Pentair Intellichlor Red Flow Light / Red Salt Level Problem


New member
Nov 22, 2014
Bartow FL

I'm hoping some of the experts here can be of more help than Pentair has been.

It is an Intellichlor IC40, manufactured 9/21/2011, version 2.02. Had been working fine until a couple of months ago, when one of the green lights on the % chlorination generation went out. Pentair said nothing could be done, and it was still working.

Now, it has stopped working, 0% chlorine output and no chlorine in the pool. I acid cleaned the cell, which was definitely in need of cleaning. I cleaned the DE Filter and replaced the DE for it too, but the pressure gauge for it isn't working. Opened all return lines to further reduce any flow restrictions, which I don't think was the problem. Water tested, confirmed salt level of 3300. No phosphates, as I had to ask for the extra test per Pentair's flow-chart of unhelpfulness. Increased the speed of the pump, even to the highest setting with no change, so I've reset it back to normal.

The red light is lit continuously for Flow, as is the red light, continuously, for the salt level. No other lights are on. The EZ Touch system says "No Communication / Wait 5 minutes," which by now days later isn't going to be communicating with this cell any time soon. The little green light is lit for the EZ Touch system indicating that its portion of the Intellichlor control is working fine.

It has been a bit cool here in Florida, I don't think I'd want to be swimming in it at this temperature, but I don't think that should be the problem.

My suspicion is it is the flow sensor. But, I don't know how to check, and I haven't been able to find anybody around here who can either. The local pool place said they stopped selling the Pentair Intellichlor, which I guess indicates something. In the six years, I have replaced the original cell after about three years, and now there is a problem with this one. They claim a five-year lifespan, but reality is obviously different as I have seen during my research online.

So, is it worth attempting to check the flow sensor? Even if it is the problem, it is a $100 part, toward a three year old questionable unit. Replacing the unit is about $500 or so, which of course I can do myself. Abandoning the salt-water system is undesirable, as I'd be back to buying chemicals, and replacing the Intellichlor with a Hayward would involve about a $1000 investment, so it would have to last twice as long to be worthwhile. The pool store person said though that at that point the Hayward unit could replace individual components, instead of as the Pentair unit being disposable.

Also, if I replace the IC40 I have, I could go with the IC20 and run it closer to 80% to 100% instead of the 40% to 60% I've had the IC40 set on. That would save about $50. It seems the units go bad long before the lifespan runs out, so with an IC20 I'd have used up more of its lifespan.

So that's the dilemma I'm hoping somebody here can help with.

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Divin Dave

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 2, 2013
Longview, Texas
It sounds like a flow sensor to me, but I dont know how to check it either. If it was cold water, it would power down all of the lights except for the water temp light.

Pool Clown

In The Industry
Sep 5, 2008
Silicon Valley, CA
Also, you may only be getting three years out of your cell if you run the pump longer per day. Pentair says 5 years is typical if running +/- 8 hr days. Cells are rated for 10,000 hrs. so you can see how 5 years could really be 3. The variable speed pumps would like to see you run 10hrs+ per day. You would see less life from a iC20 as you would have to run higher percent (longer cell run time) or longer pump time to keep up with needed Cl level. Cell life is increased when you over rate the cell for the pool.

just sayin...