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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Waterlogged in GA
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Swimming pool question

Long story short. Closing next week then moving in to a house that has an in-ground pool. Chlorine, water testing, filter baskets, etc. All in great shape (pumps/filters new).

Seems many are converting to salt-water. Any idea about the conversion cost and...what are the benefits? I travel a lot so low maintenance would be helpful for sure.
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Old 06-12-2014, 03:24 AM
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how old is the pool
older ones will iron pipes doNOT like salt
newer ones with PVC pipes ARE OK

salt will also attack the rebar in concrete and iron body pumps if used

my pool is now a koi pond as the kids are grown up now
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Old 06-12-2014, 04:38 AM
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I am on my second salt water pool. First was built in 1988 when technology was newer and more expensive. Worked great and over my ownership paid for itself in chem savings. Second and current was built in 1996. Prices had come down 50% from my first build. I have had to recently replace controller and salt cell. Prices are down another 25%. It should be a better economic case today. One side benefit is swim wear lasts longer and no chlorine smell. Controller and cell cost about $1-1.5K. I am not sure that the salt is any more corrosive than other pool chemicals, plus you do not have to store chemicals in your home.
I guess you could say I am a fan of low maintenance so it was an easy choice.
Old 06-12-2014, 05:33 AM
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I have an inground, balance the water, get a vacuum ( I live in New Mexico lots of blowing dirt and interesting bugs) and a chlorine dispenser. I also have found chlorine tablets from Leslies seem to last and keep the pool clearer than the discount store versions. I clean the basket and back flush the sand filter once a week. The first year was hell until I did the above.
Good luck
Old 06-12-2014, 05:40 AM
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Cost to convert? Prolly a grand in hardware.
Cost savings? HA!

I have a salt water pool. I do not believe there are any cost savings at all.
Ya gotta run the pump longer, so that eats up $$$$.
Ya still gotta add acid, but now you gotta add more.
Ya gotta add salt, but that's nickel and dime.
Ya doan hafta add chlorine until summer comes and it gets hot. Then ya hafta supliment, or run the pump 14 hours a day.

And when the chlorine gererator takes a dump, it's gonna cost ya. Replacement cost for mine is $750 at the pool store, $550 on-line.

The real savings is in convenience.
It's nice having the pool take care of itself at least a little.
It's nice being about to have a clean pool with lower chlorine levels that you can barely smell or taste.
But I believe if I converted it back to conventional I'd save money just in the electricity alone.
Old 06-12-2014, 05:48 AM
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Ours started out as a salt water one 8 yrs ago. It is now chlorine. Got tired of replacing the cell (2x and now waiting for 3rd) and last straw was the controller failure, and that was 2 summers ago. May convert back if they ever get more reliable systems. When it worked - it worked good.

They boast maintenance free with these systems but nothing ever is with pools. However, I am in Canada and components here are much more money and availability and service much more limited.

If you are okay dollar wise with planned replacement of certain components like cells ever few years - then go for it. You may want to discuss with your local pool supplier and see how long these systems are lasting in your environment.

My wife is the pool master now, even though I am a chemical engineer she has this pool chemical science down. I just swim and drink rum
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Old 06-12-2014, 05:50 AM
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IMHO a salt water pool is so much more enjoyable.
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Old 06-12-2014, 06:02 AM
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I'm a 1.5 yrs into a place with a pool. At first it seemed complicated and a PITA. I still have things to learn but its really not bad at all. I found a few websites giving common grocery store options to the spendy pool chemicals. I then buy 50lb chlorine tab buckets when on sale.

Once you get into a routine it's not hard and only takes a little time.
Old 06-12-2014, 06:05 AM
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Thanks guys. Pool was built in 1996, so pretty sure all PVC.

Stomach...why is it more enjoyable? Less maintenance or something else? We're in GA so plenty of hot weather and intense sunshine. So would I need chlorine too? BTW...there is a chlorine tablet dispenser already installed.

Can handle back flushing filter media weekly. There's one of those auto bottom cleaners (Polaris I think) and lots of other gear I know nothing about.

Will learn. Wife is pushing for a 26 year old scantily clad pool-boy. As above, I suspect once we learn the ropes it won't be too bad.

Last edited by Chocaholic; 06-12-2014 at 06:16 AM..
Old 06-12-2014, 06:13 AM
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I found a few minutes with the skimmer is much more efficient than using the Polaris. But I do run it every once in a while, maybe once a week.

You should only need to backflush the filter, DTE?, once in a while. There should be a pressure gauge that indicates its getting clogged. I do it maybe twice in the spring and then maybe 2 times the rest of the year.

Enjoy it, nothing like floating around with some tunes and a drink close at hand on a warm summer night.
Old 06-12-2014, 06:19 AM
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We are almost a year into our salt pool conversion. Our in ground pool was built sometime in the early '80s and all plumbing is PVC. Total cost for the parts, install, and setup was $1700. This is our first home pool experience so I don't have any comparison to a normal chlorine pool in maintenance effort and cost but the swimming experience is exceptional. The water feels soft, is easy on the eyes and hair, and you don't exit the pool smelling of chlorine.
Old 06-12-2014, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stomachmonkey View Post
IMHO a salt water pool is so much more enjoyable.
Agreed. Taste, smell, feel, it's nicer.
Just feels cleaner and more natural.
Old 06-12-2014, 07:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chocaholic View Post
Stomach...why is it more enjoyable?
The water feels slick, silky. Does not irritate eyes or skin. It's soothing. I can hang out in a salt water pool all day.

Once you try one even once you'll be sold.
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Old 06-12-2014, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sammyg2 View Post
Just feels cleaner and more natural.
This too.
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Old 06-12-2014, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
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This too.
And it doan turn my hair green neither!
Old 06-12-2014, 07:34 AM
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Been considering this too... Any issues with a lined I ground pool? If anything I'd think it'd be easier on it than Cl.
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Old 06-12-2014, 07:50 AM
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Chlorine vs Salt

I have an inground pool that started life as a chlorine pool but was converted about 3 years ago to salt. Seems like it cost somewhere between $1000 - $1500 for the conversion. Overall operating costs have been about the same, but time spent on maintenance seems to be less. Be sure to get the latest technology salt system as they are much better than the older tech systems.
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Old 06-12-2014, 07:56 AM
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Old 06-12-2014, 08:48 AM
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Clue: A Salt water pool IS a chlorinated pool subject to all the benefits and downsides. It's just a lot more expensive. The salt cell simply converts salt into CL2 and sodium hydroxide for sanitation. Choose wisely.
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:17 AM
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I have a standard Chlorine pool. My buddy has a Salt Water. He is always getting black mold/algae.

This year I considered changing to salt. But...my pool heater is not rated for salt. My coping is "flag stone" which is really sand stone. It is porous. Concrete is also porous unless coated. The salt will coat all of these things.

So I have kept my pool standard Chlorine. BUT, the biggest problem is that almost all of the Chlorine products have a stabilizer included. Over time, the CYA will build up. I drained more than 1/2 my pool this week to reduce the CYA level. Wish I had drained all of it.

If you look for Calcium Hypochlorite on Amazon, you can find tablet and shock power that do not have stabilizer. Also, the "Pool Frog" system does not put stabilizer into the pool.

AFTER 1/2 draining and refilling, my CYA is around 100. That is the top of the acceptable level. I will do a full drain later in the season.

Maintaining the pool isn't hard and it doesn't take much time. I spend more time each week watering potted plants. The only PITA job is cleaning the filter cartridges twice a year. I want to get one of these:

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Old 06-12-2014, 01:54 PM
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