Building an inground pool presents many questions. One of those that comes up early is pool water purification - what method of sanitation are you going to use to keep the water clear? Although you can change-up your sanitation equipment at any time, it's easiest to make this decision early, so you can plan on any additional purification equipment you wish to install.
Chlorine has been an industry favorite for many years. For those that want to limit their chlorine use, there are many devices or chemicals that reduce your chlorine demand. Pools need chlorine to be clean and safe to swim. There is one accepted substitute for chlorine, and this group of chemicals is known as Biguanides.
Let's look at all three categories to make the decision easier.
2. Chlorine+ Plus
There are two ways to chlorinate an inground pool: Chlorine tablets and granular pool shock, or Salt Chlorinator Installation + Salt.
Chlorine Tablets & Shock
Chlorine tablets are of one of the most economical ways to sanitize your pool and keep the pool usable. Chlorine tablets can be put into floater and float around the pool and also can be put into a chemical feeder. They dissolve at an even rate. Refill as needed, usually once every week or two. Use a good test kit to help maintain a chlorine level of 1.5ppm to 2.0ppm when using the Chlorine Tablets and Pool Shock Method.
- For outdoor pools, be sure to buy stabilized chlorine tablets and maintain a stabilizer level between 30-50ppm in the pool. Stabilizer, also known as Cyanuric Acid, protects chlorine from the sun. You can test for this level, and if it's low, add some of the granular product to raise the level. Stabilized tablets also add a small amount of cyanuric acid into the pool water.
- It's important not to put chlorine tablets into skimmer, as it is very corrosive to the plumbing, especially flex pipe. The problem occurs when the pump is off and the tablets are left in the skimmer, leaching. This strong chlorine can damage pipes beneath the skimmer. When the pump turns on again, it pulls through a few super concentrated gallons of chlorine. Over time, this will damage your pump seals, heat exchangers and other soft rubbers and metals in your system. Use a floater or a chlorinator instead.
Pool Shock is used as a separate treatment to your chlorine tablets. The powder is diluted in a bucket of water and poured around the edge of the pool. This super chlorinates the pool and kills any pathogens that may have escaped our normal chlorine tablet treatment. Shocking is also done to remove any combined chlorine molecules, aka chloramines, from the water.
- Shocking means to add enough chlorine to pool or spa water to destroy all combined chlorine present in the pool water. This usually means adding 10 times the amount of combined chlorine present (in ppm). The common term for this breakpoint chlorination. A quality test kit will be able to discern between Total and Free chlorine, to tell you what the level of combined chlorine is, in ppm. Without a slick test kit, most pool owners will shock the pool on a monthly basis.
- Shocking can also be used for algae removal. Shock chlorine will kill any type of algae, and is much more effective than using algaecide. For algae removal, hit it hard! Lower the pH to 7.2, and shock the pool to reach a level of 30ppm. This can be achieved with 4 lbs of Cal Hypo shock per 10,000 gallons.
- When adding pool shock to a vinyl pool, always dilute it in a 5 gal. bucket, using a long, clean stick or paint stirrer to help it dissolve. If you pour regular pool shock in undissolved, it can bleach and weaken your liner. There are quick dissolving pool shocks available that you can use without dilution.
Cost: $45 per month. Assuming 5 tablets per week, the average cost for inground pool using chlorine tablets would be approximately $30 per month for the average sized pool with good water balance and proper filtration. For pool shock, a well managed pool without algae spend about $15 per month on Cal Hypo. Add a few dollars more for the non-chlorine or quick dissolve types of pool shock.
A chlorine generator disinfects pool water by producing chlorine from salt. One of the most popular ways to sanitize pools with new inground pool installations, and also one of our most popular products sold on pool renovation projects. I have a salt water chlorine generator on my own pool, and it's been one of the best items I've ever purchased for the pool and for my kids.
- Salt chlorinators eliminate having to purchase chlorine tablets or shock. Add approximately 500 lbs of salt (water softener salt or table salt) directly into the pool water. Salt chlorinators create chlorine by breaking up the salt molecules and recombining them into chlorine gas - the most powerful form of chlorine.
- The process is achieved by electrolysis, or running the salt water through low-voltage powered metallic plates. These metallic plates are inside of your salt cell, which is installed on your pool return line after the filter and any heaters.
- Benefits of Salt Chlorinators are numerous:
- More control over your chlorine level
- Water is softer and silkier which is more enjoyable to swim in
- Keeps water balance stable, with less fluctuation
- No odor or taste of chlorine or salt
- Can use salt system to shock pool water
Cost: $225 per year. Based on a 5 year lifespan - installing the Jandy Aquapure Ei salt system for $750, and $75 for initial salt purchase. Salt boosters of $20 per year are assumed. After 3-5 years, you can expect to replace the salt cell, at a current cost of $250.
Chlorine Plus is just my term for using chlorine tablets and shock - Plus, an additional water treatment method. The advantage of using something additional to chlorine is that you can use up to half as much chlorine, which reduces costs of tablets or workload required of a salt chlorinator cell.
Here's 5 effective treatments or purifiers for pools that many pool owners use along with chlorine, in a Chlorine Plus pool water purification method.
Nature2 will reduce amount of chlorine you need to use in your swimming pool by about 50%. Nature 2 has copper; silver and zinc that are released into the pool which helps reduce the chlorine, keep water clear and allows you to reduce the amount of chlorine in the pool to .5 ppm – 1.0ppm.
Nature2 makes the water softer and healthier to swim in by controlling algae and destroying bacteria in the water, making it easier for your chlorine to do it's job.
Cost: $100 per year. Initial cost for the Nature2 Express is $179, and replacement cartridges (every 6 months) cost $89. Assuming a 6 month season.
Ozonators will reduce your chlorine usage by about 50%. The most popular and the most powerful ozonator for pools is the Corona Discharge model, such as the Eclipse I, shown on the left. The Corona Discharge type of ozonator produces 3 times more ozone than Ultra Violet lamp models
Kills bacteria and other viruses on contact do not allow cells to reproduce. The bacteria are killed completely through oxidation.
Cost: $70 per year. Initial cost of a Eclipse I ozonator is $650, and renewal kits (every 3-5 years) cost around $70.
Power Ionizers use natural minerals to sanitize your pool water, by releasing copper and silver ions into the water as it passes through the ionization chamber. Plug the unit into any standard outlet, and you can see a reduction of around 40% of your chlorine usage.
Copper and silver are effective at destroying algae and bacteria in pools, and the minerals are soft on skin and hair. Like a mineral spring bath!
span style="color: #800000;">Cost: $100 per year. Initial cost for the Power Ionizer is $189, and replacement cartridges (every 12 months) cost $79. Assuming a 12 month season.
Other things you can do to decrease your chlorine use would be to improve your filtration, or use filter aids such as clarifiers or Enzymes. For algae problems, look into Eclipse3 or our phosphate removing chemicals.
Biguanides are the only Chlorine-Free system of pool care available on the market today. An extremely effective set of 3 or 4 liquids that you add on a regular basis, usually once per week. Biguanides sanitize the water in differently than chlorine, but the end result is just as effective.
- Benefits of Biguanides are numerous:
- No chlorine smell, taste or bleaching of suits or liners
- Water has a soft quality to the touch
- Just follow the easy to use formula
- UV stable, unaffected by pH swings
Splashes, our non-chlorine biguanide product, is made for people that want a completely chlorine-free pool sanitizer.
Cost: $230 per year, based on purchasing the Splashes Deluxe Chlorine Free Kit at $179, plus additional sanitizing chemicals that may be needed.
Whichever method you choose for pool water purification, keep a constant supply of sanitizer flowing through your water. Proper sanitizer levels are your best defense against bacteria and algae - along with good filtration and water balance.
If you have any questions on these methods, or are having trouble maintaining your water clarity, give us a call, we love to talk pool chemistry!
SPP Pool Expert