Does Putting The Chemical Chlorine In A Salt System Pool Cause Damage?

by G

The pool maintenance service we use says they just put chlorine in the salt system pool because the salt system doesn't seem to be working.

They seem to have done this a number of times over the past 4+ years and when I've questioned they said it's just chlorine which is what the salt system produces.

I thought I'd heard that wasn't good.

Help, I'm concerned.

Is that something we should be worried about?

Does it damage the salt system.

Thanks for the question

I will assume everything in the question is 100% accurate and I have all the details.

I absolutely know for a fact that pool service companies are a dime a dozen in the Phoenix/Mesa area.

I had my own pool route there for years.

If your pool guy has put chlorine in the pool, then says he's doing so because the chlorine generator is not working, ask him why it's not working and what is he going to do to fix it?

The short answer is no, low levels of chlorine between 1.5 - 3.5ppm shouldn't damage the system.

This is the range that you want your chlorine to be.

But the big question is, again, why they're not taking the steps to fix the problem. That's why you have a chlorine make chlorine for you, using salt.

And that's why you have a pool service, to take care of your pool so you don't have to.

You want to have fun and swim and not need to worry about whether the chemicals are balanced correctly, right?

Hypochlorus acid is still what the system produces to keep your pool sanitized.

If the question is correct, which I think it is, there's only 1 of 2 possibilities:

1. He doesn't know what to do and how to fix it

2. He knows what to do and how to fix it, he's just lazy

If he takes offense to this, ask him why he hasn't fixed the salt cell. If this has been going on for 4 years, why hasn't he done anything?

Ask to see his records for your pool. How much
salt does he put in? Or is this your responsibility?

Ask him how he checks the salt. Is the salinity in range? Is it accurate? How does he know it's accurate?

Is he basing it on pushing a button on the salt cell, or is he taking a manual reading and comparing that to the salt cell?

What salinity meter does he use? Is that properly calibrated? How does he calibrate it?

If not, why not?

I've used an analog Myron Salt Meter from TMI Salt Pure for the last 3 years for the YMCA salt pool (80,000 gallons).

I calibrate it once per month with salinity water that I get from TMI. Their salt water is set at 3000ppm.

You can see a picture of it here:

Salt Water Swimming Pools

And check out this page on salt cells:

Chlorine Generator

Here's another good post from a concerned salt water pool owner:

Are These Salt Water Pool Balance Readings Right?

The only time the chlorine generator needs to be turned for chlorine is when you need to shock the pool.

You'll only want this done when the chloramine readings get above 0.6ppm for 3 consecutive days.

By the way, are you being charged for chemicals?

I know there are several pool services that charge a flat monthly rate, chemicals included.

Sorry, but you got my hackles up a bit.

Pool owners entrust and pay others to maintain their $30,000 investment.

When shotty work is done it gives real pool guys, like me who busted their butts everyday in the sweltering heat of Arizona to give their customers the very best, a bad name.

Show him this post. Show him your question and my answers. Ask him the questions above.

Hold his feet to the fire. My customers did to me and that made me an excellent pool guy.

If you'd like to comment or ask another question, you can see your post on the salt water pool page (link is above) and the pool Q&A page in the "Salt Water Pool" category.

Swimming Pool Questions and Answers

Hope this helps and have a great Summer.


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Saltwater Filter Problems

by Kandy

I set up pool and saltwater filter worked fine then had a rain.

The filter started beeping low salt have put more salt in and still say low salt so put more in.

Did this several times. About 2lbs salt every time it still is saying low salt.

What is wrong or am I doing something wrong? You can taste salt in water.

Please help

Thanks for the question Kandy

Being that the question doesn't give the size of the pool, nor the kind of chlorine generator, I can really only guess the answer. There could be several reasons why your salt cell is not registering any salt:

- You may not be adding enough salt. For an average 20,000 gallon pool you will need 7-10 50lb. bags to bring your saline level to the correct reading of 3000-4000.

- You need to allow for one full turnover of the water to have a correct reading. This is normally about 8 - 10 hours.

- The salt cell board might be going bad, which will not give a good reading

- Wrong kind of salt. Be sure you're using food grade salt. Keep the filter on and sweep until all of the salt is dissolved. I used Champions Choice for the YMCA salt pool:

Which Salt To Use In A Salt Water Swimming Pool?

- You need to be manually testing the salinity of the water against the reading on the salt cell. Just going on the salt cell can give a false reading. A picture of the salt meter I used is here:

Salt Water Swimming Pools

You can get this analog meter from TMI Salt Pure. They also have saline water to calibrate the meter.

- Your salt cell might need to be cleaned

Try these troubleshooting tips and let me know how it turns out for you.

Best of luck.


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Salt Water CODE 90

by Jessica

We just purchased the intex salt water pump for our above ground pool size 18'x48 inches. The pump ran great for 2 wks.

The pump has been given the code 90 for about a week. We have changed the filter to the pool pump. What else can be wrong?

Thanks for the question Jessica

Code 90 is low flow. This can happen often with chlorine generators and can be troublesome.

First I'd encourage you to watch a video on YouTube I just did about low flow. You can find that here:

Next is to be sure the flow sensor is clean. Do you have a sensor or an adapter near the skimmer? Check that to be sure it's working properly and clean. If you clean it try backwashing and rinse to clear any dirt inside the plumbing.

You can also turn the skimmer off. If running the skimmer reduces the flow it could cause the 90 error. The problem would then be in the skimmer. Possible blockage that can be cleared using a water bladder. That's covered in the video. Also be sure both the skimmer and pump baskets are clean.

If you feel your situation is more complex than this, I do phone consultations for a donation of your choice. It makes things go much faster and many people have found it extremely beneficial, saving them time and money in the long run. All your questions will be answered. I have nothing to sell you so you know I'm not bias.

Pool Consultation

Hope this helps and have a great Summer.


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