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Alternative sanitizers include treatments, other than chemical sanitizers (chlorine, bromine or
biguanide), that are used to sanitize the water. There are many alternative sanitizer options
available today. Your pool dealer can explain the pros and cons of each and help you in
choosing a sanitizer or alternative sanitizer program that will best suit your needs. Alternative
methods of sanitation greatly reduce the chemicals required to maintain your pool while
offering other benefits as well. These benefits vary according to the treatment type but often
include increased bather comfort due to less chemical use, and clearer more comfortable pool
water. Most of the various methods listed below will still require a supplemental halogen
sanitizer (chlorine or bromine), at much lower residual levels.
Some types of alternative
sanitizers can be combined in parallel to increase the overall benefits and or replace the need
for a supplemental chemical sanitizer.
Catalytic Sanitation
This term is used in the description of various types of alternative sanitizers. Simply put,
this type of sanitation uses a catalyst, a substance, to accelerate the rate of a chemical
reaction without itself being transformed or consumed by the reaction. A catalyst
participates in the reaction but is neither a chemical reactant nor a chemical product.
Mineral sanitizers such as Nature² and FROG would technically fall into a category of
catalytic sanitizers.
Ionization (sometimes called mineralizers)
An ionizer is a device that uses electricity to produce copper and silver ions. Copper inhibits
algae growth and silver kills bacteria. Safe low voltage DC current energizes the copper and
silver electrodes within a chamber then release copper and silver ions into the pool water
through the existing plumbing. While ionizers greatly reduce chemical consumption (80-90%)
they must be combined with a chlorine shock program for periodic oxidation. Most electrolytic
ionizers or mineralizers do NOT require a chlorine residual be maintained in the water, rather a
shock or superchlorination treatment to be used every 1 to 2 weeks.
See Shocking or Super-
chlorination for details.
DO NOT sprinkle granular chlorine (cal hypo or sodium dichloro) directly
into any pool surface- in an ionized pool the undissolved chlorine can cause metal precipitation
and black stains. Test the water weekly for pH, Total Alkalinity and Copper and maintain
the following readings:
pH 7.2- 7.6
Total Alkalinity 80-120 ppm
Copper 0.15 – 0.50 ppm
Extra care should be taken in a plaster pool to prevent staining- see your pool dealer for