Salt System Repair and Troubleshooting


    First, if you are looking for an honest look at the pros and cons of putting in a Salt System, and not Repair & Troubleshooting info, Click HERE


        Certain things are important to the diagnosis of salt systems. These Include:


                1.) The overall age of the System/cell.


                            a.) Average lifespan is about 10 years on the system, and 5 years on the salt cell. Again this is average. There will be as many "systems" that make it to 15 years as there will be that die after 5 years, and as many cells that live to be 7 1/2 as that die at 2 1/2. The reason this is important is that, after these time periods, throwing money after an old system, or replacing a cell when the system itself is due to die at any time, makes no sense.


                  2.) The quality of the system installed:


a.) Did you spend more than $1300 on a system for your play pool or $1700 for your diving pool?



b.) Does your manual state that this is a "self-cleaning" salt system, or does it say nothing about "self" anything, anywhere.


        This is important because, if you have a cheap, non-self cleaning system, even the very next week after you get the system, you may have to pull apart and acid wash the element following the manufacturers recommendations. Then you may have to do this every single week during the summer, OR EVEN MORE FREQUENTLY THAN THAT, to keep the system functional. Yep, you may have bought a system that will cost you a lot more than money. Click HERE for more on the differences, and what to expect. 


    3.) Get a copy of the manual for your exact unit: Get the make, model, … and do an internet search on the manual for your exact model.

              This is essential because every manufacturer has different standards, requirements, levels, ... sometimes for each different system they make, and if you violate even one of them, they will use that as an excuse to void your warrantee.
Some Specific Questions and Answers:
1.) Q: My Salt System reads low salt, but I brought a sample down to the pool supply store, and looked in the manual for my exact system, and my levels are exactly as they should be. What's going on?
        A: Most Salt cells, when they die, show this error. Chances are that you need a new salt cell. Check your manufactures web site, or e-mail them, to be sure, but, for most, this is a sign that they are gone. If your entire system is over 10 years old, DO NOT REPLACE THE CELL, if you are going to keep a salt system, replace the entire system. I don't know of any "systems" that have lived to 15 years. You can buy a "cell" tomorrow, and the very strain of hooking up a new cell can fry the rest of the unit. Sorry, no returns on cells. Manufacturers rules. Please read the section on Chlorination and Sanitation first though. Click HERE.
2.) Q: I was told that I have an expensive "self cleaning" unit, yet I am having to clean it all the time because the "Clean Element" Light keeps coming on. What's wrong? 
            A1: You have probably been saving all of that money by not doing your annual pool drains, where you drain every inch of your water out, refill the pool, restabilize the chlorine, re-add all of the salt, ... and so, ... you may have to clean your self-cleaning, expensive system up to once a week. Shoot, I had people who didn't have the self-cleaning system who had to clean their elements every other day.  
            A2: You might have a cartridge filter with older, calcified, or dirty elements (Possibly n conjunction with not draining as is listed above), which can cause the filter to lift up, and all of the dirt and debris to go directly into the salt cell. While acid-washing will not remove the dirt and debris, it can sometimes reset the indicator for a short period of time. Same with having a D.E> filter with torn grids, damaged laterals, ...
3.) If you have questions beyond these, read the rest of the information on salt systems (Click HERE), then go ahead and drop me an e-mail at, and I'll get you an answer as soon as I can.