Time to replace SWG

Otis Campbell

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 5, 2013
115
Lewisville, TX
My pool build was completed in September of 2013. Last summer it became more and more difficult to maintain my salt levels. I was running 18 hours a day at 100% and still needed to add bleach every week or so to get back up to 6ppm. Toward the end of the summer I started getting inaccurate salt level readings off the EasyTouch diagnostics. It would show salt levels either significantly higher or lower than what I got with strips and at the pool store. Low was especially bad as I believe the SWG doesn't run when it thinks there isn't enough salt. Finally, immediately after I cleaned the cell towards the end of the summer it started giving me the "check cell" message intermittently.

So I'm planning to replace it in the next few weeks. I am seriously considering bumping up to the IC60. From the beginning the IC40 has struggled to maintain adequate chlorine levels in the hottest months of the summer. Maybe it was too small to start with or just wasn't a good SWG. I don't know. What I do know is when I talk to my neighbors with IC40's and I read reports on TFP everyone seems to be running their SWG much less than I am.

So I have two questions.

1. Opinions on me stepping up to the IC60?
2. Thoughts about doing this myself. I've read that if I buy it and install it myself I only get a 60 day warranty from Pentair. However I can find the IC 60 on the internet around $750 vs MSRP of $1,400. So I figure after installation I'm looking at $1,600 which comes out to $800+ for a warranty. I'm not sure about the value proposition there. It looks like it is a simple plug and play installation.

TIA for any and all insights and advice.
 

BasicTek

Bronze Supporter
Oct 9, 2016
875
Lake Mary, FL
Unless your pool is loosing tons of water maintaining salt should not be a concern, it doesn't get used up by the SWG only spilled out. I've added I think 1 bag since the summer.

That being said it is recommended to have your SWG sized at least 2x the size of your pool 3x is often better but the ic60 is as high as you can go keeping the rest of your equipment. Unless you want to change brands and not have automation that's really your only choice.

I can't comment on Pentair's lame warranty policy as I have a hayward and their warranty is the same either way, but they don't have a 60K you need.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
47,989
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Do you have Pentair automation? If so, can you add that to your signature?

The IC60 is a better fit for your pool. The IC40 would have needed to be run at 100% output for about 18 hours per day in the summer to keep up.

Maintaining a CYA level of 80 ppm will also assist your SWCG in performing better.

Take care.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
26,066
Bedford, TX
Otis,

Since you already have the SWCG power supply then all you need is the cell itself. I would go with the IC60..

But... the first thing I would do is to run an Overnight Chlorine Loss Test Overnight Chlorine Loss Test just to make sure you know ahead of time that you are not fighting low level algae. If you were having to run your system a lot more than you neighbors than maybe the cell was not the whole problem. The OCLT is pretty easy to do and is a good confidence builder about the status of your pool water.

The primary reason that the Pentair cells have issues with their salt readings is the poor reliability of their flow switch/temperature probe... Some seem to last forever and others only about 2 microseconds... :p If there is any good news it is a pretty easy DIY fix and costs less than $100 bucks.

Thanks for posting,

Jim R.
 

Otis Campbell

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 5, 2013
115
Lewisville, TX
Thanks for the insightful replies.

@mknauss I do keep up with my CYA. We had a lot of rain last summer so I was adding CYA more often than previous summers but I did maintain 70-80 throughout the summer. I'm not sure if I have Pentair automation :confused: As I mentioned in my post I do have EasyTouch. Is that the same thing? Once I understand if I have it or not I will update my signature accordingly. Thanks.

@Jimrahbe, Thanks for the suggestion of running an OCLT. I did have a little algae issue last summer as my SWG was struggling. I performed a SLAM on my pool and passed the OCLT. Afterward my SWG continued to struggle to maintain necessary chlorine levels.

Sounds like the IC60 is the way to go. I'll wait a few days to see if I get any comments on the warranty question.
 

ping

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 24, 2011
3,158
Long Beach, CA
I'm not sure how the Pentair warranty works when you are replacing a used cell. Call them up and ask if you get the full warranty when replacing an old worn out cell and let us know what Pentair says.

Easytouch is Pentair automation, please add it to your signature. Without a doubt go with the IC-60 cell due to the automation and pool size.
 

Otis Campbell

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 5, 2013
115
Lewisville, TX
Updating this post with my final action and warranty conclusion. I didn't call Pentair. Their website is very clear that your SWG must be installed by a licensed contractor in order to get the 1 year warranty. You can pull a pdf of the warranty card on their website.

I got a price from a pool service I've used before. An IC 60 installed would have been around $1,400. I found an IC 60 at Amazon for $735 which is closer to $700 after the 5% cash back for using my Amazon VISA. I decided that I would self-insure the risk rather than pay $700 for 10 months of coverage.

So I bought the IC 60 and dropped it in Saturday afternoon. It took about 7 minutes. After I turned the power back on, the new SWG fired up fine. My salt level, which had been reported as "low" for weeks showed 3600 on the Diagnostics menu on my EasyTouch. The "check cell" warning was clear and "flow" was green. I turn on "super chlorination" as my FC tested 0.5 right before I installed the new SWG. Sunday afternoon, after about 20 hours runtime, the FC was up to 5.0. So everything seems to be working fine.

The salt level reading on the EasyTouch did drop to 3200 on Sunday but strips are showing closer to 4000. I'll keep an eye on that. I'm also slowing bringing my CYA up as it had fallen below target. All in all a good outcome.

Thanks for all the input. I'll update this post if anything of interest takes place.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
26,066
Bedford, TX
Otis,

Pentair cells are very sensitive to water temp, so when the water is colder the cell will read a lower salt level.. Also, the cell only reports twice a day, so if it tests the salt level at 6 am, it won't test again until about 6 pm... I often have a different reading in the morning vs. what I get in the late afternoon...

Jim R.
 
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