Salt Cell Scale and Cleaning

Salt water pools are one of the most significant improvements in pool care for those who want a clean pool but don’t want to deal with harsh chemicals or have the aftereffects of swimming in them, including dry skin, red-rimmed eyes, and green hair.


Salt water is easier on the lungs, too, as swimmers no longer have to inhale chlorine-infused pool fumes.

But, the components which turn salt into available chlorine for the pool can fall prey to scale during the sanitation process by, which forms on the salt cells. Scale on the salt cells inhibits the conversion process.

So, periodically it becomes necessary to descale and clean the salt cells.

Why it’s important

Salt cells are expensive. They generally run between $700-1100. Failure to care for a salt cell properly can cause it to fail within the first year. Finely maintained salt cells can last between three and seven years.

Causes of buildup

Two things contribute to scale buildup on salt cells. The first one is heat. So, it’s no secret that during the summer, the salt cell should be checked for buildup at least once a week. The second is high pH, which is why regular testing of the pool water is so essential. Use a test kit designed for saltwater pools.

How often should my salt cell be cleaned?

Clean salt cells when scale develops on the metallic (titanium) grids, or once per season at the very least. Too frequent cleaning will erode the coating on the grids, which is what makes them work.

Some people buy a chlorinator with reverse polarity, a self-cleaning feature which reverses the polarity of the grid and dissolves the scale from the blades.

Keeping your salt pool functioning at optimal levels will save money by lowering the frequency with which a pool owner has to replace the salt cells. It will also keep pool water at an optimal balance.

Some other tips:

  • Use the right salt. Non-iodized, food quality 99.8% pure evaporated granulated salt is best. Do not use rock salt. DO not use salt with anti-caking agents. Do not use Calcium Chloride.

  • Do not use cleaning products that contain Phosphoric acid.

  • Do not allow the chlorine level to get too high. Regular testing is essential.

While a salt water pool is gentle on skin and eyes and costs less to operate, the parts cost much more to replace than a traditional pool. So, taking care of your salt cell chlorinator will provide a good return on the energy vested in doing so.

If a pool owner is not comfortable taking care of a salt pool, pool care professionals have the knowledge and expertise to maintain a saltwater pool at optimal levels. and keep the salt cell chlorinator working at maximum efficiency.

If you need pool maintenance for your Phoenix, Arizona pool or spa, call us here at Serenity Pools. Our services include new installation set-up, professional maintenance of pools and spas, water features, and fountains. Call today! 480-370-0579.