How to Clean Your Pool’s Salt Cell
Salt Chlorine Generators or saltwater systems for pools are becoming more and more popular. Previously only considered by families that wanted to avoid the skin and eye irritation that comes from traditional chlorine pools, many pool owners are now making the switch to salt simply because of the minimal maintenance. That said, no pool system is completely free of upkeep. Aside from regularly topping up your salt levels, one of the things you'll need to do periodically is clean your pool's salt cell. Generally, this needs to be done every three to six months, but you should also keep an eye out for symptoms that indicate a cell that needs a thorough cleaning. These include:
- Consistently low chlorine levels
- Error codes on your cell readout (if applicable)
- Calcium buildup inside the cell
- Calcium flakes near the pool return
Seeing calcium flakes on the pool floor will be easier in an above ground pool because of the blue liner. But if you’re noticing any of the above, or if it has been more than three months since the last salt cell cleaning, it's time to get to work. Fortunately, you won't need to call a pro to do the job - providing you follow these detailed instructions.
1. Turn off System You're dealing with electronic components here, so the first thing you want to do is ensure that there is no power going to the system. I suggest turning the electricity off at the breaker and then unplugging the cell itself. This will allow you to move the cell to a more convenient cleaning spot, such as your patio or driveway.
2. Loosen the Nuts Holding the Cell Your salt cell is likely held in place by two large plastic nuts. Most of these can be loosened by hand, but you may need to use a large pair of channel locks if there is any buildup on the threads.
3. Remove Cell and Analyze Buildup Once you have the cell free, look inside of it and see if there is buildup on the blades. It usually only takes several months for this buildup to start collecting and inhibiting your system's efficiency. However, if you don't notice any buildup, you may want to consider troubleshooting the system to see if anything else is causing problems.
4. Clean the Cell The main thing you have to worry about when cleaning your salt cell is ensuring the cord does not come into contact with any acidic or corrosive substances. Some cell systems will come with a special stand that you can put the cell on to hold it in place. However, if your system doesn't include one, you can use a bucket instead. Keeping the cable at the top and out of the way, you'll want to create a cleaning solution of 2/3 water to 1/3 muriatic acid. Once the solution is mixed, pour it into the cell until the solution covers the blades. You will immediately hear and see a reaction as the solution interacts with the buildup. Let it bubble for roughly 10 minutes before inspecting the blades again.
5. Dispose of the Solution The best way to dispose of the solution is to pour it directly into the pool. Be careful not to spill any on your deck or skin, as it will still be extremely corrosive. However, once the solution is in the pool, it will be neutralized and perfectly safe.
6. Rinse and Replace the Cell You can now rinse your cell with fresh water (a hose works best). Once you do this, inspect it to make sure all of the buildup is gone. If you notice that there is still some buildup remaining, go ahead and repeat steps #4 and #5 until the cell's blades and walls are completely clean. After that, you can replace the cell and tighten the nuts at both ends. Once the nuts are tightened, you can plug in the cell and get it up and running. To be sure, I like to check the seals at both nuts to make sure there's no dripping.
7. Get Back to Enjoying Your Pool Now that your cell is clean and ready to go, you can go about enjoying your pool as normal. Just remember to repeat this process every three to six months, and be sure to keep an eye out for the symptoms listed above. In the end, a healthy pool is essential to a great summertime experience.
If you are intersted in learninmg more about above ground pools or saltwater systems for them just give us a call at (866) 534-9725 or check us out online at PoolsAboveGround.com