Salt vs liquid chlorine vs tablet chlorine

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saltorpepper
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Salt vs liquid chlorine vs tablet chlorine

Postby saltorpepper » Thu 18 Feb, 2010 20:47

i am a new home buyer out west and i am going to have a pool installed. what i have found, asking around at work, is the debate vs a salt based pool vs chlorine is like asking Mac or PC. i am hoping some experts on this forum can steer me in the right direction.

i know the pros of salt - no green hair, not as much fade on suits, no more red eyes, better on skin.
and some important cons too - price, salt disturbing/collecting on waterfalls, price of maintenance over time

please educate me a bit more so i can feel confident with my decision. thanks!


floridapooltech
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Salt vs liquid chlorine vs tablet chlorine

Postby floridapooltech » Fri 19 Feb, 2010 02:45

As you mentioned, salt generated pools are softer on the skin, more comfortable (closely matches skin's natural salt balance), healthier as there are no harsh chemicals, & so on. Generally, chlorine is the most common sanitizer on the market as salt systems are still fairly new (within the last 15 years or so). Salt systems are more expensive upfront, however, if you are going to be comparing the cost in the long run, salt is by far the less expensive alternative. In a typical year, depending on the size of your pool, you may be spending $60+ on a 25lb bucket of trichlor chlorine tablets PLUS liquid chlorine/stabilizer/muriatic acid and what not. The salt system will cost you around $600+ for the entire system, plus approx. (2) 40lb. bags of salt costing you a whopping $20/yr. compared to the $100's chlorine would have cost. Salt systems are an initial investment, but as you can see, if you compare the cost over the lifetime, you are saving more than using chlorine. Salt cells are typically rated to last about 10,000 hours of continuous operation which will last about 5 or so years to the average pool owner. Cells are not hard to replace and cost fairly inexpensive (again, compared to using chlorine). If you have any questions, please, feel free to contact our customer service department as we can answer and help point you in the right direction for your decision! Contact us
Florida Pool Tech is a Florida certified service company headquartered in Tampa, Florida employing the best technicians and installers in the industry! Vist us at http://www.floridapooltech.com

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joe the pool man

Salt vs liquid chlorine vs tablet chlorine

Postby joe the pool man » Fri 19 Feb, 2010 05:54

Hey swim and save. It's good to have you on the forum, though I notice your contact info is gn#*&%rly. Probably 'cos you're dropping links and contact info. This forum has a zero-spam policy, which is why there are so many backgrounds 'lurkers'.

The pool pros generally put their website in their signature and generally nobody drops phone numbers. The pros also get a bold purple listing too.

Check out the pool rules

Joe
Guest

Salt vs liquid chlorine vs tablet chlorine

Postby Guest » Fri 19 Feb, 2010 07:01

saltorpepper wrote:i know the pros of salt - no green hair, not as much fade on suits, no more red eyes, better on skin.
and some important cons too - price, salt disturbing/collecting on waterfalls, price of maintenance over time

Salt (SWG), liquid chlorine and tablets all add chlorine to the pool. The difference being the source, with tablets having an added stabilizer (cyanuric acid - CYA). Green hair is dependent on copper and occasionally iron in the pool and has nothing to do with the source of the chlorine.
The reduced fading and less red eyes are a result of low chlorine levels regardless of the source.
Guru
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Salt vs liquid chlorine vs tablet chlorine

Postby Guru » Fri 19 Feb, 2010 13:47

As stated, a salt system is still a chlorine system. Where in the west do you live? Some areas with very hard water require so much cell maintenance that it's something to consider. With chlorine, whether a salt system or not, is purely personal preferance. ANY chlorine system is effective, it's a matter of how it's gets in the pool.
"Well I don't have a brain. All it does is get in the way of my cat-like instincts." -m.s.
saltorpepper
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Salt vs liquid chlorine vs tablet chlorine

Postby saltorpepper » Fri 19 Feb, 2010 13:58

Guru wrote:As stated, a salt system is still a chlorine system. Where in the west do you live? Some areas with very hard water require so much cell maintenance that it's something to consider. With chlorine, whether a salt system or not, is purely personal preferance. ANY chlorine system is effective, it's a matter of how it's gets in the pool.


arizona, just west of phoenix. and yes our water is hard. i guess the life of my cell would be much less, or maybe require some additional maintenance?
Guru
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Salt vs liquid chlorine vs tablet chlorine

Postby Guru » Fri 19 Feb, 2010 14:41

saltorpepper wrote:
Guru wrote:As stated, a salt system is still a chlorine system. Where in the west do you live? Some areas with very hard water require so much cell maintenance that it's something to consider. With chlorine, whether a salt system or not, is purely personal preferance. ANY chlorine system is effective, it's a matter of how it's gets in the pool.


arizona, just west of phoenix. and yes our water is hard. i guess the life of my cell would be much less, or maybe require some additional maintenance?

Yes, Arizona is one of the worst states for salt cells, alot of maintanence. Pros of a salt system: you don't need to add chlorine by hand. Cons: regular acid washing of cell (due to hard water), stricter chemical requirements, more frequent water changes and, most of all, there is electronic equipment to rely on. If a sensor or a pcb happens to fail, you'll be adding chlorine by hand anyway. I guess I'm bashing salt cells pretty bad here so I'll stop. All I'm saying is check with people in your immediate area and see what they think. In some areas of the country, salt cells ARE maintenance-free, so it's easy to see why alot of people like them. Check with neighbors for real-world advice.
"Well I don't have a brain. All it does is get in the way of my cat-like instincts." -m.s.
chem geek
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Salt vs liquid chlorine vs tablet chlorine

Postby chem geek » Fri 19 Feb, 2010 21:18

Even with a high Calcium Hardness (CH), you can lower the risk of scaling by intentionally lowering the Total Alkalinity (TA) quite a bit though it takes a lot of acid and aeration to do so (see this post). You can also use 50 ppm Borates in the pool which will help reduce scaling in the salt cell since it is an additional pH buffer particularly strong against a rise in pH. You can also use 80 ppm Cyanuric Acid (CYA) to reduces chlorine loss from sunlight, though need to target the Free Chlorine (FC) level at 4 ppm in this case. This will let you reduce your SWG on-time which should reduce the rate of pH rise in your pool which may also be a contributing factor to the scaling (that is, a high pH causes more scaling). See Water Balance for SWGs for more info.

Finally, use of a pool cover (even a reflective one, if you don't want the pool to heat up too much during the day) will almost eliminate evaporation and refill that would otherwise increase the CH and TA levels over time and also saves on water usage.
mackaday

Salt vs liquid chlorine vs tablet chlorine

Postby mackaday » Sat 03 Jul, 2010 20:11

We are considering SWG with our new pool. Different builders have vastly different opinions (like someone said, "Mac vs. PC"). Some salt detractors say it costs more to run the pump and it's a problem when the water temp drops below 58 in the winter. Also, they say from personal experience stamped concrete can get eroded/stained. Not sure if this happens to the equipment as well. Who can offer a truly objective opinion on this? Not as green as people might think because of the energy use. We plan to maintain the pool ourselves so looking for a simple system.
chem geek
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Salt vs liquid chlorine vs tablet chlorine

Postby chem geek » Sun 04 Jul, 2010 02:08

The main reason to go with a saltwater chlorine generator (SWG or SWCG) system is convenience. So you could start out doing manual chlorination using chlorinating liquid or bleach and see how that works for you. If you don't mind adding some every night or two, then great -- it's inexpensive and you can maintain a beautiful pool assuming you keep the Free Chlorine (FC) level high enough relative to the Cyanuric Acid (CYA) level (see the Pool School for more info).

If you find that you don't want the extra work, then you can see about adding the SWCG system.

As for the downsides with salt in terms of stone materials, this depends on the type of stone. Soft stone (such as most limestone) does not do as well though this can be mitigated by sealing the stone annually. Metal corrosion (especially of aluminum) can be mitigated by using a buried sacrificial anode connected to the bonding wire.

If you go with Trichlor tabs/pucks, then you need to watch your CYA level and use a supplemental algaecide at extra cost or regularly dilute the water to keep the CYA level in check.

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