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Chlorine Generator Troubleshooting Guide

Salt Water Chlorine Generators, aka Salt Chlorinators, have been rising in popularity with residential pool owners over the past few years. This may be from the affordability of pool salt systems, the ease of maintenance, or the countless benefits of owning a salt chlorine generator.

If you are one of the many salt water pool owners across the country, you may need to do some upkeep from time to time. To make this process simple, we have developed a Chlorine Generator Troubleshooting Guide to answer your questions and get the salt system back on track for soft, sanitized pool water.


What to do if…



Chlorine Residual is Low or Zero

Potential Causes:

Insufficient running times
Increase pump and filter run time.

pH too high or too low
Adjust the pH to an ideal range between 7.4ppm to 7.6ppm. To increase pH, we recommend using Leslie's Soda Ash buckets. To lower your pool's pH, try adding Leslie's Dry Acid to the water. Dry acid is safer than muriatic acid and is a mess-free option to keep your water balanced.

Strong sunlight and low conditioner levels
Adjust the Conditioner (CYA) level to 60ppm - 80ppm. We recommend reviewing the manufacturer's suggested levels for your salt system.

Poor circulation
Dose the pool with Leslie's Chlor Brite or Liquid Chlorine to keep up with demand. *Liquid chlorine is not available online, but you can purchase it up at your local Leslie's Retail Store.

Heavy bather load
We recommend increasing the circulation time of your filtration system.

Low chlorine production
Check the salt cell for fouling. It may be time to clean the salt cell and add salt, if necessary. For some quick tips on how to remove stain and scale from a pool salt cell, check out this helpful article!
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Low Chlorine Production

Potential Causes:

Low salt levels
Adjust salt levels to 2500ppm - 3200ppm (check the owner’s manual for manufacturer requirements). You can quickly test the pool's salt level with Leslie's Salt Test Strips.

Scale build-up on the salt cell
Clean the cell with a water and acid solution (10 parts water to 1 part acid) or use a scale inhibitor like Natural Chemistry Scale Free.

Algaecide addition within the last 2 to 3 weeks
Some pool algaecides consume FAC quickly. Add Leslie's Chlor Brite or Liquid Chlorine to keep up with demand.

Salt cell leads are incorrectly connected
Contact Leslie’s Service Department to repair or correctly install.

Debris levels in the pool are too high
Simply skim and vacuum the swimming pool. For tech-saavy pool owners, we now offer the Solar-Breeze Solar Robotic Pool Surface Skimmer!

Salt cell is old or worn out
We recommend that you replace your salt cell as soon as possible. Find replacement salt cells HERE.
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Chlorine Levels are High in Mornings, but Low at Night

Potential Causes:

Heavy bather load
Add Leslie's Chlor Brite or Liquid Chlorine to meet the chlorine demand.

Extreme sunlight conditions
Adjust conditioner (CYA) levels to 60ppm - 80ppm (see manufacturer’s suggested levels)

Insufficient pool conditioner levels
Frequently test conditioner levels. Splash-out, evaporation and fresh fill water will lower conditioner levels.
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pH Alters Rapidly and Easily

Potential Causes:

Chlorine sanitizer produced by the generator has a higher pH level
Adjust alkalinity at desired levels (80ppm - 100ppm). We recommend using Alkalinity UP to help increase the alkalinity level. Then, test pH frequently and add Muriatic Acid, as needed. *Muriatic Acid is only sold in stores.

Contamination from debris, especially urine, may be the cause
Use Pool Perfect + PHOSfree to remove organic waste. Test pH frequently and add Muriatic Acid, as needed. *Muriatic Acid is only sold in stores.
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Low Salt Level

Potential Causes:

Splash-out from bathers
Test and add salt to compensate for water splashing out of the pool.

Heavy overflow from rain water
If possible, cover your swimming pool when it rains.

Auto-filling of pool water
Protect the pool from evaporation by using a solar cover or Natural Chemistry COVERfree

Very low salt level because of pool leaks
Fix leaks or add a lot of water and salt to keep up with the leak.

Excessive Backwashing
Only backwash when pressure on the filter increases 8-10 psi over clean starting pressure. Keep in mind that backwashing uses a lot water, which will drop the salt level.
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pool salt systems

Recommended Products

Salt Cell Cleaning Stand for Aqua Rite Turbo Cells


Acid Magic


Natural Chemistry Salt Water Magic


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Leslie’s makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and Leslie’s assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. Leslie’s assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.