Operating a pool without chlorine is possible, by using biguanides, you can be completely chlorine-free. Use minerals to operate with reduced chlorine levels, or switch to a salt chlorinator, instead of using chlorine tablets and shock.
Probably the biggest complaint about chlorine is the red eyes and itchy skin. Blondes will complain that their hair will turn green, but it's actually copper in the water. I think the odor is the worst, in the pool and in your hair. And when opening the containers to add the chlorine, the odor is very strong. Faded bathing suits is another thing people do not like about chlorine. Other people have environmental concerns about chlorine, or worries about storing and handling such a dangerous chemical.
If you want to be completely chlorine-free, there is one group of pool sanitizers on the market that are chlorine free, and these are biguanide products. Splashes and Baquacil are two of the more popular brands. Basically, these products are a mixture of algaecide and hydrogen peroxide. This is the only stand-alone chlorine free sanitation system available for pools, or as an alternative to chlorine, it's another way of sanitizing your swimming pool. Although biguanides work well, there are some disadvantages compared to chlorine or salt systems:
More expensive than using chlorine sanitizers.
Clogs up filter systems, requiring more frequent filter media replacement.
Some users may have persistent problems with cloudy water or pink algae.
Conversion to a Biguanide Sanitizer
To switch to a biguanide product, you would have to let your pool chlorine level go down to zero. You need to read about these products before using them. They are very sensitive to any other chemicals being put into the pool. Once you switch to this type of sanitation, you can only use certain chemicals in the pool. You will need to stick to their brand of products. If you start mixing in other chemicals, your water can start turning colors. If this happens, it is very difficult to get your water chemistry back to normal.
Switching Back to Chlorine
Switching back to a chlorine product from the Biguanide products can prove to be a trial of patience. You will need to let the water sit until the reading is “0” and at the same time try to keep the pool as clean as possible. The filter media will need to be replaced with new sand, DE grids or filter cartridge.
Chlorine and biguanide products do not mix well, so you want to make sure the biguanide products are not in the water. Once you are back to zero biguanide reading, balance the water and shock the pool with chlorine free pool shock. The water may be a little cloudy at first – especially if you still have some of the biguanide product in the water. Keep running the filter and after a day or so begin slowly adding the chlorine tabs starting with just one.
Nature 2 uses minerals (copper and silver ions) to kill bacteria and sanitize the water with a 6 month mineral cartridge. After shocking to initialize the cartridge, you can use just a tinge of chlorine, maintaining the chlorine level at .5 instead of the normal 1.5 ppm. With a mineral system, you can use at least 50% less less chlorine than normal.
Pool Frog is another way to use minerals with just a tinge of chlorine to keep the water sanitized and free of other bacterial products. Replace the mineral pack every 6 months and the chlorine pack about every month. Pool Frog reduces chlorine fuss with their combination mineral / chlorine purifiers.
Pool Rx is yet another, even easier way to add the power of copper and silver minerals to your pool sanitation program, to improve water quality and reduce chlorine usage. Easier because with Pool Rx, you just drop the 6 month cartridge into your skimmer basket. No expensive purifier to install by filter system.
Pool Ionizers use minerals – copper and silver – to kill algae, bacteria and viruses in your pool water. You still need to use a tinge of chlorine to make it work but you are using about 50% less than if you had a chlorine pool. The power ionizer is plumbed into your filter plumbing and ionization takes place in the pipe, when water is flowing. The solar ionizer just floats in the pool. The sunlight’s power will generate the minerals to be released into the pool.
Not really an alternative to chlorine, salt systems, or salt generators produce their own chlorine, from a few hundred pounds of salt added to the pool water. Very popular in other parts of the world, Europe, Asia and Australia have been using salt generators to sanitize their pools for many years. Hook up your salt generator and pour the salt into the pool. It's really pretty easy.
As the water flows through the salt generator, it converts the salt into natural chlorine. Using natural chlorine means no red eyes, no green hair, no itchy skin, no faded bathing suits, no odors and no lugging chlorine tabs around. The water is extremely clean as well as soft and silky. The chlorine turns back into salt and as it goes through the generator will turn back into natural chlorine, again and again. You need to add a little salt occasionally because of splash out, winterizing or backwashing, but usually less than one bag of Morton's salt per year, which you can get at any home store or water treatment store.
So that's our summary of ways to reduce chlorine, with less buying and storing chlorine tablets and shock, or switch to a salt system to eliminate it altogether. For a completely non-chlorine pool, switch to a Biguanide and go chlorine free!
SPP Pool Expert