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If you have ever taken a dip in a spring-fed pool, almost all will agree that the water felt great.
Besides being a bit on the chilly side, I personally loved my glide through the natural water in our local spring-fed swimming hole.
Today's race for a better pool water solution is nothing new; it's been going on for decades.
When you do a quick Internet search for chlorine pool alternatives, you'll run into all sorts of "better" options.
We did a search and stuck to first page results to check out what a novice may encounter. We found salt water, ozone, UV, hydrogen peroxide, and even swim ponds.
When you look at each technology or concept, they all claim to be the answer to the quest for "better" pool water.
So, what's the deal? What's the solution? Why is it so complicated?
Well, it's not!
The truth is people are confused by being fed wrong info.
Here's the truth, or at least our attempt to shed light on what's really going on!
The short answer!
Chlorine is a set standard, and it's the most widely accepted method established to sanitize. The problem is, people can get really sick from swimming in even seemingly clean pools.
So, If you want to avoid big trouble should someone get ill from swimming in your pool, you'd better be using proven sanitation methods recommended by the authorities on health.
The other issue is that the public got sidetracked into believing that the "feel" of the water equates to the "health" of the water.
These are two totally separate things.
The longer answer!
While companies are indeed making some effort to accommodate pool owners with alternatives to chlorine, it all ends up being a re-packaging of the chlorine pool with a plus or a twist.
Due to federal & global organizations like the CDC, WHO, and EPA doing health studies that produce data, which births a baseline, and then a standard, a rule, or a regulation, water sanitation turns into a significant legal issue from a liability standpoint.
We live in a litigious world today. What company is going to want to risk going against the grain when proven technology is still selling?
As far as the water feel argument, this is entirely out of whack. Water feel is a perception, and the tech companies capitalize on it.
Saltwater pools are actually chlorinated.
The salt in the pool is converted into chlorine by electrolysis.
The feel of the water is due to the salinity levels, which are closer to the physiological salt levels naturally found in our bodies, so the water feels good on the skin.
Ever see eye rinsing solutions referred to as "saline" solution?
There's your salt! Salt is naturally in our bodies and tears.
Saltwater pools have other issues as well.
They're a pain, they're corrosive to equipment, and can thrash decking and masonry work.
I know of builders who offered to convert their client's existing saltwater pool systems into chlorine systems at no charge due to the saltwater problems.
There are also other alternative options like Ozone and UV, which have substantial benefits, but they have limitations too.
The biggest limitation is the induction lag.
When trying to go chemical-free, there's a big hurdle pertaining to the fact that once a contaminant is introduced into the water body, it doesn't immediately begin to be sanitized. The contaminant remains in the pool water body until it gets sanitized and filtered.
Even if the contaminant got sucked directly into the plumbing system as soon as it entered the water, it might not get knocked out on the first pass through. This ends up leaving nasties in the same pool water with the swimmers for longer than desired, so risk of infection increases due to the increased exposure time.
The UV and ozone treat the water only while it's flowing through the system and passing through the equipment at the equipment pad.
Organic material load would be the other downside.
A pool that receives a high organic matter load can get overwhelmed fairly quickly.
While these shortcomings are simply realities, these systems do have major benefits.
Now we come to the natural swimming ponds.
For starters, they are technically being deemed "ponds you can swim in." These aren't even referred to as pools. And it appears that the name itself is helping these swimming areas avoid the ANSI/ APSP standards on a technicality. Maybe we're missing something here, but who knows? While we'll admit that we aren't currently considered experts pertaining to these swim ponds, the name issue is a red flag. So with that being said, we'll have to opt-out of this pool type for now.
So what pool sanitation tech should people go with?
What we've found to be the answer for better pool water was a combination system.
Saltwater systems are not part of that equation, though. As a builder, I completely avoid saltwater pools!
If you need convincing, just look up galvanic corrosion and efflorescence.
Still, the use of the other tech that's out there in an adjunct approach with a standard chlorine system is by far your best bet for a better sanitation setup.
As a pool builder, we had the luxury of experimenting with this for many years, so for a buyer, you'll have to research and dig until you are confident with what you're choosing.
We build about a dozen elaborate and high-end pools every year. It took us over 5 years of researching, testing and tweaking these technologies before we could consistently replicate it to produce some seriously amazing results.
For the record, we don't sell these setups, and there's a big learning curve.
Our synergistic approach to tackling sanitation has evolved over the years into a pretty complex system that goes beyond simply combining a few sanitation technologies.
Our installs start with the plumbing & hydraulics and finish out by strategically lining up every single aspect of the equipment that interacts with the pool water.
We've not seen another setup to date that is as powerful and as effective as what we've now named our SYNER-KLEAR system.
This system is also extremely user friendly, and it drastically reduces the time customers, and maintenance providers spend tending to their pools.
So there you go,
if you want an excellent sanitation system, research combining technologies and decide what's best for you and your budget.