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CHLORINE ALTERNATIVES: BUYER’S GUIDE & FAQ


YOU ASKED
WE ANSWERED

Should I make the switch from chlorine? [open]
Chlorine is an effective and inexpensive pool sanitizer that can be stabilized in the sunlight. Chlorine can be presented in tablet forms or granular, either way, adding chlorine to your pool is a frequent habit performed over the summertime. While there is an ease to chlorine since it is so widely used, it may not be the best option for you.

There are other ways to keep your pool clean, but as for effectiveness chlorine is the best method. Chlorine does have a distinctive smell when reacting to ammonia and creates chloramines. These chloramines are also the reason why your eyes turn red. Consider using an alternate sanitization method if you have sensitivity or allergy to chlorine or if you just want a chemical that is gentler on your hair, skin and eyes. [Shop All Chlorine Alternatives]
Which sanitization system is best for me? [open]
As you consider each option, you’ll want to think about what best fits your needs and your budget. Upfront costs and your budget for maintenance throughout the summer should also be considered. As you narrow down what sanitization system best fits you and your pool consider each system’s specific attributes, along with their strengths and weaknesses.

Choose a Salt Chlorine Generator if you want to stop buying chlorine — except occasional shock — and don’t mind having to replace the cell every 3 to 5 years.

Choose Bromine Tablets if you want to put it in your spa, have a hard time stabilizing your pH or have your pool in limited sunlight. It’s also a good option if you don’t want to plumb more equipment onto your pump and filter system.

Choose an Ozone System if you want to prevent scaling, severely limit your chlorine usage and don’t mind the higher upfront cost.

Choose a Mineral Sanitizer if you want to switch to an environmentally friendly option and don’t mind still needing to use some chlorine to serve as an oxidizer.

Choose an Ultraviolet Light Sanitizer if you want to kill over 99% of microorganisms and bacteria but don’t mind using a little bit of chlorine as a residual. [Shop All Chlorine Alternatives]
How can I make the switch from chlorine? [open]
Switching systems is not a difficult process but you should allow plenty of time for it to be complete. Any method will start with the same first step, allowing the chlorine to completely dissipate from your pool before introducing any new chemicals or sanitization system.

As your chlorine is dissipating you won’t be able to swim in your pool since it has nothing cleaning/sanitizing it. Once all of the chlorine is gone you’ll be able to implement your new system or chemical and balance your pool!

The best time to make the switch from chlorine to a new system would be right when you take your cover off in the spring since your pool will have low levels of chlorine due to dissipation over the winter.

If you’re switching to bromine and use a feeder, you’ll want to replace your feeder so you don’t mix the bromine with any residual chlorine. [Shop All Chlorine Alternatives]
How can I find the right size system? [open]
Most chlorine alternatives — UV light sanitizers being the exception — require you to know what size your pool is to get a system that can handle your pool. To do this, you’ll need to find the volume of your pool. Here’s a quick formula you can use:

Length x Width x Average Depth x Multiplier = Volume in Gallons
  • Multiplier for rectangular and square pools is 7.5
  • Multiplier for oval pools is 6.7
  • Multiplier for round pools is 5.9
Note: All measurements should be in feet, including the depth. For above ground pools, assume that the water depth is 6” less than the wall height, so if your pool height is 48”, assume the depth is 3.5’, and for a 52” pool, use 4’.

If math isn’t for you, there are many online calculators to determine how many gallons are in your pool; you just need to do a quick internet search and they’ll pop up in the first several results.



For more help with calculating your pool size, visit our blog, How to Calculate the Number of Gallons in Your Pool.

CHLORINE ALTERNATIVES

Chlorine is one of the most common ways people sanitize their pool, but it’s not the only option. It certainly has its downsides. It’s drying on hair and skin, can produce a strong smell and can even be hard on your equipment.

At PoolSupplies.com, we carry ozone systems, salt water systems, bromine tablets and other systems to meet your clean pool needs to get you free of storing and dealing with chlorine.
Saltwater Cell Chlorine Generators [open]
Powered by a salt cell, salt water pools use salt to generate chlorine without drying out skin and hair, creating a potent smell or irritating eyes. The generator is consistently operating, keeping free chlorine levels high and chloramines low, creating a near perfect chlorine balance.

Salt cell generators offer powerful sanitation while creating soft water, but they are a large investment upfront with the need to be replaced every 3 to 5 years. You will be purchasing fewer chemicals for maintenance so the initial cost may balance out.

For more information about saltwater pools, visit our blog, Pros and Cons of a Saltwater Pool. [Shop All Salt Water Systems]
Bromine Tablets [open]
Bromine is a type of sanitizer and oxidizer that is sometimes used with chlorine or as a substitution for it. Although it is more expensive than chlorine, bromine is more pH stable, emits less odors and is gentler on eyes, skin and pool surfaces.

Due to its stability and effectiveness in hot water, bromine is also the most common sanitizer used in spas. It’s also a good option for indoor pools. As it cannot be stabilized and degrades quickly in the sun, bromine may not be the best choice if your pool gets a lot of sunlight. [Shop All Bromine]
Ozonators [open]
While you won’t be able to entirely stop using chlorine with an ozonator, you can limit your need of it. Ozone generators aid in the breakdown of organic contaminants and bacteria by creating short-lived ozone gas. This breakdown doesn’t remove them, but can lower chemical usage by up to 90%.

To fully remove these contaminants, you will still need to use some chlorine. Although they are more expensive and still require a little chlorine — or another sanitizer — ozonators prevent calcium scaling and create soft water. [Shop All Ozonators]
Mineral Sanitizers [open]
These environmentally friendly systems operate through a cartridge filled with minerals and alloys that deactivate algae and other microorganisms as water flows through. The sanitizer works by releasing naturally occurring silver and copper ions to clean the water. Using one of these systems can lower chlorine usage by half.

They’re also easy to use and require little maintenance. They install right onto your PVC plumbing. Plus, the mineral cartridges are refillable. Replacement cartridges are available but tend to be expensive and may need to be replaced more often on larger pools. [Shop All Mineral Sanitizers]
Ultraviolet Light [open]
These systems use short wavelengths of ultraviolet light to destroy over 99% of microorganisms as water flows through the system. A little bit of chlorine is still required in order for the effects of the UV light to continue and serve as a residual.

To find the right UV light system for you, you’ll need to know the flow rate of your pump. You will also need to plumb the system onto your pump and filter. [Shop All Ultraviolet Light]
More Questions?
If you want to switch away from a chlorine system to something else but still have questions or are unsure what’s best for you, call our in-house pool experts at 1-800-356-3025.