Pool Sanitizer Options

There are many water treatment systems for sanitizing your pool, and each has its own list of compatible products. However, pool chemicals cannot be used interchangeably and many should never be mixed at all. Closely follow the manufacturers' directions or consult a pool specialist to ensure maximum safety.

Here's a quick summary of the major chemical treatment products, and their pros and cons:

Chlorine

  • Sanitizes, oxidizes and kills algae effectively and can be used on its own.
  • Most affordable option.
  • Strong smell and has an adverse effect on bathers' skin, hair, eyes and clothing.
  • Is weakened by the sun but you can use either stabilized chlorine or add a stabilizer to reduce these effects.
  • Can be used with most ozone generators or ionizers to greatly minimize amount of chlorine needed.

Bromine

  • Sanitizes and oxidizes and can be used on its own.
  • Commonly used sanitizer for hot tubs and indoor pools.
  • More expensive.
  • Less odor and less damaging to clothing and skin.
  • Is less effective as it is diminished by the sun. Unlike chlorine, cannot be stabilized.
  • Dissolves slowly.
  • Can be used in conjunction with most ozonators or ionizers to reduce amount used.

Biguanide

  • Sanitizes and oxidizes and works on its own.
  • More expensive than chlorine.
  • Less obtrusive odor and not affected by sunlight.
  • Leaves water with a smooth feel.
  • Converting a pool to or from a biguanide system requires special chemicals and a thorough process.
  • Not compatible with most shocks, algaecides and many commonly used chemicals like chlorine or bromine or other equipment, i.e ozone generators or ionizers.

Ionizers or Ionization Systems

  • Use natural and safe metallic ions to eliminate some bacteria in a pool.
  • Kill algae but don't oxidize or sanitize and cannot be used on its own.
  • Less eye and skin irritation.
  • Can be used in conjunction with some types of chlorine and some times of bromine sanitization systems. Cannot be used on some pools, including those that use biguanide.
  • Can sometimes stain pool walls and flooring.
  • Initial cost can be expensive.
  • Contain chambers that will eventually need to be replaced. Proper test kit is needed to monitor ion count.

Ozone Generators or Ozonators

  • Effective oxidizers but still need to work in conjunction with another sanitizer such as chlorine or bromine.
  • Not compatible with some pools, including those that use biguanide.
  • If not used properly can compromise the water and bather's health.
  • Expensive equipment that require expert installation.

Mineral Purifiers

  • Works with a cartridge that often hooks to your filtering system.
  • Dispenses a variety of bacteria-killing elements including minerals, ozone and small levels of chlorine.
  • Cannot work on its own.
  • Reduces chlorine usage.
  • Cannot work on pools that use bromine or biguanide.

There are other pool sanitizing systems for sale that also cannot work alone. Oxygen generators and magnets are two such systems whose effectiveness at sanitizing pool water is often disputed. Research all claims thoroughly before purchasing.

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