Chlorine free pools (also referred to as chemical free or fresh water pools) pools do indeed exist and have been around for years. Intec was the first company to commercialize the copper ionization technology for use on swimming pools over 40 years ago. Copper ionization has become more popular due to the concerns of pool chemicals being absorbed through the skin and inhaled.Without sanitation, algae, viruses, fungi, and other micro-organisms can originate, grow, multiply, and infest the average pool in less than one hour. Diseases, that are too numerous to mention, are often spread from one person to another via swimming pool water.
Most chemicals used for pool sanitation irritate the ears, eyes, nose, throat, skin, and lungs of bathers. Some of these chemicals have a direct links to cancer. Now, more than ever, a chlorine free pool is a highly coveted home technology.
Ionization was developed by NASA and is the least expensive of all disinfecting methods. Ionization is also the only method that produces healthy pool water. Ionization is the easiest of all disinfecting methods to maintain and monitor. The complete system comes with and electronic control unit, copper electrode, and the necessary test kits. Our clients also have access to our toll free number for free training and troubleshooting.
There are several key advantages of ionization:
- Copper ions have the longest, active-sanitation life compared to chlorine, bromine, ozone, or UV systems
- It cost substantially less expensive to maintain an ionized pool over any other method
- Ionization is non-corrosive and safe to use on any pool surface (vinyl, plaster, or fiberglass)
- It does not dry out skin, nails, or hair.
- Ionized water has no odor and has a silky feeling
- No more hazardous chemicals to store
- It is the healthiest, least toxic, and most natural method utilized for swimming pools
The History of Copper Ionization
NASA developed the ionization technology many years ago, to purify drinking water for astronauts for the Apollo Space Program. INTEC AMERICA CORPORATION was the first company to commercialize this technology by offering copper ionization systems for use in swimming pools in the early 1970s.
How does it work?
Ionization systems use a low voltage current to free metallic ions into the flow of pool water. These positively charged ions seek out the negative charge related to microorganisms. These ions are then carried downstream into the pool or spa. As the water recirculates through the electrode, an ever increasing residual of ions are developed.
Copper ions are the only metallic ions that can open/pierce the protective outer membrane of a living cell (of algae and other microorganisms). Common metals and/or alloys that are used include copper, copper/silver, copper/zinc (brass), and copper/silver/and zinc. Once the ion penetrates the cell membrane, it disrupts the enzyme balance, and deactivates / kills organism. Some companies use copper only and other use alloys that contain copper. Different alloys have different advantages and disadvantages depending on what it is trying to accomplish.
Copper ionization is the only true chemical free alternative for swimming pools that can operate without the use of any chlorine. The technology has been around since the 1970s. It is important that ionizers can produce enough current to supply sufficient ions into the water. Some smaller units and solar systems cannot achieve a high enough ion residual and would require chlorine as well to sanitize. These smaller/cheaper systems are not chlorine free systems. They just require less. However, units that can be sized to a body of water and achieve residual levels over 0.5 ppm can replace chlorine totally as a sanitizer. Intec’s copper ionization systems are the most powerful units of its type available in the industry. Ionization is the most cost effective chlorine free technology available on the market today.
What are the benefits of Copper Ionization?
- Copper ionization is the ONLY safe, effective and healthy option for treating pools, spas, and drinking water. Study after study concludes “transition metal [Copper] Ionization to be a superior method in water treatment.” Widely used halogen products can produce harmful byproducts like trihalomethanes, chloramines and chloroform.
- Copper Ionization does NOT product any harmful disinfection byproducts. Copper Ions are stable. Which means it’s much easier and more effective that chlorine.
- Ionized pools are the least expensive pools to maintain.
- Ionization can be retrofitted to any existing pool, used with any type of pool filter, and is not damaging to any type of pool surface. Installation is quick and easy and can be performed by any homeowner.
- Copper ions are not effected by sunlight nor temperature unlike chlorine.
- And the ions REMAIN ACTIVE IN YOUR POOL until they’re absorbed by a microorganism. Which means it stays on the job until the job is done. The health benefits are well documented, too.
- Copper, like calcium and zinc, is essential for bone formation, red blood cell integrity, skin functions, immune and nervous system functions, oxygen production throughout the blood stream, and conversion of Beta-Carotene into Vitamin A.
COPPER IONIZATION: THE PERFECT SUBSTITUTE FOR CHLORINE! The Future of Copper Ionization
Only time can tell which industries will benefit from this technology. Some companies specialize in the treatment of hot water systems for hospitals and their copper/silver technology has received EPA registrations for killing/deactivating Legionella which is chlorine resistant. Other companies specialize in spraying ionized water on crops to prevent mold and repel some insects that would otherwise destroy crops. Ionization has been used to control biofilms in cation paint application where chemicals could not be used or were ineffective. Still, other companies have used ionization to reduce chemical costs associated with cooling towers in industrial applications. All companies have a niche markets. Intec has found our success long time ago in swimming pool, spa, and livestock water treatment.
Other products that use a very similar process and are being researched/used in water treatment include salt water chlorinators, plasma production, and elctro-deionization systems (EDI). As the research continues to come in validating the technology, more and more companies and industries will accept and adapt to this more eco-friendly alternative to chemicals.