All of us want to have healthy, safe families and many people worry about the amount of chlorine that is used in a pool. However, you may wonder, “What can be done?”
There are some alternatives to chlorine and we will consider those in a future article. However, there are also some systems that you can put in place or actions that you can take that may not eliminate your chlorine use but will allow you to use less of it.
This article will go into why it’s worth considering ways to reduce the chlorine that you use. However, we will also talk about why you do need to have SOME chlorine in your pool to keep your family safe.
Finally, we will go through four ways you can reduce your chlorine use. They are:
- Use a salt water pool
- Install a UV light filtration system
- Opt for an Ozonator (or Ozone system)
- Be smart in how you use your pool
Dangers of chlorine
Chlorine is a chemical and of course, it has an effect on your body. Dangers of chlorine exposure include:
- Allows toxins to be absorbed in the skin
- Can irritate skin and trigger dermatological conditions, like eczema
- May cause irritated and itchy eyes
- Bleaches your clothing and hair
- Can irritate bronchial conditions like asthma
Some experts also estimate that approximately 5% of the population is allergic to chlorine, which creates its own symptoms.
The problem is not just the chlorine in your pool. It is what happens when chlorine mixes with other chemicals that are brought into the pool through hair and skin products.
Why You Still Need Chemicals in Your Pool
Swimming in a pool that is not treated is the same as swimming in a petri dish. Regular use makes it so that your pool can become full of bacteria, algae, and other nasty things.
Swimming in that kind of dirty water is dangerous. It can cause:
- skin irritation
- Swimmer’s Ear – an infection of the outer ear canal that causes irritation, redness, and swelling in the ear
- respiratory infection, which includes accompanying muscle pain, chills, fever, and headaches
- stomach cramps
In fact, 27,000 people across the United States got sick from dirty water in pools, hot tubs and playgrounds, between 2000 and 2014, according to the Centre for Disease Control. Eight people died in that same time period.
It is incredibly serious that your pool be clean and safe to keep your family healthy and safe. We cannot state strongly enough how important it is to test your water and treat it accordingly on a regular basis.
Chlorine is popular because it is incredibly effective at killing bacteria and other pathogens. It is also a preferred choice for many pool users because it is budget-friendly.
Someone with a 20,000-gallon pool that is open year-round can expect to spend about $600 on chlorine. Compared with other systems or products, that is not that expensive.
4 Ways to Reduce the Amount of Chemicals In Your Pool
Purchase a Salt Water Pool
Salt water pools are amazing – the water is more gentle, there is no strong odor and they are lower maintenance. They also use salt, not chlorine to clean the water.
What does this mean? Chlorine is a chemical and is harsh and abrasive. Salt is a compound, is more natural and therefore has natural healing properties.
The main complaints about chlorine pools is the damage that it does to your skin, the odour and how it can trigger respiratory illnesses. Salt water pools are the answer to all three complaints.
Salt water is more gentle on your skin. In fact, instead of causing damage to your skin, this amazing compound can actually help your skin heal.
Salt water does not have that strong, harsh odor that chlorine is famous for when it mixes with other chemicals. Salt is odorless.
Third, a salt water pool is completely safe for those that suffer from respiratory illnesses, such as asthma.
One added bonus is that salt water is good for pain and inflammation. Its bromide property, which is good for relieving muscle tensions and joint pains.
To be clear, salt water pools do have SOME chlorine – they simply need far less of it. It should also be noted that salt water pool systems are much more expensive to install and the salt water generators can cost thousand of dollars.
We already established that a “chemical free” pool is a terrible idea. However, it is possible to have a “low chlorine” pool by using a UV system.
What is a UV system? Basically, water is pushed through a UV lamp at a specific flow rate. During this process, the lamp delivers an intense UV light that kills pathogens and bacteria in your pool water.
Using a UV system combined with the same amount of chlorine as tap water results in a perfectly clean pool. Even the Olympics used it for their swimmers.
When that low level of chlorine is combined with a UV light system, bacteria, pathogens and other ugly things you don’t want in your pool can be killed in less than a second. As well, it has none of the ugly health effects of using more chlorine.
Ozone systems inject ozone gas into the pool plumbing to oxidize contaminants and even chlorine-resistant microbes. It means that you are getting rid of all sorts of bacteria, even the ones that chlorine cannot handle, to produce clear and clean water.
Since your ozone system is doing the heavy lifting, you need to use less chlorine in your pool. An ozone system will reduce your chlorine use by 60-90%.
An ozonator uses the same amount of electricity as a 60-watt light bulb when the filter pump is turned on, so you really are not adding much to your energy bill. It is worth noting that ozonators combined with chlorine is most effective IF your water is circulating at all times.
As well, depending on where you are in Texas, an ozonator may not work well for you. Their performance is less effective in humid areas compared to in dry heat areas.
Use your Pool Wisely
It is said that prevention is the best medicine so think about how you are using your pool. We mentioned before that chlorine by itself is usually not the issue.
The issue is usually when chlorine mixes with other chemicals brought into the pool, by urine, hair or skin products or something else.
Logically, the solution is to reduce those chemicals being brought into your pool. Have you and your guests shower off before entering the pool.
Teach children as early as possible not to urinate in the pool and ensure they take bathroom breaks before entering the pool, as well as every hour they are in the pool.
What about Natural Pools?
Another trend that has been gaining popularity in the United States is building a natural pool. Natural swimming pools are generally designed to resemble ponds and are filtered using organically rather than using chemicals at all.
A regeneration pool is built nearby where the water enters a gravel filter or plants that naturally clean the water. They are hailed as having lower maintenance costs, are better for the environment, and will work in essentially all climates.
However, they may not be the right choice for everyone. They require a lot of space (since you will need space for your pool and the regeneration pool) and are incredibly expensive to install.
Because they are still so new in this part of the world, it can be really difficult to find someone to help you install and maintain one. Additionally, because it is all-natural, it is going to more closely resemble a pond than a pool, which can be off-putting aesthetically.
Less chlorine does not mean less maintenance
Choosing one of these systems or making these changes does not mean that your pool will now work efficiently and perfectly on its own. Your pool needs regular maintenance to keep your water clear and clean.
In addition, even with something such as a salt water pool or UV system in place, some chlorine is needed. Other pool chemicals will be needed.
That means that someone needs to be checking your chemical levels on a regular basis to make sure that your pool is safe. Without that, all of the fancy systems in the world will not mean anything because you, your family and your guests will still be in danger.
Honestly, keeping a pool well-maintained is time consuming and a bit of a chore. Many pool owners are turning to pool maintenance services to ensure that their pools are clean, that their chemical levels are correct and their equipment is in good working order.
By delegating the chores involved with pool ownership, all you need to worry about is having fun!