Choosing a Sanitizing System for Your Pool

by Pool Builders on 06-21-2007 in Articles

In today's pool market it seems there are more ways to keep a pool clean and inviting than ever before: ionizers, salt water systems, Baquacil and its cousins in addition to chlorine. All sorts of claims are made from no chlorine use at all to lower levels, better water quality and less maintenance. What is a pool owner to do to separate fact from hype?

The application of a few common sense rules can help separate fact from fiction in choosing a sanitizing system that will deliver satisfactory results year after year.

If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Any sanitizing system that makes incredible or revolutionary claims is probably something to avoid. No one has yet figured out a way to keep pool water clean and inviting without some help from the pool owner. Be especially leery of systems that claim to eliminate chlorine entirely. The main purpose of chlorine in a pool is to chemically burn out complex organics that provide food for algae and bacteria. Without this oxidizing function a swimming pool WILL go bad. Maybe not immediately but at some point and in spectacular fashion.

Be very skeptical of sanitizing systems that are proprietary and available only from select sources. Be especially careful with systems that are incompatible with pool chemicals in general use. The holy grail of pool sanitizing manufacturers has been to supplant chlorine as the king of pool care. Chlorine is a heavily regulated commodity and by law is only available in certain formulations and strengths. This means profit margins are low and firms are constantly inventing new sanitizing products to increase margins and capture customers. Whether the products developed work as well is of less importance.

The key to good pool water is a two-part combination. Part one is the elimination of complex organics: dust, dirt, suntan oil, sweat etc. These contaminants, if left untreated, are food for algae and bacteria. Any safe pool sanitizing system must provide 24/7 oxidizing potential in the pool water to work well.

Part two is the use of an algaecide. Despite the best intentions pools oxidizing levels can drop enough to allow algae or bacteria to begin to multiply. An algaecide present in the water will stop the infestation cold. A number of sanitizing systems rely on silver or copper based algaecide as the main line of defense against algae and bacteria. The problem is that without oxidation of food for algae, algaecide is eventually overwhelmed and the pool water goes bad.

If any sanitizing system is missing either of the two-part combination it's probably best to pass and keep looking.

Rob "Dr. Duck" Coxworth

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