Help ~ I have been a long time user of Intex pools and the Intex salt water generator. I never had any issues. I keep a log of all the amounts of salt I put in each year, and when.
In 2014 I upgraded (what I thought) to the Intex CS15110 Sand filter and salt generator combo unit because I like the timer function to control both. My previous system was the the Intex filter pump unit and the separate Intex salt generator. They both worked great but the timer was a pain to align both machines, so I bought the combo unit with the larger Intex pool in 2014 (18' x 52" round). Of course, my Intex pools always are stored properly each year before winter. And the salt generator is always stored indoors at room temperature.
The first year, 2014, with the new combo sand pump/salt generator, everything worked great. It had new sand and I added the required 4-1/2 bags of salt (40-lbs per bag) at start up. The unit generated chlorine without an issue.
The next year, 2015, the pool went back up. I added the required 4-1/2 bags of salt (40-lbs per bag) at start up. The unit generated chlorine without an issue. I also replaced the sand with new sand that year and did a one time shock treatment (Leslie's Power Powder Shock) because I had a mold/smell issue in the sand from improperly storing it the first time. I wasn't familiar with sand filters. So, at the end of the 2015 season, I learned to really dry out the sand before storing it.
This year, 2016, the pool was assembled again. The sand filter looked clean because I stored it properly last year (no mold/no smell). Of course, I did a backwash at start up. I added the normal 4-1/2 bags of salt as the previous two years. The day after I dissolved the salt, it rained heavily one day. But we haven't been in the pool at all so far at that point. So the day after it rained, I started the salt generator for the first time this year. It suddenly gave me a low salt indicator. This has never happened so soon. Even the other years, it would take at least a 1-1/2 months of various rain days and playing in the pool for me to add some salt in early August. So, this year I was suddenly not sure what is going on for the first time with the salt generator and the low salt indicator.
I than added a half more bag of Morton's, and let it run overnight with the filter on only. So far I have added 5 bags to date.
The next day, the low salt indicator still went on. After reading more comments online, it was suggested that the titanium plates (part of the salt generator) needed to be replaced or cleaned. But my current salt generator was purchased two years ago. Still, I attempted to clean it twice in vinegar. The plates were already clean the moment I took the out of the unit anyways.
Still, the low salt indicator would go on.
I then added one more bag of Morton's salt. Now I have added 6 bags to date (far more than I ever have so soon). I let this dissolve overnight for 24 hours with the filter on.
The next day, the low salt indicator went on. I was utterly confused.
I then thought it must be a defective titanium plates. So I ordered a new one ($85!). After I replaced it when it came in, the low salt indicator light went on still. I also had my previous salt generator I tested it and the same thing showed on that. So I know it isn't either machine.
It was recommended to bring my water to have it tested for the salt content. I never had to do this before. I brought it to the Leslie's store last Thursday. The clerk said the water test indicated it was very low in salt. He then clearly told me to add four bags of salt to bring it up to the right level. He also said that some other salt brands may be improperly stored at their stores, which would not be good salt (I guess he wanted me to buy the Leslie's salt which costs a lot more than Morton's). I told him that I never had a problem with Morton's pool salt in the past; I have been using it for years. And it also says "High Purity" and "Free of Additives" on the Morton bag. I told him it is the same 40-lb bag of salt. But he said that not all salt is the same. Then, I took his word and paid (a lot more money) for 4 bags of Leslie's pool salt ($40). I put it in the pool that day, 6-16-16, and let it dissolve with the filter only on for 24 hours.
At this point, it would be a total of 10 bags that I would have added to my pool since 6-4-16. I feel that something is not right here. And maybe the problem is the salt.
The next day, 6-17-16, I didn't start the salt generator right away because I wanted to clean up any algae that probably built up for a while now. Because the pool never sat around that long (about 1-1/2 weeks) without any chlorine in it. It was because of this whole unusual issue with the low salt indicator and me trying to figure out why this is happening suddenly. So put 1 bag of Leslie's Power Powder Shock, and let the filter run overnight for this to dissolve too.
The next day, 6-18-16, (now after the 4 bags of Leslie's pool salt and the Power Powder Shock has already been dissolved), I started the salt generator that morning. It worked! There was no warning indicator light showing.
But that didn't last long. The next day, 6-19-16, the salt generator turned on and now it displayed "High salt". I couldn't believe this was happening. The day before that it worked fine.
6-20-16, I tried it again and still the "High salt" was displayed. I now think that those four bags of Leslie's salt that the clerk told me to get was too much salt. I had explained to him that I had already added a total of 6 bags previously since 6-4-16. I did not want to drain any pool water to waste it at this point. Since there was still some room at the top to fill the pool more, I just added more water to the very top. But before I did that, I put some of the "before" water in a water bottle to bring to test it. After an hour of filling the pool a bit more this day, I turned on the salt generator again. High salt indicator light went on again. I then put a sample of the "after" water in another water bottle and brought it to Leslie's to test each one. Sure enough, at Leslie's the clerk tested the first one (which is the "before" when the High salt light when on) and it was very high in salt. She then tested the other bottle with the water after I added more to the pool. The salt level was on the high side, but not as high as the "before" sample. This other clerk also tried to tell me that some other brands pool salt can go bad (if stored incorrectly) and that not all pool salts are the same. I told her that Morton's is a brand name and I have been using it for many years.
The next day, 6-21-16, I found out from Leslie's corporate office and Morton's salt company that pool salt does not go bad. That information given to me at the store was incorrect. Still, that doesn't solve the main issue but I wanted to inform them that they were mis-informed. Back to the salt generator... I started it today and still High salt. I have been using the filter each day only to make sure the pool water is mixing up at least and no just sitting there. I took another sample to the pool store and the salt level went down (after adding more fresh water the day before), but it is still on the high side. I have no choice now but to drain part of the pool water.
I can't believe this is happening. I never had this issue before. It was like the first 6 bags of salt I put in had no effect for the first time. I know it isn't the machine or the plates.
Now, today 6-22-16, after I drained the pool for 2-1/2 hours yesterday (it didn't go down a lot, but enough), I then added fresh water today to the very top of the pool. Of course, the filter only was on to help with mixing. I turned on the salt generator now and still High Salt. This is so frustrating. I then brought the latest sample of water, which I swished around about a foot below the surface to fill the bottle, to the Leslie's store. Even more frustrating is that now the salt level is higher than the previous two samples that I brought the last two days. Me and the store clerk were utterly confused. I can't explain what is happening this year. So, the store clerk called a further experienced manager on the phone to see if they have seen anything like this before. After explaining all the above to her, this is some possible issues:
~ "the water this year might have been too cold at start up suddenly and thus affected how the salt generator read the salt level." Maybe this is true and unusual this year, but I have been setting up the pool in the first week or so of June every year without a problem. And we had a milder winter this year. Plus, the low salt indicator continued about a week and a half. The water definitely warmed up during that time. Also, the store sampled my water later and it said it was very low after the first 6 bags of salt was added. I don't think it is the cold water reason for my situation.
I also have a solar heater unit attached to my system. Would salt granules build up in the solar unit over time? I find that unlikely. It would have been dissolved by now just sitting in the water constantly.
~ "the water sample I took might read differently if taking at different levels of water in the pool". This didn't make complete sense to me because I have the filter on only to make sure the water is mixing in the pool
~ "there is extra salt in the sand filter". I didn't agree with this. Again, it would have dissolved during all this time that has gone by and the filter cannot hold all that extra salt.
It almost seems that the first six bags of Morton's salt delayed somehow. However, I never did see any piles of salt at the bottom after the first 24 hours of dissolving with the filter on. I am not sure it is the salt itself.
Anyone has a solution to this or experienced the same problem this year? I don't want to go through the same issue next year and may just give up on the Intex pool and salt system completely (I will not use regular chemicals). This is taking up so much of my time this year with figuring out what went wrong. So, currently I am still draining part of the pool. Will see what it does tomorrow when it is refreshed with new water (it is town water, not well water).