The T-Cell-15 is the most popular Hayward TurboCell size. It’s designed for pools up to 40,000 gallons — but I’m getting ahead of myself. First I have to lay the groundwork so this all makes sense.
The days of using liquid or tablet chlorine in your swimming pool is a thing of the past — well, at least it should be. Chlorine is a harsh chemical that impacts humans and pets negatively. Unless you enjoy stinging eyes, and irritated skin, you should not hesitate to invest your money in a salt chlorinator like the Hayward AquaRite (AQR15) which uses the T-Cell-15 at the heart of it.
Did you know that long-term exposure to chlorinated pools can cause symptoms of asthma in swimmers? It’s true, even in those individuals who were previously healthy. Did you know that swimming in a chlorinated pool is associated with tooth enamel erosion? At Chainsaw Journal we never tell you what you want to hear — we simply tell you the truth. In the end, you can decide what makes sense for you (and your budget).
If you want the facts about Hayward salt cells and saltwater swimming pools then you’ve stumbled to the right place. Let’s get started.
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T-Cell-15 TurboCell | T-Cell-9 | T-Cell-3
The Hayward T-Cell-15 is a replacement salt cell for a wide range of Hayward salt chlorination systems — but, there are other Hayward TurboCells in the series. If you just need a replacement cell then here are the links to Amazon. And yes, buying salt cells and other pool equipment online is much cheaper than buying from your local pool dealer. Trust me, you’ll never get a deal from your ‘pool guy’ (or pool girl).
- Hayward T-CELL-15 (40,000 gallons)
- *Hayward T-Cell-15-LL Extended Life (40,000 gallons)
- Hayward T-CELL-9 (25,000 gallons)
- Hayward Goldline T-CELL-3 (15,000 gallons)
I know it can be very confusing trying to understand how a salt water chlorinator works and then trying to make sense what you need and/or replacing parts. It can be maddening at first but it’s worth the effort and money in the long-run . Don’t worry, this guide on salt water pool systems was written for you.
Hayward T-Cell | The Heart of the Hayward Salt Chlorinator
Let’s start by looking at the Hayward T-Cell-15 replacement cell, which is the main component enabling you to maintain your saltwater swimming pool. Although the the T-Cell-15 is the most common salt cell there are other cells and products that utilize varying Hayward cells depending on your needs, such as:
We wrote this article to be the definitive guide on Hayward TurboCells but besides these products, we go into great detail on salt water swimming pools, explaining how they work, achieving the correct pool chemistry, the benefits of using a salt chlorine generator and so much more. If you love facts and just want to know more about saltwater pools keep reading.
Now that we have got an idea of how a saltwater pool works, let’s take a look at Hayward’s Turbo Cell.
HAYWARD’S TURBOCELL SERIES (T-CELL SERIES)
Hayward has been involved in making pool equipment for almost 80 years. When you spend that much time working on a field of science, you tend to be one of the forerunners in the terms of innovation, technology and demand. Hayward is all of that and more!
While they strive for complete efficiency, their goal is so much more complex. Their focus lies solely on user friendly equipment. Hayward endeavors to ensure that a customer has to only worry about turning a device on or off. While the goal sounds simple enough, it involves ensuring that the customer is provided with products that are low in operating and maintenance costs.
Has Hayward managed to achieve its goal? There lies no doubt in anyone’s mind that it has. In fact, its popularity among the buyers and users (of pool equipment) will tell you just how well Hayward has managed to attain its target!
The Hayward TurboCell series is also known as the T-cell series. The Turbo cell series deals with Chlorine generators of different specifications.
Right Sized Salt Chlorination
Swimming pools come in all shapes and sizes. The important thing to take into consideration when converting your swimming pool is the volume of water that the swimming pool can hold.
In order to ensure that every swimming pool can be converted into a saltwater pool, Hayward has designed the TurboCell series in three sizes. These sizes can be differentiated based on the amount of water they can handle. The three sizes can accommodate 15,000 , 25,000 and 40,000 gallons of water and are called Hayward AQR3 Aquarite, Hayward AQR9 Aquarite and Hayward AQR15 Aquarrite respectively.
All you need to do is find out how much water your swimming pool contains and select the model accordingly!
The Water Chemistry
The TurboCell series recommends the same kind of water chemistry that the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals suggests. It however has two additional requirements. These requirements are the salt level and the stabilizer.
Hayward suggests the use of a salt level which lies anywhere between 2700 ppm to 3400 ppm. It is wise to keep this in mind because too low levels (or a too high level) of salt can cause serious damage to the device. Maintaining the salt levels at all points of time ensures that your device will have a long and productive life.
Video | Hayward Salt Cell
In addition to this Hayward recommends the use of a stabilizer called Cyanuric acid. This too needs to be maintained within certain limits. The range that is recommended is 60 to 80ppm.
Adjusting these levels is important but may turn out to be a tedious job if you do not know what you are doing. Your local dealer will be able to help you out with this. Don’t forget to mention what kind of model you are using and the water chemistry that your pool has at that point of time.
The Saturation Index
The saturation index is an indicator of pool water balance and is concerned with two main things: Calcium and Alkalinity.
While a saturation index of ‘0’ is considered to be ideal, anything between -0.2 to 0.2 is also considered acceptable. A saturation index that falls below -0.2 indicates that the pool water has become corrosive. Corrosive water can cause a lot of damage to your plastering as it begins to dissolve.
A saturation index of above 0.2 however indicates that the water will cause scaling and staining to occur. While a high saturation index does not cause as much damage as a low saturation index does, it causes the pool to look ugly and unsightly.
Salt Level Calculation
In order to ensure that the water chemistry and the saturation index are maintained, you need to ensure that the salt concentrations are maintained. The amount of salt required cannot be guessed. It needs to be calculated. The easiest way to do this is to figure out the amount of water that your pool contains based on the shape of the pool.
So how do you do that? Calculating the volume of the pool is easy. First calculate the area that the pool occupies. Once you have that figure then all you have to do is multiply it with the depth of the pool. Let’s look at the equation.
Volume of the pool (water) = Area of the pool x Depth of the pool
The formula for the depth of the pool changes based on the shape of the pool you have.
Now that you have the volume of the water that is present in the pool all that is left is to calculate the amount of salt that needs to be added. Here is where the calculations get a little complicated. This is because of the use of two different measuring systems.
If you have calculated the volume based on feet and gallons then the following instructions are meant for your pool.
- Rectangular pool: Volume x 7.5
- Round: Volume x 5.9
- Oval: Volume x 6.7
The answer will tell you how much salt you need to add into your pool water. Please note that this answer will tell you the weight of salt in pounds.
If you have calculated the volume based on meters and liters then the following instructions are meant for your pool.
- Rectangular pool: Volume x 1000
- Round: Volume x 785
- Oval: Volume x 893
The answer will tell you how much salt you need to add into your pool water. Please note that this answer will tell you the weight of salt in kilograms.
The ideal levels of salt that Hayward recommends is 3200 ppm. A range from 2700 to 3400 ppm has also been deemed acceptable.
There are two main consequences of maintaining the wrong salt levels. The first and foremost reason is that high salt levels can cause the TurboCell to shut down. This will be evident by the salty taste that the pool will begin to acquire. Salt can usually be tested at a level of 3500 to 4000 ppm.
Low salt levels on the other hand will cause reduced efficiency of the TurboCell. This is because there is a decrease in the amount of Sodium Chloride that is available. Now this in turn causes less Chlorine to be produced.
Defining The Right Salt
Knowing your salt is important. Hayward recommends using only Sodium Chloride. This salt is actually the same salt that you add to your food when cooking. An important point to note is that the purity of the salt should be at least 99 percent!
Do not use rock salt as it contains a lot of impurities. Salts that contain yellow prusside of soda can cause staining and are therefore not recommended. Other kinds variants of Sodium Chloride that contain anti-caking additives and/or Iodine should be avoided.
Some people use water conditioning pellets. If you are one of those people, remember that these pellets take longer to dissolve than conventional salt. Ensure that you take that into account when calculating your dissolution time.
Adding And Removing Salt
Everything that you do in relation to your pool should be standardized and should follow a set pattern. In order to ensure that the process of maintaining the salinity of the water is carried out properly, Hayward has set a protocol that teaches you how to add and/or remove salt from the pool water.
- For new plaster pools, the protocol requires that you wait for 10 to 14 days before adding salt. This is to help the plaster cure before use.
- If your pool isn’t new or if the requisite 14 days has elapsed then turn on the circulation device. With this done you can now add the salt into the pool.
- Ensure that you brush the salt around the pool water. This helps to ensure that it dissolves quickly. Salt should not accumulate on the pool floor. Keep an eye on the floor to ensure that this does not happen.
- Once the salt is dispersed, ensure that the filter pump is turned on for the next 24 hours. The suction should come from the main drain. If your pool does not have a main drain then use a pool vac. This will help ensure that the salt is dispersed evenly through the water.
- When checking the salt display, remember that the display may take up to 24 hours to reflect the salt concentrations. So once you’ve added the salt, ensure that you check the display after the 24 hour window is over.
Removing the excess salt is no easy task. There is only one way by which you can go about this task. That is by partially draining the pool. That’s why Hayward advises administering the salt with caution.
By partially draining the pool and then refilling it, you dilute the salt that is already present in the water. Continue doing this till the water reaches the required salinity.
Installing The TurboCell
Hayward provides detailed instructions as to how the TurboCell needs to be installed. While we will not go into all the details, let us look at some of the most important points that Hayward emphasizes on.
- Ensure that the device does not have a cross connection with the local portable water supply. While this may be easier said than done, the easiest way to go about it is by checking the local plumbing codes.
- The return line of the pool filtration will hold the flow switch and the cell. Logically this makes sense. After the water is filtered, it goes through the cell where it is then electrolyzed to produce Chlorine. This return line then takes the Chlorinated water into the pool.
- While Hayward provides a number of diagrams that explains how the TurboCell is attached, a brief glance at them will tell you that there are two ways how you can install the TurboCell. One is the vertical installation and the other is the inverted installation. Consult your pool dealer about which one is best suited for your pool.
Operating The Device
Once you have finished installing the TurboCell and have the water chemical levels within the recommended range, you can move on to the next phase. That phase involves understanding how to operate the device.
Operating the device is relatively simple. There are three factors that control the amount of Chlorine output. These three factors are:
- Amount of salt in the pool.
- Daily filter time
- Desired output setting
Since we have already discussed how the amount of salt in the pool affects the functioning of the TurboCell, you will understand why checking the salt levels periodically is vital in ensuring that the Chlorine generator functions well.
The daily filter time determines how much water passes through the filter each day. You will remember that the TurboCell is installed at the return line of the filter. This means that by setting the amount of water that is filtered, we can also set the amount of water that is electrolyzed. By doing this we can control the amount of Chlorine produced every day.
The third factor that needs consideration is the ‘Desired output’ setting. Finding the optimum desired output is easy if you follow the instructions well. Start with a desired output of around fifty percent. Check the Chlorine levels. Then adjust the knob either up or down according to your requirements. Monitor the Chlorine levels after each adjustment. The process takes two or three tries but once you know the desired output, you don’t have to go through the procedure again.
The TurboCell series has been designed to suit almost every kind of pool. Finding the right size to fit your pool is an easy task as Hayward has simplified the procedure with their guidelines. The TurboCell series has revolutionized the way people convert their pools to saltwater pools. It has made the task so much simpler and easier.
The trend has started and it isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Saltwater pools are the cleanest and healthiest option available. You may want to consider getting your pool converted soon!
Video | How to Clean your Hayward TurboCell (T-Cell-15, T-Cell-9, T-Cell-3)
SALTWATER POOLS THE HAYWARD WAY
Swimming in a saltwater pool is a different experience when compared to the experience we get when swimming in our traditional Chlorine pools. There was a time when saltwater swimming pools were the vogue in luxury hotels and on cruise ships. And why shouldn’t they be? They are easy to maintain and are much cheaper than their traditional variant.
Today, a lot of people have started converting their pools into saltwater pools. With the gadgets that are available, the process becomes easy to undertake. The Chlorine generator is the core element in this change. Unlike before, this device enables continuous regeneration of Chlorine. This makes it an ongoing process and it also reduces the load that the pool owner faces when it comes to Chlorinating his pool water.
This may sound like a complex process but in reality it isn’t. Let’s take a look at the Chlorine generator and its application in today’s world.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
One of the first things that you should know is that a Chlorine generator is also called a ‘cell’. ‘Salt Chlorine generator’ and ‘Salt Chlorinator’ are other terms that are used synonymously to describe this device. No matter what you call the device, it doesn’t change the basic function that the device is built to do. That function is to ensure that the pool is chlorinated.
The name is often prefixed with ‘salt’ because the Chlorine generator uses salt as the base from which it produces Chlorine.
THE KEY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRADITIONAL POOLS AND SALTWATER POOLS
Before you start venturing into how the Chlorine generator works, it is wise to pause for a few moments and understand the difference between traditional pools and saltwater pools.
When we first started using man made pools, the need for sanitization of the water became apparent. Without proper treatment, pool water turns green with algae. Lack of sanitation and cleaning of the pool water soon results in the growth of microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. That is why the concept of chlorinating the water came into existence.
Chlorine was employed to kill the bacteria that were present in the pool water. When Chlorine is added into water, a chemical reaction takes place and it forms chemicals like hypochlorous acid (also known as HOCl) and Hypochlorite ion. It is these two chemicals that attack the cell membranes of the microorganisms present in the water and oxidizes them. This process renders the microorganisms harmless.
The key difference between traditional pools and saltwater pools is the way Chlorine is dispensed into the water.
In traditional pools, the Chlorine is added externally. This is a manual process and it requires a lot of time and effort. The compound used to chlorinate the pool is the chemical Chlorine. Saltwater pools on the other hand function by using a gadget called the Chlorine generator. The Chlorine generator releases Chlorine from the salt (Sodium Chloride) by way of electrolysis. This Chlorine is released in the gaseous form and it dissolves in the water.
Another major difference between the traditional pools and the saltwater pools is that the Chlorine in saltwater pools continues to be regenerated. Chlorine in the traditional pools has to be re-added at a set frequency.
THE FUNCTIONING OF THE CHLORINE GENERATOR
Understanding how a gadget works is always important. It helps you get a better understanding of what you need and what you want. The functioning of the Chlorine generator is fairly simple. Since the Chlorine generator relies on a salt to function, the first step involves converting the pool into a saltwater pool by adding salt.
Once the salt has been uniformly distributed throughout the water, the Chlorine generator starts about getting its job done. To understand this you need to know that the Chlorine generator is attached to the filtration system. It is here that the Chlorine generator applies electrolysis to the water that is passing through the filtration system.
How does electrolysis work? During electrolysis, the saltwater flows into a special container. This container is charged with a certain amount of electrical current. Now, you will remember that the water contains dissolved Sodium Chloride. As the water passes through this container, the electrical charge causes the Sodium Chloride (salt) to split into Sodium and Chloride. This Chloride that is formed is in the gaseous state. The gas combines with the water and chlorinates it.
The beauty about this is that this process is a continuous process. The Chlorine and the Sodium will eventually combine to form Sodium Chloride again. This Sodium Chloride will then be reused by the Chlorine generator to make Chlorine once more.
So now you can see why this process is also called a regenerative process or a continuous process. In fact, some companies go as far as to say that the salt that is added in the pool does not need to be replaced for an entire year. Periodic checks may be necessary to ensure that the salinity is maintained though. This is essentially because neither a too high nor a too low salt level is good for the system.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU PIT A SALT WATER POOL AGAINST A TRADITIONAL CHLORINE POOL?
Saltwater pools definitely have an upper hand as compared to the traditional Chlorine pools. This is why so many home owners are deciding to change their existing pools into saltwater ones. The reasons vary from person to person but the most common ones are that it is more economical and the health benefits are much more. Let’s take a look at how a saltwater pool is better than a traditional Chlorine pool.
Saltwater pools are a more natural option than the traditional Chlorine pools. While the upfront costs may be high, the actual maintenance and running costs are significantly lower. This is because saltwater pools are so much easier to maintain when compared to their traditional counterparts.
Since saltwater pools do not require many chemicals, you will find that you don’t have to buy and store the same amount of chemicals that a traditional pool requires. This also means that you don’t have to set aside a certain amount of space in your garage for storage.
The reduced or lack of use of chemicals also means that you don’t have to fret about adding them to the water continuously. This in itself takes a large chunk of stress out of the pool owner’s life.
In addition to this, you will notice that algae tends to grow very slowly in saltwater. Slow growth of algae means there is a reduced need for cleaning. Saltwater pools are therefore so much easier to clean. Another point to note is that saltwater pools don’t have to be cleaned at the same frequency as Chlorine pools.
Another thing to think about is the formation of chloramines. Chloramines are the reason for the Chlorine smell that you get in a Chlorine pool. They are formed when Chorine combines with human output (sweat or saliva). The way that chloramines are removed from a traditional pool is by adding more Chlorine. The saltwater pool however solves this problem for us. The continuous regeneration of Chlorine ensures that the chloramines are controlled. It also ensures that additional Chlorine does not have to be added manually. The end result? Saltwater pools lack the chloramine smell. Even the maintenance related to chloramine removal is done away with.
So ultimately when you compare the two kinds of pools, you will find that the maintenance of a salt water pool is considerably less demanding than the maintenance of a traditional Chlorine pool.
The Healthier Option
In today’s day and age, we are always on the lookout for the healthier options available. Saltwater pools have increased in popularity because it is much healthier to use a saltwater pool than a Chlorine pool.
Saltwater pools produce their Chlorine by a process of regeneration. Even though there is a certain amount of Chlorine that is present in the water, saltwater pools have considerably lower levels of Chlorine than their traditional counterparts.
Low amounts of Chlorine in turn mean that there are lesser chances of breaking out into red itchy skin. Long term exposure to Chlorine in the Chlorine pools results in dry brittle hair. This can be a real annoyance. If you use the traditional pool, it cannot be avoided. Saltwater pools however have lower concentrations of Chlorine which do not have any effect on the hair.
Some swimmers complain of lung irritation and even asthma like symptoms. The cause for this can be traced back to the contaminant levels in under chlorinated pools. This usually happens when the under chlorinated pools are over burdened. Saltwater pools provide a continuous source of chlorine, so there is no question of this happening. In case the number of people in the pool increases, you can also manually change the rate at which Chlorine is being produced. This is particularly useful for those people who have lung problems.
It’s Not Really That Salty!
The thought of swimming in a saltwater pool immediately makes one think about the ocean. We imagine the ease at which the saltwater allows us to swim without expending as much energy as normal unsalted water would require. Fortunately or unfortunately this is not really the case.
Saltwater pools aren’t really as concentrated as you think they are. In fact, the concentration of salt that saltwater pools contain varies anywhere between one-tenth to one-twelfth that of the ocean. Some of you may wonder why this is good news. Excess levels of salt can deposit on the skin and cause itchiness. Not everyone attributes the sticky itchy feeling to the salt that is present in the seawater. Saltwater pools however balance the good effects of the salinity while ensuring that it isn’t so concentrated that your skin revolts!
The Difference Isn’t Really In The Taste
As explained before, saltwater pools do not cause itching, red eyes and allergic reactions. This is in fact a really good change when compared to the traditional Chlorine pools. There are however some misconceptions that exist.
Some people say that the pool will look better and taste better. This however is not the case. The reason why many people feel this way is because they compare saltwater pools to Chlorine pools which have not been maintained. Since the saltwater pools do not require regular cleaning and maintenance, the difference appears stark.
If a saltwater pool is compared to a maintained Chlorine pool, you will find no difference in the way the water looks and tastes. Saltwater pool water may be salty if the concentration of the salt crosses 3500 ppm. That is basically the only difference that exists as far as looks and tastes are concerned.
AquaRite Installation Video
Video | Cleaning & Troubleshooting | AquaRite T-Cell