Salt Systems and Hard Swimming Pool Water

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Salt Systems and Hard Swimming Pool Water


When there is this much calcium on the electrode plates it will not generate chlorine

Salt systems have become increasingly more popular as the years go by because of how easy they are to use. Some of the reasons why swimming pool owners are interested in salt systems is because it produces its own chlorine, the water is softer and you don’t have to worry about dangerous chlorine fumes or the harmful effects of swimming in pools with high levels of chlorine. Salt systems work by electrolysis. Electrolysis is a process by which bonded elements in a liquid solution are separated by passing through two charge electrodes or plates. Salt (NaCl) is made up of sodium and chloride. When salt water passes through the charged plates of the salt cell, the chlorine, which is positively charged separates from the sodium and is released into the pool as free chlorine.

Sounds easy right? Well……..


Calcium buildup in salt system

If you live in an area where it’s possible to keep the calcium levels between 200 and 400 parts per million (ppm) which is recommended for most salt systems it’s a great investment but if you live in the Southwest U.S. where the water coming out of the tap is anywhere between 250 to 750ppm it can be a nightmare. Over time as the water passes through the salt cell it cacifies the electrode plates causing them to not work properly. It’s not uncommon to see white flakes on the bottom of salt water pools which is calcium. It literally gets blown back into the pool from the system. At this point you can acid bath the salt cell to remove calcium but it will return in a couple of days and ruin the salt cell overtime. You can drain your pool but it’s possible that the water you put back into the pool will be harder than what is recommend.

If you need to buy salt water replacement cell visit PST Pool Supplies, they offer FREE shipping within USA.



  1. KenS says:

    Thanks for commenting and letting us know your thoughts. We appreciate it!

  2. Ron Fonzi says:

    I have an 18500 gal pool, salt water with a lot of white flakes. I cleaned the salt generator (very little build up) two days ago and I am getting the white flakes back (cleaning the generator did not help). Total Hardness 362ppm, Salt 2970ppm, Alkalinity 66ppm, PH 7.9ppm, and TDS 4340ppm all are in line. I do live in Arizona, how can I eliminate the white flakes.

    • KenS says:

      Hi Ron,

      This is a common issue and it is because the hardness is too high for your salt cell. Please contact on of our Service Providers Monarch Pool Service who services the Greater Phoenix area to help you. 480-868-7878.

      Thanks Ken

  3. Gabrielle Donato says:

    I live in Madison MS, the pool has 20000 Gallon, I backwash the system every 10 days I clean the ECOmatic cell regularly little build up the free and total Chlorine are 4.51ppm, total Alkaline 214 ppm, PH 8.3, Calcium Hardness 238, Cyanuric Acid is 11, Brokate 8, Salt 4400, Bobs Poolservice told me to add 1 gallon of Acid, what I did. Every 10 days Bobs poolservice is testing my water and I follow their guides but they can not help me with great amount of Calcium flakes I have in my pool. Can you provide me with a company how could help with the problem?

    • KenS says:

      Hi Gabrielle, we are located in California and have Service Providers in Texas, Nevada, and Arizona. It sounds like Calcium might be your issue but your pH is also very high. Have you thought about adding acid to lower it? Unfortunately, we don’t have anyone in your area.

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  5. Regina Move Groyzburg says:

    I’m in Central NJ and have the same issue with flakes. Can someone email me to set up a consultation.

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