How do I check the Salt Level in my Watermaid Pool?

Watermaid units do not show the salt level in your pool as a specific number.  The ideal way to check the salt level in your pool is to take a water sample to your local pool store and have them test it.  If you don’t want to go to the pool store there is a way to check the salt level using the LED lights on the front of the Watermaid box.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

If you turn on your Watermaid system and the lights go up to the green LED’s there are a few things that we need to do to make sure that the cell is actually working.  In 2007 and 2008 there were 2 programs that the Watermaid chlorinator could be set to.  One simply turns on the LED’s, on the front of the power supply, to match the production level set. The other mode will measure the current flow between the plates in the cell.  This  current flow is displayed as a percent via the LED lights on the front of the power supply.

What does this really mean?

To simplify this think of your stove.  If I pulled out the electric element on the top of your stove and threw it out the window, there would be no way to heat anything.  If you turned the knob for the element to max, the indication would say that this thing is getting really hot.   The reality would be that nothing would be happening.  The 2007 and 2008 program on the Watermaid unit was like this.  If you pushed the + key until the lights on the front of the box were at 100%, the lights would stay at 100% even if the cell was working or not.

The second example would be the light on your stove that tells you that the oven is hot.  You select the temperature that you want in your oven.  The light stays on until it reaches the selected temperature.  on a Watermaid unit with the latest program, you would press the + key until the unit was set at 100%.  If the cell was actually producing at 100%, the lights would go up to 100% and stay there.  If the salt wasn’t at 6000 parts per million OR the water was really cold OR the cell was getting old and not working as well, the lights would not go up to 100%

How do I know what Program my unit has?

The way to check the program is to pull out the brass plug on the top of the cell.  Does the indication changes to a flashing amber?  If it does, it means that there is no current flow between the plates of the cell (the centre tube and the outside mesh).  This makes sense because we just unplugged it.  If the lights don’t change to a flashing amber when you unplug the cell, we need to change that program so that we can trouble shoot properly.  The procedure to change the program is in this blog post

WE HAVE THE RIGHT PROGRAM NOW WHAT?

If the Yellow light on the Watermaid display flashes when the plug on the top of the cell is pulled out, plug it back in again and then push the + key until the production level is set to 100%.

At this setting, you are asking the unit to power the cell up to 30 amps.  If the salt level in the pool is proper (6000 parts per million) AND the pool is a reasonable swimming temperature, the lights should go up to 100% and stay there.

WHY ISN’T THE SALT LEVEL IN MY POOL CORRECT?

We often have problems with pool stores telling Watermaid customers that the salt level in the pool needs to be around 3000 parts per million.  That is NOT the case for a Watermad system.  The cells on a Watermaid chlorination system were designed to run at 6000 parts per million.  The cells are of good quality and can take the extra load of the higher salt level.  I have another post that talks about Why Watermaid units run at a higher salt level but for now lets make sure that the salt level is correct.

If the program is correct, salt level is correct and the pool is a reasonable swimming temperature we should have all of the green lights on up to 100%

I SET THE UNIT TO 100% BUT IT DOESN’T STAY THERE

If the salt level is too low, the lights won’t go stay at 100%.  As an example, if you only had the salt level at 3000 parts per million when it should be 6000 parts per million, the green lights would only go up to 50%.  In this case, you simply add some more salt.  I would suggest that you add a bag or two, wait for 24 hours to let the pool stir up the newly added salt and then check the lights again.  You will see an extra light or two.  From this you can determine how much more salt is needed.  When you have added enough salt to get the cell lights up to 100% you will be at 6000 parts per million.

Now you can set the production level using the + or – keys to wherever it needs to be to maintain a proper chlorine level in the pool.

Cautions that you must be aware of

1/  When a cell gets old it doesn’t just fail, the production starts to fall off and over a few months it will slowly get worse and worse.  If you add more salt, you can get the production of the cell back up again but when you finally replace the cell, the salt level will be too high and the unit will shut down and turn on a red solid light.  The only fix for this is to lower the pool level and add fresh water to dilute the salt level.

2/ If the water was really cold the lights wont go up to 100%.  The watermaid unit unlike other chlorinators can be turned on at any temperature without damaging the cell.   Once again If you add more salt, you can get the production of the cell back up again but when the water warms up, the salt level will be too high and the unit will shut down and turn on a red solid light.

If there is ever any question about the cell or the water temperature, take a water sample to your local pool store and get the salt level tested.  Remember we need it to be 6000 parts per million.

IN SUMMARY

If the program is set so that removing the brass plug at the top of the cell makes the production lights on the unit go off and only a flashing amber light is on, put the brass plug back in again and set the unit to 100%.  If the lights go up to 100% the cell is good AND the salt level is good.  If the lights don’t go up to 100% and we are sure that the salt level in the pool is at 6000 parts per million, the cell will need to be replaced.  New cells can be purchased from our web store

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