Non Chemical Pools

by Pool Builders on 03-06-2008 in Articles

Many pool operators are turning to non chemical sanitation because the traditional methods of pool and spa maintenance have been shown to be environmentally hazardous and dangerous for bathers. Skin irritation, eye irritation, equipment corrosion and a growing problem with bather sensitivity to harsh chemicals are several of the driving forces behind the desire to maintain the chemical free swimming environment.

Traditional chemicals such as chlorine and bromine are expensive. A chemical free pool uses only the equipment needed for sanitation. Chemical free maintenance should eliminate your dependency on traditional expensive chemicals. An alternative pool and spa treatment must be chosen carefully, so as to offer a true chemical free pool or spa. Mineral cartridges and ionizers are good choices, but are very different systems, with very different results.

Catalytic cartridges, which provide mineral sanitation, are widely used in the United States. Sold under such trademarked names as Nature2 and Pool Frog, the cartridges provide up to six months of continuous sanitation with no electrical demands. Mineral sanitizers are not ionizers. Ionizers utilize an electrical current to most efficiently generate ions; mineral sanitizers do not.

Nature2: Claritec/Vison System, offered by Zodiac, is a mineral sanitation system that uses the power of mineral ions to break oxygen dissolved in the water into nascent oxygen atoms. The purifier also releases mineral ions into the water, which bind with microorganisms to kill them. However, it is not a chlorine replacement; it is still important to maintain a residual level of chlorine in the water to ensure adequate sanitation.

The mineral sanitation takes place in a catalytic cartridge. The placement of the cartridge depends on the system being sanitized (i.e. swimming pool versus home spa) and the size. For home spas, also known as hot tubs, and smaller pools, a cartridge can be placed directly inside the filter. For larger pools, a separate unit is usually installed on the pool's return line, after the filter. Nature2 does not remove large particles, like hair or dirt, nor will the ions bind with substances like body oils or suntan residue, so the use of a filter is essential.

Water is drawn from the pool by the pump and passes through the Nature2 cartridge. Inside the cartridge, a non-electrical reaction produces ions from the minerals, copper and silver, in the cartridge. During the process, the metallic cartridge slowly erodes from the action of the water, and this is what releases the mineral ions. This erosion also results in dissolved oxygen in the water splitting into nascent oxygen atoms.

Since the residual level of chlorine must be maintained in the pool or spa, Zodiac offers a combination unit, the DuoClear. The DuoClear purifier combines a mineral sanitizer with a salt chlorine generator, to both purify the water and provide the low levels of chlorine required for adequate sanitization. The DuoClear technology offers several benefits. The salt chlorine generator eliminates the need to purchase, transport and handle chlorine, but does not, obviously, eliminate the need for chlorine completely.

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