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Thread: What is Correct and What isn't Regarding Cleaning a Clogged Salt Cell

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    What is Correct and What isn't Regarding Cleaning a Clogged Salt Cell

    There seems to be a lot of conflicting advice, but the cells are pretty much all the same: Titanium strips plated with ruthenium that facilitate electrolysis.

    Some say 4:1 acid bath only, but it eats away some of the coating so don't do it very often - But you have to clean it or it won't run due to giving the control box bad feedback.

    Some say it's OK to use a tool:
    * Wooden tongue depressors
    * Wooden popsicle Sticks
    * Wooden dowel
    * A brass rod
    * Butter knife

    All of which some say may scratch off the coating.

    Disposing of the left over acid - being as hard to dispose of as it is:
    *Don't pour it back in because it has the calcium in it
    *Pour it back in to your pool - there is not that much calcium in the scheme of things.
    *Walk through the living room to the toilet with a bucket of acid, trying not to spill it.
    *Fill the yard up with foam by adding baking soda to the acid.
    *Pour it in the street drain inviting the sewer people to beat you with rubber hoses...

    I hope the experts on this site will dive in and help reach a consensus as to what is the best way to clean a SWG and not shorten it's life.

    The obvious solution is to use borates, keep your CH down, and TA in line, but that is preventative. Many visitors visit to solve and existing problem.

    Thanks in advance.
    SWG: CircuPool (May 2014) SI30+Plus; 3000ppm seems ideal;
    My Ideal Specs:
    FC 5; PH 7.4-7.6; TA 90; CH 350; CYA 75; = SI ~ 0.19
    14,000 gal, in ground, plaster, Cartridge filter, Borates
    TAYLOR K - 2006

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: What is Correct and What isn't Regarding Cleaning a Clogged Salt Cell

    You should not need to clean a SWG unless you are doing something wrong. If you need to clean your salt cell regularly it will shorten the life of the cell. If at all possible you should adjust the water chemistry so scaling does not occur in the salt cell. While there are some very extreme situations where this is not possible, it is possible to balance the chemistry in almost any situation so scaling does not occur. Likewise, you should never have to use anything to poke at the scale. If you do, you are doing something wrong. If, for some reason, you do have to poke at the scale to dislodge it, use something wooden and try really hard not to bend the cell plates (which must be uniformly spaced).

    I would pour the cleaning acid into a bucket that already has some water with once cup of baking soda pre-disollved in it. Once the foaming stops it can be disposed of safely in almost any way, put do not pour in the pool.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    bobodaclown's Avatar
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    Re: What is Correct and What isn't Regarding Cleaning a Clogged Salt Cell

    Always follow manufacturer specific specifications. Some state to use a wooden type of utensil, but never a metal instrument.

    As far as disposal of the used acid... Hmmm. Pool or baking soda sounds about right.


    .
    17K Kidney Shaped Pool Concrete (Diamond Bright) Pool, 3/4 hp 2 speed 115V Sta-rite Duraglas PEA5D-180L/P2R5D-181L (Impeller C105-92PS Diffuser C1-216P), 1.5 piping, Pentair CC100 Filter , Heat Siphon 100K BTU Heat Pump Pool Heater, Flow meter Blue White Flowmeter Model No. F-30150P, Hayward Astrolight SP0581N, SWCG CalimarTitanium Edition TE45 , Dolphin Nautilus Plus with CleverClean, Lakeland Florida

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    Re: What is Correct and What isn't Regarding Cleaning a Clogged Salt Cell

    It seems to me that they are all pretty much the same.

    Does acid eat away the ruthenium or doesn't it? If there is some ruthenium combined with another element, maybe. But the ruthenium is reported to be immune to hydrochloric acid, but can be dissolved by bleach according to one chemist I stumbled into.

    Maybe the high output from SWG's - especially those of us who use solar heating - are killing our cells with excess chlorine? My FC levels are hard to control because when the solar panels are adding heat, I'm adding chlorine from my SWG. If I turn it down, and the weather cools, my FC falls because the SWG is running less.

    I'm going to try to dig a little deeper, but does anyone agree with me?
    SWG: CircuPool (May 2014) SI30+Plus; 3000ppm seems ideal;
    My Ideal Specs:
    FC 5; PH 7.4-7.6; TA 90; CH 350; CYA 75; = SI ~ 0.19
    14,000 gal, in ground, plaster, Cartridge filter, Borates
    TAYLOR K - 2006

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: What is Correct and What isn't Regarding Cleaning a Clogged Salt Cell

    Changing the pump run time has a large effect on the FC levels. If your solar system runs the pump for extra hours when the pool needs heating that will raise FC compared to days when the pool does not need heating.

    "Excess" chlorine has nothing really to do with it. The SWG cares about how many hours it is active, the FC level (high or low) has no effect.

    Acid shortens the plate lifetime, but not because it attacks ruthenium (which it doesn't). Acid affects the bonding of the coatings through indirect effects, such as attacking other things at spots where there are imperfections in the coating, slowly expanding the size of the imperfection.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: What is Correct and What isn't Regarding Cleaning a Clogged Salt Cell

    I've decided to save the acid for the next cleaning using an old acid jug, but marked as "used".

    But when it's time, I'll due the baking soda.

    Thanks!
    SWG: CircuPool (May 2014) SI30+Plus; 3000ppm seems ideal;
    My Ideal Specs:
    FC 5; PH 7.4-7.6; TA 90; CH 350; CYA 75; = SI ~ 0.19
    14,000 gal, in ground, plaster, Cartridge filter, Borates
    TAYLOR K - 2006

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    Re: What is Correct and What isn't Regarding Cleaning a Clogged Salt Cell

    If you can get your TA to 70-80 I believe your cell life will improve. The levels of your PH will also affect the cell life too. I'm sure you know this all already though. Entertain the thought of adding borates if you haven't already done that.

    I replaced my salt cell 5 weeks ago and still I'm dialing it in. Added borates 7 days ago. I'm using 7 day increments to dial in my system. I determine that it will take me 5 weeks more to fully dial in my cell. I haven't had to add chlorine or bleach at all since I put in my new cell. It's running at 70% and will do a full set of tests tonight to see if I will drop it down another 10%. Next step will be to drop down the run time after another week of testing. Patience is key here.
    IG Pebbletec Blue Tahoe; Paddock Pool PCC 2000 pop-up; 22,275 gal 32' x 16' Diving with Auto-Fill
    Pentair 420 Cartridge filter; 3 hp VS Whisperflo Main Drain, 1 1/2 hp Whisperflo Running Pop-Ups; Jandy AquaPure 1400
    1 1/2 Whisperflo dedicated to Rock Waterfall; TF-100; Taylor K-1766; Pool Built in 1997

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    bobodaclown's Avatar
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    Re: What is Correct and What isn't Regarding Cleaning a Clogged Salt Cell

    Use poolmath and try to keep a negative CSI.
    17K Kidney Shaped Pool Concrete (Diamond Bright) Pool, 3/4 hp 2 speed 115V Sta-rite Duraglas PEA5D-180L/P2R5D-181L (Impeller C105-92PS Diffuser C1-216P), 1.5 piping, Pentair CC100 Filter , Heat Siphon 100K BTU Heat Pump Pool Heater, Flow meter Blue White Flowmeter Model No. F-30150P, Hayward Astrolight SP0581N, SWCG CalimarTitanium Edition TE45 , Dolphin Nautilus Plus with CleverClean, Lakeland Florida

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    Re: What is Correct and What isn't Regarding Cleaning a Clogged Salt Cell

    -0.42 for me
    IG Pebbletec Blue Tahoe; Paddock Pool PCC 2000 pop-up; 22,275 gal 32' x 16' Diving with Auto-Fill
    Pentair 420 Cartridge filter; 3 hp VS Whisperflo Main Drain, 1 1/2 hp Whisperflo Running Pop-Ups; Jandy AquaPure 1400
    1 1/2 Whisperflo dedicated to Rock Waterfall; TF-100; Taylor K-1766; Pool Built in 1997

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    bobodaclown's Avatar
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    Re: What is Correct and What isn't Regarding Cleaning a Clogged Salt Cell

    It's suggested not to keep below -0.3 for long periods of time. I keep mine in the negatives 0.2 - 0.1 and haven't had a scaling problem, even with a CH of 475.
    17K Kidney Shaped Pool Concrete (Diamond Bright) Pool, 3/4 hp 2 speed 115V Sta-rite Duraglas PEA5D-180L/P2R5D-181L (Impeller C105-92PS Diffuser C1-216P), 1.5 piping, Pentair CC100 Filter , Heat Siphon 100K BTU Heat Pump Pool Heater, Flow meter Blue White Flowmeter Model No. F-30150P, Hayward Astrolight SP0581N, SWCG CalimarTitanium Edition TE45 , Dolphin Nautilus Plus with CleverClean, Lakeland Florida

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    Re: What is Correct and What isn't Regarding Cleaning a Clogged Salt Cell

    According to Pool Math, I would just have to let my PH drift up to 7.8 to get it to -0.21. My CH is 275, do you think I should increase that number?
    IG Pebbletec Blue Tahoe; Paddock Pool PCC 2000 pop-up; 22,275 gal 32' x 16' Diving with Auto-Fill
    Pentair 420 Cartridge filter; 3 hp VS Whisperflo Main Drain, 1 1/2 hp Whisperflo Running Pop-Ups; Jandy AquaPure 1400
    1 1/2 Whisperflo dedicated to Rock Waterfall; TF-100; Taylor K-1766; Pool Built in 1997

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    bobodaclown's Avatar
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    Re: What is Correct and What isn't Regarding Cleaning a Clogged Salt Cell

    I raised my CH to increase my pools CSI figure. I over shot a bit. There's nothing wrong with letting it go to 7.8 on the PH.
    17K Kidney Shaped Pool Concrete (Diamond Bright) Pool, 3/4 hp 2 speed 115V Sta-rite Duraglas PEA5D-180L/P2R5D-181L (Impeller C105-92PS Diffuser C1-216P), 1.5 piping, Pentair CC100 Filter , Heat Siphon 100K BTU Heat Pump Pool Heater, Flow meter Blue White Flowmeter Model No. F-30150P, Hayward Astrolight SP0581N, SWCG CalimarTitanium Edition TE45 , Dolphin Nautilus Plus with CleverClean, Lakeland Florida

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    Re: What is Correct and What isn't Regarding Cleaning a Clogged Salt Cell

    Quote Originally Posted by bobodaclown View Post
    I raised my CH to increase my pools CSI figure. I over shot a bit. There's nothing wrong with letting it go to 7.8 on the PH.
    I may just do that, let my PH rise to 7.8. I keep having to add MA to lower it to 7.5 and I usually do it once it hits 7.8. Maybe it won't drift higher if I let it go longer. I will try that as PH seems to have a big impact on CSI. Just got our water quality report from the city and our water CH is quite low, lower than what the pool is so I'd have to raise it with chemicals (more money).

    My pool has never looked this clean and clear and I owe it all to the fine folks here at this wonderful site.
    IG Pebbletec Blue Tahoe; Paddock Pool PCC 2000 pop-up; 22,275 gal 32' x 16' Diving with Auto-Fill
    Pentair 420 Cartridge filter; 3 hp VS Whisperflo Main Drain, 1 1/2 hp Whisperflo Running Pop-Ups; Jandy AquaPure 1400
    1 1/2 Whisperflo dedicated to Rock Waterfall; TF-100; Taylor K-1766; Pool Built in 1997

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