One Year Old SWG Reports Low On Salt

mmcwhorter

Bronze Supporter
Jul 13, 2015
79
Huntingtown, MD
#1
Hi, my one year old SWG has a red light indication for low on salt. I don't know if this means it is or is not producing chlorine.

I just opened the pool 4 days ago and brought the CL up to about 8 for a couple of days using Cal-Hypo and Concentrated Liquid Bleach...and the pool looks very clear.

The SWG worked perfectly last year after installation. Truth be told it only ran from about June-Oct 2016... but a week or two before I closed the pool in Oct 2016 the low salt light came on. I figured I'd ignore it at that time add salt in the Spring. Salt reading on opening was 2430. So I added 200 pounds to get it to 3400 per Pool Math (23,000 gal pool/spa). 80 pounds three days ago....another 80 2 days ago...and the last 40 pound of granulated Pool Salt bag went in 24 hours ago. Pump on 18 hours since. The low salt light is still on.

Does salt take several days to completely dissolve in to homogeneous solution?

If this light is on, is the SWG making CL? Since I have added a lot of Bleach and Cal-Hypo at opening, I can't tell.

Using TF-100 kit
FC=4
CC=0.5
ph=7.6
CYA=43
TA=80
CAL=275-300
Borates=15-20 (estimated)
Water Temp=60F
Low Flow indicator LED is off also. The water is moving very well.

Is it possible I need to disconnect it and "clean" it after only one year? There is a LED light indication for that, but it is NOT on.

I understand to clean it you need to buy a cap for one end, remove SWG from the unions at both ends...put cap in place and pour in a 5:1 ratio of water:muriatic acid...let it bubble for a while and rinse after bubbling stops.

I travel on occasion for my job....this SWG was fantastic last year. It really took a lot of hassle with maintenance off my hands.

Any ideas on what I should do next?
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
10,488
Bedford, TX
#2
Mark,

I have three IC-40's and they all operate about the same... Any reading when the water temperature is below about 65 to 70 degrees is suspect. Mine always read lower on salt then is actually in the pool.

I would not get too concerned until the water temp comes up some. They only read the salt twice a day.. in my case they will often read low salt in the morning and ok salt in the afternoon just because of the water temperature this time of year.

The IC40 has two low salt readings.. One is "low salt" and the other is "very low salt". The SWCG will still make chlorine with low salt, but will shut off with very low salt. Without an automation system I don't believe that you can tell the difference between "low salt" and "very low salt"..

I have the cap that you use to clean the cell. More money than it is worth, but I think it would be pretty hard to clean without it.

Edit.. and I agree, a SWCG takes all the work out of pool maintenance...

Thanks,

Jim R
 

mmcwhorter

Bronze Supporter
Jul 13, 2015
79
Huntingtown, MD
#3
Thanks Jim, I'll sit tight till the pool water temp rises. I was hoping this was the case. We shall see.
I opened the pool up a little earlier than normal time this year, and the next week or two is going to be in the in the mid-40s for overnight lows. Or perhaps I'll run the spa with the heater on, and kick it up to 75F to see what happens. Once again, thank you for the reply.

- - - Updated - - -

ALSO......Do you know: Where would I be able to buy this cap for cleaning the IC-40? I'm assuming I'll not need to clean it till the "Inspect Cell" LED starts lighting up.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
12,819
#4
Try this:
Press and hold the "More" button for about 5 seconds. Record what percent lights light up. Then press the "More" button again and record what percent lights light up.
 

mmcwhorter

Bronze Supporter
Jul 13, 2015
79
Huntingtown, MD
#6
Thanks JamesW: A month later still no CL being produced. Yesterday was 0.5 ppm CL...ran it for 12 hours at 100% CL generation and today it's at 0 ppm. Water still around 68 F. Need to add a little CALHYPO68 or Bleach today to get it up to at least 2-3 ppm and I'll continue watching it.

To your suggestion: I held the MORE button for 5 seconds....and lights started scrolling and flashing. When they stopped...I had COLD WATER RED, LOW SALT RED, and FLOW GREEN. Then it quickly went back to the normal operating light position (100% CL setting, FLOW GREEN, LOW SALT). During the normal operation, cold water indicator LED is NOT RED, it's off.

I had a 2430 ppm Salt measurement a month ago and added 4-40 lb bags. Pool Math says I should be around 3400 ppm....which is perfect. I'm headed down to the pool store to get another salt reading today. They are useful for that, and to buy Muriatic Acid (LOL).

The unit has been in place for one half of last year, so it ran from approx. July to pool close in early Nov. I usually open late March and close early Nov. So, is it possible it needs an acid bath already?

Thanks all

- - - Updated - - -

Thanks...it's 20 bucks, but worth it as I'm sure I'll need to be cleaned soon.
 

mmcwhorter

Bronze Supporter
Jul 13, 2015
79
Huntingtown, MD
#7
To get the water temop thru the IC-40 up, I had an idea a week ago to run the SPA heater for a day closed loop in only the small spillover Jacuzzi pool.......took it up to about 82 F. Maybe 6-8 hours. And still...low salt LED stays on. Someone mentioned it only reads the salt 2x per day. Maybe it was not on long enough time? I hate to waste perfectly good propane though. LOL. Have not tried again. So, still troubleshooting this issue and adding CL from Bleach and/or CALHYPO68 in small doses...trying to keep the CL at 2 ppm so if the CL Gen kicks on, I'll know it. Today we hit 85F air temp. Pool should be starting to warm up a bit more. Gonna measure the salt content again later today.
 

ping

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 24, 2011
2,931
Long Beach, CA
#8
Remove the cell and inspect it for scale. It only needs to be cleaned if there is scale inside it.

Many SWG systems have check cell warnings every so often as a reminder to inspect the cell for scaling. Depending on the water balance, a cell may never need to be cleaned or it might need to be cleaned weekly if the balance is wildly off.
 

mmcwhorter

Bronze Supporter
Jul 13, 2015
79
Huntingtown, MD
#9
This IC-40 does have an indicator light to designate a cleaning is required. It's off. We had some colder than expected temps, my water is back down to about 64F...still no CL being produced. But I guess at 64F no algae will be produced. Stalemate...I bought the cap in case I need to clean it. The waiting game continues. I did finally measure the salt, and it's up to 3240. Poolmath works!!!
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
12,819
#10
Pressing and holding the “More” button launches the System Status Mode. When the lights finish scrolling, the percent lights indicate hours of usage in 1,000s. For example, if the 40% light lights, that indicates 4,000 hours.

Version 3.1 on adds the ability to determine system temperature. Pressing the “More” button after the display shows 1,000s of hours of usage, will show temperature as follows:
Lights……………………Temperature
No LEDs……………………Below 30F
40%...........................36 to 45F
40% and 60%............46 to 55F
60%...........................56 to 65F
60% and 80%.............66 to 75F
80%.............................76 to 85F
80 and 100%..................86 to 95F
100%.............................96 to 99F
100% blinking…………….over 99F
All LEDs blinking…………..Sensor bad
 

blakeusa

In The Industry
Jul 8, 2010
575
Ashford, CT
#13
I would get Salt Test strips and test your water for salt.

Would not go by what the Easy Touch says for salt content as what others said when the water is below 70% they don't work right.

B
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
12,819
#14
I think that the temperature sensor is not accurate. I’m pretty sure that it’s failed.

If it’s reading the temperature as higher than actual, it will calculate the salinity as lower than actual. The above test can check for a failed sensor or a sensor that’s out of calibration.

If the sensor is bad, replacing it should help.

I would also raise the salinity to about 3,800 ppm and get the K-1766 salt test kit to monitor the salinity.

If you have a bad temperature sensor or if you're sure that the salinity is at least 3,400 ppm but it still says low salt, you should be covered under warranty.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
12,819
#15
"I held the MORE button for 5 seconds....and lights started scrolling and flashing. When they stopped...I had COLD WATER RED"

That indicates a problem with the cell. Usually a bad temperature sensor.
 

mmcwhorter

Bronze Supporter
Jul 13, 2015
79
Huntingtown, MD
#16
Hi Folks, thanks for all the great advice. It will be put to practice later today.
I'll first add a little salt. Last measurement 10 days ago was 3240.

Still trying to solve this dilemma....:-(

Water temp up to +74-79F here lately. Unit still not not producing chlorine as of yesterday, had FC=0 and I added Cal-Hypo to get it up to around 6-7 ppm. Water in good balance otherwise.

With water temp this AM at +74F, and holding MORE for 5 seconds.... I got the result in the pic below. Interesting, out of 6 tries the COLD WATER RED flashed four times, and was solid the other two tries. Note that none of the 0%-20%-40%-60%-80%-100% lights came on...this unit has had 1/2 a season last year. 3-4 months tops.

First, I think I'll break down and just clean the cell with acid later today. I bought the darn cap for $20, might as well use it... :)

Question: Should I use 50-50 water/liquid acid, full strength? Other? (I have seen some differing opinions on this in the You Tube world).

JamesW: I'm not sure I understand your procedure to determine IC-40 system water temp (or even if I have version 3.1). I don't know if I do or not...it is less than one year old. But I do know when I press the MORE button for several seconds, It blinks/scrolls quickly and stops with some lights on/off only for 2-3 seconds... then goes right back to normal operation as it was before pressing the MORE button.... My question: IF I have 3.1...When do I press the more button to get what the system thinks the temp is? If my temp sensor is bad, this would crucial to know what it is reading...
FullSizeRender.jpg
 

bongardjm

Gold Supporter
Aug 12, 2014
37
Canton MI
#17
Just an idea --sometimes at spring startup when my Intellichlor salt cell still says low salt (usually due to cold water), and then the water gets above 70 and it still says low salt I will trip the breaker for the cell (in my mind kind of like a reboot) and then start it back up and the low salt light goes off and the Green Good light is on.....just a thought before you buy an replacement sensors to try
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,488
Tucson, AZ
#18
You should never use concentrated MA to clean a cell; that will destroy the plates and damage the coatings. A 5:1 (water:MA) dilution is MORE than enough acid to clean the plates with. In fact, if you pull the cell and you don't see any visible scale, don't even bother acid cleaning as all it does is shorten the cells lifetime.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
12,819
#19
Press and hold the more button until the lights scroll. Then note what the cold water led shows and what % leds light up. Then quickly push the more button again and again note what the cold water led shows and what the % LEDs show.

I'm pretty sure that your temperature sensor is bad. I would recommend filing a warranty claim.

Cold Water LED blinking means system thinks that the water temperature is over 99F. Solid red means bad sensor.

Don't acid wash the cell unless you see scale buildup. And then only the weakest acid possible.
 

mmcwhorter

Bronze Supporter
Jul 13, 2015
79
Huntingtown, MD
#20
JoyfulNoise: Copy that on concentrated MA for the cleaning. I was hearing 5:1 and my "pool guy" who ONLY removes and installs the cover recommended straight acid, maybe he wants to sell me one soon...I was immediately skeptical. Most You Tube Vids stated 5:1 also.

James W: I'll try the procedure.

Bondgarjm: same thing...I'll try a reboot and report back

I'm ready to take it apart this evening and inspect for scale. Thank God for the union connectors. FC was 0.5 this morning.... after adding a gallon of 8% bleach and 20 oz of Cal-Hypo something like 4 days ago. Obviously SWG not producing CL, but the water is still clear. :)