Pool Ionizer Reviews
What is a pool ionizer and how does it work? Or do pool ionization systems work at all? This article is a review of pool ionizer technology to help you decide if this is something that you want for your swimming pool. Traditionally chlorine has been used to sanitize swimming pool water however recent trends have pool owners looking for alternative options. Chlorine has somewhat of a dubious reputation as something that might be connected to negative health consequences. At this time this information is still questionable in that most city water supplies are treated with chlorine - if chlorine is that dangerous then why is it in our drinking water? The answer is that chlorine might not be perfect, but it is the lesser of two evils. In simple terms the risk of chlorine exposure is that over a lifetime it is possible that it might contribute to cancer or respiratory issues. The risk of water with no chlorine is that it might kill you...on Thursday.
The pursuit of a chemical free pool is something that pool owners are looking for however they often do not fully appreciate the severity of the game they are playing. Chlorine is used because it is safe. Using alternatives to chlorine opens the door to potential illness for anyone in or near the pool. There is no technology yet that satisfies the four primary conditions of safe water care:
1) You need a sanitizer
2) You need an oxidizer
3) You need an algicide
4) You need a residual
Chlorine can do all of these things. Most other systems, ionizers included, are not able to do all four of these things. Whatever you use to take care of your pool water needs to be able to do all four of these things. Pool ionizers can and do have sanitizing ability, as well as being an algicide. They can not however oxidize the water nor hold a residual value in the water. For this reason alone ionizers are simply not suitable as a stand alone protection method for keeping your water safe. This is the same type of problem with all other peripheral pool systems like ozone systems for example. Ozone is not able to hold a residual value in the water, just like UV systems which is why these methods are not able to be used without chlorine to fill in the gaps. If you want to use an ionizer they can certainly benefit your pool chemistry but they are not an alternative to chlorine.
How Does A Pool Ionizer Work?
Pool ionizers and ionization systems in general operate on the concept of silver being a bactericide and copper being an algicide. Copper and silver electrodes add traces of these elements to the pool via electrolysis by applying a low voltage across the electrodes. This is the same chemical process that pool mineral systems like the Nature2 or the Pool Frog use.
Based on this article from the World Health Organization it would appear that silver and copper ionization do provide some level of protection in water. This shows that the technology behind copper and silver pool mineral systems is at least valid, and not just another snake oil product. What is also clear is that while copper and silver ionizers can help to keep your water safe, there is a long list of technical limitations.
Technical Limitations Of Ionizers - Ionizers do not have the ability to oxidize pool water like some other systems and chemicals do. This is a glaring problem for anyone who wants to rely only on an ionizer. You need regular oxidizing of pool water to burn off organic debris and used chlorine. This means that if you use an ionizer then you will also need to regularly add a chemical oxidizer to the pool. You could add an ozone generator to help with oxidizing, but neither the ozone system nor the ionizer can hold a residual value in the water to protect bathers so that combination does not make a lot of sense. Silver that is released into the water from an ionizer is not able to be measured so how will you know if you have the right amount in the water? The answer is that you won't. And in the case of copper you can use these copper test strips to check your levels...which is important because too much copper in the water will lead to extensive staining problems in the pool and the possibility of turning swimmers hair green!
Advantages Of Copper & Silver Ionizers - Silver can kill bacteria as identified in the WHO article above, and has been used as a method of water purification for centuries. Copper is a widely used algicide in the swimming pool industry already and highly effective at controlling algae growth in water. If you are able to keep your copper levels at 0.2 to 0.4 this is ideal for helping to control algae with only minimal risk for staining in the pool. When levels reach 0.5 and up to 1.0 parts per million or more then staining is a much more likely concern. Copper and silver in pool water do not have and taste or smell that swimmers will notice, and ionizers operate with very little maintenance requirements other than periodically replacing the electrodes when they wear out.
When used in combination with low levels of chlorine an ionizer will help reduce the amount of chlorine that you use in your pool as well as directly killing algae. Close monitoring of your copper levels is required to prevent staining but if you want a pool chemical and filtration system that uses the least possible chemical sanitizer then an ionizer is one of the systems that can benefit you. Ionizers used along with salt water chlorinators are specifically a good pairing since the salt system provides chlorine but tends to allow the pH in the pool to go too high. Silver is effective at sanitizing at higher pH levels like you often see in salt water chlorine pools so this helps improve the level of protection where one system is lacking since chlorine is least effective at these higher pH levels. Ionizers can also be used with ozone or UV systems to further reduce chlorine usage in the pool...but not eliminate it completely.
ClearBlue Ionizer A-800
Pool Size: 25,000 gallons
Power Requirement: 120 volts (240 volt option)
Power Ionizer Swimming Pool Water Sanitizer System
Pool Size: 40,000 gallons
Power Requirement: 120 volts
Solar Pool Ionizer
Pool Size: 35,000 gallons
Power Requirement: Solar
Floatron Water Purifier
Pool Size: 40,000 gallons
Power Requirement: Solar
Ionizers require regular cleaning of the electrodes as well as periodic replacement of the electrodes when they wear away. Other than this minute maintenance they also require that you monitor the copper levels in your pool. Also you are not supposed to use flocculent chemicals with a mineral based system like this. Despite that ionizers can not provide the four levels of safety needed in your pool water, they do have the potential to reduce the amount of chlorine that you are using.
Pool ozone systems
Pool UV systems
Chlorine free pools
Is salt water bad for pools?
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