SWG vs Traditional Chlorine method

purposelycreatedJuly 5, 2009

Is there a consenus on this forum which is the preferred method of maintaining water chemistry, SWG or traditional store bought clorine?

I have heard some of the arguements on both sides and am still unclear which is better. We are currently mid-build on our pool and am planning on traditional chlorine method (or possibly BBB) mainly because my wife does not like the thought of swimming in salt water.

We swam in a friends SWG pool recently for the first time. They have the Pentair Intellichlor (sp?). Pool was cloudy and our eyes were irritated after swimming. Salt tast on lips in a swimming pool was a little wierd....

I'd love to get a discussion going on this, or be pointed to a place where this has been discussed in detail.

Any help based on experience would be great!

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No matter what method you choose, the pool owner needs to regularly check and maintain:

chlorine level
cyanuric acid level (stabilizer)

The biggest problem I see with SWG's is that the owners don't maintain the chemistry. Before you know it, they have a pH of 8.1, too much or too little chlorine which leads to burning, stinging eyes.

I actually use an IntelliChlor and my pool is crystal clear but I also carefully maintain my pool chemistry.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 12:40PM
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Thanks for the input.

Question: Are you using other products in conjuction with SWG to maintain pH,chlorine level, alkalinity, cyanuric acid level (stabilizer) or is it all done with SWG?

From a cost standpoint, is there much savings or extra cost associated with SWG?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 1:01PM
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I agree with landa mac on the maintenance. But my opinion is definitely go with a salt system. I have just installed a salt water pool, and it is wonderful. Not 'salty' (but you should still rinse off just like with a chlorine pool), soft water, easy on the eyes, and no 'green' hair (for all you dumb blondes out there :-). Additional plus, great for your skin just like the ocean.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 1:02PM
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u obviously know nothing about pool chemistry and i bet the owner of the pool u swam in know even less.
the tears in your eyes have a ph of 7.6 so when the ph in the pool water is higher it will burn your eyes.
u should keep the ph between 7.2 and 7.6
use sulphuric acid to lower it and baking soda to bring it up.
alkalinity should be between 80ppm- 120ppm
to lower it u use muriatic acid and to bring it up u use baking soda.
cyanuric acid level should be between 50ppm - 80ppm
to lower it u drain some pool water and refill it with fresh water to bring it up u use stabilizer.
the SWG does it do it for u.it only makes chlorine from salt.it u keep your pool water balanced it should not burn your eyes

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 1:39PM
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if your not sure, do the BBB method for awhile and decide.

we were unsure when building our pool and had to make our final decision too in the end. we chose to not go with the SWG.

a year later, i called my PB and had him set up an install date for a SWG. I maintained my pool beautifully for a year with BBB, but dumping in the clorox everyday gets old. The SWG is just awesome! i am so loving it. My water is still beautiful but without the everyday maintenance of pouring in clorox.

If your not sure, live without it and you can always add it later if you want. Just make sure to let them know to leave enough space in the pvc layout so that you can come back later and add it with no problem.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 1:44PM
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you can add an acid pump to your pool to control PH.
I think you need to read a little more to understand what a salt chlorine generator does.
There is an up front cost $1,200 plus, and the cells only last 3 to 5 years, and cost $500 plus. So no real $$ savings. The main reason most like it, or think they like it is how the water feels, and how their skin feels.
If you think you are going to have a pool that requires no maintance you have another thing coming.

The green hair thing is a chlorine myth. It is copper in the water that causes this. Generally a copper based algecide.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 1:44PM
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"The green hair thing is a chlorine myth. It is copper in the water that causes this. Generally a copper based algecide."

I might add that green hair will actually be more likely to get green hair.

The salt makes the water more corrosive which will corrode the copper heat exchanger at a faster rate, shedding more copper into the water.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 5:16PM
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I recently was able to experience first hand both options. We've used the SWG since we built about 4 years ago. True to form the cell did need replacing but we were (ha, are) in a place of financial cut backs so was unable to replace the cell, so had to add chlorine for a few months.

HATED.IT. I could barely stand the pool while I was having to add chlorine, not the work part, that was fairly simple, not the testing part, I test all the time anyway no matter the system. I hated the feeling of the water, the stinging of the eyes, the drying of the hair, the redness in kids eyes leaving our house, the smell in the air outside. All of it.

Was finally able to replace the cell a few weeks ago. Love my pool again! Soft hair, no red eyes, no chlorine smell in the air, all is right again.

There really are no overall financial savings with salt due to the need to replace the cell. We are not seeing any corrosion, and we used native limestone both inside and outside the pool. From a time standpoint I think that it's similar, though of course with the SWG running again I don't test my water daily, but honestly that was a simple minimal thing to do anyway.

For me it isn't time nor money but water quality. I vote SWG hands down in that department.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 5:51PM
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Just ask your builder to leave enough room in your return line to add a SWG later if you decide to give it a try..You can always add it later..Also have them install bronze anchors rather than aluminum anchors for your rails and ladders if you have them.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 7:52PM
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I've had a swg for 4 seasons now. I have not had to replace the cell yet so I can't speak to reliability other than it's been fine for 4 seasons.

Maintenance wise, it's definitely less. My numbers (ph, alkalinity, etc) seem to remain very stable. I test my water every 3 days or so. I keep my salt level at 3200 ppm, which is the recommended level by all my equipment manufactures. At that level we can not taste the salt. On occasion the level has been at 3600 ppm at which point you can detect the salt taste.

My water is always clear and I have not had an algae bloom since IâÂÂve had the swg.

One benefit of the SWG that I love is the feel of the water. It has a âÂÂsofterâ feel to it. Our eyes do not burn from it, swim wear does not fade, etc.

If you are not sure you want to go with it now it can be added on later as muddy water suggested. I would also have your pb run the necessary electric for the swg during the pool build. We installed a sub panel that was easily expanded to accommodate the swg control panel.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 2:18PM
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I have a chlorine pool - only my 3rd year. The first year of maintenance was a real PITA. Since then, however, my chemical levels are very stable and only weekly maintenance is required. Other than needing to get things balanced that first year, I think maintaining my phosphates has made a huge difference - my pool is clear, clear, clear and as I said only requires weekly chemical maintenance. I'm not sure why others are finding so much maintenance is involved.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 9:53AM
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I got alot of advice to put the money in extra deck or something else. After growing up in a regular chlorine pool and then being exposed to a salt pool years later I dont know why anyone would not put a SWG in. It is easy as turning up the % to get more chlorine. I get a kick out of the people at the pool store lugging their jugs on the cart. As already stated it is so much easier on your skin and so easy to adjust. It has taken me some time to get the % right as it got hotter. I've had to do the muratic acid cleaning once as well.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 12:10PM
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We've used a salt generator for several years on our AG pool and I sure prefer it over chlorine for the same reasons mentioned by others, plus not having to buy chlorine all the time. We did have a couple of cells burn up for some reason. They think it might have been due to the high phosphate levels in our water.

Domingos, I wouldn't think baking soda would be a good idea if it has aluminum in it since you're not supposed to use chemicals containing metals with a chlorine generator, at least on ours. But, I'm no expert. Maybe it wouldn't be enough to worry about, but I'd get aluminum free if I was going to use it.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 12:42PM
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PB installed Pentair IntelliChlor. This is our 4th season. Everyone that swims in our pool talks about how "Good" the water feels. I test the water about every 5 days.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 7:46PM
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Pentair IntelliChlor here also and this is my second year and my family and I love it. The first year I used a bit of muratic acid to keep the PH in line but now I am into a routine where I test every Friday and usually have to add less than a pint of acid. I also have the EasyTouch wireless so the salt level is easy to keep track of. For preventative maintainence I weekly add 1 lb. of 68% Cal Hypo, 4 oz. Polyquat 60 algae preventative, 4 oz. Metal Magic stain remover, and 4 oz. of Super Blue water polisher and my pool has always stayed crystal clear and chemistry has been within acceptable limits. The first year of my pool I used the cheapie supplied by my PB but this year I picked up a Taylor K-2005 DPD test kit and I highly recommend this kit to monitor all chemistry levels. It took me a while to understand pool chemistry (and I still am fuzzy in some areas) and especially how the CYA levels are extremely important to monitor.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 9:02PM
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A SWG makes Chlorine. Nothing more, nothing less. Doesn't make the water feel softer (that is the salt which you can add to any pool) doesn't stop burning eyes(that would be PH and..) If you can smell Chlorine that is due to not enough Chlorine and the bad bugs are taking over. I do have one but add 2+ cups Muratic acid every other day.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 10:13AM
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