We would all love to have our technology work indefinitely. Who wouldn’t want a cell phone that never broke or a laptop that never had that dreaded blue screen of death? But sadly, that’s not yet possible with modern technology, and the same goes for your saltwater pool equipment.
A saltwater system produces a consistent, pure form of chlorine at the constant rate that you’ve set, so it’ll always be working to keep your pool clear and your chlorine levels balanced. However, even though salt cells in a saltwater system are built to last a long time with proper maintenance, they’re not indestructible.
They do wear down with regular use, as the lifespan can be between three to seven years for the salt cell alone—and with higher-end models, it can be even longer. But you can get the most out of your salt cell by following a few simple steps.
By doing these few things, you’ll increase the lifespan of the saltwater pool equipment by minimizing the wear-and-tear that it gets, saving you money and making sure you’re always swimming in the best water possible.
Keep Your Pool Clean
Many people incorrectly assume that just because your salt pool produces its own chlorine, they don’t have to put in any effort to maintain it. This is not true. Although it’s significantly easier to maintain than a chlorine pool, since a salt system consistently keeps the pool water sanitized, it isn’t going to remove the organic matter floating around in your pool.
Keeping your pool and surrounding areas clean needs to be part of your regular pool maintenance schedule. The dirtier your pool, the harder your system will work, meaning it’ll wear out a lot faster. Put simply, the more organic matter in the pool, the more chlorine has to get generated to prevent algae from rapidly multiplying.
Check the pool and your skimmer basket for bugs, leaves, dirt, and other debris regularly so they don’t end up in your pool’s filtration system. Using a pool skimmer and a robotic pool cleaner can assist you in keeping your pool clean.
Ensure you clean the pool’s tiles, floor, and the area around the pool, and check the control box, system lights, cell, and cords to see if they’re in good shape.
Check Your Pool Water Balance Levels
Your pool’s water chemistry is intended to have a certain balance, whether or not you use a saltwater chlorine generator. When something is off in your water chemistry, your pool’s water can become unsafe for swimming and can even damage your salt pool equipment.
First, let’s review the importance of free chlorine. Free chlorine is the leftover chlorine available to keep your pool sanitized and free of bacteria and algae; it’s the “shield” you maintain against microorganisms. These are some of the main chemicals you’ll need to check:
- Free Chlorine
- Sanitizes your pool water
- Ideal level- 1-3 ppm
- Too low- algae blooms
- Too high- swimmer discomfort and damage to saltwater pool equipment
- pH Level
- Keeps your pool water’s acidity balanced
- Unbalanced water can cause corrosion or scaling
- Add muriatic acid when pH is high or soda ash when low
- Cyanuric Acid
- “Sunscreen” for your free chlorine
- Ideal level: 30-50 ppm
- Too low- pure chlorine gets eaten by the sun
- Too high- chlorine is ineffective
- Needs to be in range to do its job to general chlorine
- The ideal level is 3000-3500ppm for most models
This may seem a bit daunting, but it isn’t. You’ll want to periodically take the time to test the water and adjust it accordingly. Salt pools are designed to be much more hands-off as the water balance becomes more consistent and predictable.
A typical example is how you’ll make some adjustments to the salt chlorine generator’s chlorine output settings based on seasonal temperatures, which could be done a few times per year. Keep an eye on your water chemistry levels because making small adjustments proactively is much less work than being surprised by large chemical imbalances that you have to fight with.
Besides making regular checks, it’s also good to check your pool’s water balance levels after heavy rain, storms, or heavy use.
Check Your Cell Every Month
Keeping up with the maintenance of the salt cell is the key to extending the life of salt water pool equipment.
The titanium plates inside the salt cell can accumulate calcium mineral scaling over time. This makes it harder to chlorinate the water and eventually will make the salt chlorine generator cease operation, so keeping an eye on it is a must so you can catch it early. If you don’t get the scaling off, the “downtime” can allow chlorine levels to drop and allow algae to get a foothold. Plus, minimizing cell scaling will maximize cell efficiency – which translates to a longer cell lifespan.
If you check on your salt cell and its buildup requires cleaning, here’s the basic process. Be sure to take appropriate precautions and follow all instructions in your system’s user guide:
- Mix (or just buy it) of 1-part muriatic acid, 4-parts water
- Soak your cell for about 5-15 minutes (do NOT go over 30 minutes as this can strip the coating even further)
- Ensure the scaling is gone and your salt cell is clean
- Put your salt cell back in place
This is a relatively simple process, and the need to clean it can be infrequent with proper water balance. Minimizing cell scaling will significantly extend the life of your saltwater pool equipment. We recommend checking it at least once a month, and make it a habit to clean the cell at least once or twice per season.
Make Your Salt Pool’s Balance Perfect with the Latest Water Additives
Another thing you can do to extend the life of the saltwater pool equipment is introduce some specially-engineered additives to improve your water quality even more. Saltwater pools already have clear, beautiful, and silky soft water. Still, there is a way to make it even more comfortable to swim in so you can have a luxurious experience while also improving the life of your saltwater pool equipment.
When you add additives like water clarifiers, phosphate removers, metal removers, and enzyme-cleaners, which reduce organic-matter buildup, you get a whole host of benefits that work in harmony together. These benefits include preventing metal staining on the pool’s surface, minimizing scale buildup, and getting rid of phosphates and other waste buildup that greatly increase the pool’s chlorine demand (thereby using up your salt cell’s blades faster). Your salt cell system and pool equipment will thank you.
Even better, your swimmers will be impressed by how sparkling clear the water is when you add water clarifiers. Clarifiers help catch even the smallest particles in your filter, which will help improve the look and feel of your water even further.
Essentially, when you take advantage of the power of additives in your pool, the better your pool looks and the more likely you are to extend the life of your saltwater pool equipment.
Don’t Abuse Your Salt System
Keep your system functional and efficient by just not abusing your system. This may seem like common sense, but it can be as simple as giving your saltwater equipment a break by turning down your salt chlorine generator’s output setting. It only needs to run hard enough to maintain 1-3ppm of free chlorine in the water. Don’t run it all day unless your saltwater pool needs it, and run the system outside the designated salinity range for your pool.
Additionally, take extra care during the winter months by regularly maintaining pool equipment. Ensure there isn’t water in the salt cell during freezing temperatures; this will damage the system and lead to you replacing your saltwater pool equipment way before it’s time.
There are many ways you can extend the life of your saltwater pool equipment, and most of it is just an easy part of a proper saltwater pool equipment maintenance schedule. This proactive maintenance is significantly easier than the daily or weekly fight to chemically maintain a traditionally chlorinated pool.
With a saltwater pool, you’ll experience clearer, softer water without doing too much work—just make sure you stay up to date with your cleaning and scheduling. It’s a good idea to just carve out a bit of time on specific days and weeks to do these essentials, so you always remember to stay on top of it.