A saltwater pool cell can be defined as a filtering system.
By using the process of electrolysis, it turns salt into chlorine in a swimming pool.
The saltwater pool cell consists of two main components namely the cell and the control.
The other common names of salt water cells are:
1. Salt Generator
2. Chlorine Generator
3. Salt Chlorinator
One of the most important benefits of salt water pool cell is that it reduces the corrosion of pool water equipment.
It also prevents the bleaching of swimsuits.
But you need to keep the salt concentration of pool water in the range of 2500 to 4000 ppm.
It helps to maintain the freshness and cleanliness of the water.
Saltwater cells demand periodic cleaning.
This is because various hard water minerals and calcium start to build up gradually inside the device.
It affects the efficiency of the cell negatively and may cause health hazards for swimmers later on.
After years of experience, I can say the best and the most cost-effective method of cleaning saltwater pool cells is by using vinegar.
For this process, you will need two basic components namely:
2. A nozzle that supports high pressure
White distilled vinegar is a common item easily available in the offline market as well as in online stores such as Amazon.
7 Steps to Clean Salt Water Pool Cells using White Vinegar
The cleaning process for saltwater pool cells involves 7 simple steps.
I suggest to follow them properly to get the best cleaning results.
Step 1: First, you need to turn the salt chlorinator or chlorine generator off.
Then unplug the device from its power source.
Step 2: You need to detach the cell completely.
Then, inspect the filters.
If you find mineral deposits that are dry, flaky, and white then you need to follow the below-mentioned step 3 and so on.
Please note that if no mineral deposits are found, there is no need for further cleaning.
You need to put the cell back and recheck it after a month.
Step 3: The next step is to close the side of the salt cell that is attached to the cord with a cap.
Step 4: Slowly fill the salt cell with white distilled vinegar.
Then, in an empty bucket, keep the device untouched for 24 hours.
Step 5: Once the time is over, empty the salt cell.
Step 6: Now, you need to thoroughly rinse the cell with the high-pressure nozzle for a few minutes.
Step 7: After the cleaning process is over, reconnect the device in its original position.
This is the actual cleaning process which I try to follow whenever there is debris or dirt inside the saltwater pool cells.
White distilled vinegar is the best safe cleaning agent for removing the dirt from saltwater cells.
I am sure you will get the same cleaning results if you follow the above 7 steps religiously.
FAQs Related to Cleaning of Saltwater Pool Cells with Vinegar
Can You Really Use Vinegar to Clean Pool Salt Cells?
Yes, as per my knowledge, I can recommend using vinegar to clean pool salt cells.
The white distilled vinegar is very efficient as well as a cost-effective cleaning agent.
5 Benefits of Using White Distilled Vinegar as a Cleaning Agent
Benefit 1: It is mild acidic in nature and can efficiently remove hard water minerals, calcium, and limescale build-ups from any swimming pool equipment.
Benefit 2: It is less harsh than muriatic acid and that’s why it is not that harmful for your health too.
Benefit 3: White distilled vinegar is not expensive and very eco friendly too.
Therefore, you can save some money instead of buying expensive cleaning solutions.
Benefit 4: The cleaning process using white distilled vinegar is very simple.
You don’t not need a professional help for using vinegar to clean your swimming pool equipment.
Benefit 5: This white vinegar is easily available in the offline market as well as in online stores such as Amazon.
How Often Do You Need to Clean Salt Water Pool Cells?
Ideally, saltwater pool cells should be cleaned at least 2 to 3 times in a year.
The cleaning interval depends on the frequency of accumulation of calcium or mineral buildup on the salt cell.
You should also remember that too much cleaning is also harmful.
It affects the durability of the salt cell.
4 Signs Showing When Cleaning of Saltwater Pool Cell is Needed
When the calcium and other mineral buildup gets accumulated in the cell, it displays certain warning signs such as:
1. Recurring algae formation in pool water
2. The level of chlorine is very low
3. Formation of scaling on salt cell electrodes
4. White flakes or calcium deposits come out of the return jet of the swimming pool.
The appearance of one or more of these signs indicates that the salt cell requires cleaning immediately.
3 Factors Affecting How often You Need Cleaning of Saltwater Pool Cell
There are a few factors that affect the cleaning interval of salt cells.
Let us discuss them one by one.
Factor 1: High pH of Pool Water
Through the process of electrolysis, the salt cell turns salt water into chlorine.
But, the by-products thus formed in the process, alter the pH of your pool water.
If the pH is high, the rate of calcium scaling will also be high.
So, the only way to control this situation is to maintain the pH within 7.2 to 7.6.
Hence regular pH monitoring is advisable.
You can easily monitor pH levels with a digital pH test kit.
Such kits are available in the offline market as well as on online platforms like Amazon.
Factor 2: Salt Cell Scaling increases in Warm Water
Warm water in the pool may be soothing but the calcium build-up is more frequent in such warm water.
As a result of which salt cell scaling can also take place more rapidly in this water.
Hence frequent cleaning is required in warm water pool.
Factor 3: Water Rich in Calcium increases Salt Cell Scaling
Hard water contains a high amount of minerals like calcium.
If you fill your swimming pool with such hard water, then it can cause rapid scaling and mineral build-up on the salt cells.
The level of calcium hardness that is acceptable is 200 to 400 ppm.
I highly recommend you to avoid filling your pool with hard water as much as possible.
Most pool owners also use calcium hypochlorite for pool shock.
This causes reduction in chlorine level which in turn causes calcium buildup in the water as a by-product.
If your water is already hard, I strongly suggest not to use Cal-Hypo as a source of chlorine.
In such cases, the use of liquid chlorine is recommended.
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Can You Use CLR to Clean Salt Water Pool Cells?
If you ask my opinion, then my answer would be No.
CLR does a wonderful job as a cleaning agent because it helps to remove calcium, rust and limescale from all types of equipment quickly.
But according to some reports, CLR should never be used in swimming pools.
All swimming pool water contains chlorine.
When CLR comes in contact with chlorine of pool water, poisonous gas is produced.
This can be very harmful to our health and therefore, you should avoid CLR to clean saltwater salt cells.
3 Main Methods to Properly Clean a Saltwater Pool Cell
There are actually 3 methods that are widely used to clean a saltwater pool cell.
They are as follows.
Method 1: Cleaning Saltwater Cells Using Distilled White Vinegar
Step 1: In this process, the salt cell is first turned off and unplugged from the power source.
Step 2: Then you need to detach it completely and inspect the presence of any mineral buildup or scaling.
If you observe any of them, then you need to continue the process or else put the cell back in its original place.
Step 3: Then, recheck its condition after a month.
If scaling and mineral buildup is present, you need to close the side of the salt cell attached to the cord with a cap.
Step 4: Thereafter, fill the salt cell with distilled white vinegar and place it in an empty bucket for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, pour out the vinegar and rinse the cell with water using a high-pressure nozzle.
Step 5: Lastly, once this process is over, reconnect the device to its original spot.
Method 2: Cleaning Saltwater Pool Cells Using Muriatic Acid
Muriatic acid is a strong cleaning agent.
So, before starting the cleaning process, I recommend to wear your safety gloves, mask, and goggles.
It is advisable to carry out the process in a well-ventilated area and keep your kids and pets away.
Before starting, keep the following supplies handy:
1, A cell stand
2, A bucket
Step 1: First, in the bucket, make a solution of 8 cups of water and 1 cup of muriatic acid.
Step 2: Turn off the salt cell, unplug it from a power source and screw it into the cell stand.
Step 3: Fill the device with the solution of water and muriatic acid.
Step 4: Keep the device stand still for 10-15 minutes.
The foaming action will take place.
Step 5: After the process is over, you need to empty the solution from the device and keep it in the bucket.
Step 6: Rinse the salt cell thoroughly with water using a high-pressure garden hose.
Step 7: Lastly, unscrew the device from the stand and put it back in its original place.
Method 3: Cleaning Saltwater Pool Cells Using Commercial Salt Cell Cleaner
Commercial salt cell cleaners are specially prepared to remove calcium deposits and scaling from salt cells.
They are safe to use and are found to be very effective cleaning agents.