The Super Chlorinate feature of a salt chlorinator system is a way to boost chlorine production as quickly as the system will allow. It basically overrides your chlorinator setting and produces chlorine 100% of the time that the pump is running for a set period of time.
So if you turn the Super Chlorinate feature on for 24 hours (often that’s the maximum allowed), as long as your pump is also running, your system will produce chlorine constantly, 100% of the time during that time period.
While you can use the Super Chlorinate feature for specific reasons such as prior to heavy pool usage, it’s taxing on your salt cell. Your cell has a lifespan and the Super Chlorinate feature helps to deplete it. In some cases, using chemical chlorine may be a better quick fix.
Below we’ll discuss the Super Chlorinate feature in more detail including why you might use it, when you may need to use it, considerations against using it too often along with a few words on how using it negatively impacts the lifespan of your salt cell.
When should I use the Super Chlorinate feature?
Common reasons for using the Super Chlorinate feature include:
- Prior to heavy pool usage such as before a pool party.
- After heavy pool usage when you realize you probably should have used the Super Chlorinate feature with hindsight.
- After heavy rainfall when the free chlorine in the water has been diluted.
- If you notice the pool water turning cloudy.
Regarding the last point: Pool water may turn cloudy after heavy pool usage or a heavy rainfall or another reason or in the case where the chlorine setting is too low or there is a problem with the salt cell.
Check your chlorinator brand to see how to use and operate the feature. On some models such as Hayward brand, it’s a switch that you push to Super Chlorinate. It may be called Boost mode or something different on your chosen brand.
How does using the Super Chlorinate feature impact my salt cell and chlorinator?
While using the super chlorinate function from time to time is reasonable, there is something to keep in mind. Your salt cell has a lifespan with a maximum amount or chlorine in lbs (or kg) that it is reasonably able to produce. At some point, the cell will wear out and need to be replaced.
So while you can use the Super Chlorinate feature as needed, every time you use it does move your salt cell closer to its end of life.
If you’re going to use your Super Chlorinate feature on a regular basis, it will reduce the work you have to do when compared to manually adding chemical chlorine into the water. That’s a positive.
On the other hand it will also mean you’ll likely have to replace your salt cell sooner. This costs you more money.
What is the lifespan of my salt cell?
The Hayward brand salt cells are each capable of producing up to 1.47 lbs of Trichlor (highly concentrated chlorine) per day assuming you run the pump and chlorinator 100% of the time. The total lifespan – in the case of their extended life TurboCell – is 725 lbs of chlorine production.
So if you ran your pool pump and the Super Chlorinator feature for 24 hours, you’d produce around 35 lbs of chlorine but also use up around 5% of your salt cell’s potential entire lifespan.
Interestingly, Hayward’s own product brochures suggest that their salt cells can produce up to 1.47 lbs of chlorine per day and 210 lbs – 725 lbs per year depending on the model. So if you ran your pool pump and chlorinator the whole time, you’d potentially use up the entire lifespan in one year. Not that you’d want (or need) to do this!
In this case, you’d be better off adding some crystal shock rather than keeping your chlorinator and pump running for 24 hours, depreciating both.
Check your particular model and brand to see what its lifespan is. It may also be measured in hours of usage.
What is Trichlor?
You may come across the word Trichor in some salt cell and chlorinator literature. Trichlor is short for Trichloro-S-Triazinetrione which is a highly concentrated form of chlorine.
You generally don’t have to worry about this name and we’re referencing it here for informational purposes only. Trichlor is often mentioned by brands like Hayward when discussing their salt cell capabilities and their ability to (for example) produce “the equivalent” of up to 725 lbs of Trichlor over the cell’s lifespan.
Trichlor is the strongest form of chlorine recommended to the consumer market outside of gaseous chlorine which is not recommended for home pool users. Thus, Trichlor is the benchmark if you will for the strongest chlorine form available for salt water pool owners.
It should be noted: Trichlor is often sold in puck form and is stabilized with cyanuric acid. The chlorine produced by your chlorinator is not stabilized and thus we as salt water pool owners need to manually add stabilizer to our pool water. Here’s why.
What can I use in place of the Super Chlorinate feature?
Using your Super Chlorinate feature is an easy way to increase chlorine in your pool over a period of time (usually up to 24 hours) depending on the model of your salt cell and chlorinator.
But a chlorination system increases chlorine in a slow and steady rate which is not helpful if you actually need a quick and larger boost of chlorine.
In this case you might consider something else.
Rather than using your Super Chlorinate feature, you could add:
- A chlorine puck(s) in the side skimmer to slowly dissolve over time.
- Use a packet(s) of crystal shock which is highly concentrated chlorine and is put directly into the water.
- Use crystal chlorine mixed in a bucket of water and then poured into the pool.
- Use liquid chlorine from a large pail.
- Use some sort of chlorine metering device which automatically adds chlorine to the water on a set time/amount basis.
For most pool owners, the chlorine puck or shock option are probably the easiest, quickest and most obvious solutions.
Using the Super Chlorinate feature of your salt chlorinator is a way to increase chlorine production for a period of time usually not exceeding 24 hours. It overrides your chlorinator setting and produces chlorine at a higher rate in the instance where you require a higher amount in your pool.
The issue is that your salt cell only has a certain amount of chlorine that it is capable of producing before it will need to be replaced. The more you use the Super Chlorinate feature on top of your normal salt cell usage, the quicker you will have to replace the cell.
That’s why it also makes sense to consider using chemical chlorine at times to supplement the salt cell’s production when you require more chlorine quickly.