by Rob Cox February 28, 2014
Imagine that our pugilist here, with the blue gloves, is delivering a 1-2 round to his opponent - pool bacteria and algae, and he's doing it without using chlorine!
Nothing against chlorine, it's a fine sanitizer, and world health would suffer without it's many disinfectant uses, but for those looking for another way to sanitize a small backyard pool, without reliance on stabilized or calcified chlorine products - read on.
This would not be useful advice for the commercial pool operator, who has to keep a halogen residual in the pool at all times, by state law - but if you are an owner of a small backyard pool that has just a few users - read on.
Minerals, like copper, silver and zinc have natural bacteriostatic and algaestatic properties. This has been known for ages. In the 70's fountainhead technologies developed a way to deliver trace amounts of mineral ions to water as it passed through a small vessel. Nature2 was their product, which was followed years later by Frog, and more recently by Pool Rx.
The O3 molecule, or Ozone gas, is created for pools by wall mounted ozonators, and delivered into the water via injection manifolds, with a venturi that draws the gas into a mixing chamber. The O3 molecule is very unstable and immediately attacks everything it comes in contact with during the 2-4 seconds spent inside the pipe. After it enters the pool, ozone continues to sanitize, until it ultimately gasses off of the pool surface.
MPS? If you're wondering what that is - I mean Monopersulfate, or non-chlorine shock. This will oxidize the water to remove any contaminants not killed by your mineral and ozone treatments. Use 1 lb per 10,000 gals, every few weeks, or weekly during very hot periods.
Algaecides may be necessary, if your pool becomes infected, or if you have a history of algae. If yellow algae develops, you may need to use chlorine for a time, to effectively kill a yellow algae bloom. You can also use enzymes or clarifiers if needed to improve water quality.
Ozone is the more powerful of the two sanitizers, but using both ozone and minerals together will have a synergistic effect on the contaminant levels in the pool. However, there is one more very important piece to the puzzle - if you want to be completely chlorine-free - read on.
In order to further compensate for the lack of chlorine in your pool, you'll want to have the best filtration you can get. In most cases, this would mean a large DE filter, or Large Cartridge filter - but maybe not a sand filter, or any filter that is undersized.
Ozone production stops when the pump stops, unless you use the Total Eclipse ozonator. Since you will need to filter the water more often than with a chlorine pool you may want a smaller, more efficient pool pump, a 2-speed pump or a variable speed pump, to allow you to circulate and filter the water more often for continuous purification.
For pools up to 25,000 gallons, use a Nature2 Express unit and either the Total Eclipse (if you can install a deep end floor ozone bubbler), or the Eclipse 4 ozonator. Remember that good filtration and circulation is also important, in addition to balanced water chemistry and regular shocking with chlorine-free pool shock.