Switch to Saltwater

Nate1975

Well-known member
Jun 7, 2015
123
Wamego/KS
#1
Kicking around the idea of changing chlorine system to saltwater. After some online research I have several questions that I'm hoping can be answered here by people who have made the change.
1. Is it true that pool equipment, liner, deck, chairs, etc will need replaced more often due to corrosion from salt?
2. How frequently does the cell need cleaned and replaced?
3. I read online that the water when backwashing or draining will kill grass. Our drain pipe runs out our back fence and down a hill that turns into school property for their playground. I don't want to be the guy that kills the playground grass by backwashing pool! The chlorine water hasn't had any effect on it previously.
4. Should the generator be installed so that it is the last process before water returns to the pool? I read it should be placed after pump, filter and heater so that the highly concentrated water is being diluted before hitting those pieces of equipment.
5. Is it really worth the expense and does it save time maintaining pool by switching?
Any comments or suggestions welcome.
Thanks!


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Silver_2000

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Nov 29, 2015
493
Carrollton tx
#2
see my versions of the answers below - gleaned from my pool and reading here

Kicking around the idea of changing chlorine system to saltwater. After some online research I have several questions that I'm hoping can be answered here by people who have made the change.
1. Is it true that pool equipment, liner, deck, chairs, etc will need replaced more often due to corrosion from salt? No
2. How frequently does the cell need cleaned and replaced? depends on your water - should last 5 years or more
3. I read online that the water when backwashing or draining will kill grass. Our drain pipe runs out our back fence and down a hill that turns into school property for their playground. I don't want to be the guy that kills the playground grass by backwashing pool! The chlorine water hasn't had any effect on it previously. its only slightly salty - shouldnt cause any issue
4. Should the generator be installed so that it is the last process before water returns to the pool? I read it should be placed after pump, filter and heater so that the highly concentrated water is being diluted before hitting those pieces of equipment.
5. Is it really worth the expense and does it save time maintaining pool by switching?
Any comments or suggestions welcome.
Thanks!


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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
10,924
Bedford, TX
#3
Nate,

I have three Saltwater pools that I maintain. Mine, and two rent houses. It would be next to impossible for me the maintain them if they were not SWCG pools. Just too much on going maintenance.

They are all about three years old. If one of the cells went bad today, I would have another one in the mail before sundown...

I have seen zero negative effects of having a saltwater pool. I have seen no rust, or corrosion of any kind.

I "expect" to get five years out of each cell, but "hope" for seven or more.

I never backwash, but I do tear down the filters (One cartridge and two DE) twice a year. The two rent house get drained onto the grass and I have yet to see that cause any issues.

As you say, the cell should be installed after the filter so that the water leaves the cell and then goes to the pool/spa returns.

Because you have a single speed pump, the downside for you will be having to run your pump long enough to generate the amount of chlorine you will need. The bigger the cell the more chlorine they can make in a shorter time. As a minimum your new cell needs to be rated for 2 x the size of your pool.. All my pools have VS pumps, so running them is not an issue.

Thanks for posting,

Jim R.
 

Chemnut

In The Industry
Apr 5, 2017
231
Maine
#4
I just wanted to add from my own experience, Rusting of pool chairs or anything metal will happen due to the saltwater dripping off your suits. Nothing else gets affected. I also think liners will last longer due to the water always being more alkaline and not acidic as pucks cause. My liner looks brand new after 12 years while my neighbor replaced his after 10. If you are backwashing that often to hurt plants or grass than you are backwashing way way to much. I only backwash when I see a 25% rise over my base pressure, once a season for me.
 

Philo

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2015
840
San Diego, Ca.
#5
I've had both, one pool with a SWG and one with manual chlorine.
If my SWG broke today, I'd replace it with my back-up and not skip a beat.
They should be mandatory.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
10,924
Bedford, TX
#7
Nate,

No, you just add salt to your current water. But.... you need to test the water you have now for salt. All pools have some salt in them, so it is important to know how much salt is in your pool now, so you will know how much you need to add.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,689
Tucson, AZ
#8
Do you have to drain the water and start over with fresh?


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No. In fact, you should measure the chloride level in your pool (using a K-1766 salt test kit) as I bet your halfway to the recommended level of 3600ppm salt. All pools have salt in them from chlorination as well as muriatic acid use. It is not at all unreasonable for a pool to have nearly 2000ppm salt in them after a few years of regular chlorine use.
 

ta2dwonderwoman

Bronze Supporter
Jul 1, 2016
505
fall river ks
#9
I just spent the last several days making this exact switch... there are some good guidelines on what to do and in what order. I followed them pretty precisely and as of today i have a perfectly balanced pool and I haven't had to carry one jug of bleach out... the only way I see having to use bleach this year is if I need to do a slam or if I find that this swg is not sufficient to keep up with my chlorine demand which is entirely possible because I didn't see the thing about buying one rated for twice what I need until after I had made this purchase and set it up... my salt was sitting at about 400 and I wanted it up close to 3200 and my cya was 60 , i had it at 50 from last year , but i used a few pucks over the winter and I went ahead and brought it up to 70... other than some issues with pressure when I try to vacuum which I believe is related to unlubricated O-rings everything has gone exceptionally well and I'm extremely happy so far

This pool is balanced and waiting for water temp to come up...70 is too cold for me!

20170417_174352.jpg
 

HawaiiPoolGuy

In The Industry
Apr 22, 2015
13
Waikoloa Hawaii
#11
Nate,
We service about a hundred properties in the Kukio and Four Seasons Hualalai resorts on the Big Island, Hawaii (big pools, multiple spas, ponds , yadda yadda)...These are 7 - 70 Million dollars properties. By design, there are only about 5 bodies of water larger than 400 gallons that have NOT been converted to salt water. Here's my answers/opinions to your questions:
1: NO. Balance your water, that has a greater long term affect on corrosion/ scaling than water at 3500 ppm salt.
2: Depends greatly on which Salt Cell you buy. Not sure if it's OK to recommend a specific brand on this forum (but I do have only 1 favorite)
3: I don't like sand filters on saltwater features for a variety of reasons
4: Any chlorinator, salt or otherwise should be the last thing the water passes through before returning to the pool (Sequence should always be Pool-Pump-Filter(unless it's a spa jet pump)-Heater(if applicable)-Chlorinator-Pool
5:It's worth it, but there's a different set of issues (easier to deal with) than a manually chlorinated pool


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Patrick_B

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 7, 2011
14,999
Midland TX
#12
Ill give you a short and simple opinion by just saying a pool like this is extremely easy to manually Chlorinate and its a bit more flexible on overall chemistry requirements. Salt Cells perform better when certain parameters are tweaked in. It isn't hard, but unless I was gone a lot and not able to add Chlorine, I wouldn't add a SWG to a pool this size. Salt left behind on certain materials will cause them to corrode faster, there is no question. It's argued about a lot, but I think there is no denying certain things will suffer from salt exposure. To clarify, I mean things outside the pool.

The convenience is subjective. I'm around my pool all the time usually, and my Chlorine demand is normal or just shy of that. I find no burden adding a little chlorine every few or more days to keep it tip top shape year round. Overall cost of replacing SWG cells, energy use for circulation, and overall management usually wind up very close to a push versus a manually dosed pool. People who have them love them, but its just too easy (to me) doing it manually. My water is as good 24/7/365 against any pool out there on the given day.
 
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Nate1975

Well-known member
Jun 7, 2015
123
Wamego/KS
#13
Thanks for all the replies. I'll give it some thought. My main reason for looking into this is that we have 4 kids. Our house is the summer hangout for them and lots of friends. Due to the high usage I am testing and adding bleach daily. Never thought much about until friends just had a new salt water pool installed and he was saying how easy the maintenance is. Said he added a large amount of salt at opening last season and only had to add more a few times after that. They have about the same usage as we do.


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Nate1975

Well-known member
Jun 7, 2015
123
Wamego/KS
#14
Not that adding some bleach is a big task. But not having to stockpile bleach and get lots of weird looks buying out stores of their bleach supply sounds kind of nice![emoji6]


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ta2dwonderwoman

Bronze Supporter
Jul 1, 2016
505
fall river ks
#15
For me it was a matter of my health more than anything, I have COPD so just walking is an issue for me much less trying to load gallons and gallons of bleach into a cart and then into my car and then having to carry them in and out of the house to put bleach in the pool... I may still have to do a little bit of that possibly if this swg doesn't keep up with my chlorine demand but I feel like it's going to make my life much easier in the long run
 

Philo

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2015
840
San Diego, Ca.
#16
For me it was a matter of my health more than anything, I have COPD so just walking is an issue for me much less trying to load gallons and gallons of bleach into a cart and then into my car and then having to carry them in and out of the house to put bleach in the pool... I may still have to do a little bit of that possibly if this swg doesn't keep up with my chlorine demand but I feel like it's going to make my life much easier in the long run
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