• Solar powered systems
  • Inspect cell light triggered
  • Low salt light/adding salt

I have several salt pools that converted their power to solar. But the flow provided by the solar energy is not enough to generate enough chlorine with the cell. The cells need 20 gpm to generate the chlorine, and the water is just trickling through the system. The solar power is also putting heaters into service mode because there is not enough water flow, and they overheat, which trips the internal sensor. I would love to hear the best solution for this.

Jack Beane:

It sounds like you’d need an enormous collector to produce the wattage needed for a 1 to 1 ½ hp pump.

There are some situations where solar-powered pumps just aren’t applicable. This appears to be one of those.

The “inspect cell” light is flashing on my salt system, but when I check the cell, it’s OK. Why is it still flashing?

David H. Rude, Jr.:

I suggest reviewing the chlorine generator manufacturer’s owner’s manual. Refer to the troubleshooting section. In my experience with the chlorine generator installed for my pool, the “inspect cell” indication occurs every two or three months, which seems to coincide perfectly with the time period for a cell cleaning, which is one of the few basic requirements for a pool with a chlorine generator.

The “low salt” light is flashing. How much salt should I add to a 15,000-gallon pool, and how should I add it?

Jack Beane:

It could be that the probe needs to be cleaned, and the salt level is actually fine.

I wouldn’t rely simply on an electrode in the water without also confirming the salt levels with a test strip, or with the silver nitrate method, which involves a little math. Electronics are great, and you can depend on them — as long as you verify that they’re telling you the truth.

Bob Harper:

Pool salt is typically 99.8 percent pure NaCl.  Most commonly, it is packaged in a 40-lb. bag, meaning one bag per 1,500 gallons of water will establish a 3,200 ppm salt residual in a fresh fill scenario. Thirty-two hundred ppm of salt is adequate for the majority of electrolytic chlorine generators (ECGs), so in the example, one would add ten 40-lb. bags to a freshly filled pool.  In an existing saltwater pool, one would test the salt level (I prefer test strips or a battery-operated meter to the ECGs readings). 

ECGs typically don’t really read salt.  The salt reading is usually just an algorithm based on the electrical current and water temperature. However, it is important to know the acceptable range of salt recommended by the manufacturer of the ECG, as they do vary. I recommend ultimately shooting for the high end of the range. 

One also needs to be certain of the pool’s exact gallonage. If unsure, start on the low end and work upward. It’s better to initially under-salt and have to add more vs. over-salt and have to drain water (and salt) out.

Salt should be added by pouring it along the edge of the pool, preferably in the deeper end with the pump running. Once added, brush the salt, not allowing it to settle and lay in any one spot for very long, until it’s completely dissolved.

David H. Rude, Jr.:

Refer to the owner’s manual for the requirements on salt levels. Most owner’s manuals are also available on the chlorine generator manufacturer’s Website.