Pool Ionizer Installation: Learn About the Process and Precautions

Pool ionizers have become the new normal for pool water sanitization. It is the most preferred method of water purification over traditional chlorination. These devices are simply plumbed into the return line after the filter and inject free ions of copper or copper/silver into the water to inactivate the growth of microorganisms. Unlike other sanitizing methods, pool ionizers are known to have no side effects or hazardous impacts on human health. Therefore, the popularity of pool ionizers has increased immensely. If you are planning to install a pool ionizer on your pool, then this post is for you. This post discusses the process and precautions for a pool ionizer installation.

pool ionizer installation process and precautions
Pool Ionizer Installation: Learn About the Process and Precautions

Tools and Materials Suggested for Pool Ionizer Installations

Before getting into how to install pool ionizer, let us discuss the tools and material for the install.
The installation of a pool ionizer does include plumbing activities and the following resources must be available beforehand.
• PVC primer
• PVC solvent cement
• Reciprocating saw or hack saw
• Tape Measure
• Marker or pen
• Drill
• Screwdriver

Suggested locations for Pool Ionizer Electrode and Electronic Controller

Most manufacturers require 12 inches or less to install the electrolytic cell. While one does have flexibility on the location, it is suggested to be installed on the return line after the pool filter and before the heater or ozone system. An ideal spot would be on a straight run that is parallel with the ground after the filter. If one is installing a new ionizer on an existing pool, a good place would be where the current tablet chlorinator is located. Some manufacturers require an upright install for their electrode, while other elect can be installed vertical, horizontal, or even angled. Intec’s electrode can be installed in any direction. In extreme circumstances, replumbing or moving equipment may be required. It is suggested to speak to the customer service department before going through such extremes as other locations can be considered such as before the filter or after the heater.

Make sure the pump is turned off. Measure and then mark the section of pipe that will need to be removed to install the electrolytic cell/electrode. Keep in mind, extra space may be required if a 2” to 1.5” reducer is required. Use a saw and cut out the section of pipe. Test fit the electrode (without glue) to ensure the correct amount of pipe was removed (One does have around 1-2 inched of wiggle room on most installs). Use the primer to clean the PVC pipe and union of the electrolytic cell. The apply a generous amount of glue to the pipe and union being careful not to get any glue on the union. Repeat the process on the other side and insert the electrode to make sure it fits before the glue fully dries.

Next, install the electronic controller off the ground on a wall or post where there is enough length to connect the power source to the controller unit and the lead wire can still reach the electrolytic cell. It is recommended to hang the controller unit under an eave by the pool timer where it is somewhat protected from the elements. A drill or impact driver can be used hand the controller or mounting bracket.

Startup of Pool Ionizer after Installation

After the installation of a pool ionizer, the order of following steps are important to follow.
Recirculate the water: Many ionization systems do not utilize a flow switch and water must be flowing through the electrode. Some models have a flow switch (Intec has both options available). Moving water is necessary to release ions into the swimming pool.
Check for leaks: Make sure the point of install does not have water leaking from the electrolytic cell. Leaks can rarely be fixed by adding glue to the exterior of the plumbing and it may be necessary to cut out the install and reinstall. Most leaks can be fixed by tightening the unions around the electrode.
Balance the Water Chemistry: Read the owner’s manuals and follow the manufacturers guidelines as some smaller ionizers are designed to be used with chlorine and require a higher pH. Others, such as Intec’s pool ionization system, do not require chlorine and the optimal pH is around neutral.
Set the Controller: Before turning the controller on, first reset the controller to a lower value then increase it to a desired potential value. The set potential value determines the potential release of ions into the swimming pool. Saltwater pool conversions have extremely high dissolved solids that increase amperage/wattage settings and can damage some ionizers. Follow the manufacturers guidelines accordingly for start-up. Keep in mind, the higher-wattage controllers have a larger ion dose and are designed for larger pools. If you have a smaller pool, a lower power setting is recommended for these models.
Testing: Test all the working functions of the controller. If you have a voltage meter, compare the VDC output on electrode cell with what appears on the controller display (if LED display is available on the controller). One should check the cupric copper levels ever 4 hours or as recommended by the manufacturer to initially charge the pool (between 0.4 ppm to 0.6 ppm for chlorine free models, 0.2 ppm -0.3 ppm if used with chlorine).

Precautions to Take Before and During Pool Ionizer Installation

By taking the following precautions, the security and efficiency of the pool ionizer can be enhanced.
• Make sure to shut-off the pool filtration system before beginning the installation of the ionizer.
• If the pool equipment (pump and filter) elevation is below the pool surface, plug the pool water suction and outlet both to prevent loss of water during the installation. Some water will be released when plumbing is cut regardless. If the installation spot elevation is below the surface water of the swimming pool, the pool will continue to drain until an equilibrium is met.
• All systems will require replacement of electrodes for the cell. Make sure the location of install is easily assessable. The controller should have easy access to turn on and off as needed and adjust power setting if necessary.

Now that you know how to install a pool ionizer, it is essential for you to ensure the quality of pool ionizer equipment too. That is why you should buy your ionizer from the trusted manufacturers like Intec-America. The company is one of the first ones to adopt NASA’s copper ionization technique. They offer copper-ionization solutions for 100% chlorine-free pools. The company offers several other pool sanitization solutions like ozonation, and automated pH controller systems.