The Intex Saltwater System is a popular chlorinator meant for use with above-ground pools. The system is easy to install and use, and when it is working properly, it can maintain the required chlorine level by electrolyzing salt in the water.
Although the system has good reviews in general, some people have reported problems with faulty error codes indicating too low or too much salt in the water. This brings us to one of the most common questions; why does the Intex Saltwater system keep saying low salt?
One thing to note about the Intex saltwater system is that the pool pump filter is so small that if it is not cleaned out several times a day, it can get clogged and significantly decrease the water flow.
This, in turn, causes a low reading and low chlorine output due to the fact that the water is not moving quickly and strong enough through the Saltwater System.
Why Does My Intex Saltwater System Keep Saying Low Salt?
The Ideal Salt Level
The ideal salt level in the pool water is between 2500-3500 parts per million (ppm) with 300 ppm being optional. If the salt level is too low, it will reduce the efficiency of the Saltwater System, which will cause low chlorine production.
However, before adding salt to your pool, ensure the water is tested to determine the salt level. This will help to prevent adding too much. For instance, if you’re at the minimal level of slat (or zero ppm) adding 25 lbs per 2,000 gallons, you should get to 1500 ppm of salt. Some consumers have reported feeling the befits of just adding salt at around 1000 ppm too.
The easiest way to know whether the chlorinator is working is by checking the needle or production lights and keeping the cell clean. Besides, there should be a light or dial on the chlorinator box that shows it’s working.
Speaking of the cell, it is important to make sure it does the best job as well. If the cell bubbles vigorously, then it is working fine. However, if the salt cell bubbles, but only a little bit, you might be having a bad cell. You might need to call a pool professional to confirm this diagnosis.
There are various reasons that can cause a salt cell to fail. One of the main reasons is the lack of proper maintenance. It is highly recommended to inspect the cell regularly for excessive build-up. This will help to make sure excess calcium doesn’t become caked on the metallic plates. The next common cause of salt cell failure is improper water balance.
It’s good to note that there are several reasons that can cause a salt cell not to produce chlorine. For instance, if the Stabilizer is too low, this will affect the ability of the pool water to hold the chlorine being produced. Also, a low pH level will oxidize chlorine faster, making it hard to maintain the proper level of chlorine.
Problems with Intex Saltwater Chlorinators
Calcium Buildup on the Plates
The electrolytic chlorine generation produces calcium scales as a by-product. This, in turn, can quickly build up in the electrolytic cell. The resultant build-up can bring about a number of error codes.
If you want to clean the cells, the manufacturer recommends removing them and either washing them off with a garden hose or placing them in a vinegar solution overnight. The suggested solution consists of one cup of vinegar and 2 gallons of water.
Codes 92 & 92
The LED display in the Intex chlorinator can show various error codes, with the most common ones being 21 and 92. Code 91 means that the salt level is too low while Code 92 indicates that it’s too high.
That said, whenever you see these codes, it’s highly recommended to test the water before doing anything else as the code may be an error. If the slat level is indeed too low, add slat according to the pool volume as well as the amount you need to raise the level.
If the level is too high, the only solution is to drain some of the water out of the pool and replace it with fresh water. The manufacturer suggests that you drain 20% of the water. When you see Code 91 and you find that the salt concentration is correct, then it means the electrolyte cell needs maintenance.
You might want to remove it and immerse it in vinegar to clean off the scale. You will have to seek professional attention if there’s any malfunction after doing this, because the cell may be faulty.
A Code 90 error message indicates that insufficient water is flowing through the generator. This may be due to one or more valves being closed when they should be open. Still, it can also indicate a clogged filter.
If the issue persists, even after inspecting the valves and making sure all lines are well attached, and cleaning the filter, then the problem could be the airlock. To resolve this, spray pressurized water through the system to clear it.
If you’re still getting the Code 90, then the sensor may be caked with calcium deposits, or it may need to be replaced.
The fact that electrolyte plates are made from copper, means that they release copper ions into the water. On the bright side, this is a good thing given that copper kills algae. However, on the flip side, too much of a good thing can stain the pool. Copper ion concentration should be below 0.2 ppm.
You can add aluminum sulfate to bring it down should it get any higher, but in extreme cases, you might want to drain 20% of the water and replace it. The copper stains can be cleaned with vinegar or lemon juice. Avoid aggressive cleaners and scrubbing that may etch pool surfaces.