How to Change the Cell on Your Swimming Pool Salt Chlorinator

swimming pool salt chlorinator


A salt chlorinator is an essential component of a saltwater pool system that converts salt into chlorine to sanitize the water. Over time, the cell in the chlorinator may require replacement due to wear and tear. In this article, we will guide you through the process of changing the cell on your swimming pool salt chlorinator.

  1. Understanding the Swimming Pool Salt Chlorinator

A swimming pool salt chlorinator is a device that generates chlorine from salt dissolved in the pool water. The salt cell, also known as the electrolytic cell, is the part responsible for electrolyzing the salt and producing chlorine gas, which then dissolves into the pool water. The cell consists of metal plates and requires periodic maintenance or replacement to ensure optimal performance.

  1. Signs of a Faulty Cell

It’s important to be aware of the signs that indicate a faulty cell in your salt chlorinator. Some common indicators include reduced chlorine production, poor water quality, persistent algae growth, error messages on the chlorinator’s display, or a cell lifespan nearing its end (typically 3-7 years, depending on the model). If you notice any of these signs, it’s likely time to change the cell.

  1. Safety Precautions

Before changing the cell on your salt chlorinator, take the necessary safety precautions. Turn off the power to the chlorinator at the circuit breaker and shut off the pool pump. Make sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wear protective gloves and eyewear.

  1. Steps to Change the Cell

Here are the general steps to change the cell on your swimming pool salt chlorinator:

  1. Remove the cell: Disconnect the cell’s electrical connections and carefully remove it from the chlorinator housing.
  2. Clean the housing: Inspect the chlorinator housing for any debris or mineral buildup. Clean it thoroughly using a hose or gentle cleaning solution as recommended by the manufacturer. Ensure the housing is completely dry before proceeding.
  3. Install the new cell: Align the new cell correctly with the housing, making sure the water flow direction is correct. Reconnect the electrical connections, ensuring they are secure but not overly tightened. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for specific installation guidelines.
  4. Restore power and test: Turn the power back on at the circuit breaker and restart the pool pump. Test the chlorinator to ensure it is functioning correctly and producing chlorine. Monitor the chlorine levels and water quality over the next few days to ensure proper operation.
  5. Cell Maintenance and Cleaning

To prolong the life of your salt chlorinator cell and maintain optimal performance, regular maintenance is necessary. Keep the cell clean by inspecting it periodically for scale or calcium buildup and clean it as recommended by the manufacturer. This typically involves soaking the cell in a cleaning solution or using a specialized cell cleaning tool. Regular maintenance will help maximize the cell’s lifespan and ensure efficient chlorine production.

  1. Troubleshooting Common Issues

If you encounter any issues with your salt chlorinator or the newly installed cell, refer to the troubleshooting guide provided by the manufacturer. Common issues may include low chlorine production, error messages, or improper cell functioning. Follow the troubleshooting steps outlined in the manual or seek assistance from a professional if needed.

  1. Conclusion

Changing the cell on your swimming pool salt chlorinator is a straightforward process that ensures the continued operation and effectiveness of your pool’s sanitation system. By understanding the basics of salt chlorination, following the proper safety precautions, and adhering to the manufacturer’s instructions, you can successfully replace the cell and maintain a clean and safe swimming pool.


Q1. How often should I change the cell on my salt chlorinator?

The lifespan of a salt chlorinator cell can vary depending on factors such as usage, water chemistry, and maintenance. Typically, the cell should be replaced every 3 to 7 years. Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines and monitor the cell’s performance and chlorine production to determine the appropriate time for replacement.

Q2. Can I clean the cell instead of replacing it?

Yes, in many cases, cleaning the cell can help restore its performance. Regularly inspect the cell for mineral deposits or scale buildup, and clean it as recommended by the manufacturer. Cleaning methods may involve soaking the cell in a cleaning solution or using a specialized cell cleaning tool.

Q3. Can I change the cell myself, or should I hire a professional?

Changing the cell on your salt chlorinator can be done by a knowledgeable pool owner. However, if you are unsure or uncomfortable with the process, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance. A pool service professional can ensure proper installation, provide additional maintenance advice, and troubleshoot any issues.

Q4. Is it necessary to turn off the power before changing the cell?

Yes, it is crucial to turn off the power to the salt chlorinator at the circuit breaker before attempting to change the cell. This ensures your safety and prevents any electrical mishaps during the process.

Q5. What should I do if the chlorinator still doesn’t produce enough chlorine after changing the cell?

If the chlorine production is still insufficient after changing the cell, first check the water chemistry levels to ensure they are properly balanced. If the levels are within the recommended range, refer to the troubleshooting guide provided by the manufacturer. Follow the recommended steps to identify and resolve the issue, or consider contacting a professional for assistance.