Technologies are doubling in almost every industry in 18-24 months. The world is changing quickly, which means we have more choices to make every day. Choosing the best sanitation option for an in-ground swimming pool is no exception to this rule. If you are looking at chemical-free or chlorine as options, the correct choice might be both, or neither, nor even an ozone pool system that naturally destroys harmful bacteria.
Did you know that some of the most dangerous contaminants that you can find in a pool are also the most resistant to chemicals like chlorine? If you have Cryptosporidium in the water, then UV-C oxidation, AOP, or ozone can inactivate the contaminant. Chemicals like chlorine also work as a residual sanitizer to reach potentially harmful items that escape through the piping that moves water.
The overall goal of swimming pool treatments is that the water becomes safe to use at any time. If you own an in-ground system and want to move away from heavy chemical use or some other type of pool, then there are some pros and cons of using ozone that are worth taking under consideration.
List of the Pros of an Ozone Pool System
1. It is a pH neutral option for pool sanitizing.
Parts of Europe have used ozone pool systems for several years with success. One of the reasons why it is an advantageous system to use is because it adds zero contaminants to the water. You won’t change the pH profile of your pool either when choosing this system. You will have a generator that oxidizes substances that come into contact with it, such as algae, viruses, or bacteria. This process kills off the invader, and then the unstable state of O3 reverts back to regular oxygen so that you don’t need to worry about breathing concentrated gases.
2. You can manage a swimming pool with hard water.
If you have hard water supplies at home, then managing your swimming pool can be a headache when using chlorine or bromine. The amount of scale that can build up along the walls and interior pipe surfaces can reduce the efficiency of your system surprisingly fast. When you install an ozone pool system, then the oxidation effect prevents any calcium carbonate from sticking. It will also remove existing scale, clean greasy sediments, and prevent contaminant build-ups in a variety of other ways too.
3. It will take less time to clean your pool.
Because the ozone pool system does an excellent job of keeping the water clear, you won’t have to spend as much time cleaning out your system each week. There are fewer times you’ll need to drain the structure to manage the grease that can accumulate with heavy use as well. There are still the large debris items that you must fish out of the pool, along with other treatment options for as-needed concerns that you must perform, but otherwise, this affordable system will eventually pay for itself.
4. You can use it for above-ground pools.
If you are interested in an ozone pool system, then there are systems that will work with above-ground pools. You will want to look at the manufacturer’s description of the Ozonator itself to determine which option is designed to work for your unique installation. You’ll still need to add complementary chemicals like chlorine to make sure that the water remains safe for continued use, but you can reduce your cost by up to 90% each month when both systems are working together. That’s why this advantage can be challenging to ignore for pools that have a high risk of contaminant exposure.
5. The cost is affordable when installing an Ozonator.
When you add an ozone pool system to your existing setup, then you’re purchasing a generator that will flood the pipes with this gas to help disinfect the water that is present at that specific time. Most generators that produce O3 retail for about $300 at most stores. If you have a larger in-ground pool that you want to manage, then the cost may be closer to $700. There are hybrid systems that included salt, chlorination, and ozone for pools of up to 25,000 gallons that retail for less than $1,000. Before finalizing your purchase, you’ll want to make sure that the equipment you purchase is designed to work with your setup.
6. The ozone dissipates in the water quickly.
You must never breath concentrated ozone that comes from a generator. It is dangerous to do so. When the gas goes directly into the water, it will oxidize the harmful germs while transitioning back to a standard state of oxygen right away. By the time the water works its way out of your pipes, it has been cleansed with minimal gas levels remaining. There is always a risk that the generator could malfunction and flood the water with ozone, but even then, the health risks are typically minimal. Just make sure that you aren’t using a commercial-grade product on a residential pool.
7. It will remove the odors that come with your pool.
Ozone reacts to anything that it encounters. Then it breaks down everything that comes its way, which is why it is such an effective way to remove odors. It will even kill mildew that tries to grow on your pipes. That leaves your swimming pool with a fresh smell that isn’t overly chlorinated because you can use fewer chemicals to purify the water as well. That’s why it is such an effective system when your goal is to improve the overall swimming environment for everyone.
This advantage even applies to the smells of chlorine that you are likely using to complement the disinfecting power of your ozone pool system. If you prefer a saltwater option, then you’ll have fewer ocean-like smells coming from the water when using O3 for purification purposes.
8. You will get to use an automated system to disinfect your pool.
Ozone pool systems are typically automated, working full-time at the correct injection level to make sure that you can swim safely. Although this advantage disappears if your system loses power for some reason, you won’t need to worry about chemical interactions or concentration levels as often when working with your pool. If you are leaving on vacation, then you can rely on the system to continue providing benefits that reduce the costs of maintenance upon your return.
List of the Cons of an Ozone Pool System
1. Ozone pool systems only target the water in your pipes.
You will not be adding ozone to your overall swimming pool when you choose this type of disinfecting system. The ozonators will only target the water that is in your pipes with your setup. Some of the systems will only target a portion of the piping that you use to filter the water in your pool. This process is necessary because having exposure to O3 is harmful to humans. If you were to continue breathing it for a long time, lung tissue irritation and air passageway inflammation occur. That means your water may not receive full disinfection.
2. These systems don’t produce much ozone.
Using the ideal pool environment as an example for an ozone system, it takes between 72-96 hours to entirely ozonate the average swimming pool. Since most owners are using this system as an alternative to chlorination and may already have significant contaminants in the water, it typically takes several weeks to make it safe to use. Unless you’re willing to keep swimming with last week’s urine incident and the saliva from the kid next door who came down with the flu, you are still adding bromine or chlorine to the system to kill germs.
Moving to an ozone pool system typically increases your costs instead of decreasing them. You cannot store O3, which means it must be used immediately for the system to be useful at sanitation.
3. You cannot use an ozone pool system by itself.
Several governments around the world do not recognize the ability of ozone to destroy every potential contaminant that might be in your pool. Although rules, regulations, and codes vary by jurisdiction, you cannot usually have an ozone pool system working by itself to maintain safe waters. You’ll need to use a secondary system for sanitation, which might be a saltwater option or chlorine. Even though the reduced use of chemicals can save you some money in the long run, it might take several years before you break even.
If the ozone levels are too low, then the germs that can form cysts are more likely to survive. Since the gas is 12 times less soluble in water than chlorine, it can be challenging to keep concentration levels high enough.
4. There might be too much ozone coming through your system.
Equipment tends to break down over time. When you have an ozone pool system installed at your home, then you may not know if the unit is working as it should. If you smell the gas, then it might already be too late. You could also encounter highly ozonated water and experience uncomfortable symptoms because of it. When O3 is in concentrations that are high enough to cause problems, then it can cause your eyes to start burning. It may become difficult to breathe. Once you can detect its odor, it is already adversely interacting with your bodily processes.
5. Hot temperatures or an acidic pH adversely impact ozone systems.
If the weather is hot outside or your water is even slightly acidic, then there will be negative impacts felt by your ozone pool system. O3 breaks down much faster under these conditions than it would otherwise, leaving an insufficient level of energy available to begin the germ destruction process. When the water is rich with suspended solids or organic compounds, then the oxidizing effect may target these molecules instead of going after the dangerous viruses and bacteria that could be present in the water. That’s why ozone is not an economical solution for purification under many circumstances.
6. Ozone pool systems can only work with plastic or ceramic piping.
Ozone has a high reactivity level, which is why it becomes an effective disinfecting system for swimming pools. This strength is also why there can be so many disadvantages when selecting this option. O3 reacts with numerous metals, including those that can line swimming pools and their pipes. That means you must always use corrosion-resistant products, such as PVC or stainless steel if your plan is to install this system. If your above-ground pool has metal bracing, you may not be able to use this option.
7. It can be energy-intensive to create ozone for disinfecting pool water.
Ozonators typically generate O3 by running an electrical current through the air that passes between two electrodes. This technique generates what is referred to as a corona discharge. Only 15% of the energy that comes from this reaction is usable when looking at the pros and cons of using ozone for your bool. That means there may be increased utility costs to consider since these systems are typically operating on a full-time basis.
This disadvantage also applies to the storage processes necessary for your ozone system. Your equipment must be kept free of solvents, chemicals, and other combustible materials except for what is necessary for ozone generation and the operation of water recirculation. California also requires that the concentration of O3 be less than 0.1 parts per million.
8. There are byproducts to consider with ozone generation systems.
When ozone starts reacting with the organic compounds in your swimming pool, then it can create a variety of byproducts that must come under consideration. If there are bromide ions in the water, then the O3 can form bromate ion, which is classified as a potential human carcinogen. That forces you to control pH levels consistently or switch to a different chemical disinfectant. Because nothing remains in the water after treatment, it can be challenging to know how well the process is working for your pool.
Verdict of the Pros and Cons of Ozone Pool Systems
Ozone is an effective disinfectant when the gas can impact and oxidize harmful organic materials. The only problem with the use of 03 is that it can be just as dangerous to you as it is to the viruses and bacteria that might be lurking in your pool. That is why this system is not always recommended for every in-ground pool installation.
There are also pools where an ozone generation system is not useful at all. Although it does not change the pH properties, you will not eliminate chemical use.
The pros and cons of an ozone pool system show that it can kill up to 99.99% of viruses, mold, and bacteria on contact. It works automatically, is fairly easy to install, and it will cost you between $200-$500 for a standard residential pool if you choose an Ozonator. Review your preferred product carefully to see if this disinfecting option would be a useful investment.
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.