Salt pool - Chlorine is low

janesmAugust 25, 2010

I have a 6-month-old pool with an Aqua Rite system. I run the filter 10 hrs per day, add acid every couple of weeks, keep the salt up to 3200 and have the Aquarite set on 95% but the free chlorine is often low. The pool temp has been 89 - 93 for at least a month. The pool is used every day. I have dumped in a gallon of bleach from time to time, but am wondering, should my AquaRite be keeping the chlorine level OK without the bleach? Do you think there is something wrong with it?

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You need to specify the size of your pool, the size of the Aqua Rite system, and the CYA level before we could help with specifics.

BTW, You also don't mention the conditions where you live - here's what Pentair says about dry acid use with their salt water chlorine generator: "Never use dry acid to adjust pH in arid geographic areas with excessive evaporation and minimal dilution of pool water with fresh water."

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 10:03PM
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The pools is 26,000 gallons, we live in Houston, I use liquid muriatic acid, don't know what size Aqua-Rite - I guess I can look at the unit in the daylight tomorrow, and the CYA level is 70 ppm.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 10:57PM
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The size of the pool and the CYA level are important.

I find it terribly aggravating when you see recommendations for 2 PPM chlorine. Chlorine level is directly connected to the CYA level.

The best level I have found is about 8% of the CYA level is best with a CYA reading of about 70-80 ppm. A properly sized cell with this CYA will not have to work as hard to keep the FC level at about 5-6 and will cope with the heat and sun.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 11:04PM
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You're good with CYA at 70.

Some companies (don't know about aqua rite) size the cell expecting the pump to be on 24/7 and running at 100%. Generally the community recommendation seems to be the salt cell is sized for about twice the pool gallons. If the Aqua Rite size is almost an equal match for the pool size I think you might want to plan on getting a larger cell in the not too distant future.

If you have say a 40,000 gallon rated cell, then I can think of two scenarios off hand - either the cell is malfunctioning for some reason or there is something entering the pool from swimmers and/or local plant/environment conditions that is eating up the chlorine.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 11:36PM
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Have you ever cleaned your salt cell? A dirty cell will decrease chlorine output greatly.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 12:49AM
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Just checked the salt cell and it is clean. We have the big cell - the T-15 rated for 40,000 gallons. Our dogs swim in the pool every day, but they are cleaner than most people:)

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 5:03PM
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The Aqua Rite cells are offset some, are you sure the cell is clean? I presume there is a muratic acid cleaning routine available? If yes, and you put your clean into the cleaning solution and no bubbling starts up then it is clean. Otherwise I'm out of suggestions other than a service call :(

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 5:08PM
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IMO, even with your system fully functional, if your not running at least 14 hours daily at a 100 percent when the water is mid 90's and it's been as sunny and as hot as it has lately, your not going to keep a free chlorine reading of very much for hardly any time at all.
I suggest bumping your hours up 4 hours and output to 100 percent, or adding a gallon of bleach daily until we get a break in this high pressure/outdoor temps/water temps with the scattered afternoon thunderstorms.
I wouldn't worry a bit about your dogs, mine are always cleaner than me because they swim at least 20 times a day, and I only get a single morning shower and an evening swim usually right before the 10pm news.

I hope this helps.

See ya,

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 7:37PM
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janesm....have you sampled the water coming directly from the cell while it's set at 100%. The chlorine reading using this method should be very high and off the scale if the cell is working properly.

Make sure the cell is set to 100% to ensure it should be producing chlorine and not in a "resting" or "reversing" cycle.

Turn the sample tube upside down so it does not fill with water and move it towards one of the pool returns while keeping it upside down. Once over the pool return, turn the sample tube right side up to fill it with water directly from the cell. Once it's full, put your finger over top of the sample tube so it does not mix with pool water while you're bringing it to the surface.

Test the water as you do normally and if the cell is working the chlorine level will be very high.

If the chlorine is low, then the chlorine generator system is to blame.

If the chlorine is high, then something is demanding the chlorine quickly. Since your stabalizer level is 70ppm, it's not the sun reducing your Fc but something may be algae, phosphates feeding the algae or some other bio-baddie in the pool...such as something dead in the skimmer or pump basket or small children using the pool frequently, etc.

You may also consider extending the pump run time in the summer months to turn the pool 2x instead of the normal 1x. This will allow the cell to produce adequate chlorine at a lower setpoint which will extend the life of the cell.

Also, during the summer, running the filter pump and producing chlorine at night is better than running it at daytime for numerous reasons.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 7:49PM
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Our pool is always crystal clear and algae free. I remove and replace the Polaris every day for the dogs and it has never been the least bit slimy. I clean the skimmers daily and the pump basket twice weekly. Thanks, Kelly. I think I will up the Aqua Rite to 100% and up the filter pump time to 14 hours and see how that goes.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 11:36PM
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Aegean Pools, Inc.

Janesm, you should take your pool water to your favorite local pool store to have the phosphates checked. Based your your description of the problem you very likely have an issue with the phosphate/nitrate connection. We cannot remove nitrates from the pool but we can remove phosphates which will unbalance the fertilizer (phosphate/nitrate levels) and the algae will starve. If these to chemicals get to the right levels for the algae that is in your pool water it will create a huge demand for chlorine, one that the salt generator cannot meet. If the phosphate level is over 120 parts per billion remove them and see if that does not resolve the issue.

In reference to operation of the salt generator you should; with water temperatures about 90° you should be running at least 14 hours a day during the daylight hours and with 26k I would say 60 to 70% would be average for your pool.

Here is a link that might be useful: Discount Pool

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 10:47AM
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