Intex Salt Water Chlorine Generator not producing chlorine

jelwell

New member
Oct 3, 2020
4
San Diego, CA
I got this above ground pool for free last year. It has an Intex ECO15110 Sand Filter pump & Saltwater System with E.C.O. (Electrocatalytic Oxidation). The previous owner included a floating chlorine dispenser for tablets because she said that they struggled to get the ECO unit to generate chlorine properly. I put it aside and when I setup the pool this spring (April) I did not use the floater.

Every couple of weeks I took my water to be tested at Leslie's Pool store. And they regularly said my Chlorine levels were too low. And once in a while they would ask me if my generator was even working. Each time they asked I'd check the electrolytic cell and clean the white scale off by leaving it a cup of distilled vinegar with the electronics above the liquid level. But this last time, the employee asked me to bring in a sample directly from the output to test if my chlorine generator is working.

I brought in 2 samples today. One sample I turned on the pump, waited about 10 minutes and took a sample directly from the outflow. The second sample I took the normal way (away from the pump outflow) which is by placing the container upside down until I'm about a foot or 2 deep then flipping the container over. This chart has those 2 samples as well as my reading from 9/12.

10/3 Directly from output10/3 Away from output9/12 Reading
Free Chlorine0.050.11.07
Total Chlorine0.050.141.26
pH8.17.97.4
Total Alkalinity126114106
Calcium Hardness222238227
Cyanuric Acid
14
3634
Iron0.10.10
Copper0.10.20
Phosphates000
Salt106130463321

The numbers since 9/12 changed dramatically because we had a hose leak that drained about 8 inches of water, which we refilled using the hose once we fixed the leak.

I run the generator/filter for 10 hours a night, it is a 8403 gallon pool. The filter pumps 1500GPH. The pump is currently running and has no error codes listed. The Pump and Working light are currently on.

I know the electrolytic cell does get white scale on it that I have to clean off occasionally. I would assume that means it's producing chlorine, but I guess it could just be hard water build up. I clean it about once a week.

Since the pool was free, I'm happy to simply buy a new setup (pump and generator), but if I can, I'd like to repair this one as sending this huge unit to the dump just seems wasteful. Assuming the employee is right and the salt water chlorine generator isn't working properly, I'm not sure if I should try replacing the electrolytic cell, the titanium electrode, or the pump motor and control.

Thanks,
Joe.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,176
Central California
Yes, your FC is way too low. You need to start adding liquid chlorine manually until you sort this out, to avoid an algae outbreak. You might already have algae, which might be the reason your SWG can't keep up. The algae is going through the chlorine faster than the SWG can make it.

Also, your CYA might be too low. CYA protects the chlorine from UV. Without enough, the sun will burn off the chlorine quite quickly.

And thirdly, SWGs have a lifespan. They produce x amount of chlorine, and then you replace them. So yours might just be done.

And that is all based on the assumption that your Leslie's numbers are good, which we don't actually ever do here. We don't really offer specific advice about water based on any results of pool water tests that you don't do yourself, with one of the only two tests kits we recommend.

So if you want to dive in, and ditch Leslie's, and end up with crystal clear water and a Trouble Free Pool, just say the word and we'll get you started.

Otherwise, you'll need to limp along with Leslie's to see if you have algae, get some chlorine and CYA into your pool, and hope for the best. Once done with that, you can start troubleshooting your SWG. But step one is chlorine, before you do anything else.

And welcome to TFP. We're glad you found us, and hope you stick around.
 

jelwell

New member
Oct 3, 2020
4
San Diego, CA
Thanks for the reply. I have been adding powdered chlorine manually every week or so. I just follow the Leslie's report. The most recent one asked me to add 15ox of Leslie's Dry Acid, 5 oz of Leslie's Powdered Plus 73 and 48 fl oz. of Instant Pool Water Conditioner. So my chemicals should stable out. But with the SWG not producing chlorine I'm always chasing my tail there.
The SWG unit I have is about 4 years old. The prior owner had it 3 seasons I believe, maybe 4. But it sounded like the Chlorine generator maybe failed on their final season. Is the lifespan for the cell? Because if it, I could try to just buy a new electrolytic cell and or a new titanium cell.

I'm happy to ditch Leslie's and buy good test kits, but that's all unrelated to the question I have. Which essentially is : whether the test they did was a valid test for determining if the SWG is failing or if I should be doing some test myself? And if I should be doing my own test, what kind of test do I run to determine if my SWG has failed? The unit has a light indicator for whether it failed, but I guess if the PCB failed, it might not turn the failure light on. ;)

I did read some other posts and a lot of people seem to think upgrading the Intex pump from the default to a higher GPH has a lot of benefits:
1. Lower run times (4 hours instead of 10)
2. Ability to run skimmer at the same time as the other intake.
3. Ability to hook up a vacuum that will work well (the current GPH isn't really enough for a decent vacuum).

So I'm leaning towards buying a new system next year. Unfortunatly the pump, filter and SWG are all a single unit for my pool/Intex. So I'd have to replace the entire thing. Seems wasteful.
Joe.
 
Last edited:

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
14,815
Evans, Georgia
Your salt level seems awfully low to me. That could be a problem? How much salt does the intex system need, do you know?

Don't use dry acid when you have a SWG- it is damaging to the cell metals. Use Muriatic Acid instead. You'd think Leslie's would know that but..... well.... <eye roll> they lead folks down the wrong way more often than you'd imagine.

Maddie
 

jelwell

New member
Oct 3, 2020
4
San Diego, CA
Salt water level needs to be 2,500 - 3,500 ppm. Optimal is 3000. So the salt level as measured (by Leslie's) from about 8 feet away from the filter output was optimal. But the salt water level as measured directly from the SWG outlet was super low. I'm not sure what to make of that, but the Leslie's employee seemed to think something about the reading from the filter output shows that my SWG is not working. I would assume the low FC number. Because a lower salt reading would seem to imply that the SWG might be working - turning salt into Chlorine. But the low FC means it's just eating salt and generating nothing? *shrug*

Sounds like I'll be switching to Muriatic acid. Thanks,
Joe.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,176
Central California
I'm happy to ditch Leslie's and buy good test kits, but that's all unrelated to the question I have. Which essentially is : whether the test they did was a valid test for determining if the SWG is failing or if I should be doing some test myself? And if I should be doing my own test, what kind of test do I run to determine if my SWG has failed? The unit has a light indicator for whether it failed, but I guess if the PCB failed, it might not turn the failure light on. ;)
No, it's entirely related. You're asking us to validate Leslie's testing procedures. We can't do that, because we don't know what they're doing or how well they did it. What we do know, based on 1000s of users we've rescued from Leslie's pool care methods, is that their testing procedures are just as likely to be wrong as they are right. We're not going to tell you to throw out your SWG based on Leslie's test results. Nor are we going to use those results to help you diagnose your SWG. We have a much more reliable way to test pool water, one that you do yourself, and so is 100% repeatable. It is with the results of that test procedure that we'd be able to help you. We can help you test the SWG. The water. Solve any FC or algae problems you might have. Etc.

As long as you are working with Leslie's, we'd be doing you a disservice to try and offer you dosing or repair advice based on what they are doing. More to the point, we're not going to. Well, at least I'm not going to.

To answer your question specifically: Yes, you should be doing some test yourself. It'd be a multi-step process. You'd first determine if there is any active algae. Then you'd need to eradicate that algae. And then you'd determine your SWG chlorine output and compare that to the unit's spec for output. All in that order. None of which you can do without a proper test kit. So the first step is to acquire the kit. One of these.


The TF-100 would be a good choice, but any of those will work. You also need a Taylor K-1766 Test Kit to measure the salt.

So if you're interested, grab the kits and report back. We'll talk you through all the steps.