If you are lucky enough to own a residential swimming pool you know that there are upsides and downsides to owning and maintaining it. One of the most significant concerns as a pool owner is balancing pool water chemicals and minimizing potentially dangerous contaminants and pathogens. Proper pool water sanitation results in water that is both visually appealing and minimizes the potential for illness and contamination.
The goal: Maintain the health and quality of your swimming pool water while minimizing the chemicals
The pool owner’s dilemma is that the chemicals typically used to sanitize the water can also cause serious problems, from simple bleaching to creating noxious byproducts like chloramines. If we could, we would all maintain our water without any chemicals since no one wants their family to be needlessly exposed. The reality is, however, chemicals still do play an important role in pool water maintenance and sanitation. The question here is whether salt chlorine generators can keep the water safe without producing unwanted side effects.
Salt water systems were a popular choice in recent years for their promises of low maintenance and simplified water management. Unfortunately, many are now learning that those benefits came at a steep price, and are not entirely true.
Ozone is an up-and-coming residential pool water sanitizer that is worthy of consideration. While lesser known in the residential pool setting, ozone is extremely common in spas (more than 70% of all spas manufactured today have an ozone generator), drinking water (bottled water companies rely on ozone), commercial pools (ozone is recommended by the CDC for public swimming pools), and many other uses.
Here is more detail on each of these alternatives:
Salt Water Pool Systems:
The salt water pool system (salt chlorine generator) has been a popular alternative pool sanitizer for the past several years but pool owners are now beginning to see that it has significant downsides. To be clear, salt water pool systems do not replace chlorine, they actually produce chlorine and all chlorine introduced by any method makes hypochlorous acid. The implication of this is that pool owners still must maintain the pool water chemistry just as they would with any other form of chlorine, with all the complexity that involves.
Two other problems with salt are disposal issues and corrosion. Disposal of salt is no small task. Yet the salt has to go somewhere and best not be your garden. Salt system owners have also reported significant damage and repair bills due to corrosion caused by their salt systems.
Ozone Pool Systems:
A pool ozonator works to maintain clean, clear water and reduce chemical load by 60 to 90%. And since the ozone generator is sanitizing the pool whenever the pump is running, it offers automatic sanitation for peace of mind. Ozone is one of nature’s most powerful oxidizers for purifying water and other substances and unlike harsh chemicals or salt, ozone creates no dangerous byproducts, corrosion, or disposal issues.
Swimming pool ozonators force ozone to dissolve in pool water, instantly neutralizing or killing a wider range of contaminants than any reasonable alternative. As with ozone from the protective layer of the atmosphere, ozone produced from the ozone generator oxidizes substances it comes into contact with. This includes a wide range of chemicals and organics that can be oxidized, including bacteria, viruses, algae, oils, human fluids, fungus, chlorine byproducts like chloramines, and some metallic elements. Ozone oxidizes contaminants so rapidly that it usually exists in pool water only a very short time, leaving nothing behind but ordinary oxygen (O2).
For commercial pool disinfection, ozone is one of two secondary sanitizers to be included in the Model Aquatic Health Code’s uniform guidelines for alternative pool sanitation. This inclusion may provide the endorsement ozone needs to move well past competing technologies among both residential and commercial customers.