Electrolytic Cell Maintenance Calcification Tips

In Blog, Maintenance Tips by Ed Miller

It is very important when commissioning a new cell or a replacement cell for your chlorine generator to take voltage and amperage readings and log them for future reference. Also, record water temperature and salinity as these factors will affect your voltage readings; for example, when you commissioned your new cell your reading is 24vdc amperage 20, water temp 75°F, salinity 4000ppm.  Later down the road you find that you are having production issues; so, you test and your readings are 30vdc amperage @ 14dc. This would be a good indicator that your cell needs cleaning or that your cell is dying (low salinity can also effect voltage/amperage readings).   Inspect your cell and check for calcium buildup. Clean the cell if calcium is present. Once system is back online rechecking your readings. If your readings are now within the factory recommended ranges, you more than likely have corrected the issue. If your readings are still high, it’s time to replace the cell.   It is important to take these readings monthly rather than waiting until your voltages are out of factory specifications and/or having production issues due to a heavily calcified cell. In other words, if your voltage reading is 2-3vdc above your initial readings it might be a good idea to inspect the cell and check for calcium buildup. It is always better to do a light cleaning than waiting until your cell plates are so calcified you are forced to do a heavy cleaning. It is also important to never try and scrape away calcium with a screw driver or object that will damage the ruthenium oxide coating on the plates as this will dramatically shorten the life of the cell.   Cell cleaning solution is as follows:   1 part muriatic acid to 4-5 parts water, NEVER add water to acid, do the reverse and add acid to water. Make sure to use a clean bucket.     Adding water to acid can form an extremely concentrated solution of acid where initially so much heat is released the solution can boil splashing concentrated acid out of the container. Remember (add acid to water) the solution that forms is very dilute and only a small amount of heat is released. Wear proper protection when mixing the solution and cleaning the cell, eye protection, muriatic acid compatible cartridge breather mask, and rubber gloves.  It usually takes approximately 5 – 10 minutes to complete the cleaning once the solution has been added.  If a cell is heavily calcified, you may need to repeat these steps. Dispose of the used solution in a manner that does not violate any health codes or put humans or animals at risk. *Note: These are general recommendations, always refer to the owners manual that came with the equipment for exact cleaning/maintenance procedures; as well as the instructions listed on the chemical labels.