Chlorine is one of the most critical factors to keep the water protected from contaminants and algae bloom. Also, chlorine is very unstable, especially when other pool chemistry levels are off balance. Free Chlorine is used to combine with contaminants in the water to sanitize and disinfect. Your water chemistry needs to be balanced correctly for the free chlorine to sanitize and sterilize properly.
Here are some steps to do to troubleshoot your system when the inline salt system is not producing.
1) How many hours is your system running a day?
Depending on the weather, size of your pool and usage of the pool, you might need to increase the run time to keep up with the higher demand for chlorine.
2) What is your salt level?
The optimal salt level is between 3500 to 4500ppm of salt. Our systems will not stop producing if the levels drop below 3500ppm. But if your salt level is too low, it will not be producing enough chlorine to keep up with the demand. Add salt accordingly to get back within the optimal salt range.
3) Does the cell need to be cleaned?
Check the cell for calcium build up. If the cell needs cleaning, soak the cell in one part muriatic acid four parts water until foaming stops; it takes about 5 to 10 mins. Depending on how much build-up has accumulated, you might need to soak it again. Just make sure not to soak at one time longer than 10 mins, but do it in increments.
4) Test the water chemistry
This is a critical step in maintaining adequate chlorine production. If the water chemistry is off, then it can affect the chlorine. For example, if your pH swings too high or low or the stabilizer is too high above 80ppm, it causes the chlorine to become unstable. The optimal chemistry levels are below. Another level to check at your local pool store is your phosphate and nitrate levels. They should be 0ppm. If they begin to increase, they cause a higher demand for chlorine. Also, phosphates are algae food and allow algae to grow in your pool water. To remove phosphates you will need to use a phosphate remover. To decrease nitrates, will need to drain and the pool and add fresh water. It is best to ask your local pool professional on how much. Total Dissolved Solids, TDS, could be another culprit in chlorine demand. TDS is the measurement of the total amount of dissolved material in the water. The TDS levels in your pool water should less than 1500ppm after subtracting your salt level. TDS, like nitrates, you will have to dilute the pool water with fresh water.
The optimal ranges for your pool chemistry:
Free chlorine 2 -4 ppm
Salt Level 3500 - 4500ppm
pH 7.2 – 7.6ppm
Total Alkalinity 80 – 120ppm
Cyanuric Acid 60 – 80ppm
Total Dissolved Solids 0 - 1500ppm (after subtracting the salt level)
Calcium Hardness 200 - 350ppm
5) Is your system pulling in a large amount of air? Are you losing prime?
If too much air is coming through the cell, the system will shut down to protect itself until the next day. It will keep doing so until there is no longer a large amount of air. Check to see if your pump is losing prime.
6) How old is your cell?
The cell blades will come to the end of usable life and will not be able to produce chlorine. A salt cell life is about 10,000 hours run time, and the blades wear down over time. If the cell is coming close to the end of its life and there is a demand for chlorine, the system could have a harder time keeping up with the demand. Once the blades are used up, it is time to replace the cell.
7) Putting the system into tech mode and completing a bucket test
With our systems, you can put the system into tech mode and check the system's amps, volts and hours. Putting the system into tech mode will allow you to see how the system is functioning. If the amps and volts are right, the system is producing, and something in the water is causing a high demand. Also, you can complete a bucket test. A bucket test is putting the cell in a smaller body of water so you can see how the cell is functioning. Find the Salt Chlorine Generator Troubleshooting Guide and go the Not Producing Chlorine section, there you will get the instructions for tech mode and the bucket test.