Intellichlor...winter time question

nlionOctober 13, 2010

At the end of swimming season in AZ, we've set our Intellichlor to run at 0% and dropped a floating chlorinator into the pool. We've been told to do this to extend the life of the Intellichlor. My question: would it be better (or even possible) to unplug the Intellichlor and have the pool pump run without it in the winter time, while we keep the chlorine up with the floater?

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Using tabs is not recommended by me in your situation. Tabs add stabilizer. I expect your stabilizer level is somewhat elevated so as to keep the cell from being pushed harder than need be. Adding extra from the tabs, when it comes time to restart using the cell, the CYA level may be to high, requiring a pool dilution.

Bleach, such as Clorox, is my preferred substitute. It doesn't add CYA, just some salt.

Floaters, BTW, when the pool is off, tend to sit over one spot, dissolving and dropping heavier concentrations in that one spot. This can cause yellowing and other problems.

Oh, and bleach is cheaper.


    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 6:01PM
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Regarding unplugging the Intellichlor...Pentair makes a piece of PVC with union ends that is specifically designed to replace the salt cell during winter months.

My Pentair manual refers to it as: IntelliChlor âÂÂdummyâ bypass cell (P/N 520588).

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 6:35PM
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Thanks for the responses. To clarify, the pool isn't off in the winter time. The pump runs and it filters and the in-floor popups come on, so the floater moves around quite alot. I think I'll look for that Pentair part.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 7:51PM
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I am in phoenix and keep my pool open year round. I run my salt system all year, but without the extreme heat I run it on a low setting. Acid demand in the winter lowers also. Got the salt system so I didn't have to mess with bleach or tabs. However I do use bleach for shocking.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 7:59PM
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If your water temps don't drop much below 60, there is no need to turn it off.

Once the water temp does, using bleach will also allow you to run your filter less also. The bleach gets the chlorine in the pool. Tabs dissolve slowly and you typically want at least 1 per 15K gal or so.

A 20K pool would get 2. Floaters only hold 4 tabs and in colder water, dissolve too slowly. The added CYA usually isn't wanted either.


    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 9:55PM
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If the water temp is low, the cell shuts off so it is a mute point unless you are in a sunbelt state.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 10:54PM
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Interesting post...we've done it both ways...cell off in the winter with bleach and cell on in the winter. We're in Louisiana and the water temp gets below 52 deg F for about 2 months during the winter. This is the temp that most cells do not operate due to lockout.

Last winter is when we tried the cell off and ended up with some algae problems...this was due to my neglect in keeping up with bleach additions. We were not adding bleach as regularly as needed and this resulted in high chlorine right after additions and very little chlorine a week later when we checked travel is the culprit most times! A constant level of chlorine is much better than drastic swings that occur due to irregular bleach additions.

Thought I would mention this if you were thinking of trying the bleach method...we didn't want to use the floater method because the looks of a floater in the pool did not appeal to us. Also, as poolguynj states, tabs add CYA and have a low PH (acidic) when dissolved. the way...I have a Jandy Aquapure with PDA Aqualink control. This system allows us to override the cold water lockout feature and produce chlorine on demand. This is accomplished through the "boost" mode. Also programmed the Aqualink system to only produce chlorine for 1 hour when boost is selected and then shuts off automatically saving the life of the cell. This is how we generate chlorine when the water is below 52 degrees F. One hour of production is plenty for our 35K gallon pool.

I mention this because the Intellichlor may have this boost override option also.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 12:08AM
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To avoid raising the CYA, I'll do the bleach instead of the floater this winter...Poolguynj: you said "20K pool would get 2"...not sure how much bleach you're talking about and about how often? Thanks.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 11:02AM
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The amount of bleach will vary with water temp, weather, and the CYA level. Strong sun raises chlorine demand, clouds and cooler water reduce it.

A DPD-FAS capable chlorine test kit is really essential. I personally use and recommend to my customers the TF-100 at or the Taylor 2006-K. You'll soon be able take fairly close educated guesses once you have been doing it for a weeks. You'll get better test results than with strips and better than most pools stores.

The Pool Calculator at will tell you how much to add of what, be it acid, baking soda, dense ash/pH Up/A & H Super Washing Soda (all 3 are the same), Clorox, CYA, etc...

Many people add a little extra so that a sufficient level is in the pool for a couple/three days or possibly more. If your cell kept you pool at 5 ppm, and you added enough bleach to bring it to 10 ppm, it might last a week, 10 days or 3 days, all depending on the weather, water temp, and CYA level. Every pool is different. Even two nearly identical pools, next door to each other will be different but will share more similarities than a similar pool 1000 miles away.


    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 9:59PM
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Why would you do this in AZ.
Just let it do its thing. It wont be working as hard in the winter, and if it really cools off it will shut its self off.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 8:52PM
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