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Thread: Steps to convert to salt water

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Steps to convert to salt water

    I have asthma and I've been thinking about converting from chlorinated water to another type like salt water. How easy is it to convert? Do I need to upgrade or buy any new pumps or filters or is it just about changing the chemicals I use to treat the water? I know the one type of alternative uses some type of electricity which I would figure requires new equipment to do that but what about salt water? Is that the easiest way to convert?

  2. #2
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    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Chattanooga, TN

    Default Re: Steps to convert to salt water

    Let's start where you need to, by correcting a misconception some of the salt system (SWCG) companies have encourage: SWCG are just ANOTHER way of adding chlorine to your pool, and there's nothing 'natural' about it. Essentially, a SWCG turns YOU into a micro-sized manufacturer of chlorine!

    That said, SWCG's can help you maintain your chlorine levels better, and that can improve water (and air) quality.

    The topic of asthma and chlorine is one I know a great deal about. My older son was both a severe asthmatic and eventually, a regionally recognized distance swimmer. There were pools that were maintained rather poorly, and that had poor air systems, that he couldn't swim in (at least, not fast), like the Tracy Caulkins center in Nashville. And there were pools he was VERY fast in, like the OLD pools at UTK or Alabama, which were well maintained AND heated with 100% outside air.

    But, the topic is very complex, and the solutions aren't simple. Here's what you need to know for a start:

    1. Asthma is NOT an issue, in OUTDOOR pools that are (a) well maintained (our way!) and (b) in full sun. During the time my son swam most, I maintained most of the large outdoor competition pools he swam in, in the Chattanooga area. He NEVER had a problem in one of those. It was only indoor pools, or badly maintained outdoor pools.

    2. There is NOT a single 'gadget' or chemical that fixes the problem on indoor pools. If you want two key items. One is an air-to-air heat exchanger that constantly blows fresh warm air over the pool, and exhausts warmed but contaminated pool air. The other is UV irradiation system, which breaks down (with chlorine) some of the chemicals that form when chlorine interacts with people 'goo'.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010

    Default Re: Steps to convert to salt water

    Converting to a Salt Water Chlorine Generator is not cheap. That needs to be said up front. In addition, the payback is not quick. In other words, you will NOT pay for the cost of buying a Salt Water Chlorine Generator in one or two seasons compared to pool maintenance using the BBB method or using commercially manufactured chlorine.

    To answer your question:

    1) You have to buy a SWCG. The Size (Chlorine Output) that you need depends on the size of your pool.

    2) You have to install it or pay someone else to install it.

    3) You have to buy Salt at approximately $7.00 per 40 lb. bag. The amount you need again depends upon the size of your pool. My 24' round AG pool took almost 300 lbs. or $50 worth of salt to start up.

    4) You will need a good quality test kit to monitor your pool chemistry. You may already have this. You will also need to adjust other chemistry to properly maintain your Salt Water pool like CYA and pH.

    5) I personally recommend that you drain and re-fill your pool with fresh water first, but it is not necessary to do this.

    6) Once you buy your equipment, install it, and buy your salt and other chemicals, you are basically ready to add approximately half of the salt and gradually bring your salt level up to the desired level. The Salt level is determined by the brand of SWCG that you bought.

    7) Before you do or buy anything, read the link on Salt Water Chlorine Generators Frequently Asked Questions found on the Stickie in the SWCG Section of this Forum.

    8) There is no reported medicinal benefit to using salt water vs. fresh water. Most SWCG's require 10% of the salt concentration found in the Oceans of the world, and the SWCG uses that salt to put chlorine in your pool. If you are thinking of switching to Salt Water to avoid commercially manufactured Chlorine for air quality or less breathing of chlorine fumes, you might be o.k. Otherwise, being an Asthmatic with an outdoor Salt Water Pool myself, there is no miracle cure in a salt water pool.
    If you can afford a swimming pool and computer, you can probably afford to help keep the PoolForum alive. Please be a responsible member and subscribe today. You'll probably save more than the membership fee on your first trip to the pool store. BTG

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Ft Lauderdale, Fl

    Default Re: Steps to convert to salt water

    In my experience, a well maintained pool should not contribute to asthmatic reactions, regardless of if you're using bleach, tabs, granular, gas, or salt chlorination. it's the combined chlorine that mainly contributes to triggering the reactions. Many pool operators are not maintaining the combined chlorine levels to a low to zero ppm, and are especially worse at public pools, and during swim competitions that are not controlled properly.
    One of the benefits of a salt chlorine generator system is that the combined chlorine is superchlorinated as it passes through the cell and the cell is energized. This helps to control the combined chlorine levels.
    Tall - while the initial investment is usually higher, there is a significant cost savings between producing your own chlorine with a salt system, vs purchasing packaged chlorine, equivalent pound per pound. That is, if you pay $1.00 for a gallon of 6% bleach, I can make the equivalent amount of lbs of chlorine with the AutoPilot for $0.59 (assuming $0.10 per kilowatt to run the unit and a replacement cell cost of $900).

    Remember, salt chlorine generators are viewed on residential pools as more of a convenience device. For me, I can't calculate the dollar value of this convenience factor, especially since I travel most of the time, and no one else helps to take care of my pool for me. I don't spend much time at all when I am home, to keep my pool clear, clean, and balanced. I don't have to worry about a family member, neighbor, or friend to add chlorine for me, when we are on family vacation. I don't have to worry about algae growth at all. Basically, I have Peace of Mind. For ME, that's worth the investment.
    Sean Assam
    Commercial Product Sales Manager - AquaCal AutoPilot Inc. Mobile: 954-325-3859
    e-mail: sean@teamhorner.com --- www.autopilot.com - www.aquacal.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010

    Default Re: Steps to convert to salt water

    Hi Sean, I understand your logic and agree on the cost per unit. However, when I used 3 inch tablets in my pool, I'd spend maybe $150 - $200 per season on chlorine (by the time I found this Forum and the BBB method, I had already installed the SWCG). My SWCG after install ran right around $1000. I just don't want anyone to think that the SWCG will pay for itself in one season. The way I see it, it will take me 5 years to break even. Oh and BTW, I love my unit for the convenience factor too. IMHO it was worth every penny.

    If you can afford a swimming pool and computer, you can probably afford to help keep the PoolForum alive. Please be a responsible member and subscribe today. You'll probably save more than the membership fee on your first trip to the pool store. BTG

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