Turn Off Chlorinator When Adding Salt?

Do I Need To Turn Off The Chlorinator When Adding Salt?

Chlorinators, sometimes known as saltwater chlorine generators or SWGs, are the primary source of sanitation in saltwater pools. Although salt allows these machines to function properly, adding salt to your pool while the chlorinator is operating is not always a good idea.

In this article we will discuss whether or not you should turn off your chlorinator when adding salt to your pool, and other steps you should take to add salt properly.

Should You Turn Off Your Chlorinator When Adding Salt?

It is recommended that you turn off your chlorinator when adding salt to your pool. Although many pool owners report having no problems adding salt while the generator is on, doing this can cause potential damage to your equipment.

If water of an abnormally high salinity passes through your salt cell while it is operating, it can cause the cell to produce an electric charge that is much stronger than normal.

This typically damages the conductive plates of your salt cell and can also cause damage to the control system.

In most models of chlorinator, the strong shock will then trigger an emergency shutoff feature to reduce the risk of electrocution and electrical fires.

How To Add Salt Properly

Once your salt chlorinator is turned off, it is safe to add salt to your pool.

It is then crucial to run your pump system consistently for the next 24 hours to allow the newly added salt to dissolve and be adequately distributed through the water. Many pool owners skip this step, or simply forget to override the timer on their pump system.

Because saltwater chlorinator damage is caused by poorly mixed and overly saline water, it is necessary to allow your salt to dissolve and circulate thoroughly before turning your chlorinator back on.

Ideally, you would test your salt level before restarting the chlorinator to make sure that it is in the ideal range.

If you are really concerned about leaving your salt cell off for a while, keep in mind that it is possible to add chlorine by hand while the salt cell is off. This will keep your free chlorine at an adequate level.

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How Long After Adding Salt Can I Turn On Chlorinator?

It's best to wait at least 4 hours after adding salt to your pool before turning on your chlorinator, assuming that your pump runs for that entire period.

This gives the salt plenty of time to dissolve and disperse throughout your pool before you switch on your chlorinator and it adjusts to the new concentration.

How To Turn Off Salt Cell And Leave Pump Running

To turn off your salt cell, go to the control panel and use the power button (this varies from brand to brand) to switch off the chlorinator, including any timers.

This will ensure that your pump stays on even though your chlorinator is off.

Louis from Pool Advisor


A chemical engineer by trade, Louis is committed to debunking myths in the pool industry by explaining the underlying chemistry and making it accessible to all.