Swimming is an absolutely wonderful experience and helps you unwind mentally. Physically, it is a good form of aerobic exercise. Chlorine has been used for over a century to maintain the water quality and sanitation necessary in pools. Nowadays, there are chlorine-free chemicals for pool water care such as Baquacil. Many of these chemicals or pool sanitizers may not have much impact on the organic load in water and also may not suit everyone in terms of health. So, as much as possible, pool water care chemicals (PHMB) must be avoided. So, are there more efficient and safe alternatives? Fortunately, there are healthier alternatives to chemicals, such as copper ionizers, which are safe for humans and keep the pool water clean. This post discusses the disadvantages of water care chemicals and the healthier alternative available.
What Are the Chemical Formation Factors for Pools?
A pool which is regularly sanitized with chlorine or competing chemicals would always have traces of that chemical and/or is byproducts even after a long time after its addition. But aside from this, there are many other aspects such as the overall water quality and its ingredients, pH, temperature, hardness, total alkalinity, and so on. All of this and the formulation of pool sanitizer and stabilizer together constitute pool chemistry. For a person to be able to swim safely, the following conditions must be met.
- The water must be clear and not cloudy. In such cases pool water clarifiers or flocculants are added, which settle the particulate matter to the bottom of the pool to be vacuumed our or captured in the filter thus making the water clear.
- Due to chemicals and the substances naturally present in pool water, the total alkalinity is effected over time, and this makes the water acidic or alkaline which can be iritating for your skin, eyes, and so on. The ideal alkalinity range is between 80 and 120 PPM for chlorine and other sanitation methods work best on lower pH and alkalinity levels. To increase the total alkalinity, sodium carbonate or bicarbonate is often added to the pool water.
- pH of the pool water must range from neutral to slightly alkaline, which is from 7.0-7.6 for most sanitation methods.
- Reducing the hardness of water is essential, and especially calcium hardness. The recommended range is 200-400 PPM. The calcium content is directly proportional to high pH levels. So, both must be formulated in proportion.
Disadvantages of Water Care Chemicals
Chlorination has been used for decades, and while it does kill bacteria and algae, it has its own side effects. PHMB or Polyhexamethylene Biguanide is also a commonly used pool sanitizer, it may cause skin irritation and rashes in some people. While chemicals are still widely used for pool cleaning, there is an increasing awareness regarding their side effects. It has a slow and subtle effect on human beings. This is one reason why people are gradually moving towards organic and effective solutions such as copper ionizers. Here are some reasons why one should avoid the use of chemicals for pool sanitization.
- According to the Department of Health, New York, aside from skin and eye irritation and itching, chlorine in pool water may cause sore throat and wheezing. Some people may experience difficulty in breathing. This is because chlorine reacts with organics and ammonia in water to produce chloramines and haloacetic acids which can damage our body cells.
- Bromine, which is used as an alternative to chlorine, also belongs to the halogen species. Hence, there may be similar side effects for some people when exposed to bromine. Also, bromine is very difficult to stabilize .
- Polyhexamethylene biguanide or PHMB, which is known by its brand name Baquacil does eliminate the use of chlorine entirely. However, it does lack in the oxidation process; hence, hydrogen peroxide is added to do that job. This further increases the chemical content in water. This chemical is expensive and totally incompatible with chlorine. Hence, when using PHMB, one needs to make sure there is absolutely no chlorine content in the pool as well as on swimwear.
Copper Pool Ionizer – A Healthy Alternative for Water Care Chemicals (PHMB)
Each of these chemicals has some cons and side effects. So, ionization of water by using copper ionizers is a great alternative. Here are some benefits of using copper ionizers.
- Installing a copper ionizer makes your pools safe and clean as well as chemical free.
- In this process, copper ions are introduced into the pool water using electrolysis. There are devices called ionizers which produce these ions through a low AC current to a flow cell. This cell has two or more electrodes and is plumbed into the return line of the pool.
- With the flow of current, copper ions are released into the pool water. Sometimes copper may be combined with silver, zinc, or both to form an effective alloy.
- Ionizers are available in various configurations and need to be chosen depending on the amount of water in the pool and other factors.
- For a privately owned spa which may contain around 250 gallons of water, manual potentiometers may be used to control the amount of ion production.
- For larger pools with water up to even 50,000 gallons, the potentiometer may be programmed and may have an LED display.
- The metal ions once released in water penetrate the cells of bacteria, viruses, algae, and so on, and inactivate them.
- They are environmentally friendly and do not produce any harmful chemicals as byproducts.
- Using these, it is much easier to balance the pool water chemical formation factors as there are no external additives.
- There are no side effects on human health in any way. Ionizers are totally safe for humans from all age groups.
It is necessary to clean/vacuum your pool from leaves and other debris every week or so. Periodic testing and balancing the water chemistry while maintaining the proper pH is vital. The alternative you choose must be effective, safe, as well as economical. If you have experienced the side effects of chlorine and other such chemicals (PHMB), and looking to switch to a safer and more environmentally friendly alternative, you can use copper ionizers. Intec America offers high-quality and safe solutions for swimming pool sanitization, such as copper ionizers, which make your pool chlorine free and safe. In fact, Intec America was the first company in the US to commercialize the copper ionization technology. This was initially developed by NASA and later used by Intec America for sanitizing pools and spas.