False Alarm How To Check
If you suspect an issue with your salt cell, run through the following checklist:
Is it time to clean the cell? Many systems send an Inspect Cell alert every 500 hours, which is the recommended cleaning schedule.
Is the salt cell system turned on? You can have the unit powered up but not generating chlorine. Make sure its set to Auto or whatever is specific to your brand.
Are all the connections tight? Double-check the connections at the cell and the control box. Some cells have internal connections youll need to check, too.
Whats the salt level? Many SCGs will shut off automatically if the salt level becomes excessively high or low. The recommended range is between 2,500 and 3,500, although auto-shutoff levels can vary. If you dont know how to check for high or low salt levels, read my guide on how to test the salt level in your pool.
Whats the temperature? If the pool water is below 50 degrees, less chlorine is required, and some systems will shut off automatically.
How To Tell When Its Time For A New Salt Cell
Most salt cells wont work well in water temperatures less than 60 degrees. For this reason, they may have trouble creating enough chlorine in the winter. They can also be overworked in lower temperatures, leading to a shorter lifespan. Eventually, youll need a new salt cell. Youll know its time for a new salt cell when chlorine output drops to low levels, despite a clean cell and sensor, and proper water balance, salt levels, and temperature.
To have one of our professional pool service technicians clean your salt cells, fill out the online quote form. We will be happy to help you with all your swimming pool maintenance needs!
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Using Physical Methods To Clean The Salt Cell
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How To Remove A Chlorinator Cell
To clean a salt cell or chlorinator cell, you have to remove it from the system. To remove it, make sure to turn off the system first. DO NOT REMOVE the chlorinator cell without shutting off the power to the system first. Youre dealing with a device that uses electricity to turn salt into hypochlorous acid and you wouldnt want to be in for a shocking surprise.
- If your chlorinator has a control panel, look for the on/off switch or button and turn off the unit.
- In addition, turn off the breaker and unplug the salt cell unit as well.
Once youve powered down the system, you can now safely remove the chlorinator cell. The cell should have large unions on both ends connecting it to your pools piping system. Carefully unscrew the unions and let the water drain out before fully removing the cell.
Store Or Dispose Of The Excess Acid
- You can keep the water-acid mixture in a clean bottle, though you should get rid of it by the time it suggests on the original bottle of acid.
- To dispose of it, you could tip it into the pool but you would be adding calcium to the water. Or have a look for hazardous waste disposal collection centres in your area, thats the handiest way. We also have a full article on how to dispose of muriatic acid.
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How To Clean A Salt Cell Using Vinegar
Before cleaning, try to check the cell for calcium and mineral deposits. To do this, turn off the power in the first place. Do not try to unscrew the unit when the power is on otherwise, you may get a shock. Once the power is off, look inside the pool and check for debris on metal plates. If there are deposits, they will look light in color. You could also spot flaky or crusty deposits in the cell.
Now that you know the deposit spots, remove them using a high-pressure garden hose. In case you dont get success with the garden hose, use a plastic or wooden tool to get rid of the deposits. Make sure you use it gently on the debris to scrap the deposits. You may increase the pressure gradually if the deposits are stuck. Remember, removing debris will take time. So do not be in a rush to scrap the flakes otherwise, you may finish off damaging the walls of the pool.
Have the vinegar solution ready. You can get a ready-made vinegar solution in the market. It is also easy to make the solution at home by mixing vinegar in water in the right proportion. Neither opt for a too concentrated vinegar solution nor a too dilute solution. As a thumb rule, go for a mild solution with a perfect blend of water and vinegar.
How To Clean The Salt Cell On Your Saltwater Swimming Pool
Salt systems are a great way to reduce chlorine usage and cost of tablets. Salt systems work by using electrolysis to convert ordinary salt into chlorine. During this process however a calcium residue builds on the blades of the cell. The system operates most efficiently when the blades are free & clear.
Once or twice a year you will need to remove the cell and give it a bath. Your cleaning solution should consist of 1 part muratic acid to 5 parts water. This is equivalent to about 15-20% acid. Always use extreme caution when working with acid.
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How To Clean Your Saltwater Chlorinator Cell Step
Some people will say that its safe to scrape off the calcium deposits, but we disagree. Scraping off the deposits with a stick can remove the deposits without the use of abrasive chemicals but can damage the elements as well if we get too heavy-handed with the scraping. Using a cleaning solution is perfectly safe for you as long as you take the proper precautions.
How To Clean Salt Cells With Muriatic Acid
Salt cells are devices housed by a salt generator installed in a swimming pools. A salt cell takes salt suspended in the pool’s water and turns it into chlorine through a chemical reaction. Over time, a salt cell acquires a buildup of calcium and other debris, which hampers the cell’s ability to function properly.
Cleaning the salt cell is done by soaking the cell in a mixture of muriatic acid and water. Muriatic acid eats through the buildup on salt cells quickly. However, muriatic acid is dangerous and should be handled with caution.
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Minimize Your Chlorine Demand
You wouldn’t be ok with trying to have your home’s HVAC unit try to compensate for windows and doors that were left open all the time, right? It’s the same with your pool’s sanitation. It is crucial to eliminate issues that can multiply the amount of chlorine it takes to keep clean water . The most high-impact levels to monitor are phosphates , nitrates , and stabilizer . When any of these three are at issue, it’s possible for a pool to require many times higher amounts of chlorine in order to maintain the extra 1-3ppm residual level of unused free chlorine that you need.
How To Remove Salt Cell Scale Buildup
If you’ve already got salt cell scale buildup, there are ways to tackle that too. Leslie’s Stain & Scale Remove is often an ideal solution. In 2-4 weeks, Stain & Scale Remove can get rid of buildup and any unsightly stains your pool might have. It’s safe for all pool surfaces and will help prevent future buildup as well. Again, be sure to follow label directions to ensure proper safety and maximum effectiveness.
Some chlorine generator cells require additional cleaning, including being soaked in a muriatic acid solution. Follow manufacturer recommendations to determine your best option.
If you use a muriatic acid solution, always use proper personal protection equipment and follow label directions completely to help ensure your safety.
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In Summary To Ensure Peak Performance Of Your Salt Cell:
- Maintain proper salt levels. Add to replace salt lost by splash out, backwashing or leaks.
- Maintain low levels of pH, total alkalinity and calcium hardness.
- Maintain proper levels of cyanuric acid, stabilizer to reduce demand on your salt cell.
- Inspect and clean your salt cell regularly to remove any scale buildup.
- Keep your chlorine level as low as possible. Test the water to maintain 1.0-2.0 ppm.
- Use the super-chlorinate function only as needed to remove combined chlorine levels.
Pool salt systems are real-time savers, but they do need occasional maintenance to keep them working properly and to prolong the life of your salt cell.
Eventually, youll need a new salt cell. Youll know its time when the chlorine output drops to low levels, despite a clean cell and sensor, proper water balance, salt levels and water temperature.
If you have any questions on salt chlorinator maintenance, leave a comment below, or give any one of our salty pool dogs a call for some help!
Cleaning The Flow Sensor
Although rare, in hard water areas, the flow sensor can also develop deposits on the terminals. A flow sensor is used with salt systems to make sure that water flow is sufficient for operation. They also usually sense water temperature and the salt level in the pool, like the three sensor shown here.
After removing the sensor from the tee fitting, I scrubbed it with the textured side of a dish sponge to clean all three sensor probes, or spots on the underside. We reinserted the sensor into the pipe and turned everything back on. We still got the No Flow error!
We knew there was flow, since the pump was on, and there was 15 psi on the filter pressure gauge. Time to clean the filter cartridges? I asked. He said he usually waits until 20 psi to clean, but sure, we can try that. So, we pulled out the filter cartridges, took them over to the shade, and had a seat to hose them off. They were very dirty.
We reinserted the filters and started the system back up. The pressure gauge still read 15 psi until I flicked it with my finger, and then it dropped to 10 pounds. We found the air bleeder assembly was clogged with debris, giving false readings.
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Some Salt Pool Chlorinator Cleaning And Maintenance Tips
Cleaning and maintaining your salt water chlorinator takes no time and effort at all. Here are some important tips to follow before, during, and after the cleaning process:
- Always wear protective gear when cleaning the chlorinators cells.
- If mineral deposits are still present in the cell even after two soaks, contact your pool specialist as it may require special attention.
- Dont soak your chlorinator cell for longer than 10-15 minutes as the acid is highly corrosive and may damage the unit.
- Clean the chlorinator cell at least once per season to prevent excessive calcium build-up.
- Monitor your pools salt level it should always fall anywhere between 2,700 parts per million and 3,400 ppm depending on the pools size.
Monitor Your Free Chlorine Level Weekly
This is the main thing to check. Set your salt chlorine generator so that it maintains 1-3ppm free chlorine at all times. This residual level is your “shield” so that your water stays blue and micro-organisms can’t get a foothold in your pool. When first setting up your salt system, you may want to check every couple days so that you can quickly make adjustments as needed. Once the right setting is found, its recommended to check weekly to be safe, but many people find that actual chlorine output adjustments are fairly seasonal. If you get heavy rains, have a pool party, or encounter other similar situations that may temporarily require more sanitation, try using your salt system’s temporary “boost mode” to compensate.
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Cleaning A Salt Water Chlorinator Cell With Muriatic Acid
Salt water chlorinator systems for pools are all the rage these days. And with all the positives that users get to look forward to, it is not so hard to see why. The most important part of the salt chlorinator is the salt cell. This is what is responsible for producing the chlorine from the salt dissolved in the pool. As with most good things in life, the cell plates require periodic maintenance to prolong their life. This article discusses the merits of cleaning a salt cell with muriatic acid.
What Causes Scale Buildup In A Salt Cell
The salt cells ECG can provide a perfect breeding ground for two reasons: heat and high pH production.
As scale builds on the salt cell plates, it begins to interfere with the chlorine production . This will not only reduce the units efficiency, but it will begin to run hotter increasing the scale buildup. Over time this can lead to permanent damage on the plates, including cell failure.
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When To Clean A Salt Water Cell
Many generators have a light telling you when its time to clean, but if you see any of the other signs above, its worth having a check.
Its a sign you should clean your saltwater cell if:
- Chlorine levels are low
- You have algae
- Calcium deposits or flakes are coming out of return jets
- The service or clean or check cell light comes on.
These things above dont necessarily mean its time to clean your cell but its worth checking to see the condition of the cell.
If you see white flakes in your pool, check out our article which explains in detail how to remove and prevent them:
Cleaning The Salt Cell Can Never Be Easier But Safety First
Remember to protect yourself because you are handling acidic, corrosive, and dangerous products. Then stop the filtration and the device . Close the valves to isolate the cell and prevent the passage of water. If necessary, unscrew the electrical connections and union nuts from the cell. Remove the cell and soak it in the acid solution you have prepared. If you dilute, always add the acid to the water and not the other way around. Let the cell soak until the scale disappears. Theres no need to rub. It only takes a few minutes if there is a little deposit. Rinse the cell abundantly and reassemble it. Open the isolation valves of the cell and restart the filtration and the electrolyzer.
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Saltwater Pool Tips Includes Cleaning The Salt Cells
Saltwater pools have been around for years now generating chlorine from the salt within the water that goes through the salt cell. Salt systems do need maintenance and cleaning the salt cell is part of that.
Here are some basics on salt systems.
1) All salt cells should be checked for cleaning at least every 3 months.
2) If they need cleaning then turn off the system and turn off the power to the cells and unplug them. Use a mixture of 9 parts water and 1 part muratic acid. Use the salt cell cleaning units supplied by the manufactures at one end then fill the cell with the mixture until it stops bubbling it should normally be around 5 minutes depending on how much calcium hardness has built up. Different cells need to be cleaned as recommended by the manufacture check their websites for the most recent updates. DONT use too strong a mixture as that will harm the cell and cause for a shorter lifespan.
3) Once cleaned rinse the cell out with just water and reattach checking that its put in correctly with the flow signs going in the direction of the water flow. Also, check that the rubber gaskets either end of the plumbing unions on some cells are in place otherwise it will leak.
Important things to note on salt systems.
:Most do not work during the winter months as the water temperature has to in the 50s
:The cyanuric acid levels have to be correct otherwise the chlorine thats being generated will dissipated quickly and not be held within the water.