Among the uninitiated, chlorine is a mandatory part of any swimming pool experience. It sanitises many above ground swimming pools in Australia, and elsewhere around the world. And while it’s been used to sterilise swimming and drinking water since the late 1800s, it has always been problematic. Chlorine reddens your eyes, dries out your skin, makes you itch, and causes rashes in some people. In others, it can trigger bronchial problems. Plus, it has bleaching properties. Still, we use it because it kills germs and prevents algae. And while it’s not ideal, we can’t completely eliminate it from our pools. What we can do is use less of it. We can switch to other sterilisers, combined with limited volumes of chlorine. So what are the pool-cleaning options available that can lessen your overall chlorine? As it turns out, they’re all natural products. Your pool is going organic, and will feel silky on your skin.
Ozone (O3) isn’t just a depleting part of the planet. It’s a naturally occurring substance made by three atoms of Oxygen (O2), so it’s sometimes called triatomic oxygen. Two atoms of oxygen sustain life. That third atom destroys it – and it’s how ozone keeps your pool clean. It kills micro-organisms and other contaminants. To form ozone, you need an ozone generator. It comprises a corona discharger or an ultraviolet bulb. Either one takes regular oxygen and adds a third atom, converting it to ozone. After the ozone kills your pool bugs, it breaks back down to regular oxygen which is fed back into the ozone generator and the process repeats. However, because ozone can only exist for 20 minutes to an hour before it reverts to oxygen, you need a small chlorine primer to supplement O3 and keep your pool consistently clean.
UV bulbs can be used to generate ozone, but they can also be used as a standalone steriliser. A UV filter works by passing pool water through powerful UV rays contained in an enclosed chamber. Water flows in and out of the light, mixing with the rest of the pool until it’s all clean. The advantage of UV is it destroys regular germs, but it also kills micro-organisms like cyclosporam, e.coli, cryptosporidium, and giardia, which are usually resistant to chlorine. UV treatment doesn’t make water sparkly in the way that ozone does, but it gives it the same silky, skin-refreshing texture. It messes with your pool germs’ DNA, and it’s the only method that doesn’t require any added chlorine.
Salt or minerals
Cheap above ground swimming pools sanitised with salt are still chlorinated – it’s just that the chlorine is in a gentler form. Rather than powdered chlorine, salt-water pools use electrolysis to convert table salt into chlorine gas. This gas dissolves in the water, becoming liquid chlorine. The cycle is endless, with salt turning into chlorine, back to salt, and back to chlorine. Its bleaching properties are kinder, but they still kill germs. The salt is supplied in the form of a salt cell / cartridge, and the pool does need a small injection of chlorine powder to catalyse the conversion process. Finally, mineral pools have the least amount of chlorine. Mineral cartridges release the ions of borates, copper, and silver into the water, killing germs. A small amount of chlorine is added, but not enough to bleach or bother swimmers.
For your choice of low-chlorine pools, call Affordable Pools today on (02) 8625 3656.