How to Clean Swimming Pool Water Without Chlorine
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Chlorine is commonly used in swimming pools to curb algae growth and kill bacteria, thus acting as a sanitizer. Pool owners are recently seeking better alternatives to chlorine since it has been known to cause some health and environmental risks. You may experience itchy, dry skin and red, burning eyes after taking a swim in a chlorinated pool or allergies and rashes in swimmers.
THMs (trihalomethanes) toxins can also be present in your chlorinated pool and spa due to the reaction of chlorine and organic matter such as leaves, urine, and algae, thus posing as a health risk. With this in mind, you might like to know more about how to clean swimming pool water without chlorine.
Let’s have a look at the reasons you want a pool without chlorine and some of the alternatives to chlorine.
Reasons You Want a Pool Without Chlorine
Chlorine is an effective water sanitizer with a lower buying and maintenance cost than other cleaning options. By keeping the water chemistry balanced with steady chlorine levels, you can enjoy the water freely without constant fear of contaminants or algae growth.
That said, chlorine also has a downside on the human body and can react differently with other chemicals and the environment. Let’s have a look at some of these downsides:
1. Sensitivity to Chlorine
You can be sensitive to chlorine, where your skin gets a constant irritation after going for a swim in a chlorinated pool. This irritation may present itself as a chemical burn, thus the reason to opt for a chlorine-free pool since if you already have a skin problem, chlorine can make it worse.
Also, if you have underlying respiratory problems like asthma, swimming in a chlorinated pool can irritate your lungs, thus worsening the condition. With such sensitivity issues, you should look for an alternative to chlorine that is safer for you.
2. You Dislike the Scent of Chloramines
Since chlorine doesn’t have a scent, its reaction with other chemicals such as ammonia from sweat and urine creates chloramines. Chloramines then combine with the water and air, thus creating the smell you associate with chlorine. Due to chlorine attacking the contaminants, its amount is also reduced.
The chloramines are responsible for the irritation you feel in the eyes, lungs, throat, and skin. Chloramines also cause your eyes to appear red if you open them while in the water. Due to this discovery, you can understand why chlorine bottles have a warning not to use ammonia, which can be deadly in large amounts.
For this reason, it is safer for you to switch to a chlorine-free pool by using other chlorine alternatives.
3. Chlorine’s Harshness on Clothes, Hair, and Skin
Have you ever wondered why blond hair turns green while in the pool? Well, if you had added copper in your pool water, chlorine oxidizes it, thus causing the reaction.
In most cases, chlorine tends to dry the swimmer’s hair making it brittle even when the water chemistry is balanced. Another effect of chlorine is; the bleaching or fading of swimwear, thus weakening the cloth fibers. To avoid or reduce these effects, you should shower and rinse your swimsuits immediately after swimming.
4. Chlorine is Vulnerable to Sunlight
Using chlorine can be quite expensive if you have an outdoor swimming pool since UV light tends to decompose the chemical, making it an unsuitable water sanitizer. Due to this factor, you can choose to use stabilized chlorine or a stabilizer like cyanuric acid, which prevents chlorine from degrading at a quicker rate.
That said, using several chemicals to clean your pool water can increase corrosion, thus increasing the pool maintenance costs. Considering this factor, you can opt to use an alternative to chlorine with low maintenance costs.
Following these reasons, you can opt for a chlorine-free pool for a better and safer swimming environment!
Alternatives to Chlorine for a Chlorine-free Pool
As a pool owner, you need to keep your pool clean despite the lack of chlorine in the water. Today, several alternatives to chlorine have been tested and tried to meet the safety criteria. Other than the sanitizing aspect, you need to consider the buying price, cost of maintenance, and how suitable they are to your requirements.
Let’s have a look at some of these alternatives you can consider:
If you are looking to keep your pool clean without using chlorine, bromine is one of the wise choices to go for. Bromine is a known sanitizer for pools and spas that meets all the required criteria of a chemical sanitizer similar to chlorine. That said, bromine is more expensive than chlorine, thus making it unpopular to pool owners.
Just like chlorine, ensure to use your bromine sanitizer with other pool chemicals and additives. Bromine tends to be very difficult to stabilize, thus making it unsuitable for outdoor swimming pools.
2. Ozone Purification
With ozone purification as a chlorine alternative, you are confident that the micro-organisms in your pool water are destroyed, and the accumulation of deposits in the pool’s water system is halted. Since it is a substance that occurs naturally, ozone has become a popular water purifier since it changes back to oxygen after being used without leaving any toxins behind.
For the ozone purification process to take place, you will require an ozone generator that uses a corona discharge system or an Ultraviolet light bulb that helps break down pathogens making water safe for swimmers. Although ozone is more powerful than chlorine, it is gentle on the swimmers’ skin, thus being the reason why you should worry less about burning red eyes, faded swimwear, and other effects of chlorine byproducts.
That said, you will need to add a small amount of chlorine as a residual since the ozone’s lifespan is of 20-60 minutes. Since the ozone generators depend on UV bulbs, you will require to replace them after every year. For the ozone systems using the more advanced corona discharge, the cells tend to last 5-7 years.
PHMB or Polyhexamethylenebiguanide is a chemical with better stability than chlorine with zero effect from sunlight, requiring no additional stabilizers. Contrary to chlorine, you will not experience any eye or skin irritation when swimming. Also, your pool walls and floor will remain as good as new since corrosion will be a thing of the past!
That said, opting for a chlorine-free pool with PHMB means more maintenance costs and more money to purchase. With this pool sanitizer, you will require an additional oxidizer, hydrogen peroxide, pool filters will require cleaning monthly, and you are to drain your previous pool water that may contain chlorine.
In addition, you should ensure your swimwear and skin do not have even a trace of chlorine since it can cause a reaction with the PHMB.
Baquacil is based on a chemical compound known as Biguanide. This chemical acts as an oxidizer in swimming pools which is recommended for use in residential pools. Although Baquacil is known to promote maintenance as an oxidizer residual, some problems come with its use. For instance, with biguanide-based swimming pool care, you may notice a white mold development in the pool due to the resistance to the chemical compound.
For you to ensure your pool is in the best condition when using the biguanide-based care, use chlorine for at least a season after continuous use of biguanide. However, if chlorine is out of consideration, ensure to drain your pool water and replace it after some seasons, which will cause a huge increase in the water bill.
5. Saltwater Sanitizers
With saltwater sanitizers as chlorine alternatives, they have recently become popular with swimming pool owners. With saltwater systems, chlorine is used where the salt is converted into chlorine gas which is then directed into the pool water, acting as a disinfectant. This process is different from the traditional chlorine, where you can add liquid chlorine or tablets to the water.
When using the salt sanitizer, ensure it is part of the pool equipment system, converting dissolved regular table salt into a disinfectant chlorine gas. Enjoy the benefits of using non-chlorine saltwater pools, such as having a more comfortable swim than the traditional chlorine pool.
6. Ultraviolet Light (UV light)
Considering swimming in pool water without chlorine requires using other sanitizing methods such as the use of UV light, which disrupts the DNA of pathogens, thus making them harmless. During this sanitizing process, pool equipment contains an enclosed chamber where water is sanitized by the UV light rays while passing through. The cycle is repeated as water circulates in the pool, thus creating a clean and safe swimming environment.
UV light sanitation works so well in that it is used to sterilize medical equipment and drinking water. This UV light sanitation method comes with benefits that you can enjoy regardless of the climate. Just like ozone purification, UV light doesn’t have harmful effects and leaves no toxic byproducts in the pool water.
7. Reducing Water Temperatures
You can opt to go all-natural without adding chemicals to the water by reducing the water temperature. By making your water colder, algae growth and multiplication of other bacterial micro-organisms become slower since they thrive and breed in a warm environment. Although this may not be a permanent solution, reducing water temperatures slows the speed at which chemicals react, thus reducing the amount of chlorine you would initially use.
That said, some swimmers may find it difficult to swim in cold water comfortably. You can choose the method to use when reducing the water temperatures depending on the weather. For instance, if the weather is warm, you can use a swimming pool chiller, or if the weather is cold, you can use fountains to aerate the pool.
You can also lower thermostat levels if you have a pool heater. Pool heaters and chillers tend to be among the most expensive pool equipment, thus the reason you should ensure regular maintenance checks.
So, you do not need to use harsh and unsafe chemicals to clean your pool. By using these alternative ways, you can keep your family safe without risking their health!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I naturally clear my pool water?
Clearing pool water naturally is something you can do without any professional help. You can use a basic ingredient in your kitchen, baking soda. Since pool water is in large volumes, you will require to use quite a large amount of sodium bicarbonate.
Baking soda is a natural alkaline product with a pH of 8. By adding it to the swimming pool water, the pH and alkalinity of the water will rise, thus stabilizing and improving the clarity.
2. How long can water sit in a pool while chlorine-free?
If your pool water doesn’t contain chlorine, it is safe to sit in the pool for three to six days. Since your water is chlorine-free, your pool is prone to have increased algae growth, and you end up using up too much water due to refilling the pool regularly.
In addition, chlorine helps kill bacteria. Since your water lacks this chemical, bacteria accumulate from the sweat, makeup, and body lotions in your water, thus often making swimmers sick.
3. What are the alternatives to chlorine in pools?
Opting to get chlorine-free in swimming pools means you can go for other alternatives such as ionizers, bromine, and ozonation. You will also require to add a small amount of chlorine to accompany these alternatives.
That said, you can opt for another alternative, PHMB, that is added to pool water without the need for any trace of chlorine.
4. Can I swim in a pool without chlorine?
Chlorine is used to kill bacteria and reduce the growth of algae in swimming pools. Therefore, pool water without chlorine forms a breeding ground for bacteria, making you sick when you are enjoying your swim. That said, you can swim in a chlorine-free pool and not get sick, which is a probability.
Due to algae growth and buildup on the pool’s surface, you can be at a higher risk of getting into an accident, such as slipping or breaking a limb.
5. Can you use bleach instead of chlorine in your pool?
Yes, you can. Ensure to read the bleach formulation label. Instructions of the said formulation are listed by the manufacturer on the bleach bottle label, where you can find the chemical ratios and the amount of chlorine available.