Chlorine is the most common chemical used in pool maintenance. But do you know what it could do to your health? Some people report having allergic reactions, burning eyes, and even asthma when swimming in pools that use too much chlorine as a sanitizer.
Fortunately, there are a few pool chlorine alternatives worth checking out. They can assist pool owners in maintaining clean, clear, and healthy water while using less chlorine. Find out how these pool chlorine alternatives that can provide a high level of sanitization while promoting a healthy option for you.
6 Pool Chlorine Alternatives to Consider
Chlorine is popular because it takes control of the three main jobs of keeping a swimming pool clean: Sanitizes (eliminate bacteria and germs), oxidizes (controls organic debris from sweat and body oils), and prevents algae. Conversely, the chemical is known to cause a strong odor, red eyes, and allergic reactions to some bathers. However, there are some very interesting pool chlorine alternatives that are worth a shot.
What is Bromine: Bromine is chlorine’s sister experiment. It’s the same chemical as chlorine, but bromine won’t do any harm to your skin or eyes since it’s practically colorless. In addition, bromine is non-corrosive and non-toxic to aquatic life.
It’s one of the safest choices to make when it comes to your pool’s sanitizing solution.
How it works: When exposed to high temperatures, bromine maintains its stability, which is why many specialists recommend it for spas rather than swimming pools. Even while it has a milder irritant effect on mucous membranes than chlorine, it still produces a distinct odor.
Also, if you only use bromine in your pool water, it can turn the color dull green, which builds foam when you swim in it because the oxidation process is less potent than chlorine.
Advantages/Disadvantages: The only drawback with bromine is that it doesn’t eliminate as much as chlorine does. Therefore, you will still have to add some chlorine to the water to clear all germs and dirt traces completely.
Cost: It is more costly to maintain a pool with bromine. You might spend up to twice as much as you would if you simply used chlorine in your pool.
What are Ozonators: Ozonators are the machine that connects to the filter plumbing system and generates ozone. It produces ozone gas (an active form of oxygen) into the pool to break down impurities in the water.
How it works: There are two kinds of ozone generators: those that use UV light and corona discharge. In the UV lighting system, unique, low-pressure vapor lamps placed on the water line destroy pathogens as they pass by. Corona discharge generates ozone by igniting an electrical arc that kills microorganisms that have entered the filtration system.
Advantages/Disadvantages: Ozone generators may significantly cut chlorine consumption by up to 90% and consume the same amount of energy as a 60-watt light bulb when the filter pump is turned on; thus, you can say that the extra energy demand is sustainable.
Pool experts say ozonators together with chlorine are highly efficient as long as you circulate the water 24 hours a day. One caveat: Ozonators operate best in dry air so, if you’re living in an area with a humid climate, then expect a lower performance.
Cost: A standard ozone generator is priced at $600 for 7,000 gallons of water and increases to $1,200 for 25,000 gallons. Bear in mind the expense of the pool pump running continuously.
What is Ionizer: Ionizers are one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to keep swimming pool water clear. They release a surge of negatively charged ions into the pool, attracting positively charged particles such as dirt and debris. These ions are too heavy and can’t settle in the water so they get sucked by the pool filter, leaving your pool sparkling and crystal clear.
How it works: The two types of ionizers are DC and AC. Both deliver clear water. However, DC ionizers offer more choices when choosing different voltage settings for other pool conditions (high budget, low maintenance, shallow or deep).
In contrast, AC ionizers deliver clear water to all pools without voltage control. DC ionizers generally give better service with less maintenance but cost a few dollars more than AC models.
Advantages/Disadvantages: Unlike bromine, ionizer does not irritate the eyes and noses of swimmers. It can also significantly reduce the quantity of chlorine your pool needs.
Costs: For about $300, you can own an ionizer capable of purifying up to 40,000 gallons of water. But you’ll have to replace the metals in the system once every swimming season, and this can cost you $129 per metal.
AOP Pool Systems
What is AOP Pool Systems: If you’re the type of person who’s a little bit sensitive to chlorine or other pool chemicals, AOP pool systems would be greatly beneficial for you. These systems eliminate the harmful effects of combined chlorine by adopting a pool chlorine alternative sanitation method that eliminates almost all contaminants entering your pool.
How it works: Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) systems can oxidize and disinfect pools while avoiding the adverse effects of combined chlorine.
AOP systems can handle the majority of the sanitation work in the pool, requiring far less chlorine. Meanwhile, these small amounts of chlorine in your pool would be more effective because little contaminants enter, resulting in healthy water that smells fresh and feels soft, doing a great job as a pool chlorine alternative.
Cost: The cost of an Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) depends on the size of your pool. But generally, the price of a high-quality AOP system for a regular pool is between $700 and $1900, not including installation.
Saltwater Pool Systems
What is Saltwater Pool Systems: Saltwater pools have grown in popularity in recent years due to their softer nature in the eyes and skin than chlorine-based pools. Additionally, they save pool owners time and money by eliminating the need to store and handle hazardous chemicals.
Saltwater systems also require less maintenance than extensively chlorinated pools, as they generate chlorine only when it is necessary.
How it works: Saltwater systems generate chlorine using a process called electrolysis, which utilizes salt cells to generate chlorine. While saltwater systems may be preferable to excessively chlorinated pools for pool owners, they can still cause many of the same unpleasant side effects and are not recommended for those with chlorine sensitivity.
Advantage/Disadvantage: Saltwater systems can be costly and are a little complicated, requiring experienced pool professionals for even minor problems. Pool owners should take all these issues and take the necessary due diligence before considering whether to invest in a saltwater pool system.
Cost: The average cost of constructing a new saltwater pool is 36,400USD, some pay between 29,000USD and 57,000USD, depending on the pool’s size, shape, and material. This pricing includes a saltwater chlorination system, which typically costs between 600USD and 2,200USD to convert a chlorine pool to a saltwater pool.
What is PHMB: Change your pool’s chemical composition to PHMB, an acronym for polyhexamethylene biguanide to completely reduce chlorine use. You might be familiar with PHMB through brand names Baquacil and SoftSwim.
How PHMB works: PHMB penetrates bacteria by entering their cell walls and causing them to rupture inside. Then those particles are coated in a thick gel that settles to the bottom of the pool, where the vacuum system sucks it out.
Advantage/Disadvantage: Since PHMB does not oxidize, you’ll need to apply hydrogen peroxide for this to work efficiently. Furthermore, you’ll also have to use separate algaecide and clean the pool filters every month.
PHMB is gentler on swimmers’ skin and hair, less damaging to vinyl pool liners, and requires less effort to maintain balance than other chemicals. However, due to the incompatibility of PHMB with chlorine, you must drain the pool first to initiate this type of pool chlorine alternative.
In addition to the different pool chlorine alternatives mentioned above, there are more ways to keep your pool sanitized.
We’ve never mentioned UV sanitizer above, but if you heard of this, UV lights are an effective and futuristic way to sanitize your water. This system is a lot of times in conjunction with ozone systems. We hope we’ve helped you learn more about how these pool chlorine alternatives work.
Here are some tips to help you maintain and clean your pool. Have fun in a clean, safe pool with your family!