As a chlorine generator technician, I often get asked why is a replacement chlorine generator cell so expensive & how can they make the cell last longer?
For starters, the very first thing that can extend the life of a cell begins before the system is purchased and installed and it has to do with proper sizing of the system to be installed on a pool. If a chlorine generator system is too small for the job the cell will be continuously working to keep the chlorine levels at the desired ppm which intern will rapidly decrease the life expectancy of the cell. If a system is properly sized, you could expect to get anywhere from 2-5 years out of your chlorine generator cell & system.
What affects the costs of the cells? The cost of the Electrolytic cell is driven by the many coatings that are required on the titanium plates. Ruthenium Oxide is a semi-precious metal, that has seen a number of increases in the last few years. Cells generally consist of some type of plastic housing with parallel titanium plates located within this housing. Titanium is surprisingly inexpensive; it is the Ruthenium oxide coating that is applied in the production process of the cell plates where that affects the cost the most. Ruthenium is not quite as expensive as gold but as a precious metal is costly. Ruthenium protects the titanium plates during the electrolysis process.
Creating chlorine through electrolysis can cause calcium to attract or slowly build up on these plates. Many chlorine generators today can reverse polarity at specified intervals during this electrolysis process which can help in dissolving, or as some might say kick the calcium from the plates. This process works well but does not always remove all of calcium that can accumulate. One way to limit calcium build up is to keep your pool balanced to LSI (Langelier Saturation Index) The other way is to remove the cell from its housing and utilizing a very weak solution of acid to clean the cell (Always follow manufacturer recommendations) Never use a something like a screwdriver or hard object to scrape the plates as this will destroy your cell.
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