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Thread: 1 year after conversion

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default 1 year after conversion

    It's now a full season after converting from Baquacil to a salt water chlorine generation system, so I thought I would post my results here.

    I feel so grateful for this forum and what I learned. Maybe this post will help others.

    I have an inground pool, about 28000 gallons. I have lived in this house for three summers now and the pool was here when I bought it.

    The first summer I went to a local dealer's "pool clinic" where I first learned about Baquacil. Then I found out my brother used it in his much smaller above ground pool and loved it. So I thought it sounded great and started using it.

    The first season was great, although expensive. I probably spent close to $1,000 on chemicals. However, the water looked good, felt good, and few algae episodes. All was well.

    The second summer was very different. The pool NEVER looked clear. I spent well over $1000 on chemicals, shock, etc. I did whatever the pool store told me to do. I got episodes of pink stains on the plaster. I had algae frequently. No matter what I did the pool was always cloudy, sometimes worse than others but NEVER as clear as the first year. It was extremely frustrating, especially since I was supposedly doing everything right.

    At the end of the year, I decided to convert to chlorine based on reading in this forum. I further decided to go with a salt water chlorine system to minimize maintenance.

    Bottom line: I couldn't be happier. I spent about $1000 on the SWC system, and about $120 on salt. It was easy enough that I could install it myself, and I'm no handyman.

    Since then, I've spent less than $100 on chemicals the entire year. And much more importantly, the pool has looked absolutely gorgeous EVERY DAY!
    No cloudiness. Never had a spot of algae. Never a complaint about a "chlorine pool" feel. No swim suit damage or "green hair". Never had to keep the kids out of the pool because I just shocked it.

    Further, I spent very little time on maintenance. I bought the pool test kit from this forum, and used it almost daily when I first started up. As I got comfortable with the system and got my settings dialed in, I found that testing it weekly was fine, and even then I almost never had to add any chemicals. The SWC just kept humming along, adding a nice, low but safe level of chlorine that did what it was supposed to do.

    I bought 4 gallons of shock bleach at the beginning of the year just in case I had an issue. I still have three gallons of it left at the end of the year. That's how well the system worked. I also had to add a little muriatic acid a few times to keep the PH in line. That's because SWC systems tend to increase PH slightly over time. But that's it.

    I only shocked the pool once, at the very beginning, before I had my setting dialed in and was a bit low in chlorine. But never again after that time.

    Economically, this year I spent about the same as last year, but that includes buying the SWC and the initial salt. Next year I will be surprised if I spend a total of $100 on chemicals. The SWC has already paid for itself, and I'll probably only need one $5 bag of salt to replace what gets pumped out during winterizing. SO next year will be about $900 cheaper than when I was using Baquacil.

    More important than the money is the fact that I know the pool will look great all year with minimal maintenance on my part.

    I should mention that I also have an Aquabot and that I totally love it. I think I manually vacuumed the pool once or twice in the beginning of the year after opening, and that is it. Aquabot handled it all for the rest of the summer. Just throw it in for a few hours on a weekly basis, and that's all there is to it.

    Between the SWC and Aquabot, I really spend FAR LESS time on maintenance of this pool than I thought I would. Plus, now with the SWC, a lot less money, too.

    I believe one of the issues I had with Baquacil is that my pool is simply too big for Baqua. At least that's what I have been told. My brother seems to do fine with his after several years. But if you have an inground, and are having these types of issues with Baqua - or are sick of the expense, then consider going the route I did.

    I couldn't be happier with my decision, in terms of money, maintenance and, best of all, a crystal clear, comfortable pool.

    Jeff in NH

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: 1 year after conversion

    Which SWG did you go with - I'm considering one for next season

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
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    Default Re: 1 year after conversion - Update after Year 2

    With two full years after the conversion under my belt, I am still 100% happy with my decision.

    In fact, the results are far better than I anticipated.

    It is so darn easy now. And SO much cheaper.

    I spent well under $100 all this past year on chemicals. That was for some generic bleach, calcium, CYA and maybe something else I can't remember now. This is a small fraction of what I spent the last year I had Baquacil (Around $1,400).

    But even better are the results.

    Every single day since that SWG was installed, my pool has looked and felt great. No algae. Never cloudy. Always feels nice. Doesn't irritate eyes.

    My son swims with his eyes open, and it never bothers him. He doesn't even realize that most people don't do that for any length of time. It's just natural for him.

    I have a good test kit, and I test frequently at the beginning of the season while the pool is settling after winter. I might add some bleach to shock if needed. Maybe some calcium and also some salt to replace what I pumped out to lower the level going into the winter. And some CYA.

    But then, I test maybe once per week. Reason is, the levels are so consistent, that I don't have to add chemicals.

    Some details: New England, very sunny exposure. IG gunite pool around 30,000 gallons. I have solar water heating and keep the temp around 84 degrees because that's where my kids like it.

    SWG is a Mineral Springs system. Paid around $1000 for it. Cell still looks brand new after 2 full years. I run the filter 24/7. Will probably experiment with running it less this year, so that might involve some tweaking with the SWG setting.

    Also - I do NOT use the Mineral Springs Renewal or any chemicals they recommend at the store. The salt I add is pure rock salt I get for around $4.00 per bag at Lowes. I do this once or twice per year to replace the bit that gets splashed out.

    The Renewal chemicals they try to sell at the pool stores add additional chemicals beyond salt. But you don't know exactly what or how much is being added. Since I currently add almost nothing, why would I need anything extra to be added? Answer; I certainly don't. And that Renewal stuff is expensive, while pure salt couldn't be any cheaper.

    So - get an SWG but don't add their chemicals. Use pure rock salt.

    Summary: Combining a SWG with an AquaBot results in an absolute minimum of pool maintenance. I easily paid for my SWG system after one year, and then saved another several hundred dollars the second year.

    But more important, it's easy and the water looks great. It has made my pool far more enjoyable by improving swimming quality and aesthetics while at the same time making maintenance easier.

    Even after having pool parties with 20+ kids in the water, I might add a gallon or two of bleach for some shock value, and the pool remains crystal clear.

    Hope this helps,

    Jeff

    Update -

    It's now been 4 years I've had the SWG. Still love it!

    I now run the filter 10 hours a day from about 10 in the morning to 8 at night. This is primarily to circulate the water through my solar system and get the heat.
    I should mention that I have a solar cover and cover the pool at night.
    This year, when I opened my pool, I added one gallon of shock. Haven't needed to add anything else since, and the pool is crystal clear.

    Anyone looking for the minimum in pool maintenance should consider the combination of SWG and a unit like the Aquabot.
    I pretty much don't touch my manual pool vacuum after the first day I open and get out the heavy stuff from over the winter.
    From then on, I throw in the Aquabot maybe once a week and it keeps the pool clean with no effort on my part.

    At this point, I don't even test very often because the pool is so stable.

    My SWG has a display that tells me the temp and salt levels, and I've found that the salt is accurate, so I don't use the chemistry for that much any more.

    I will add some calcium soon to get the hardness up a bit. Other than that, it's good.

    Overall, I am still extremely satisfied. I should note that I am still using the original cell with the SWG.
    A lite is now on that says to service the cell, but when I checked, the cell is perfectly clean.
    I know it is working correctly because the chlorine levels are stable.

    I wonder if that lite comes on due to "time in service", because it certainly doesn't seem to be less effective in its operation.
    I'm not going to lay out money for a new cell until this actually stops working.

    When I purchased the unit, I was let to expect that there is a 3 year or so life on the cells. I am well past that now, and it is still working fine.
    Last edited by jeffmull; 06-21-2010 at 12:39 PM. Reason: update

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Ft Lauderdale, Fl
    Age
    61
    Posts
    665

    Default Re: 1 year after conversion

    Great info and fantastic review. Glad you're happy with your salt system.
    Do you run your pool year round or do you winterize?
    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
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    Default Re: 1 year after conversion

    I'm in New England so it is seasonal.

    Update: Took the cover off to nice, clear water yesterday. Aquabot and filter doing their thing. It's 56 degrees so too cold for SWG yet.

    Jeff

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 6 years after

    Well, looks like my Mineral Springs ms-11 has died.

    I have a -PCB- displaying on the readout. I called Mineral Springs tech support and they told me it needs a motherboard. This, in combination with the fact that the cell has been through 5 seasons, means that I need a cell and a motherboard. Which will likely cost me more than a new unit.

    This is possibly my own fault. The tech told me the MS-11 should be on the same timer as the filter. It was not. Since I am running the filter for about 9 hours per day now, it means the MS-11 is powered for 15 hours without any flow. Apparently that MAY have caused the problem. Or maybe it was a power surge. Or maybe the unit just doesn't last that long. I can't know for certain, but I do know the warranty back then was 5 years and I am well over that. (Now the warranty is 3 yrs)

    So - you may be wondering what I will do?

    I'm going to buy another one.

    I figure that first, I will fix the power issue so I'm not running it when the filter isn't on.
    Second, the unit costs around $1,000 online now. If I amortize that over 5 years, $200 a year, I am satisfied with that. Of course, I expect the motherboard to last more than 5 years after I fix the timer issue.

    For $200 a year, I am satisfied that the system was worth it. If another unit fails after 5 years, I will revise my opinion. We'll see.

    I should note that before the unit went on the fritz, my pool opening went very well and within a couple of days it was crystal clear.

    Jeff
    June, 2011

  7. #7
    Bosch232 is offline Registered+ Thread Analyst Bosch232 0
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    Aug 2012
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    Posts
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    Default Re: 6 years after

    This thread should be stickied, it's a great read.
    16x32 Oval AG vinyl pool; Media Master sand filter; 1.5 hp 1 speed pump; 10 hrs; Rural utility water; Taylor K-2006

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