Should I give up on salt?

VAwaterboy

Active member
May 10, 2014
27
Falls Church, VA
I switched to a CircuPool salt-water chlorine generator three years ago. When it was very new, the electronic portion failed and was replaced for free under warranty. Now the cell (the part with the metal plates) needs to be replaced; under the limited warranty, it would cost me $213 to replace it. Presumably it would need to be replaced again in another three years -- at a cost of $379, as the warranty will have completely expired then.

I'm tempted to go back to using chlorine sticks in a chlorine feeder. I hate the taste of the salt, and I find it a nuisance to test for salt and for cyanuric acid. The saltwater system is pitched as simpler (and CircuPool claims the salt is below the taste threshhold, which is nonsense). But I find it more complicated, and I think it may be more expensive too, when I add the cost of muriatic acid, cyanuric acid, salt, and electricity for the generator.

Would I be silly to give up salt and go back to the chlorine feeder?
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,238
Tucson, AZ

Philo

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2015
922
San Diego, Ca.
You could find additional cost savings with a VS pump. They pay for themselves in short order.

Just turn your SWG off for the summer and use liquid chlorine. You'll be begging to replace your Salt Cell by Oct.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
19,303
Northern NJ
Biggest benefit of a SWG is you don’t have to add liquid chlorine every day or two. You can ignore the pool, go away on vacation, and the pool stays nice and clear.

The cell is a consumeable item. Figure the cell is costing you $150 per year. About 45 cents a day. Is that worth it to you to not do daily CL chores?
 

bobandsherry

Bronze Supporter
Apr 20, 2016
392
Riverview, FL
How much would you spend in chlorine tablets for three years? Then compare with replacing salt cell.

Not sure of your cell system, but mine shows salt levels and two years later i find it to be very reliable as i compare with actual salt test kit. I can't taste salt in my water.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
18,740
Bedford, TX
V,

I think it would be silly to keep using something you don't like... I personally have the exact opposite opinion about saltwater pools, but I sure would not keep using one if I hated it.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

DirtyRat91

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2013
141
From what I've observed there are three typical ways folks attempt to keep their pools clear. One is the puck fed chlorine feeder/floater. Two is daily dosing with liquid chlorine. And three is daily automatic dosing with a SW(C)G.

Each method has pros and cons.

Liquid dosing method: Daily dosing with liquid chlorine is the MOST labor intensive method, a definite con. However when done properly you keep water chemistry the best, as accurate chemical level monitoring is required. Possibly the cheapest method, as keeping your chemicals in check saves from SLAMing which is required from...

Chlorine feeder/floater method: This method is likely the most popular, as it is the 'normal' way pool folks tend to their pools. Blindly toss pucks in, seek pool store advice when things go awry, buy pool store algaecides and shocks to try to restore clean pool. In the short term it is the easiest. Relatively easy, cheap until the pool turns green.

SWG method: Also a very easy method. Having done all three, and ending with the SWG, I'd hands down say it is my favorite method. The most expensive method from the outside looking in. When you consider the time savings and not having to shop for chlorine, it could actually be a candidate for the cheapest. I don't wish to try to analyze the $$ data, as it is likely similar to liquid dosing.

Liquid dosing
Pros: Accurate, Super clean pool, Minimal chemical levels in pool, most 'natural', No salty taste, relatively cheap
Cons: Most labor intensive, requires a pool sitter for vacations, or a backup puck floater. Daily dosing, and almostly daily testing required

Chlorine feeder
Pros: Lazy
Cons: Often goes hand in hand with test strips (i.e. broad chemical range, unknown pool sanitation) Spiking CYA levels lead to less effective chlorine. Pool store advice very possibly makes this the most expensive

SWG
Pros: Once dialed in, the least maintenance need of the 3 methods. Vacation without worrying about the pool. Easy to keep pool clean. I've found less need to test water as often, as it is normally 'good' and needs little to no adjustment.
Cons: Expensive up front cost. Salty taste. Salt water is known to accelerate corrosion.



Basically the chlorine feeder method 'looks appealing' but the reality is, you're giving up on keeping a known ideal water chemistry.
 

Catanzaro

Platinum Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 30, 2014
3,445
Monmouth County, New Jersey
Dirty Rat:

By far, the most predictable way of dosing a pool, at least for me was the liquid chlorine. Pump ran early morning for one hour, I dosed daily, knew how much, when, why, where. Not as convenient as the SWG, which I have now, but again very predictable. The total cost was only $225 per season. I spent $1,500 on the SWG, which is an initial 8 year break even point. After that, swapping out parts/cell can be done easily by myself.

Adding liquid became a habit. I had my liquid chlorine (bleach) ready to go and for the month. Now that I have the SWG, I would never go back, but do occasionally bump up the FC with 12.5% instead of trying to dial in the cell. If you are not happy, switch to liquid as it is easy to figure out what you need to do. But remember, you must test a few times a week for the first year to know how your pool behaves. Good luck and keep us posted!
 

VAwaterboy

Active member
May 10, 2014
27
Falls Church, VA
How much would you spend in chlorine tablets for three years? Then compare with replacing salt cell.

Not sure of your cell system, but mine shows salt levels and two years later i find it to be very reliable as i compare with actual salt test kit. I can't taste salt in my water.
What is your salt level? When I bought the salt system, the promotional material said it would display the salt level, but my system does not.
 

jeffmayCT

New member
Jul 30, 2018
2
Meriden, CT
I can only speak from my own experience and your mileage, as they say, may vary. My SWG is an Aqua Rite (Hayward) but the basics are all the same. I don't find salt concentrations in the 3200 ppm range objectionable from a taste standpoint, but then again I grew up 10 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean - and ocean water is 10x that level of salt. Yes, most people can taste salt in the 3000 to 3500 ppm range, but most people also consider that to be mild. If you absolutely hate the taste of salt at these concentrations a salt system may not be for you.

Like someone else said, if you don't like it - stop using it. A pool is supposed to be something you enjoy.

Keeping up with the chlorine and PH when I was using dichloro granular and trichloro tabs in a feeder were far more of a nuisance - and an expense - to me. If you are using SWG you shouldn't have to test for CYA once you get the level established, unless you are losing water at a significant rate. For me the cost difference is a no-brainer. I was spending in the neighborhood of $500 to $700 a year between chlorine, soda ash, monpersulfate, and various other pool chemicals. My AQR15 cost me $750, salt is $12 a bag - and the only time I have to replace it is when I lose water in backwashing, etc. I use borate at about 40ppm which stabilizes my PH and inhibits algae - but like CYA and salt it only has to be adjusted due to water loss / dilution, and with borate I rarely have to adjust PH.

For me . . . I'm a true believer in my SWG. My water is always sparkling and clear, and I don't have to mess with it all the time.

But like I said, your mileage may vary.
 

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
4,813
Damascus, MD
Non "saltwater" pools have salt in in them as well. As much as 2000ppm or more. Everything you have has salt in it which adds to the total. Saltwater is 3100 or so.

Pools are not a maintenance free, no-cost, set and forget item. It takes resources, both time and money, so be successful with a pool. If you are looking for a no maintenance, no money pool, those blowup ones that you empty out when you are done are all that comes to mind.
 

bobandsherry

Bronze Supporter
Apr 20, 2016
392
Riverview, FL
What is your salt level? When I bought the salt system, the promotional material said it would display the salt level, but my system does not.
I keep my salt between 2800 to 3200. When it gets to 2800 I add a bag of salt. Even with all summer rain here in sunny FL, I only add 2 bags for each of the past 2 years since pool was built.
 

Killer95Stang

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2012
872
Sunny SoCal
Same here... I test a few times a week and I'm never surprised by my results. Going on my 5th season with the same IC40 cell. All I've ever added was, Stablizer (once a year $15), Acid ($25 ever three months), Liquid Chlorine (Bump up CL before and after a party, maybe $50 a year) and I've only added 4 or 5 bags of salt since the pool was built. Pretty easy and I've never had algae or had to slam.

Neighbor on the other hand loosely follows the TFP method that I started him with... but since he isn't always on top of things with his liquid Chlorine additions, he is constantly fighting a tinge of algae.... I'm pushing hard toward a Salt Generator or a Stenner.
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
2,738
Morris Cnty NJ
I can tell a vinyl pools maintenence by its liner usually, you see few year old liners that are bleached to near white and the pool smells like chloring from a distance.......they just throw pucks in there like crazy and the CYA levels are thru the roof. I wont even swim in other ppls pools I never liked pools because of this.