Just because salt chlorination is largely an automated process doesn’t mean it is maintenance-free. Here are a few tips for
keeping the system functioning in top form, and preventing many
problems before they start.
Practice cell hygiene.
Salt cells are designed to degrade over time as they provide ions
for the chlorine-generation reaction. Though cells often will last
a year or more, high bather loads or poor water chemistry can wear
them out much more rapidly. Thus, it’s crucial to visually
inspect the cells at least once a month, and clean or replace them
as they show signs of wear and tear.
Using treatment products that are specifically tailored for
saltwater pools will provide superior performance in the long run.
Salt isn’t all just salt; chemicals such as copper and
phosphates are common in many brands not tailored for salt
chlorination. So use a reputable brand, and check the label to make
sure you know what else is being added to the water. That awareness
will go a long way toward preventing problems.
Test, test, test.
Testing water regularly — at least weekly for chlorine and
pH, and monthly for parameters such as total alkalinity, calcium
hardness and cyanuric acid — will provide a clear idea of
where the water chemistry is headed, and what’s needed to
prevent common issues like calcium scale. A little regular
rebalancing often is all that’s needed.