What Chlorine Alternatives Are Available for Swimming Pools?
Chemical additives, such as chlorine, are often used to treat swimming pools. Chlorine, the chemical many people know best for keeping their pools clean and clear, can also have negative effects on human health. This is because chlorine reacts with organic matter in the water to create a toxic gas called chloroform.
However, there are many different natural alternatives that can be used to keep pool water clean and safe without the use of chemical treatments. Explore how you can use these methods to create a healthier living environment for you and your family.
Can a Chlorine Pool make you sick?
Amid the splashing and excitement, it's common for little ones to get water in their mouth. Some kids may even take a drink from a pool, despite warnings from their parents.
Although swallowing a small amount of pool water is harmless, it's important for parents to realize that ingesting too much can lead to chlorine poisoning or so-called recreational water illness.
Recreational water illnesses can also be serious. Pool water contains chlorine - a chemical used to help get rid of bacteria such as E. coli and parasites. Chlorine may not eliminate all of these germs, so if children swallow pool water they could become sick
Furthermore, the inhalation of this gas has been linked to respiratory problems and increased risk of cancer. In addition to these risks, chlorinated pools can cause eye irritation and dry skin due to their high alkalinity levels.
A Chlorine Pool and Pregnancy
Wondering if it’s okay to get in a chlorinated swimming pool during pregnancy? And is it okay if you accidentally swallow some pool water?
Research has shown that a moderate amount of chlorine exposure is safe for pregnant women.
Swimming is one of the best things for pregnant women because it allows them to get exercise without causing any harm to themselves or their unborn baby.
Swimming is even an approved form of exercise during in vitro fertilization (IVF) because of the considerable health benefits it offers while not placing a high level of stress on the body.
If you’re concerned about losing your endurance and muscle strength during IVF due to activity restrictions, swimming can offer a safe way to maintain your current fitness level.
It is safe for most pregnant women to exercise, but you should consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program during pregnancy. Some women with health complications such as placenta previa, lung problems, heart problems, cervix problems, preeclampsia, ruptured membranes, or a history of preterm labor may have to avoid exercise.
It is still important to follow your doctor's guidelines for swimming in a pool.
Is a Chlorine Pool Safe for Your Baby?
Chlorinated pool water is, in fact, safe for your baby. However, this doesn’t mean that every pool is safe. You still have to make sure your baby is old enough before he or she ventures into the pool.
You also have to take some things into account. Such as, how busy the pool is, the temperature of the water, and whether the pool is indoors or outdoors. The chlorine water itself does not pose a risk for your little swimmer.
Swimming in the pool will be comfortable so long as the pool is balanced. Make sure to take a soapy shower right after getting out to avoid any skin dryness. Your baby will be excited to keep coming back to the pool for more splashes and fun!
But take note that the chemical content and risks involved in most swimming pools mean that your baby should be at least 6 months old before taking a dip.
How Does a Chlorine Pool Affect Your Dog or Pets' Health?
Many dogs love to go swimming, especially in the heat of summer. If you have your own swimming pool, you might have considered letting your water-loving dog swim in it.
Like babies, dogs also need supervision when swimming in the pool. even if it's a small backyard pool.
A properly maintained swimming pool is generally safe for dogs to swim in. Pool water, whether chlorine or saltwater, is not considered harmful under most circumstances.
Everyone who swims ingests some amount of water. Kids and animals tend to swallow more than adult humans. Dogs simply do not know any better and may actively lap up the pool water. This should be avoided.
Drinking pool water can lead to an upset gastrointestinal tract, leading to nausea, vomiting, and esophageal damage.
In rare cases, drinking excessive amounts of pool water can cause a dangerous condition called water intoxication. This causes a major imbalance in the electrolytes in the body, leading to serious and possibly irreversible brain damage.
Pool Chlorine Alternatives
Chlorine and chloramines have long been blamed for causing red eyes and skin irritation for swimmers, motivating some pool owners to look elsewhere for their sanitation needs. But which chlorine alternative is best?
With its widely known drawbacks, many pool owners are considering alternative sanitizers to chlorine that will still keep the swimming pool clean without the side effects.
Ozone generators are starting to become more popular among pool owners in modern times. As people begin to look for chlorine alternatives that will work for them, they turn to solutions that are a little outside of the box.
Ozone is a blue-colored gas that’s made up of three oxygen atoms. Ozone is useful in swimming pools because it effectively kills and inactivates bacteria, parasites, and viruses. It's also a good oxidizer, which means that it can chemically destroy contaminants in the water.
Rather than adding it to your pool the same way you add other pool chemicals, ozone sanitizes your pool water within the circulation system.
Once the circulated water is returned to the pool or spa, ozone is present at a very low and safe concentration, if at all. Because it does not maintain a residual disinfectant, another chemical, like chlorine or bromine, should be added to the pool to ensure that the water is completely sanitized and safe for swimming.
Ozone is unstable and untransportable, meaning you can’t buy it in tanks like you can with other gaseous chemicals. It must be generated on-site using an Ozonator or ozone generator.
- Makes your pool water softer, providing for a more enjoyable swimming experience
- Is a pH neutral solution that won’t impact your pool water balance
- Eliminates issues such as calcium scaling
- Results in only a minimal increase in energy use
- Reduced performance in humid climates
- More expensive than many other solutions
Non Chlorine Shock
Non-chlorine shock treatment is a great chlorine alternative for oxidizing organic pollutants, such as body oils, sunscreen, sweat, and urine. Unfortunately, non-chlorine pool shock can’t sanitize the water on its own because, as the name indicates, it does not contain chlorine.
Non-chlorine shock still needs an additional sanitization method, such as chlorine or bromine, to sanitize a pool.
The problem with this method is that it also isn’t going to work as a sanitizer. This is another useful tool that is going to need to work in tandem with certain chemicals.
Many people wind up pairing the non-chlorine shock with a certain amount of chlorine. If you are trying to avoid chlorine specifically, then using another chemical in its place is going to work just fine.
- Better chlorine efficiency
- Clears up cloudy pools
- Eliminates chloramines
- Can regenerate used bromine
- Not a chlorine-free option
- Less money spent on chlorine
A more natural way to sanitize your pool that eliminates chlorine usage all together is by going with a saltwater pool system. Instead of adding chlorine directly to your pool water, you will rely on using salt to keep your pool clean.
Once the salt becomes charged, it will break down into chlorine. But unlike the typical chlorine, these won’t hurt your eyes or irritate your skin.
You will also be able to save some money by having a saltwater pool. Buying salt and properly maintaining it is going to be more cost-effective than purchasing chemicals.
You’ll be able to have a more enjoyable time while you’re swimming and you will be able to avoid the negative things associated with chlorine. It’s a good situation and it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to make the necessary changes.
- Uses low amounts of chlorine
- Less harsh for people to swim in
- Less expensive for yearly chemical costs
- Won’t fade bathing suits
- Less maintenance required
- Can be expensive to install
- Electricity bill will increase
- Saltwater may harm pool features and landscaping
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Bromine is a true chlorine substitute that many people find to be the preferable chemical. This substance is capable of sanitizing your pool very effectively.
You won’t have to worry about testing the bromine quite as often and you will be able to enjoy increased stability. Your pool should remain in balance for longer periods of time without you having to make adjustments.
Bromine is typically used in spas and indoor pools as a chlorine alternative. This is because Cyanuric Acid (CYA), which protects chlorine against “burning-off” from the sun's harsh UV rays, does not work with bromine.
Since indoor pools and spas are often covered by sunlight, CYA is not as important. Bromine is not recommended for outdoor pools or spas that are not covered.
- Easy to use
- More stable at high temperatures than chlorine
- Reduces eye irritation and dry skin
- Sunlight reduces the effectiveness of bromine, requiring significantly more of the chemical to make it a practical solution for outdoor pools
- Weaker oxidation process than chlorine, resulting in a dull, green color that foams up while swimming
- More expensive option than chlorine
UV Pool Sanitizer
UV Light harnesses the power of ultraviolet light to lower chemical levels, eliminate chlorine by-products, and make pools safe, healthy, and easier to manage.
Ultraviolet (UV) pool sanitizers utilize a cutting-edge, non-chemical process that uses germicidal UV light rays to sanitize water, air, and surfaces that may be contaminated.
Ultraviolet pool sanitizers emit a high-intensity germicidal light ray that alters or disrupts the DNA or RNA of targeted organisms such as algae, bacteria, viruses, cysts, and protozoa.
The highly concentrated electromagnetic energy also destroys organic matter, eliminating the formation of dangerous chlorine by-products.
PHMB is short for polyhexamethylene biguanide and is your option to completely doing without chlorine as a sanitizer. PHMB causes bacteria cell walls to burst from within and then wraps it in a heavy gel, causing it to sink to the bottom of the pool where the vacuum waits to suck it up.
Biguanide works by penetrating the bacteria cell walls which causes them to burst. When used in pools, Biguanide does not cause skin or eye irritation unlike chlorine, and is easy on swimming pools that are using vinyl pool liners.
Do you need a Chlorine Stabilizer for your Pool?
Pool stabilizer is also sometimes called pool conditioner, chlorine stabilizer, or cyanuric acid (CYA). Its purpose is to stabilize the chlorine in your pool water, so the sanitizer lasts longer. This will ultimately help keep your water clean for a longer period of time.
This is especially important if your pool is outside and exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet or UV rays. When UV rays from the sun hit the water, chlorine starts to evaporate, leaving very little free chlorine in your pool water. If you are not using a pool stabilizer, your pool’s chlorine will be almost completely gone in a couple of hours.
Benefits of Stabilized Chlorine
- Hassle-Free – One product with two chemicals.
- Convenient – Usually won’t need to add any extra cyanuric acid later.
- Time Saver – No measuring or adding the chlorine and cyanuric acid separately.
- Money Saver – Your pool will need less chlorine.
Which Chlorine Alternative is Right for you?
By weighing the pros and cons of each, you’ll find out which one works best for your situation. And really, there’s no wrong choice when it comes to this pool matter, just different ones.
Salt system pools are very popular, and the most common “non-chlorine” option, but their high installation cost and potential to damage pool equipment may make you think twice.
Meanwhile, you can’t really go wrong with the actual chlorine-free options: bromine and biguanide.
Bromine works just as well as chlorine (and is especially great for hot tubs), and biguanide does an impeccable job as well. The only downside to these is their price tags.
Elite Pool Service™ Can Help
If your pool relies on chlorine sanitation, now is the time to find a chlorine-alternative pool system. In addition to avoiding chlorine surge pricing and stockouts, you’ll have easier, healthier, and fresher pool water than before.
While chlorine is the most common sanitizer for pools, it’s not the only option. Chlorine isn’t for everyone. Whatever that reason, Elite Pool Services carries several other alternatives for you to turn to.
The transition is easy, or we carry the supplies to keep your pool’s sanitization system well maintained. Whether you need to replace your salt cell, stock up on bromine or find a replacement cartridge for your mineral system, we have you covered.
We suggest giving our team a call or request a quote for FREE. We’ve spent years optimizing pools for supreme cost-efficiency and effectiveness. Whether you’re remodeling your pool area or need a pool system upgrade.
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