Aqua Rite Salt Reading Not Accurate? Easy Fix!

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Is your aqua rite not displaying salt level or aqua rite not reading salt level accurately? You’re not alone!

The Aquarite typically shows an average salt reading for the last 24 hours. The reading is also somewhat affected by the water temperature, usually reading a bit lower than actual when the water is cold.

Depending on the time of day and when you looked at the reading relative to when you added the salt, it could be reporting only 2500 ppm while your salt test strips show you actually have 3200 ppm. Nothing to be scared of.

Don’t expect the reading to exactly match a salt test strip. Why? AquaRite and the salt test strips are +-400, so they can read as much as 800 off (though that is unlikely), and still both be “correct”.

I recommend using the diagnostic button to see what the instant salt level reading is. Try sequential pushes of the small “diagnostic” button next to the LSD display and that will cause the Aqua Rite to show the following information:

  • Water temperature
  • Cell voltage
  • Cell current
  • Desired Output %
  • Instant salinity
  • Product name
  • Software revision level.

The test strips are usually mostly incorrect! In fact, your life will be much less stressful after you throw out those test strips. I have two of the Aqua Logic and went crazy my first year trying to reconcile that the test strips always read 600-800 ppm higher than the SWCG.

I was on the phone with Hayward “recalibrating” the SWCG, trying different test strips..all to no avail. Adjust your salt level using the SWCG reading and forget the strips.

Currently, my display read 3300 ppm. Just for fun, I used a test strip the other day…it reads over 4000 ppm! Ignore the strips.

My experience has shown the test strips to be horribly inaccurate. They would read 500 ppm higher than the SWG. I went with a Taylor drop kit and now that matches what the SWG reports almost exactly so I now trust the SWG more than anything. Anyway, what really matters is what the SWG reports as that is what sets the alarms (amps).

Here is how to recalibrate your unit according to the manufacturer’s direction:

  • Move the switch to the Auto position. Is your switch already in the Auto or Super Chlorinate position? Move it to Off then back to Auto.
  • Wait some minutes for the relay to click, then push the diagnostics button 5 times to the instant salt level with the minus sign in front.
  • Wait a bit for the instant salt level to stop moving lower, then make sure it is within the range of 2700-3400, then move the switch up to Super Chlorinate then back down to Auto. This saves the instant salt level reading as the new default which, in effect, recalibrates the unit to be able to run normally and chlorinate the pool.
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Table of Contents

Why Does Salt Chlorinator Fail?

There are several causes of a failed chlorinator, and one of it is lack of maintenance. When you maintain your system, you make sure that excess calcium does not get stuck on the plates and give a false reading.

You should use a cleaning kit for salt cells to get rid of the build-up and keep your system in great working condition.

The other cause of failed chlorinators is improper water balance.

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How to Inspect Your Aqua Rite System

Inaccurate Aquarite system reading can occur for various reasons.

Here is how to inspect your system and how to fix it:

  • The Inspect Cell LED

It needs to stay on or flash when the 500-operation hour countdown is over.

You should press and hold the diagnostic button for 5-second to reset the system.

  • The Inspect Cell and Check Salt LED

Yes, both sides will flash together when the salt level is 2500-2600 ppm.

Your system needs to continue to produce chlorine and work properly.

  • The Inspect Cell and Check Slat LED

Both should stay on if the slat level is at most 2300 ppm.

The system will fail to produce chlorine and will require calibrating.

Aqua Rite Salt Reading Not Accurate: What to Do

  • Test the Pool with Strips

Salt test strips are typically the go-to but I have found them to give inaccurate results.

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Instead, go for a Taylor drop kit. They will provide you with the most accurate reading.

You can then test your pool with these drop kits and compare the reading to what the Aqua control panel is giving you.

If the readings are different, you will have to calibrate the Aqua Rite System.

Aqua Rite Salt Reading Not Accurate

  • Flip the Switch

Your control panel will have a main operation switch with three positions:

  • Superchlorinate,
  • Auto and Off

While the pump is running, you can move the switch from the  “Auto” position to the “Off” position. Then switch it back to the “Auto” position. You should hear a click coming from the panel after 15 seconds.

aqua rite not reading salt level

  • Use the Diagnostics Function

As soon as you hear the panel make the clicking sound, you should push the “Diagnostics” button 5 times. This will engage the recalibration system.

aqua rite not displaying salt level

  • Match Levels

As soon as the diagnostic function has done its thing, a number would be displayed on the digital screen.

Now, adjust the number so that it matches the salt readings from your test strips. Lastly, switch the operation mode up to  “Superchlorinator” mode and then back to “Auto” mode.

Your Aqua Rite should now give readings that match your test strips.

How to Maintain Your Aqua Rite System

One of the primary reasons I have heard Aqua Rite systems give inaccurate readings is infrequent inspection and maintenance.

You should take a good look at your control panel on a frequent basis. Your control panel will alert you once the maintenance is due.

Of course,  you need to make sure it is accurately calibrated before you perform any maintenance.

Here are some of the basics of maintaining and inspecting your Hayward Aqua Rite salt cell system:

  • 500 Operation Hours

Your Aqua Rite system will alert you after 500 operational hours. Yes, now is the perfect time to clean the salt cell.

The system will alert you by flashing the “Inspect Cell” indicator light. After you have cleaned the cell, reset the system by holding down the “Diagnostic” button for 5 seconds.

  • Salt Level Alerts

The Aqua Rite salt cell system also gives you alerts when salt levels are between 2500 and 2600 ppm.

Once you reach this level, you will then see the “Inspect Cell” and “Check Salt” LED lights flash together.

  • Low Salt Alerts

Instead of flashing together, the “Check Salt” and “Inspect Cell” LED lights will both turn on and stay on when the salt ppm level gets down to 2300.

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What this means is that your unit lacks enough salt to produce chlorine. Once you correct the issue, you will have to recalibrate the system.

As you can see, not properly maintaining salt levels and inspecting your system will cause you to have to recalibrate your system more often. Although general use will likely throw the system off as well, it’s just good practice to take a look at your Aqua Rite control panel as often as possible.

Avoid Calibration Issues

The mineral buildup might get stuck on your reading plates. The best way to avoid this is to manually clean the salt cell often.

You can use a salt cell cleaning kit or muriatic acid.

You can also use simple 5% distilled white vinegar. Vinegar is an economical and natural alternative to muriatic acid and cleaning kits.

  • Hayward Aqua Plus Calibrate Salt

Test your salt level with a Taylor salt kit to see what the actual PPM is. You should be between 3200 and 3700. There is a possibility that your cell has developed a fault. Kit available at your pool supply place.

Is your filter clean? This can cause false readings on the board due to a lack of flow. Start there. If you still have the same problem, take the cell in for testing. Salt cells usually last 5 years or so.

But regular cleanings can extend this.

  • Aqua Rite Cell Current 0

Your Aqua Rite current being 0 can happen when the cell cord has gotten disconnected, or when the internal surge protector burns out, effectively disconnecting the cell cord.

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If so, a bolus of salt could have passed thru the device and kinda messed with its “brain”.

FYI- always leave the SWG OFF for adding salt and brush it around till dissolved. Turn it back on the next day.

The settings are randomly changing. The units got changed to metric.

This happens when the display board is not making good contact with the pins from the mainboard.

Remove and reinstall the display board making sure that the pins line up with the holes in the display board.

After resetting the display board, go over all settings and make sure that they are correct.

  • Hayward Aquarite won’t Calibrate

You probably have the wrong cell size or your salt cell needs to be replaced.

Author: Howard S. Baldwin

My name is Howard S. Baldwin. I am a work-at-home dad to three lovely girls, Jane + Hannah + Beauty. I have been blogging for the last 3 years. I worked for other Home and Lifetsyle blogs, did hundreds of product reviews and buyers’ guides. Prior to that, I was a staff accountant at a big accounting firm. Needless to say, researching and numbers are my passion. My goal is to be an informative source for any topic that relates to DIY life and homemaking.

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