SWG Questions - pros and cons

jkrupp

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2016
49
Roseville, CA
Hi, we just had 2 pool builders come out to our home to give us estimates on a new inground pool. We are in central California if location matters to my questions :)

Two concerns I have regarding using or not using a salt water chlorine generator are...

1) How the splashing of the water may affect vegetation. We will be having very minimal concrete work around the pool, no more than 3 ft around, and we have a pretty large vegetable / berry / herb garden all around it. And fruit trees behind the pool. I did read that salt water being "bad for plants" was a con. Does anyone know anything about this? I also wanted to landscape around the pool w/native grasses and sage and such.

2) I have three young kids and they all have mild to moderate eczema (as does my husband). Whenever we swim at someone's home, or at the local water park, their skin can get pretty irritated. As long as I am good about rinsing them, and immediately applying moisturizer it is okay. But I wonder if the SWG may be better for their skin. Does anyone have comments on SWG being significantly better for dry skin? Though water in general is not great for eczema, the triple digit weather from May to October feels more and more brutal each year and my kids LOVE swimming.

Thank you!
 

jeffchap

Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 26, 2012
1,760
Edmond OK
1) The salt content of a salt water pool is 1/10 that of seawater. I don't have any delicate plants, but my Bermuda grass seems to like it.



2) A saltwater pool still contains chlorine. It is generated rather than added from an external source. However, once it's in there, chlorine is chlorine. By maintaining your pool with a SWG and the TFP method, you can keep your pool sanitary without the periodic spikes of chlorine most pools undergo by being shocked. Your chlorine levels will be kept lower and more steady, and therefore less harsh to sensitive skin. Some people also report some benefit to their skin of salt in the water and claim that it feels softer.
 

ping

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 24, 2011
3,138
Long Beach, CA
A salt water pool can be bad for certain plants if the salt is allowed to build up over time. There are links in other threads about various plants that may or may not have problems. With just splash out, I wouldn't think it would be much of a problem. If you backwash or drain to those areas then that will most likely cause issues later on as the salt will build up.

Eczema seems to either be aided or cause flare ups with swimming. My eczema flares up when swimming unless I coat my hand in vaseline before swimming and then moisturize it right after. In my case, salt water doesn't help much at all with eczema. Having well balanced pool water will help, so keep reading here at TFP to learn our way of having perfect water for swimming.
 

jkrupp

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2016
49
Roseville, CA
Thanks for both of the responses, that's helpful! jeffchap, when I asked the pool builder about ease of maintenance with SWGs, he said the reason most people get it is not because of maintenance, but because of the softness of the water and how it makes their skin feel. That's why I started thinking about my kiddos. ping, good idea on the vaseline. I do make our own sunscreen that includes oils and shea butter (probably not great for the pool buuuut...), the formula does seem to repel moisture so perhaps it will help the kids.

During veggie seasons we are watering via drip every day anyway, so I suppose that would dilute any salt water splashing that may not agree with the plants.

If we do not go with the swg, I will definitely use the TFP method, adding regular bleach every day (or however often it is needed), and order the Taylor kit that is recommended here. I just can't decide if the swg is worth the extra cost or not ($1500). Maybe I'll wait until the estimates come through and then decide :D
 

Isaac-1

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 10, 2010
6,711
SW Louisiana
In the long run the cost of using an SWG vs Bleach typically works out about even (assuming you do not have premature failure of the SWG cell)
 

kcindc

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Sep 2, 2011
1,299
Fairfax, VA
It is all about the size of the SWG and how well the pool chemistry is managed. A SWG should be 2 to 3 times the size of your pool. The cost to get a larger cell isn't much higher, but you get more a life from the cell. An undersized cell will not nearly last as long. Also, it is important to manage your CSI. A pool with high CSI will need more frequent cleaning of the cells which can shorten the cell life.

A properly sized cell with properly managed chems can last 5 to 7 years. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but this can vary.

Personally I would go with a SWG. Not all, but many skin irritations are caused by poorly managed pools with either any or all of the following:
1) Chlorine too high or low for the CYA level.
2) PH out of whack
3) high CCs which are present in a pool with not enough chlorine.

I have very sensitive skin and eczema and my SWG pool feels great on my skin. All of my friends comment how great the water feels and that they ever feel irritated. I properly test and manage my chems so that the water never feels harsh.

The salt level in a SWG pool is about what is found in tears.
 

jkrupp

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2016
49
Roseville, CA
Menace, I suppose I consider the valley more mid-CA, when I think Northern I think Redding. But regardless, yes, a lot of sun. About how much does it cost to replace the cell?
 

Rollercoastr

Gold Supporter
May 18, 2016
879
West Bloomfield, MI
If we do not go with the swg, I will definitely use the TFP method, adding regular bleach every day (or however often it is needed), and order the Taylor kit that is recommended here.
The TFP method and SWGs are not at all mutually exclusive. In fact, you'll notice that many high-post count experts and even TFP Moderators use SWGs.

What doesn't mix with the TFP Method includes:

- Poor testing methods (strips and pool store testing)
- Lax testing and maintenance habits
- Magic potions/metal-based products sold at pool stores
- Ignorance of the interaction and impact CYA has on chlorine
 

chawkins99

Well-known member
Mar 29, 2014
72
Gulf Breeze, Florida
Personally, I love the SWG. It makes life so much easier.

At my last house, we had an Intex with a SWG. When we moved to our current house with an inground pool, the first thing I did was install a SWG.

Initially, I was testing 2-3 times a week but the chemistry rarely changed. Now I test maybe once or twice a month. Have had to add acid twice in the last year. More frequently, I'm topping off salt and CYA because we get a LOT of rain.

The only problem I have had was a bad flow switch which cost me $30.
 

ping

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 24, 2011
3,138
Long Beach, CA
The cost depends on the brand you decide to get and the size of cell you need.

List the pool details and we can suggest which size and brand to get. If you are planning on automation it is usually best to stay with the same brand of equipment but not required.
 

kcindc

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Sep 2, 2011
1,299
Fairfax, VA
FYI, I used to be a "jug tosser". For the first 4 years of owning my pool I manually added bleach to my pool daily. This year I made the switch to a SWG and wishes I would have made the switch earlier.

TFP is all about adequate self testing and only adding what your pool needs using economical chemical products that can easily be found at a grocery store and big box home improvement stores.
 

grottoguy

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 24, 2014
462
NJ
It is not the SWG that creates the smoothness you refer to, but the salt. You can always add salt to the pool of you prefer the feel.

Your kids skin will be better if the pool is properly maintained and it is a lot easier to do that with a SWG or Stenner punp.