If you have a salt system that is malfunctioning, it might not be the actual salt cell rather your pool water! Wait, did you say the water in my pool could be causing my salt system to malfunction? We sure did and it’s extremely common that’s why we decided to write a blog post about it to familiarize you with the reasons why. When salt water chlorinators first came on the market they were marketed to potential buyers as making it easier to maintain your swimming pool and that they would make your swim experience much better. As for the later, there is no doubt it will make your water softer and you won’t get out of the pool smelling like chlorine or with itchy/burning eyes but that can only be achieved if it is working! But what happens when your salt system is malfunctioning?
Depending on where you live, there are many parts of the country that deal with high levels of Calcium Hardness (CH) in their swimming pool. This CH can cause a ton of problems to your swimming pool but it can also cause your salt system to malfunction. Since there are many different manufacturers of salt water chlorinators we recommend checking the owners manual for ideal levels of CH but most are in the area of 200 – 400 parts per million (ppm). In many parts of the country, the levels of calcium coming out of their tap are 300ppm and higher which causes a problem as soon as you install the system. To help explain this, as pool water evaporates the hardness minerals remain in solution and build up in concentration. As the water gets harder and harder the calcium will scale the water tile line, the interior finish, filtration equipment and your salt cell. When this happens it will prevent the salt water chlorinator from generating chlorine! This is extremely common and as long as you are maintaining your pH, an adequate amount of salt and Cyanuric Acid (CYA) this is probably the reason why it’s malfunctioning! Just this past week we filtered at 16,000-gallon swimming pool because their salt system was malfunctioning. Take a look at these before and after numbers….
Calcium Hardness – 1040ppm (too high)
Salt – 4570ppm (moderately high for this system)
TDS – 6898ppm
CYA – 80ppm (optimal level)
After filtering this swimming pool for 12 hours with our Reverse Osmosis (RO) mobile filtration trailer, we were able to conserve 85% of the water and leave them with the following….
Calcium Hardness – 120ppm (this is great for the salt system and much lower than tap water)
Salt – 656ppm (will need to add salt)
TDS – 846ppm
CYA – 0ppm
After adding salt and CYA back to the pool their salt system is now working. If you own one, you might want to consider changing out the water every 1-2 years to keep it working. If you should have any questions, please contact us today!