How to know if your salt cell is really working or not.

Have you ever stared at your salt cell and asked yourself “Is this thing really working?” Since the cell body is opaque, you really can’t tell just by looking at it. You have to be able to look at the cell plates while the unit is running.In this article, we describe a process for testing the cell operation, but it does require that you have a dummy cell, a spare that you can temporarily put in the plumbing in the place of the cell while you run this test.

Steps to testing your salt cell:

  1. Turn off the pump
  2. Loosen the unions and remove the salt cell(Hint: Take a picture of the cell before you remove it so you don’t put it in backwards)
  3. Clean the cell if needed. See our instructions on cell cleaning here.
  4. Put your dummy cell in the piping where you took the salt cell out. This is so that you can turn the pump on without flooding the place.
  5. Submerge the salt cell in a bucket of pool water, but do not get the wiring connections wet.
  6. Turn on the pump and activate the salt system. Put the output on the salt system at 100% for this test. Put the output back to the original setting when you are done.
  7. If the flow sensor is built into the cell (Intellichlor), then take your finger and depress the sensor paddle lightly until it makes contact and closes the sensor.
  8. After the control box senses flow, it will send power to the cell. Once the cell is powered up, you should see a vigorous bubbling action between the plates of the salt cell.

If the salt cell does not bubble, then you either have no power to the cell or you have a bad cell. Further troubleshooting will be required.

  • If the salt cell bubbles, but only a little bit, then you probably have a bad cell. It is still a good idea to call a pool professional to confirm this diagnosis.
  • If the salt cell bubbles vigorously, then it is working fine.
  • If the salt cell is good, but you are are constantly getting a zero chlorine reading in the pool, something else is wrong. We detail some of the other possibilities in this article.


NEED HELP? Having problems with your salt system? Would you like to install a new saltwater chlorine generator? Contact Pool Stop today! Give us a call at 972-772-4545 to ask questions or set up an appointment OR hit the “Request Service Quote” button and fill out a service request form so we can schedule your service call. Our team of experienced, licensed professionals is available to help you with expert advice, repairs, and installation.

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