4. CHLORINE vs SALT vs OZONE
While it’s tempting to dive straight into your pool at the first sign of a hot day, it’s important to make sure you know what’s going on under the surface. Preventative measures need to be taken to ensure your pool doesn’t become a breeding ground for infection-causing bacteria.
Depending on the size of your pool and your budget, there are a range of options.
Perhaps the most talked-about form of pool sanitation at the moment is ozone. Ozone treatment has been widely used around the world in public pools, hospital hydrotherapy pools, health farms and industrial water treatment plants, and is now being used in backyard pools, too.
“Ozone is one of the most effective bactericides known,” says Jutta Wilkinson of Healing Water Supplies. “Ozone kills bacteria, algae, viruses and fungi 5000 times faster than chlorine, leaving the water with sparkling clarity and a bluish tint.”
The chlorine-free swimming system uses high levels of oxygen, promoting the healing of cuts and skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. Furthermore, there is no deterioration of swimwear and no need to shower after swimming.
“As there is no use of harsh chemicals, pool equipment will last longer and there is no corrosion of pool blankets and cleaners,” Jutta says. “Ozone can be safely backwashed into the gardens, which will flourish from the water that has no residual chlorine, salt or bromine.”
Pool chemicals based on chlorine and bromine are the most traditionally used forms of pool sanitation. However, as these sanitisers do their work it’s been shown that they gradually become less effective. This, of course, leads to the need for renewal and level top-ups.
When it comes to the different forms of chlorine – granular, liquid and tablet – it pays to shop around, because the type you choose determines whether you need to adjust levels manually or if the work can be done automatically. Another side effect is the ‘public pool’ smell of chlorine, along with possible eye and skin irritation.
Often thought of as a more natural option, salt water chlorination erases the need to buy, store and handle many chemicals. While you may be paying more up front, maintenance time is cut back so there is a lower cost of upkeep. In addition, it’s considered a healthier choice for your skin and eyes.
Jutta also advises that water circulation is important for pool clarity. When building a pool, keep in mind the layout of plumbing, suction and return jets to provide optimum pool operation. “When using a sand filter, sand media needs changing every five years, whereas glass media will last for up to 20 years and filters down to two microns. Sand only filters down to five to seven microns,” she says.