Why are Pool Builders Steering Me Away from SWCG's?

JManteca

Gold Supporter
Mar 4, 2014
13
California Central Valley
I have been on TFP for a couple months now and have read tons of posts on SWG vs. non-SWG. Most (if not all) of the posts and responses I have read heavily favor SWG for a number of reasons. However, I have talked with 3 pools builders now and all three have said passionately that SWG are not the way to go. One guy said that various cities are starting to ban them. Another guy said that my climate is too warm. The third said that he had not installed one in over 3 years....

My question is this: if the SWG is another item that they can sell me on, why steer me away from it? What are the cons to SWCG? I have read a ton about the benefits, I just want to hear some drawbacks. Why do you all think that they are pushing so hard on this issue? What's the endgame here?
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
31,684
Sebring, Florida
Well, those reasons, at least, are pretty bogus....

cities banning them? I haven't heard that but in the land of fruits and nuts, I guess anything is possible :D

Climate? ridiculous

3 years and not installed? That's HIS issue not a fault of SWG's

SWG's are, flat out, the most convenient way to deliver chlorine to your pool. You pay up front for that convenience and over the years, your operating costs may be marginally higher than manually chlorinating.

They do have a drawback or two (the cost killed me) but if you try to steal an SWG from members on here that have them, 95% will handcuff themselves to the piping and fight you if you try to remove theirs. just sayin'
 

JoeRJGR

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2013
138
Freehold NJ
Some pool guys feel that the increased salt concentration in the pool affects the metal components of the pool, (light rings, ladders, diving boards,), etc. Also, some, like this guy think they are rough on a metal walled pool. Swimming Pool Salt Water Chlorinator Reviews

I actually have a metal walled pool and it this article has given me some pause about using salt. But my pool is properly bonded and I will install an anode.....
 

gwegan

TFP Expert
Apr 19, 2013
2,769
Sacramento, CA
Ask the PB for the names of the cities that ban them. I am aware of none. There is talk of banning sand filters in California and some cities are strict about the way sand filters waste is handled, but I haven't heard of any banning salt systems.

I think part of it is product, cost, profits and warranty claims.

First they are not familiar with salt systems and really do not understand how they work.

Second the systems have a high upfront cost and they require more electrical and control work. You can show the customer a lower cost pool without a salt system.

Profits. I suspect that the profits on mineral systems (Nature II), rainbow chlorinates (PVC tube caped at both ends for $300), uv and ozione (is it really working?) are generous and they don't want to sell salt systems where their profit is not as high.

Fourth Warranty claims. Clearly fear of warranty claims is why salt systems are discouraged in Texas and Oklahoma. In California I would say its because these are expensive claims if the system goes bad. And some manufacturers systems were not all that great (Jandy?)
As costs come down (and they will continue to do so) these systems will become the standard. They allow for true measurable chlorine reduction (not the guessing of mineral systems), save water over tab based systems and allow people to care for their pools on their own.

Do pool stores or pool services like them well no. Because they cut into the high end of their business where the profits are. And most pool builders have a service company or affiliation with one.--
 

domct203

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 3, 2015
3,959
CT
I think a lot of the negativity on SWG comes from the general ignorance on pool care.

All Chlorine pools contain salt.

Last season I tracked my chlorine usage. I added 2840 oz of 12.5% bleach over a approx. 26 week period. With that 414ppm of FC also came 681ppm of salt. I'm on my third season with this pool, so in two seasons (or 52 weeks) I added approx. 1362ppm of salt. In 4-1/2 twenty-six week seasons, I will have added 3000ppm of salt in my pool, just right for a SWG.

Now I'm sure that my actual salt content is lower due to backwashing/splashout, etc, but I think I've made my point.

All Chlorine pools contain salt.
 

pflood4150

Member
Mar 3, 2016
16
Gold Canyon, AZ
Possibly due to their having to take care of the complaints from dissatisfied customers and the effects on their new business from referrals. From my experience, if I were a pool contractor, I would steer people away too. When our pool was installed about 7 years ago the contractor actually recommended a SWG and that contractor is no longer in business - I wonder why? We had a Zodiac Clearwater which did in fact produce chlorine, but it also produced a lot of work and aggravation along with the expense of replacing the cell every year. The main reason I reverted to liquid chlorine which I had used in our previous pool for 15 years was because it had to be cleaned every day as the calcium would bridge the cell plates and therefore no chlorine production. The procedure took about 20 minutes. Also we had a lot of scale build up on the tile surround. Last season we spent about $260 on chlorine and kept the fc level at 5ppm. The water stayed sparkling the whole time and it did not need the same amount of acid as when the SWG was in use. The negative side of this was having to buy, transport and store the Chlorine. Actually adding it to the pool only took a few minutes, not including testing the water. I have seen claims that other makes only need cleaning once a week which I find hard to believe especially in areas of hard water.
 

domct203

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 3, 2015
3,959
CT
Calcium scale is all about water balance & CSI. If a SWG cell needs to be cleaned of calcium scale that often it is not the cell's fault. There are members here with very hard water that run SWG's without the need for such frequent cleaning.

I'm looking forward to the switch to a SWG this year.


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gwegan

TFP Expert
Apr 19, 2013
2,769
Sacramento, CA
pflood's complaint about the Jandy product explains why the Jandy Distributors run away from the product. But recent reviews are much more favorable.
 

Divin Dave

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 2, 2013
5,281
Longview, Texas
the key to enjoying a SWG chlorinated pool, is to plan for that.

Its true that salty water will make iron pool furniture and other things made of iron corrode quicker. So, the key here is either select pool furniture made of some other material, such as aluminum, or wicker, or teak or plastic material of some sort. Something that SW doesnt have such a large effect on. I suppose you might go ahead and use wrought Iron furniture , but you would need to spray it down with fresh water after use, but that would probably still be risky.

my deck furniture is aluminum and going into year 4 it still looks good and there are a few more years left in it. The Texas sun has had more effect on it than the SW ever has.

There are some stones used for coping and pool decking that are more suspect to corrosion from SW than others, but if you know this and select a compatible stone, then you wont have any of that possible issue to deal with years later. Also the grade of the stone is of importance, the lower the grade, the more susceptible it might be to corrosion.

If you cant get past using a different type of stone, then a sealer applied over the stone will last for years and protect it. Problem solved.

Some people with filters that require backwashing shiver at the thought of backwashing salty pool water into their beautifully manicured yard. Not that theres enough salt to do anything to it, but.... SO, how about using a cartridge filter that doesnt require backwashing? A big one will not need but maybe 2 cleanings a year (if that) and that takes all of an hour or so to do it. Another percieved problem solved and you will save a LOT of water that would otherwise be used in refilling the pool after backwashing. You just killed 2 birds with one stone right here.

Im sure other folks may be able to add to this list, but these are the main points that Im most aware of.

My point to all of this is? ..... the key is knowledge and then using that to your advantage to select your equipment and materials wisely so you can make your pool as enjoyable as you intend it to be.


I have a SWG and there is no way I will give mine up. Ever.



I have been on TFP for a couple months now and have read tons of posts on SWG vs. non-SWG. Most (if not all) of the posts and responses I have read heavily favor SWG for a number of reasons. However, I have talked with 3 pools builders now and all three have said passionately that SWG are not the way to go. One guy said that various cities are starting to ban them. Another guy said that my climate is too warm. The third said that he had not installed one in over 3 years....

My question is this: if the SWG is another item that they can sell me on, why steer me away from it? What are the cons to SWCG? I have read a ton about the benefits, I just want to hear some drawbacks. Why do you all think that they are pushing so hard on this issue? What's the endgame here?
 

AimeeH

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Apr 2, 2012
2,012
Columbia SC
Have had mine for 6 years and could not imagine having to add chlorine manually.
^^^^^Me too. 7/2017 will actually be the 6 year birthday for my SWG and still pumping out chlorine for my pool.

I do "plan" for the expense of replacement when it fails because I understand that kind of like a light bulb, it has a finite life.

Our builder was a SWG owner himself so it wasn't a hard sell.
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
31,684
Sebring, Florida
the key to enjoying a SWG chlorinated pool, is to plan for that.
Good post, Dave. Using some common sense and thinking ahead makes enjoying an SWG easy peasy.
 

domct203

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 3, 2015
3,959
CT
I think a lot of the negativity on SWG comes from the general ignorance on pool care.

All Chlorine pools contain salt.

Last season I tracked my chlorine usage. I added 2840 oz of 12.5% bleach over a approx. 26 week period. With that 414ppm of FC also came 681ppm of salt. I'm on my third season with this pool, so in two seasons (or 52 weeks) I added approx. 1362ppm of salt. In 4-1/2 twenty-six week seasons, I will have added 3000ppm of salt in my pool, just right for a SWG.

Now I'm sure that my actual salt content is lower due to backwashing/splashout, etc, but I think I've made my point.

All Chlorine pools contain salt.
FWIW-

I opened to pool today, and ran a salt test with the Taylor K-1766, I got 1200ppm. Pretty close to the 1362ppm approximation from my chlorine additions.


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jeffbrig

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2014
146
Fort Lauderdale, FL
FWIW-

I opened to pool today, and ran a salt test with the Taylor K-1766, I got 1200ppm. Pretty close to the 1362ppm approximation from my chlorine additions.


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I haven't drained my pool in the 3 years I've owned the house. Previous owner also used liquid chlorine, and the pool was resurfaced about 5 years ago. To my knowledge, the water hasn't been changed since.

I'm considering a SWG, so I bought a salt test kit to see what my levels are. Over 2100ppm! All from regular usage of liquid chlorine. I'll only need to add a couple of bags to finish the conversion.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,011
Tucson, AZ
....I have seen claims that other makes only need cleaning once a week which I find hard to believe especially in areas of hard water.
Tucson, AZ
Fill water hardness - 280ppm CH
Current water CH - 1100ppm

Last time I cleaned scale from my cell.....never. In the 4 years it has been running, I have removed it once. It had no scale. I keep my CSI balanced and I use borates. It's entirely possible to run a (well manufactured) SWG cell without issue.
 

tucsontico

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 30, 2014
235
Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Fill water hardness - 280ppm CH
Current water CH - 1100ppm

Last time I cleaned scale from my cell.....never. In the 4 years it has been running, I have removed it once. It had no scale. I keep my CSI balanced and I use borates. It's entirely possible to run a (well manufactured) SWG cell without issue.
Same situation here. My fill water hardness is 200ppm+ CH and my current pool water is 550ppm CH (after 3 years). My SWG has no scale build up and I've had a sparkling clear pool for 3 years after adopting the TFPC methods. It is all about balance and understanding the chemistry of your pool. Each pool is different and unique. You have to test the water on a consistent basis with an accurate test kit to understand what is happening in your pool. Once you've captured the knowledge of what's happening in your pool water, you'll be able to keep that pool clean, clear, and sanitary. :paddle:
 

Cedarpool

Member
Jun 14, 2015
16
Cedar Park, TX
When I was in pre-purchase of my house that had an existing salt pool (my first pool) I had a pool builder come inspect it. He said salt pools "are almost impossible to keep balanced" and quoted a conversion to a Rainbow Chlorinator. Fortunately I did my homework and found this site before taking his advice. Love my salt pool and keeping the water clear and balanced has been an absolute breeze, even with hard fill water (my CH has never been below 450). As others have posted I too have had no issues with scaling. Follow the easy advice on this site, especially keeping CYA to their higher recommendations. This is very simple but absolutely critical with a SWG. I also suggest oversizing the unit. I have a Pentair IC40 for my 15,000 gallon pool and only need to run it at 35% in the middle of summer (pool gets full sun) to keep 4-5ppm as long as the CYA is 70-80.
 
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