Home Customer Q&A

When Should I Replace My Salt Cell?

Most salt chlorine generators have a salt cell that lasts typically from 3 to 5 years, you should check with the manufacturer to double check the life expectancy. Most salt chlorine systems come with a control panel or a self regulating system that will tell you when the cell needs to be cleaned or replaced. Even though salt systems are lower maintenance you should still check inside your salt cell to make sure there is minimal build up on the metal plates.
A few key signs to look for:
  • Blue/green soapy discharge forming inside the cell
  • Scale and mineral salt deposits building up
  • Chlorine level drop resulting in unbalanced water
If you notice any of these symptoms, we recommend that you clean your cell or look into replacing your salt cell if cleaning doesn’t resolve the problem.
It is imperative that you inspect your cell regularly, we recommend once a week during heavy use and bi-weekly/monthly during the off season when you don’t use it as much. If you don’t check your cell, the buildup can result in an overload and damage the cell and/or power supply.
Learn more about Alternative Sanitizers and Salt cells.
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  • Vicki Jones

    My pool guy said the part I needed was GLD 45130, but we have a Jandy PureLink Water Purification System for a 16,000 gallon pool. Which of your products would the cell generator be? Thanks, Vicki

  • BISHOP GREG

    SHOULD YOU REPLACE THE FLOW SWITCH WHEN YOU REPLACE THE CELL?

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Greg, you do not have to replace the flow switch when you replace your salt cell unless the flow switch, too, is failing. If your flow switch is malfunctioning, please let us know the make and model of both your cell and switch, and we will be more than happy to help you find the proper replacement.

  • parris sadler

    what is the blue toothpaste looking substance that has just recently builtup on my chlorinator, first time in four years Regards Parris

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Parris, thank you for your great question. The blue toothpaste substance is most likely a build-up of calcium and phosphate carbonate. The blue color is a result of the dyes from a clarifier or trace amounts of copper in the water. Natural Chemistry’s Cell Protect is a great product that will prevent this from occurring. Cell Protect is a concentrated non-toxic polymer that disperses calcium molecules by adding a negative charge (like pushing two magnets together). Cell Protect also acts as a chealator and deforms calcium particles so they cannot adhere to surfaces such as cell plates. If used monthly, Cell Protect will double the life of a generator cell, and cleaning the cell with acid won’t be necessary. Please let us know if we can answer any other questions.

  • jcolling

    what about a warranty on cell.

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi J, the warranty on a salt cell will vary depending on the manufacturer. If you could please let us know the make and model of the cell you are inquiring about, we would be happy to let you know the current warranty on it.

  • malvarado

    Can you tell me how it’s the best way to clean the cell?

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Malvarado, if your salt cell doesn’t have much build-up, you should be able to clean it with water pressure, once it’s disconnected from your plumbing. If water pressure is not enough, mix up one part hydrochloric acid and five parts water in a suitable container — remember to wear gloves and eye protection since you’ll be dealing with acid. Soak the cell for 3-5 minutes, and rinse with water. We recommend inspecting the cell once a week during heavy use and every other week during the off season, and cleaning it as needed. We also recommend using Natural Chemistry Cell Protect to help prevent calcium build-up on your cell plates. Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.

  • Nikki

    Write your comment here How can i tell if my aquapure APURE1400 cell is burnt out. I can see, what looks like a burnt fuse, in the middle of the cell.

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Nikki, when there is something wrong with an AquaPure 1400 power center or cell, you will usually see a three digit service code on the LCD screen of your AquaPure’s power center. To verify if your cell has gone bad, we recommend checking the voltage through the control center: if the cell reads between 25-28V, the cell is in good condition. If it is above 28 volts, the cell has gone bad, and you will need to replace it with the Jandy AquaPure 1400 3-Port Replacement Salt System Cell. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us for immediate assistance.

    • Debra

      Do you know what goes bad in the cell when it shows a code 121? What causes the cell to “burn out”? My pool guy recommended 50% acid /water to clean. You had mentioned 1/5. Would this cause a burn out?

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Debra, code 121 on an AquaPure system means your cell isn’t getting the proper flow of current, and either the cell needs to be cleaned or there is an issue with the DC cord. It can also mean the cell is failing.

      To acid wash your cell, the manufacturer recommends using one pint of muriatic acid to two quarts of water. You should not mix it 50/50, as this will be too acidic. If cleaning the cell is not the issue, check to make sure the DC cord is secure and undamaged. If the cord is in good shape and is properly connected, you most likely need to replace the cell. Most salt cells last from three to five years, and though they should not “burn out”, as this would be a sign of a bigger electrical issue, they can display errors as they begin to fail.

      If you need a replacement cell, the Jandy AquaPure PureLink 7-Blade Cell Kit up to 12,000 Gallons is the proper replacement for the 700 cell, and the Jandy AquaLink Cell Kit for Pools up to 40,000 Gallons with 16′ Cable is the proper replacement for the 1400 cell. These are three-port cells that directly replace the older, two-port cells, and slight plumbing modifications will need to be made to accommodate the longer three-port cell. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  • Ed

    Would increasing my cell size from a SC48 to a SC60(dig60) increase the life span of the cell? Pool size is 30K gallons. However, we’re in South Louisiana and have a 10 to 11 month swim season, including hot tub use. Can the cells be repaired? What actually fails inside the cell?

  • CarlosTorres

    Hi: The light of service turn on. I cleaned up the cell and the light turn off but then it turn on again. What I should do?

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Carlos, there are several possible reasons why the service light on your salt cell is remaining on even after you’ve cleaned the cell. A low salt level in your pool water, an improperly connected or corroded power cord, a sensor that’s not plugged in or low water temperature can all cause the service light to come on. You can test the salt level in your water using AquaChek White Salt Test Strips. Another cause of the service light coming on could be that your salt cell is starting to fail.

      If the above recommended troubleshooting tips do not fix the issue, we recommend contacting a local pool service technician to diagnose the problem and determine if you need to replace your salt cell or another part. Salt cells generally last from three to five years when properly sized and maintained. If you have additional questions or need help replacing a part, please specify the type of salt chlorinator and cell you have, and we would be happy to assist you further.

  • Cindy

    Is chlorine from a salt system truly healthier? We have had tons of issues with our 4 year old salt system & are ready to convert to a chlorinator. Everything was replaced last year…sand, cell, Auto Pilot generator, but, seems like the cell burned out again since we recently cleaned, shocked, and treated the pool back to clear blue 3 times, but after a few days all chlorine is gone. Yes, cleaned the cell (there was no build up), checked connections, did a bucket test, finallly scheduled pool repairman next week. He says chlorine is chlorine & a chlorator is simple to use & he can install for about $300 total, less than a new cell. He is bringing both. Thoughts?

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Cindy, while traditional chlorine will surely sanitize your swimming pool, there are significant advantages to salt chlorine generators. Salt chlorine generators use a process called electrolysis to convert table salt to 100% pure chlorine that does not have any of the chemical waste associated with traditional chlorine sanitizers. Salt chlorine generators create silkier, softer, cleaner looking pool water, and when sized correctly should require less maintenance.

      To determine what is wrong with your AutoPilot cell, the manufacturer suggests you run the on-board diagnostics. To do this, put the unit in “boost mode”, let it run for a few minutes and then run the “test pool pilot” to get your volts and amps reading. Once you have that reading, put the unit into “forced reverse”, and run the “test pool pilot” again to get a second set of volt/amp readings. Once you have those readings, contact AutoPilot at (727) 823-5642 to provide them with your readings, which will give them a place to start figuring out what is going on with your salt chlorine generator.

      Generally, when a salt cell is properly sized and maintained it will last from three to five years. Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.

  • Cornelia Baugh

    We have just opened our pool. This will be our 5th summer. We have the AquaRite Salt System T-Cell-15. If the cell has gone bad, does this cause the water to be cloudy. I have never had a problem getting the water clear until now. We have cleaned the cell and filters.

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Cornelia, while your pool’s cloudy water may be the result of a bad cell, you’ll first want to test your water’s salt level to ensure that chlorine is still being produced. You can easily test the salt level in your water using AquaChek White Salt Test Strips. If your salt level is too low or high, your chlorinator will not generate chlorine properly.

      Next, are any LEDs lighting up on your Aqua Rite control panel? This will be your first indicator as to whether the cell has gone bad or not. Ultimately, if chlorine is being produced, try dialing up your unit’s chlorine output to see if your pool’s chlorine demand has increased.

      You may also want to check your pool for phosphates. High levels of phosphates quickly eat up chlorine, which can cause cloudiness when sanitation levels become very low. Natural Chemistry Phosphate Test Kit – 10 Tests are a great way to quickly check your pool for high phosphate levels. If your phosphates are high (more than 100 PPM), you can use Natural Chemistry PhosFREE to lower the levels.

      We recommend giving these tips a try before replacing your salt cell with another T-Cell-15. Generally, salt cells will last from 3-5 years when properly sized and maintained, so if yours is 5 years old, it may just be time for a new one. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us for immediate assistance.

  • Robert

    I bought and installed an AquaRite system 1.5 years ago. It has stopped working. The salt reading is showing 2.8, the temp reading is 22, the low salt and check cell lights are both on. Is this a bad cell? Why would it go bad in only 1.5 years? I can’t get any Hayward dealers around me to help. They state they can’t get paid by Hayward so they refuse to do warranty work for them.

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Robert, when you see a “Low Salt” and “Check Cell” light on your Aqua Rite system, it may mean the improper turbo cell has been selected. To select the proper cell, slide the main switch to “Auto”, and then push the diagnostic button repeatedly until “t-xx” appears on the display. To change cell type, slide the main switch from “Auto” to “Super Chlorinate” and back to “Auto” until the proper T-Cell is displayed. Once complete, push the diagnostic button again to exit the screen. You should also check to make sure your salinity level is correct, and that your cell is clean. If needed, add salt and clean the cell.

      If after doing all this you are still experiencing the issues, you can try recalibrating your system, but it could be that your cell has failed and you need to replace it. Salt cells usually last from 3-5 years when properly sized and maintained. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  • TOM

    how do I know when my salt cell needs replaced on an Aqua rite system.

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Tom, your Aqua Rite control box will let you know when your cell needs to be changed. For example, the “Inspect Cell” LED alerts pool owners that their salt cell should be checked out either for cleaning or to decipher if it needs a replacement. Also, low chlorine production is a strong indicator that your salt cell needs to be replaced.

      Salt cells generally need to be replaced everything three to five years, but this depends on how well the cell is taken care of. Ensuring that your pool water is properly balanced, particularly in the case of pH levels, is going to help maintain a cell longer. Also, regularly cleaning your salt cell will extend its lifespan by preventing calcium build up. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us, and a customer care agent will be happy to offer assistance.

  • Rich

    I regularly check my cell ( 2 months ) This week when I checked my chlorine levels they were abnormally low so I checked the Salt Level (Aqua Logic PS-8 Display said Salt Level LOW) checked reading and it said 0000 How could the salt level go from 3100PPM to 0000 in less than a week?? I removed the cell & cleaned, it still says Salt level LOW 0000PPM I did a check of the Salt with a test strip and it showed apx 3000PPM so I know the pool has salt. Obviously because of the 0000PPM it is not generating chlorine. My Display Shows Temp, Voltage, FLOW etc.. Could this Display of 0000PPM mean that the Cell has gone Bad?? Is there a way to run a diagnostic on the cell using the controller? or Resetting the Cell if that is the case.. I don’t know the age of Cell as I have lived in the house for 2.5 years and it was here when we moved in.. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you in advance for your reply

  • Judy

    I have a pentair salt cell generator. all the lights are green and not flashing. I have tried to clean the cell and it would not bubble. My water will not clear up. I had it tested and they said it was showing 2700 chlorine yet my salt is 4200. The pool people said they think my cell is gone. Is my cell gone? I have added chlorine tablets and it says my chlorine is ok now. but water is still cloudy. I am about to deflock it. do I need to order a new cell?

  • Anonymous

    I purchased the AquaPure Ei system, and was very happy with it’s performance and the ease of use. I went to put the salt cell on the system this weekend after using the winterizing cap this winter and noticed a leak from the cell. After further inspection, I noticed the water was coming from the plug on the top of the cell. The pin that goes into the cell is loose, and comes out with the pressure from the system. I there anything that can be done to fix it short of replacing the cell? I purchased it almost 2 years ago.

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Lori, unfortunately, when this happens the cell must be replaced; repairing your existing cell is not advised for both safety and operational reasons. You will need the Jandy AquaPure Ei Series 35 Replacement Electrode, which will install into your cell’s original housing. Also, please note that the AquaPure Ei cell generally needs to be replaced on a yearly basis. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  • Ed

    Hi, I have a 30,000 in-ground gunite pool. My filter is a 60sqft DE with a 1 3/4 hp pump. I run my pool from 6am to 2pm then 6pm to 10pm. I keep the water balanced acid level avg 7.6. What salt system would you recomend? Thanks Ed

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Ed, you might be interested in the Pentair IntelliChlor IC40, a salt chlorinator designed for pools up to 40,000 gallons. Its salt cell is designed with a control panel for simple accessibility, and its chlorine production can be easily adjusted to meet the sanitation demand of your pool. It uses 2″ unions and works best with 2″ PVC piping, so you’ll want to make sure your existing plumbing configuration will accommodate this.

      It’s always best to oversize your salt cell, largely to extend its lifespan, as well as to ensure that your pool is always properly sanitized. Large bather loads and direct sunlight will quickly eat up a pool’s chlorine, and having an oversized salt cell is a great way to compensate for any chlorine loss that may occur. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us for immediate assistance.

  • Jennifer

    Hi. I have a Hayward Goldline TCell 9. I was cleaning it today and noticed a brown colored build up inside the cell. I wiped what I could reach off. What is this and would this make my water cloudy. This is going into the 4th season with cell.

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Jennifer, based on the information you provided, it sounds like you could have some scaling on your cell. We recommend acid washing your cell and supplementing your system with Natural Chemistry Cell Protect Salt Cell Generator Extender. This will help keep your cell clean. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

  • Chris

    Hi I have an Aqua rite system. The clean cell light and the low salt light are flashing. I cleaned the cell twice. I had the water tested by two different stores and the salt is 3300. The cell was tested and they said it is working. The salt reads 2700 on the box which is causing the lights to come on. The cell is just over 5 years old. In order to get the salt reading up by adding salt it would cause the real salt reading to go way up by 400 but i can only get a reading of maybe 2800 on the box. Could this be the cell and or flo switch or the panel box? Chlorine is adequate but could be better. I can not keep the box reading high enough to stop the lights from flashing. I have tried numerous times to recalibrate the salt level and it does not help.

  • Nancy Rhea

    We have a quikchlor salt cell element that needs replacing. Can you let me know how to get this or a crossover for it. Thank you

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Nancy, I’m sorry to tell you that Quikchlor parts are no longer available. Your best bet is going to be to replace the entire salt system. I would recommend a Pentair IntelliChlor or a Jandy AquaPure system. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks! -Christian

  • shannon

    after i turn my aqua link system on, no flow delay flashes, generating light comes on ,then goes out after a few seconds

    • PoolSupplyWorld

      Hi Shannon,
      It sounds like either your system is not getting enough flow or your flow sensor might be defective. What kind of pump are you using? Is it a variable speed or dual speed? -Christian

  • Mike

    I’ve never had any calcium build-up over the 3 years I’ve used my Goldline T-Cell 15, but it has been slowly developing a brown stain that trails downstream from the cell itself. This came off with washing with the acid mixture, but it still doesn’t seem to be producing the chlorine it used to, and is giving me a lower salt reading. What is this brown coating? How can I know for sure that it needs to be replaced? (The volt and amp reading is normal.)

  • kris

    i never had problems with my T-cell 15 in 4 years, this year it keeps saying my salt in too high and wont chlorinate i drained alot of water out of pool, replaced it and this didn’t help. How do I know if I need to replace the salt cell? I have cleaned it it looks fine. Any help?

    • Dylan (PoolSupplyWorld)

      First thing I would do is check your salt level independently to find out what the actual salt content level is. Should be in the 2800-3400ppm range. Second, take a look at the circuit board inside the power center for any visible damage to it. If you aren’t too familiar with electrical wiring then I would recommend having a pool service company come out. Finally, if you are still not able to find anything then it may just be time to replace that cell. Salt cells typically last 3-5 years and bad salt readings is one of the indicators that a replacement is required. If you have any further questions then definitely give us a call and we would be glad to help!

  • Robert Ames

    I have a Hawward SwimPure Plus T-Cell 3 system that was installed in September 2009 which has worked great until now. Problem I am having is it continually reads low salt levels though pool store confirms good salt levels. I have repeatedly re-calibrated the system and cleaned the cell with an acid bath.
    Is this a sign of the cell going bad? I have noticed that some T-Cell 3 cells being sold on-line note the new cells are not compatible with units older than 2009 without a software update. I bought my unit September 2009 and the serial number of the cell is 3A0907-1051150; does this cell fall into the class that needs a software update?
    Thanks for your help with this problem.

    • Dylan (PoolSupplyWorld)

      The salt level being off is a typical sign of the salt cell beginning to go bad. The cells will typically last between 3-5 years depending upon how they are sized, maintained, and work load. This is something I would troubleshoot with Hayward on as they may be able to pinpoint the issue being with the cell.

      Now if you have a T-Cell 3 and were to purchase the same T-Cell 3, then there should be no issues with compatibility of the software. The compatibility issue does come up if you were trying to change over to a different sized cell. For example, if you wanted to upgrade to the T-Cell 15 (larger cell) then you would possibly need to upgrade your board. Towards the end of 2009 Hayward did change their power centers to be compatible with the different size cells. Since you purchased in September of 2009 you are going to be borderline and may need to make this upgrade in order to change size. If interested in this then I would provide Hayward with your serial number for their advice.

      If you do have any further questions just let us know and we would be glad to help!

  • PoolSupplyWorld

    Hi Vicki, GLD 45130 is not a part number we are familiar with, but if you could track down the part number of your Jandy PureLink Salt Water Chlorine Generator system and current salt cell, we would be more than happy to help you find the replacement part you need.

  • PoolSupplyWorld

    Hi Ed, replacing your SC48 salt cell with an SC60 is a great and recommended option for your 30,000 gallon pool, and since both cells are the same size, they are direct replacements for each other.

    It’s always recommended to oversize your salt cell, largely because it will increase its lifespan by reducing the general wear and tear over time. Also, by oversizing your salt cell, you can also adjust the chlorine production of your unit to match the chlorine demand of your pool; this means during particularly hot weather or when your bather load increases, you can quickly increase the amount of chlorine being produced to ensure that your swimming pool is always completely sanitized.

    Salt cells can wear down over time because their titanium blades are coated with a special substance that deteriorates with extended use. In the same way a car’s tires must be replaced to ensure optimal mobility and safety, a salt chlorinator’s cell must be replaced to continuously produce effective sanitizer. While cells cannot be repaired, quality cell maintenance will ensure that salt cells last for years. Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.

  • PoolSupplyWorld

    Hi Judy, sorry to hear about your troubles! In order to have a better idea of whether or not you need to replace your cell, we need more information about the system you have. Can you tell us the model? About how many years has it been since you last replaced your cell?

  • PoolSupplyWorld

    Hi Rich, it sounds like you may need to simply recalibrate your salt chlorinator, which will align your Aqua Logic’s salt readings with the actual salt level of your pool. For a complete list of steps and information, please feel to check out our “How to Recalibrate Your Hayward Aqua Rite Turbo Cell” blog.

    If your Aqua Logic control panel does not have a diagnostic button, you’ll want to use the following steps: First, try going into the diagnostic menu and pressing the ‘right’ button, which will show you the cell display menu. Next, you’ll want to press the ‘right’ button again until an “Instant Salt” option appears. Your last step will be to press the “+” button located on your unit, which should display your pool’s actual salt level. We hope this helps, and please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.

  • PoolSupplyWorld

    Hi Chris, we’re sorry to hear you’re having issues with your AquaRite system. It sounds like you’ve taken the appropriate initial troubleshooting steps to try and get your system to work. If the issues are still occurring, we recommend contacting Hayward for additional troubleshooting steps. This will help you determine where the problem is coming from and which parts need replacing, if any. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

  • PoolSupplyWorld

    Hi Mike,
    I’ve never run into the issue with the brown stain before. The only thing I can think of is that if you have low pH it may have stripped the coating off your cell blades and the metal may be degrading. I would recommend calling the manufacturer Hayward at (866) 429-7665 and seeing if they can troubleshoot the cell and maybe offer some advice on what is cauusing the staining. Let me know if you have any questions! -Christian