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Should I Remove the Salt Cell in Preparation for the Winter Months?


When preparing your salt water swimming pool for the cold winter months there is a standard chain of events that needs to take place.This will ensure that your pool will ride out the season without any wear and tear from the elements, an unwanted surprise for any home owner. Homeowners who use a Salt Water Chlorine Generator in their swimming pool have additional worries!

Pool owners constantly ask us questions about winterizing or closing their pools. Recently, questions about salt cells have been trending. Salt Chlorination has been gaining in popularity for decades as a clean, reliable, eco-friendly, and efficient way to keep swimming pools sanitized. Many pool owners have been asking us “What in the world do I do with my salt cell during the winter? Your Salt Cell is a pretty smart piece of equipment. When the temperature gets below 60 degrees Fahrenheit or so your cell will most likely shut itself off automatically. This will lengthen the life of the cell and protect your investment.

How it works:

During the winter months the amount of chlorine needed to keep a pool clean is substantially reduced due to the fact that bacteria doesn’t grow in cold temperatures (around 50 degrees Fahrenheit or so). The salt cell is programmed so that it recognizes the temperature drop and makes the decision to shut itself off. This is great news for the customer (you) because it increases the lifespan of the cell, uses less chlorine or harsh chemicals in the swimming pool, and saves you money.

Should I remove it?

Some of you might be thinking that the salt cell is okay to stay in your swimming pool. While this can be true depending on your location, during the colder months you risk the potential of water damage due to freezing throughout your salt cell and equipment. Manufacturers will most likely advise you to remove, clean, and store the unit indoors to avoid any damage. In fact, some manufacturers offer a dummy cell which fits in place of your existing salt cell. A dummy cell is a mock salt cell, basically a non-functioning piece that takes the spot of your existing salt cell for the winter. If you’re a visual person like myself and need to see the dummy cell or want to purchase one we offer the Hayward GLX-Cell Pipe Dummy and the Zodiac 82-027 Straight Pipe.

Pool owners living in climates that don’t experience harsh or particularly cold winters may risk leaving the cell out for the winter, but others will have peace of mind taking their unit in for the winter. The benefit here is that during the winter you can increase the lifespan of your salt cell while saving money on traditional chlorine methods. Increasing the lifespan of your salt cell while saving money on pool chemicals is definitely a benefit for your wallet!

What do I do if my salt cell is already damaged?

If you have left your salt cell in for the winter and are noticing low chlorine levels within your pool, check your salt cell for any damage. Unfortunately, during the harsh winter months water can freeze and expand, ultimately damaging the housing that surrounds the cell or moves the electrode plates. Although electrode plates can be replaced it can be almost as pricey as buying a new salt cell for your system. The best way to fix this is prevent it from happening. New replacement parts for your salt cell can be found here.

We’re here to help! Just leave us a comment below or get in touch with us here.

When Kevin’s not enjoying the water himself he’s engaging himself in the wide world of pool and spa knowledge which he passes on to our customers through producing content for our blogs and website. Outside of the pool world you can find him enjoying life with friends, family and his off the wall dog Brixton.
  • Dave in NC

    I live in Raleigh and have kept my T-cell 15 in place for 7 years now…great product. Perhaps our climate is moderate enough, or could explain why my water temp is reporting flaky numbers lately. I use freeze protect, but it’s been really cold this winter, temps down to teens at night several time this year, when normally they barely get below freezing….brrr! So I’m shopping for a new unit, even though the chlorination seems to be working. This site has been very helpful, thanks.

    • http://PoolSupplyWorld.com/ Whitney (PoolSupplyWorld)

      You’re very welcome and glad we could provide some helpful information! Thank you for visiting our website. If there is anything that comes up with which you have questions about, just let us know. Most cells will last on average from 3-5 years so it sounds like it might be time for a replacement. You can see all of our salt cells at: http://www.poolsupplyworld.com/salt-cells.htm?cmpid=nav_top

      • Dave in NC

        I did order a new cell from your site, looking forward to installing and putting to use next month.

        • http://PoolSupplyWorld.com/ Whitney (PoolSupplyWorld)

          That’s awesome! I’m glad you were able to find what you were looking for. Please let us know if you need any additional help with you cell. Have a great day!