Saline acidity

mrwoo

Well-known member
Nov 9, 2019
54
kalispell, mt
Hi. Quick question here. I've got my bullfrog coming in a week. I've got a saltron swcg. I'm prepared to use ahh-some and shock, then use swcg. However I've recently read about corrosion issues with salt water systems.

Can anyone either share or point me to some info that might clarify my concerns with REAL facts? It's sometimes confusing as to what is lip service versus legitimate.

Thanks .
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,355
Bedford, TX
Woo,

What you have heard is pretty much all Bull Frog.... :mrgreen:

I have been using the Saltron SWCG for a couple of years and I have had zero problems.. I also have three saltwater pools and once again all Bull Frog.. Zero problems with them also...

Things that are made to be outside will not corrode just because you have a saltwater Pool or Spa.. Things that are not supposed to be outside will rust whether you have any kind of pool or spa..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

mrwoo

Well-known member
Nov 9, 2019
54
kalispell, mt
Thanks!

That's good info!

The obvious question is, how accurate? Please, I mean no disrespect but I just dropped almost 9k, and while I am somewhat anal about details and want the best experience possible I also want reputable info. I love this place where everyone is enthusiastic but is that data legitimate? I think so, as I trust real world use but also realize it's really easy to be a fanboy.

I'm hoping salt water systems are indeed non-corrosive (if you know what to do) as it sounds much more "static" and easier to manage. At least from what I know this far.
 

mrwoo

Well-known member
Nov 9, 2019
54
kalispell, mt
Thanks for the reply Jim. What ppm of saline do you run? I've got a UV filtered twin layer polycarbonate over my spot so my CYA will be minimal I should think and I am planning on dichlor then bleach and SWG ongoing. I will adjust TA with muriatic. I have an online and lab pH probe to monitor pH daily as well as Taylor and tf-100 titration kits.

Yep, I'm that sort of fella who can't just let it be good enough.

Thanks for taking the time.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,355
Bedford, TX
Woo,

I run my spa at 2500 ppm and my pools at about 3500 ppm... My CYA is about 50 in my spa and my FC is 6 to 8 ppm..

If salt was bad for standalone spas, why would they sell them with built in salt cells? Why did you not order your Bull Frog with a salt system?

My spa gets almost daily use, but not a lot of use each day... I generally do nothing but toss the cell in the water after I am done for the evening and open the lid two or three times a week for half an hour or so.. (I have no UV). I almost never have to add any chlorine manually and once a week or so add about .5 oz. to reduce pH.

I can only relate my experiences, but I think that people that bad mouth salt systems have no clue how they operate and when they run into a problem, they blame the salt rather than blame themselves for not keeping their water balanced.

It is your spa and you can do what you want... But if I build another 100 pools or buy a 100 more spas, they will all be saltwater systems.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

mrwoo

Well-known member
Nov 9, 2019
54
kalispell, mt
Jim,

Thanks for that information, it gives me a good starting point on something works with bullfrog for sure. I'm used to taking samples multiple times a week at work for my alkalinity and EC, so I'm pretty confident this is just a different type of testing that I'll be the same way with, which is as accurate as possible, which is why I'm trying to gain the best understanding of it all that I can.

I understand how pH can affect things, but really wanted to hear about bullfrogs because there are no salt options in the literature I have. The dealership that goes into my Costco does not offer its at all, only enhanced ozone systems. I know about ozone, and I've had a lot of experience with UV at work, and in my opinion they can work but unless you have deep pockets they're just an added expense. In my research on salt water generators, there is some experienced person at bullfrog, maybe a rep?, who has extensive experience with salt water damaging bullfrog spas. that seems to be their stance is that salt water is bad. I have only seen one bullfrog dealer offer a saltwater system, and that was one in Oklahoma City.

So, because I've seen these things mentioned or not mentioned, and the lack of an option, it got me thinking before I drop a generator in my brand new tub, I should double-check to make sure I'm not missing something

Thanks a lot for taking the time for detailed response. I appreciate it.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
11,675
Northern NJ
In my research on salt water generators, there is some experienced person at bullfrog, maybe a rep?, who has extensive experience with salt water damaging bullfrog spas. that seems to be their stance is that salt water is bad. I have only seen one bullfrog dealer offer a saltwater system, and that was one in Oklahoma City.

So, because I've seen these things mentioned or not mentioned, and the lack of an option, it got me thinking before I drop a generator in my brand new tub, I should double-check to make sure I'm not missing something
What materials are in the Bullfrog spa to even corrode? Their website claims it has no wood or metal and is built from ABS and composites.

 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jun 12, 2009
3,958
NW Ohio
There seems to be quite a few people in the industry that just have it out for salt and blames it for every problem. It's frankly laughable, most non-salt pools are still full of salt from all the other chemicals added and just about every problem blamed on salt corrosion can be traced back to other issues. Issues that were caused by the chemicals those same dealers sell. Low pH will destroy everything and the use of acidic trichlor tablets can easily lead to that. Calcium buildup can cause scaling, yet dealers continually push calcium hypochlorite "shock" products. Sulfates can cause a whole host of issues, yet dry acid and non-chlorine shock are on every pool and spa store shelf.

And I have to point out that asking us "how accurate is your information" is absolutely prudent, but a dealer who has a financial incentive in this purchase should be given twice that skepticism on anything they say. Sales literature is designed to sell products, after all, not to give the best information to base a decision on.

Finally, because it seems this is getting a bit muddied: UV and ozone are supplemental sanitation and oxidation products, respectively. You still need a sanitizer in the bulk water to prevent person-to-person disease transmission. This is true for pools and especially for a hot tub where the water is warmer and there is much less of it per bather. While both UV or ozone can provide assistance to chlorine or bromine they are not necessary to maintain safe and clear water.
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,355
Bedford, TX
Woo,

I suspect the main reason that they do not want you to use a SWCG is because then you would not be buying all the "special" chemicals that they sell.. :mrgreen:

I suggest that you use your Spa for a year without salt.. After seeing what a pain in the rear it is to constantly monitor your spa water, and make adjustments, you will be glad to switch over to a SWCG... :)

Jim R.
 

Backcountryski

Well-known member
Aug 31, 2019
46
WA
The salinity in my spa is just under 2,000 PPM. The ocean is over 30,000 PPM. 2,000 is roughly the same salinity as your tears. It will not corrode anything more than normal water will. When I top off my spa I usually take advantage of having the hose out and rinse everything off, simply because I am a bit type a. But I am not concerned about corrosion, especially on the internal parts.
 

mrwoo

Well-known member
Nov 9, 2019
54
kalispell, mt
Thanks for the responses.

Here are some tidbits as to why I ask specifically about bullfrog
Salt in a chlorine hot tub
Here you can see a debate but some claims by users They think that salt did corrode some spa components? No way to know if they understood how pH plays a role but reply #25 quotes the factory.

Hot Tub & Spa Chemicals: The Ultimate Water Care Guide | Bullfrog Spas
The Best Hot Tub Features & Accessories | Bullfrog Spas
Here you can see that BF actually seems to claim it will be detrimental. That's not just "we prefer you to use product XYZ" but actually saying there is a risk. While I'm not inclined to believe money driven advertisements I do have to ask for their own warranty "losses" if they just want to save their own bacon?

@ajw22 - I would assume it is more of an internal issue oxidizing metals?
@Donldson - thanks. That's exactly what I have been assuming based on what I know and have learned specifically about spas concerning the salts from chemicals and the acidity of the trichlor etc. It makes a lot of sense to me to use the method talked about here with the dichlor for cya and then using bleach. I understand about the ozone/uv being a supplement. And I whole-heartedly agree to give anyone making money a huge amount of disbelief.
@Jim - thanks again. I was sort of debating that approach. After the Ahh-some and shocking, then refilling, I thought dichlor to get a CYA level, then start acid/aeriation/bleach cycles until I get those in check. Then I would continue with bleach and see how stable it all is and how much I have to fiddle. I have no idea what my FC consumption rate will be so before I just pour salt in I wanted to have an idea. Not sure I will make it a year but it's the same idea. Heck, I'm not even thinking about getting in for probably a week until I get the water correct and get my sampling routine down.
@Backcountryski - thanks. I did not think about washing down or rinsing off from salt water splashing. Hmm. I guess this poses another question, which is what will 2000-ish ppm of saltwater do to a concrete stemwall or vinyl siding? May have to make a splash shield if that is a concern.

Wow, this is truly a great site full of helpful people. So glad I found it. Thanks!
 
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Backcountryski

Well-known member
Aug 31, 2019
46
WA
No need to rinse, I simply do because I have the hose out. This topic has been debated on this board extensively. People have offered up their opinions. I would suggest you do a search and then do what you are comfortable with.
 

mrwoo

Well-known member
Nov 9, 2019
54
kalispell, mt
Where are there metals in a BullFrog hot tub that claims to be built using ABS and composites?
I think that is the frame they tout the ABS for. There could be metal on fittings and I would guess in the pumps and heater although I don't have mine yet so I don't know.
 

mrwoo

Well-known member
Nov 9, 2019
54
kalispell, mt
@Jimrahbe
I don't think I will need a year to understand lol. But you're right that I should go the standard route first to get a baseline. Let me ask you a couple questions since you have swg in bullfrogs. First, do you have ozonator and if so have you disabled it with swg?

Second, with swg, do you set more frequent but shorter maintenance cycles? The default is for 1.5 hours every 12 hours but I believe this is so the frog ease and ozone can be completely circulated. Any comments?

Thanks.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,355
Bedford, TX
Woo,

just to be clear, I do not have a bullfrog Spa... I have a 10 or 12 year old Carldera Spa..

I do not have an Ozone system nor a UV system... I would like a UV system because it is a spa that is always covered. If it had an Ozone system, I would shut it off..

I have a Saltron Mini SWCG.. It is called an "over the shoulder" cell.. It is not installed in the plumbing and does not need any kind of water flow to work.. We use the spa almost every night, when done we simply 'throw" the cell in the spa and put the lid on. It stays that way until the next night, when I take the cover off and remove the cell. The cell has a power supply/controller which is set (right now) to 6 hours, so the cell runs for 6 hours and then shuts off... This seems to work pretty well. Once in while I test before we get in to make sure the FC is high enough and that the CC level is OK.. I just rinse and repeat. I rarely have to do anything else.. Once in while I add a tiny bit of Liquid Chlorine to knock down the CC's.. I also open the lid every three or four days for half an hour or so. A little bit of MA to control the pH , but not all the often.

This is an old spa, so it runs the circulation pump 24/7, and runs the Jet pump every once every 24 hours for about 10 minutes.

Here are a couple of pics...






Thanks,

Jim R.
 

mrwoo

Well-known member
Nov 9, 2019
54
kalispell, mt
Thanks for the reply. I bought that same SWG. Currently debating where to mount it. I understand that the electrodes will take X time to do the chemical conversion of the salt and that you have to monitor it until you get a stable FC rate for your typical hours of use. I also get that the swg will always provide X so knowing a heavy load will occur means you have to supplement some FC.

I haven't seen info yet on how the circ pump being on 24/7 vs low speed main pumps every X hours (mine has no circ pump) would affect how the electrodes in the cell work. Also have you tested your TA after awhile to see if the occasional addition of MA continues to drop it further than it needs?

Sorry for so many questions. I'm too curious much of the time.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,355
Bedford, TX
Woo,

I never worry about TA except to make sure it does not drop below 50, other than that I do not really care, as long as my pH looks ok... I tend to keep my pH 7.8 to 8.0.. It just normally stays about there.

One thing to understand about the SWCG controller is that it does not really have a clock.. It has no clue what time it is.. It just runs X hours after it turns on and then starts again at about the same time the next day... It starts right after you set the hours you want it to run.. We normally use the spa between 8:30 and 9:30, so I want the cell to start about 10 pm.. That means that I need to go out and set the controller for the hours I want it to run at 10 pm.. It will then turn on again at 10 pm the following nights.. My tub is only 200 gallons and we are not heavy users.. The more you use the tub, the more people there are, and the larger the tub, the longer the cell will have to work.

You don't have to have any pumps running to use the cell.. Maybe on your system they call it something other than the circulation pump, but unless you have water flowing through the heater it will never heat. It does not make any noise and unless you were looking for it you would not even know it was running, unlike the Jet pumps.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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mrwoo

Well-known member
Nov 9, 2019
54
kalispell, mt
Learning a lot both from this forum and the school of hard knocks lol.

I could not find pool salt here only solar salt which I have read on and it is said it has some impurities from the ocean. I just used some kosher salt and am at 2400ppm. However that might be an inferior product for swg.

I have a nice pH probe that I test with morning and night. I bought some little squeeze bottles off amazon that are graduated so I filled them with MA and it's super easy now to drop a tenth when needed to keep it just right. I've got my CYA at 40 from dichlor and added 30ppm borates.

I am not seeing the saltron generate much chlorine if any, even over an 8 hour run. I've been testing for FC and CC numerous times a day and I continually have to add bleach. It has not been to 0 yet, but between .5 and 1 FC a few mornings. I put bleach in and test and log, then turn the saltron on again and it really doesn't change. The CC have been between .5 and 1.

I shocked it up to 24ppm FC with bleach. Let it be 24 hours, then used some thiosulfate to drop it back to 4ppm FC. Used it for 1.5 hours with 2 bathers, dropped the saltron in for an 8 hour cycle. 9 hours later, FC was at 1ppm. I added bleach to bring it back up to 5.

So here are my questions. On the wiki here is suggests 60ppm CYA for swg. But I don't need it for UV at all, is this going to be critical for the chlorine generation? I do understand that the CYA is a buffer and sort of "reservoir" for FC.

Is the type of salt going to limit FC production?

My water is 2 weeks old and I've shocked it once as noted above, tested it many times each day as I'm learning all this. I cannot imagine the saltron is not working as it's bubbling up like it should. I've wondered if I have some growth that's too much for the swg but when I was adding dichlor to get the CYA up it was the same amount every day pretty much.

I must be missing something here. Anyone have any ideas?

Thanks.