Should I go with a saltwater pool??

Glenrjack

New member
Apr 24, 2021
3
Fairfax, Virginia
Pool Size
29000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
I am having a new gunite pool built and am considering salt but am very concerned with corrosion of metal components (heater, anodized automatic cover rails) and natural stone (leathered marble) patio. It seems the annualized cost is approx the same but after speaking to several pool service companies they suggested staying with chlorine due to the corrosiveness. One leading pool company in my area started a service company 5 years ago and used to sell salt systems but are now only recommending chlorine due to the corrosion and reduced equipment life. My pool contractor installs salt systems 95% of the time but he does not service pools so may not be aware of any issues years after the job was completed. I have heard that salt is potentially easier to maintain but if it deteriorates the equipment or compromises my stone patio I would not be pleased.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
 

Carnut12

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 2, 2013
294
Forsyth, GA
I just moved and handed off my dream backyard to the new homeowners. I had salt and I’ll be doing so again. My pool was so easy to maintain and in 6 years not one time did I have water issues. I got the water right when the pool was opened then I let the SWG handle the rest. Between the SWG and the Dolphin robot I was completely spoiled.

My neighbor didn’t get salt, she had issues often, green pool a few times, other times water that would burn eyes. Not to mention the Chlorine smell.

My 2 cents is go SWG and follow the advice given on this forum to maintain your pool.

Best of luck!!!
 
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Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2014
33,463
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
Pool Size
17888
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
Welcome to TFP! :wave: The salt level in pools (3500 - 4500 ppm on average) is negligible and usually not the reason why some areas of the pool have problems. Heaters usually corrode due to the pH being too low. Certain stones are simply softer which has nothing to do with the salt itself. And to make it even more interesting, a non-salt (SWG) pool still has salt in it from the chlorine anyways. :) Yep, after a few years of adding chlorine manually, the salt byproduct builds to a point your salt level is just about as high as someone who added salt for their SWG. Many builders and salesmen overlook that little gem. With chlorine prices going up and the bonus fact of not having to add it manually each day, SWGs are extremely popular.
 
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cowboycasey

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 3, 2013
8,648
Southern OK
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool SJ-40
I have been salt water since day 1 in my pool 8 years ago.. I have NO damage of any equipment.. I do have an above ground pool now so some of the metal is not happy but that is normal anyways.. If my SWG died today I would order another one and install it the next day :)
 
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mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Glen, Welcome to the Forum!

Lots to address in your post.. So this "leading pool company in your area", did you call them up and ask them about chlorination or something? Because they are wrong. First off it is not the salt in a SWG pool that is corrosive. The salinity is just not high enough. Here's the breakdown (I love quoting this)
Your typical SWG pool: 3400 ppm
Your typical tears: 7000 ppm
Your typical ocean: 34000 ppm

Every time we help someone with "corrosion" issues due to their SWG it turns out to be pool chemistry (the pH is too acidic). Or bonding (a component wasn't properly bonded to the grid and created an equipotential imbalance, and it corroded). Or it was shoddy materials that would have fallen apart in any conditions. So if you want to engage in a debate with the "leading pool company in your area" ask them about those issues. Bottom line is SWG's are so easy to maintain, many pool service companies don't like them because the pool owners can do the pool themselves. I have had my SWG since 2005 and I have not had any "corrosion".

You are right the cost of a SWG is roughly the same as the using chlorine over the same time frame.. but it depends on how you calculate that "time". Most people use the length of the warranty as the effective life of a SWG unit... OK, lets do that and figure a 5 yr warranty (some are 3). Then for the sake of argument the break even point comes at 5 years. But what if your SWG cell lasts longer than 5 years? Then any time after that is FREE CHLORINE! My first cell lasted for over 9 years, that is 4+ years of free chlorine! And then, when you replace it, you don't have to replace the whole unit (controller and cell), just the generating cell which is much cheaper. So your break even point for free chlorine is like 2 years. My second cell is in its 7th year, you do the math.

As to ease of maintenance .. they are great! It is NOT a set and forget kind of device, but if properly monitored, its a lot easier than having to haul chlorine and dosing every day or every other day manually. And if you size the unit to your pool properly and manage the other chemical levels like we teach here, its as close to maintenance free as you are going to get. Remember that calculation of a cells ROI in the last paragraph? That doesn't factor in your time. And for me, I can put a dollar amount on my time. If I factor the amount of time I saved managing my pool once a put my SWG, I paid it off in the first year, not five.

So if your PB is happy to put an SWG in for you, take him up on it. Stay in tuned here and we can give you guidance on the type and size of your cell, in fact the whole darn pool design! There is a whole forum on new builds. We love following them from start to finish.
 

kellyfair

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 29, 2016
4,767
Tampa, FL
Pool Size
7000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
One more thing - while COVID has put a damper on travel, some day we’ll be traveling again! I used to travel quite a bit, and all I had to do when out of town was to tell my daughter to reset if there was a power outage. Was gone two weeks to Alaska one year, and came home to a pool that was as perfect as the day I left it.

So yeah, I’m in the SWG camp. All the way!
 
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Saturn94

Bronze Supporter
Mar 11, 2015
1,279
SE Virginia
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
Our pool has been a ”salt pool” since 2004. There has been no damage from the salt. Personally, I wouldn’t have a pool without a SWCG.

The key to avoiding damage from the water is maintaining proper water chemistry. Following the teachings here (do NOT try to mix advice from here with other sources, ie pool stores, builders, etc) will assure you spend your time enjoying the pool rather than fighting problems. 👍
 
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