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Are Salt Water Generator Systems Worth It ?


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I don't have one, but from what I read, "worth it" is a judgement call. It's another piece of gear to buy, install, and maintain; it is not overall cheaper than manually dosing with bleach. But many people fall in love with the convenience of not having to continually monitor the pool (once you have it running and the pool chemistry stable in the first place).

--paulr

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  • 2 weeks later...
Does anyone have any experience with these saltwater systems ? Are they worth it ? How much work is involved ? The one that I was looking at was the Aquatrol Chlorine Generator System for Aboveground Pools.
I had a Salt Water chlorine Generator (SWG) installed when the pool was built and do like the convenience aspect more than anything. It won't save you from having to test your water each week, maintain pH, add chems as needed, but the salt addition is basically a one-time event if the splash-out isn't too bad. However, there's no more daily checking of chlorine, or buying and lugging around bottles of bleach. The chlorine is applied in small increments and (with the pump running) is a superior way to sanitize the pool water.

As Paul noted, deciding worth is something you'll have to determine. The model you reference is priced between $600 and $700. The installation is straightforward and the the controller can operate the pump on its timer, as well. I don't know how much chlorine this unit produces but the Hayward site says it's fitted for pools up to 18K gallons. If you have an especially large AG pool, you'd probably have to consider other, more expensive, models.

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The main benefit of the SWG not yet mentioned, is the "feel" of the water in your pool after adding the SWG. Most people who have added them recommend them to neighbors - not because of the cost savings, but because the water feels like softened water. The SWG does not soften the water, but the feel on your skin is great. The itchy, dry skin after using the pool is a thing of the past. Long term, it may not save you money, but it makes your pool experience more enjoyable.

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If someone wants the "feel" of a saltwater chlorine generator (SWG) pool, they can just increase the salt level in the pool -- they don't have to buy an SWG system. The main reason to get an SWG is for the convenience of not having to add chlorine regularly. You still need to test and balance your water.

For a silkier feel to the water, one can also use 50 ppm Borates, though it isn't the same as 3000 ppm salt, but some people like the shimmer it gives to the water and it does seem to reduce the water's surface tension.

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We add salt to our water for the "feel", approximately 1800 ppm. Yes, it does feel silky and smooth. But it's not why I would buy a SWG. To us, adding a cup or two of liquid chlorine each day is no trouble. We're in the pool each day, we test the water each day, we check and empty the skimmer basket each day. Adding chlorine is just part of our five-minutes-a-day pool maintenance routine, it's not a big expense in time or money in any way. We like messing with the pool.

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