Traditionally, chlorine has been used to clean and sanitize swimming pools. In recent years, however, homeowners and swimming pool contractors alike have been examining ways to move away from chlorine and use alternative cleaning methods. Chlorine can cause red eyes, dry itchy skin and in some cases turn hair green and many people are looking for safer ways to keep their pool shiny and clean.
Some of the alternatives to chlorine include:
- Bromine isn’t vastly different from chlorine, but it does work as a sanitizer and is ideal for those who are allergic to chlorine. Bromine is also usually mixed with chlorine allowing for a smaller amount of chlorine which can be an attractive solution for some.
- PHMB, short for polyhexamethylene biguanide is a viable option if you want to move away from chlorine. This compound is put into the water in place of chlorine, but will not oxidize the water. Your pool contractor will have to add hydrogen peroxide and an algaecide to keep the water clear.
- An ozonator. When you use an ozonator you are inserting ozone gas into the pool water. The gas will react with the impurities in the water and kill them. You can choose from an ultraviolet light ozonator or a corona discharge ozonator. In this type of cleaning, UV light is introduced to the pool water and it kills the bacteria. With the corona system, an electrical arc creates ozone inside a generator and that kills any bacteria or pathogens in the water.
- A salt chlorination system. In this system, what amounts to table salt is used to clean the water. Inside the system, the salt is converted to chlorine and is used to clean the pool. It’s been said by those who use the system that the water is “soft” and their skin feels silky.
- Natural pools. With a natural pool, an area is dug adjacent to your pool and planted with aquatic plants that help filter the pool water and remove impurities.
Any of these alternatives to chlorine are viable, but you need to thoroughly understand the process, the costs involved and any unique care items you may need to address with these alternatives to chlorine.