In today’s market of swimming pool sanitizers there are umpteen different chemical products, non-chemical generators and the traditional methods available to the pool owners. It can become quite maddening deciphering the different ways to keep your pool swimmer safe without adding an abundance of chemicals or an over amount of time keeping it clear, when most owners just want to use the pool and not have it become another chore on the honey do list. It can be enough to drive any pool owner to the brink of insanity. In this blog we will go over the methods and products suited to each individual pool owner’s needs as no two pools or swimmers are the same.
The traditional: In the 1890’s a hygienic movement, along with the precursor of modern medicine, introduced an era of cleanliness beyond what most citizens were accustomed to. It was also in this era that the public swimming pools in urban areas became popular, as well as the use of chlorine to stop dangerous water born bacteria, such as, cholera and dysentery from harming the local population who frequented the pools. Chlorine has always been the mainstay for public and private pools because of its fast action kill properties.
Liquid chlorine is a weekly additive for pools with the dose determined by the volume of the pool water, to be used with a combination of chlorine pucks. The liquid, used as a chemical burn, will reduce the bacterial and algae residue in the water by attacking the lipids in the cell walls and destroying the enzymes and structures inside the cell, rendering them oxidized and harmless. The chlorine pucks come in stabilized or non-stabilized, and are used in a floater or chlorinator to maintain the levels of chlorine during the week at a 1ppm to 3ppm to keep the pool swimmer safe. Chlorine must be put in later in the day as the sun will evaporate it out and it cannot be swam in for a 6 to 8 hour period.
Old News: Many people consider saltwater chlorine generators to be a new item. However, manufacturers have been producing salt chlorine generators in the United States since the early 1980s, and they first appeared commercially in New Zealand in the early 1970s. The principal behind a salt water pool is no more chlorine but you are still using chlorine, just in a different state. Instead of chlorine put in the pool in a liquid form it is injected in as a gas state that the salt generator attached to the pool creates by electrolysis once pool salt has been added to the water. There is a different line of chemicals to be used with a salt system to protect the salt cell from corrosion as well as keeping your white fittings in the pool from yellowing due to UV light reacting with the salt water.
A salt pool is gentler on swimmers and allows a swimmer to be in the pool even while the generator is producing the chlorine gas. A salt pool still must be oxidized or shocked which is done with a chemical called Salt Shock that is added to a pool once a month, along with a product called Revise to stop corrosion of the cell. A cell usually has a life of 5 years if a pool is balanced properly and the corrosion is kept at bay but the cell needs to be cleaned and maintained to ensure it properly generates chlorine.
The Secondaries: Ozone and UV sanitizers have become popular in the past decade for pool and hot tub owners looking to cut down on harsh sanitizing chemicals such as bromine and chlorine. Ozone has only a half-life in comparison to chlorine and cannot be stored, which means it must be used as soon as it is produced; because of this a chemical sanitizer has to be used in conjunction with an ozonator. UV disinfects the water that is in the UV chamber not the pool so in order to treat the pool every drop of water must go through the system, which takes anywhere from 24 hours or longer depending on pool volume. Again you still would have to use a chemical sanitizer in conjunction with the UV.
The good thing about both of these systems are they allow you to use less chemical sanitizer in your pool or hot tub but they are only secondary systems not independent sanitizing systems. When these systems are installed they too have certain maintenance and up keep required to keep them functioning properly as well as professional cleaning of the tubes.
The Innovator: An Ionizer is the new kid on the block when it comes to pool sanitation systems. The one MP Paradise Pools uses are called a Clearblue. It is simple to install, simple to operate, and reduces chemical usage to the lowest levels allowed by Health Canada, (.6 ppm). An Ionizer works by releasing silver and copper ions into the water. The unit uses electrolysis, just like a salt generator, to charge the silver and copper probe on the line that the water flows over, melting the probe over time as it sanitizes the pool. Silver and copper are very effective of killing bacteria and algae in water but like all systems an added does of chlorine is necessary.
This system without a doubt is the easiest to use and the most chemical free system on the market by allowing you to keep your levels of chlorine in the same range as tap water. You do this by using a high density compressed chlorine puck; ours are called Zinc pucks, which is a pure, no filler chlorine puck with the added benefit of Zinc, another natural bactericide. All pools must be oxidized and an ionizer is the easiest one to do, it is twice monthly treatment by using an oxidizer and Clarifier, our brand is called Quick, and that is how you maintain your pool.
So as you can see, there is a little bit of something for everybody. As I stated, no two pools or owners are the same. It depends on what your needs are, how much time you want to spend and out of pocket cost you are willing to spend, to make the sanitation insanity stop, and just enjoy the swimming season.