky and have a system that lasts forever and some fantastic hookups for salt or free water). On the other hand if you are lazy and don't want to bother with your pool but once a month then they are OK. The amount of time spent cleaning salt cells and adding acid compared to dropping some tabs in a float or feeder has always seemed about a wash to me. I have recommended to several people if they like the feel of salt to just throw a bunch of salt in their pool and save themselves a ton of money (but this will not solve your water concerns).
 

bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
5,529
San Clemente, CA
Re: Does pentair make a reduced salt system?

I disagree with every point you made not only from firsthand experience but based off several other local pools as well.

You say they require much more attention and are very fickle then say that they are for lazy people who check their pools once a month? Which is it?
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
11,115
Franklin, NC
Re: Does pentair make a reduced salt system?

If conserving water is your priority don't get a salt system. Your draining frequency is sometimes cut in half with swg pools. I know everyone on here loves swg but I have never been a fan so I will be the devils advocate. I have many IC40s that cannot handle a 25k gallon pool and need tab support in the summer. They require a lot of acid, are much more fickle about water chemistry, need to be drained more often, usually from TDS, I have never come across a system that I would call "reliable", and 99% of the time will never pay off in the end (you may get lucky and have a system that lasts forever and some fantastic hookups for salt or free water). On the other hand if you are lazy and don't want to bother with your pool but once a month then they are OK. The amount of time spent cleaning salt cells and adding acid compared to dropping some tabs in a float or feeder has always seemed about a wash to me. I have recommended to several people if they like the feel of salt to just throw a bunch of salt in their pool and save themselves a ton of money (but this will not solve your water concerns).
I'm really not sure where your information comes from, but with thousands of pool owners here I can say that your thoughts are not the norm.....

I will comment on what you have said:

"Your draining frequency is sometimes cut in half" Folk sfollowing ourt methods don't have a "draining frequency". The need for draining comes from over use of stabilized chlorine products and allowing the CYA to get out of hand.

"I have many IC40s that cannot handle a 25k gallon pool" TFP generally recommends a salt cell that is double what the manufacturer recommends. The IC40 is "recommended" up to 40K gallons and we would generally say it is undersized.

"They require a lot of acid" I'm not sure of the definition of "a lot", but I will agree that a SWG pool generally rises in pH and needs additions of acid.

"are much more fickle about water chemistry" I'm not sure where yo come up with this, but the chlorine that a SWG produces is the same as you get out of a bottle or a trichlor tab, except you don't get the CYA a tab brings with it. We always recommend regular testing of the pool water.

"need to be drained more often, usually from TDS" Refer back to my first answer. We don't drain our pools and ignore the TDS readings as TDS includes so many different items as to be

" 99% of the time will never pay off in the end (you may get lucky and have a system that lasts forever " Again, from reports of thousands of pool users we have found that the use of a SWG generally works out he same as someone who chlorinates their pool with liquid chlorine. The liquid user pays a constant amount as they go along and the SWG user pays each time salt is added or the cell needs replacement. All salt cells have a finite life span and one it is reached the cell needs to be replaced. If yo have tow similar salt cells side by side the one running at 100% will last half as long as the one running at 50%.

"if you are lazy and don't want to bother with your pool but once a month then they are OK." Again, folks following the TFP methods never ignore their pools for a month. Our system is based on regular accurate testing and adding what the water needs, when it needs it.

"The amount of time spent cleaning salt cells and adding acid compared to dropping some tabs in a float or feeder" You need to go into our Pool School and read more about our system Trichlor tabs are almost half Cyurnaic acid (also known as CYA or stabilizer). The more CYA yo have in the water the higher you have to keep the chlorine levels to have proper sanitation.

The comments you are making are standard "pool store" scare tactics. Over stabilization (too much CYA) is the biggest problem with most residential pools. If folks just learn this simple thing then pool care costs would go down an dthe number of clear pools would go up.

I do see tha this is your first post at TFP, so please do a little reading around our site.
 

pooldv

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Moderator Emeritus
Aug 10, 2012
25,412
FL panhandle
Re: Does pentair make a reduced salt system?

If conserving water is your priority don't get a salt system. Your draining frequency is sometimes cut in half with swg pools. I know everyone on here loves swg but I have never been a fan so I will be the devils advocate. I have many IC40s that cannot handle a 25k gallon pool and need tab support in the summer. They require a lot of acid, are much more fickle about water chemistry, need to be drained more often, usually from TDS, I have never come across a system that I would call "reliable", and 99% of the time will never pay off in the end (you may get lucky and have a system that lasts forever and some fantastic hookups for salt or free water). On the other hand if you are lazy and don't want to bother with your pool but once a month then they are OK. The amount of time spent cleaning salt cells and adding acid compared to dropping some tabs in a float or feeder has always seemed about a wash to me. I have recommended to several people if they like the feel of salt to just throw a bunch of salt in their pool and save themselves a ton of money (but this will not solve your water concerns).




I haven't drained a single drop of water from my pool since fill day in 2012.

My IC40 was able maintain shock level of 28 ppm in my 20k gal pool last time I SLAMed and has never been unable to keep up with FC demand in my pool.

I haven't needed to clean my cell since it was installed in 2012. Maintaining proper water chemistry prevents scale in the cell and the pool.

Maintaining lower TA, adding borates and not running water features can substantially reduce acid demand in a pool. I add about a quart a week.

It is perfectly fine to add salt to improve water feel. Might as well add an SWG to make chlorine while you're at it.
 

GaryT58

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 26, 2016
571
Monroe, GA
My only negative comment on a SWG from my personal experience was the original one installed by my PB was undersized and could not keep up. So I replaced with one rated for up to 52,000/gallons for my 19,000 gallon pool and I couldn't be happier. It automatically will adjust the level based upon water temperature, which has worked very well in keeping me from have to play with the output %age much.

As for acid, maybe I'm a lucky one, or because I have fiberglass or whatever, but I only had to add acid 3 times the entire summer, and that includes the original opening of the new pool. I bought my new SWG which has the option to attach a acid pump, but for now I have no plans to do so unless things change.

The only water I eliminate is via backwash of sand filter, which I hope will be eliminated once I replace with cartridge system.

I can't speak for longevity, but for me the SWG is about maintaining the chlorine with little work for me. If I had to replace a cell every year I may change my thoughts, but I do not look at it as a break-even type of purchase. In comparing the cost difference between a bicycle and a car would say everyone should just ride bicycles most places, but we pay extra for convenience sometimes.

Add relying on tabs does mean you will be dumping water to maintain a proper cyn, otherwise you will end up with a dirty pool from chlorine lock.
 

needsajet

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 4, 2016
4,778
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Pool Size
44000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
Good post, Gary.

I'll just mention we've kinda settled on 'over-stabilized' to describe CYA so high that sufficient FC is impractical to monitor. You are dead-on regarding the downside of an over-stabilized pool.

To the OP, I'll say welcome to TFP, and hopefully after some reading here happens, you'll become a TFPer and it's always good to add to the experience base. We have a few members here that maintain pools as a business, and their pools never turn green the day before a party!

I wouldn't own or maintain a pool without a saltwater chlorinator. I adjust pump run time or the SWC around once a week based on drop-based FC testing. I add MA once a week in the three pools I maintain. Once a week during swim season is normal down here, and then once a month during winter. I've spent AU$19 on salt and AU$70 on acid.

kimmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmjlo; (haha, one of our cats just walked on keyboard and said hi to Kim!)

So the system here is called TFPC or "Trouble Free Pool Care" - described here: TFPC for Beginners

And a bit of "Dropping Some Tabs" is described here: Certified Pool Operator (CPO) training -- What is not taught

As far as SWC reliability, if your methods are leading to a 99% failure rate, it's going to be a piece of cake to improve. Proper water chemistry so that cell cleaning is not needed has to be No. 1 and better water chemistry will allow for lower cell run time (and resulting longer life) and reduced acid demand. Lower cell run time sometimes allows lower pump run time. Protecting equipment from weeds, nesting bugs and direct sun also helps. Keeping everything clean and free of leaks might also improve your reliability rate. Your customers will experience a significant improvement and that's always good for business!! :)
 

xyz

Gold Supporter
Sep 8, 2016
641
Escondido/CA
Re: Does pentair make a reduced salt system?

I disagree with every point you made not only from firsthand experience but based off several other local pools as well.

You say they require much more attention and are very fickle then say that they are for lazy people who check their pools once a month? Which is it?


Not to amp up what might be controversial...

Too funny. ;-)

Also, my 2c. You could add salt to a chlorine pool, and then get a chlorine pump, and then fill that pump regularly and get a similar effect; but as someone said, why not buy 5 years worth of chlorine that takes less than 1 sq ft to store, and can be remotely adjusted?

My SWG quit after 5 years and I got another one. I did not consider another option. Love my SWG.
 

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
348
I 180'd on this.

I loved my SWG for the first 5 years - Im back to BBB (Or bleach acid)

Primarily - my #1 reason is that my very hard water kills the cells even with regular cleanings.
My vendors stopped warranting the cells, so between the cleaning, replacements, costs and time its just easier to go back to BBB.

Secondarily I was always adding acid so I wasnt giving up on pool store visits, just changing what I regularly added.

Tertiarily- the calcium between the salt and the water itself created lots of scale.

UD
 

pooldv

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Moderator Emeritus
Aug 10, 2012
25,412
FL panhandle
When you get ready to go back to SWG we can help to control for all those issues.

We have high scaling water here, everything has scale, shower, coffee pot, etc. I haven't needed to clean my cell once in 5 years. Maintaining CSI between -0.3 and 0 will prevent any scaling issues in the pool and in the cell, no matter how high CH gets, up to 1200 ppm or so. And then you can drain it. Managing CSI allows for easy management when TA or CH is outside of TFP recommended parameters due to source water. More here, Pool School - Calcium Scaling.

Rising pH can also be controlled by lowering TA to 50 ppm and adding 50 ppm of borates. Also, minimizing running waterfalls, bubblers, etc will help reduce pH rise.
 

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bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
5,529
San Clemente, CA
Tertiarily- the calcium between the salt and the water itself created lots of scale.

UD

Salt actually reduces the waters scale potential by a decent amount. There is no interaction between salt and calcium that causes scale. It is formed when the water becomes oversaturated in regards to calcium carbonate from having a combination of high pH, TA, and water temperature. The actual measurable calcium hardness level has very little to do with scale.
 

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
348
Salt actually reduces the waters scale potential by a decent amount. There is no interaction between salt and calcium that causes scale. It is formed when the water becomes oversaturated in regards to calcium carbonate from having a combination of high pH, TA, and water temperature. The actual measurable calcium hardness level has very little to do with scale.

Interesting, I wonder why the symptom gets worse running my SWG.

Could be that little bit that you mention

UD
 

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
348
When you get ready to go back to SWG we can help to control for all those issues.

We have high scaling water here, everything has scale, shower, coffee pot, etc. I haven't needed to clean my cell once in 5 years. Maintaining CSI between -0.3 and 0 will prevent any scaling issues in the pool and in the cell, no matter how high CH gets, up to 1200 ppm or so. And then you can drain it. Managing CSI allows for easy management when TA or CH is outside of TFP recommended parameters due to source water. More here, Pool School - Calcium Scaling.

Rising pH can also be controlled by lowering TA to 50 ppm and adding 50 ppm of borates. Also, minimizing running waterfalls, bubblers, etc will help reduce pH rise.

Awesome the part about not one cleaning in 5 years.

Thanks.

The draining and filling is a big deal here in So cal with the water rates we pay, and like one of the posters above mentions when I run my SWG I get to a place where I need to dump and fill more often than I do with BBB.

Not the end of the world, but not convenient.

With the SWG complicating keeping the water in line its just easier to me to dump in a pint or so of bleach every few days and stick w BBB.




UD
 

bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
5,529
San Clemente, CA
The chlorine production process by the SWG causes a rise in pH. As Pooldv mentioned above, running a lower TA with borates greatly reduces the severity.
 

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
348
The chlorine production process by the SWG causes a rise in pH. As Pooldv mentioned above, running a lower TA with borates greatly reduces the severity.

I've seen some warnings about borates and animals drinking from the pool.
Of our 3 dogs, one is just a little dumb and does that regularly, as well occasionally we "dog sit" for a very few people and have concern that while they are in the yards they might give it a whirl and get sick.
My wife is a full time mobile groomer and has a a few key clients that we will do this for.

Perhaps this is an over rated concern given the dilution but I recall some warning holding me back from this approach early on when I started having problems.

Having been a slave to bleach since I was a kid I loved loved my SWG when I first put it in.
 

xyz

Gold Supporter
Sep 8, 2016
641
Escondido/CA
I've hooked up my autofil to my water softener. Not sure that is a long term solution. I'll see what that does over the summer when I get lots of evap.

Also, Once I got my CSI slightly negative, I've had zero scaling on my SWG.

Also, if you are getting scaling on your SWG, you are getting scaling on lots of stuff. Why not get your scaling issue under control, and then you wont have issues?


A friend of mine had his pool RO-ed. Costs about 500 bucks, and you do lose some water to the filtering process, but that might be a solution to your high Calcium problem without having to empty and fill.
 

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
348
I've hooked up my autofil to my water softener. Not sure that is a long term solution. I'll see what that does over the summer when I get lots of evap.

Also, Once I got my CSI slightly negative, I've had zero scaling on my SWG.

Also, if you are getting scaling on your SWG, you are getting scaling on lots of stuff. Why not get your scaling issue under control, and then you wont have issues?


A friend of mine had his pool RO-ed. Costs about 500 bucks, and you do lose some water to the filtering process, but that might be a solution to your high Calcium problem without having to empty and fill.

The RO truck is likely how Ill go.

I can control it on the tile, and just about everywhere else but the SWG cell itself.

We have very hard water from the tap here and pools in this area have constant TDS problems ( Ive taken my Taylor kit to several neighbors) so even a fresh fill is already on edge from an ideal standpoint.

The vendor that warranted my cells came out with a litany of Myron L gear, and told me that an RO truck was probably my best best as well.

I appreciate all of your input.

UD
 
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xyz

Gold Supporter
Sep 8, 2016
641
Escondido/CA
If you are in the San Diego area, there are two guys that do it, I can look up which one I thought would be the better guy when I looked into it.
 

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
348
Im in West LA.
I know one of the San Diego guys.
He used to be on here, but isn't anymore.

Thanks

UD
 

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