Five Chlorine Alternatives for Pool Owners

5 Chlorine Alternatives

Chlorine is the popular choice for many pool owners, but is it the best? Chlorine is typically thought to be the cause of red eyes and skin irritation for swimmers, motivating pool owners to look elsewhere for sanitation. Running into this question a lot, we wanted to do some digging ourselves. Below we have listed our findings.

Make sure to download our FREE Chlorine Comparison Guide below or CLICK HERE!

SALT WATER

Salt is a very popular alternative to using chlorine, and for good reason. Saltwater pools use salt to generate chlorine, but do so in a way that does not irritate your eyes, dry out your skin or smell. Salt passes through a salt cell where it receives an electric charge, breaking it down to chlorine. It does this consistently to keep free chlorine high and chloramines low. Free chlorine is what keeps your water clean and clear. High chloramine levels are the real culprit (not chlorine) when you hear complaints about irritation and the “chlorine smell”. If your pool “smells like chlorine”, or irritates the skin, there’s a good chance that it actually needs MORE chlorine. This is what makes salt water pools so desirable. Low chloramine levels with a balanced salinity level will provide comfortable water that does not irritate or smell. Salt is usually cheaper than the chemicals you’d have to buy to keep your pool clean. Keep in mind, salt cells (in the salt chlorinator) need occasional cleaning, and do not last forever. Expect to replace your salt cell about every 5 years.

What to know:

  • Powerful sanitation
  • Creates soft water
  • No need for buckets of chlorine
  • Expensive investment
  • Salt Cell needs replaced every 3-5 years
AQR15 Hayward Aqua Rite Salt Chlorine Generator

OZONE

The idea behind ozone generators is that they will aid in the breakdown of organic contaminants. This process may lower chemical usage as much 60-90%. By themselves, ozone generators cannot sanitize a pool. These systems are usually paired with another type of sanitation, such as chlorine. Chlorine attacks organic contaminants in your pool, which begins to lower the Free Available Chlorine. This process creates chloramines, as mentioned above. The less chlorine consumption, the less chloramines in your pool water.

What to know:

  • Creates soft water
  • Prevents calcium scaling
  • pH neutral
  • Expensive investment
  • Used in conjunction with a sanitizer
DEL Ozone Eclipse Ozone Generator

NON-CHLORINE SHOCK

Non-Chlorine Shock is great for oxidizing organic pollutants, such as body oil, sunscreen and urine. Unfortunately, non-chlorine shock can’t sanitize your pool on its own. Non-chlorine shock needs an additional sanitation method such as chlorine to sanitize a pool. Oxidizing the pollutants will help keep chloramine (CC) levels low, so chlorine can work effectively. Non-chlorine shock is great for indoor pools or pools with a high bather load (many people in the pool). Sunlight will help oxidize organic pollutants naturally, so non-chlorine shock is popular among indoor pools (where there is little-to-no sunlight). Non-chlorine Shock is also used in spas and hot tubs to oxidize (burn up) dead organic matter. This allows the sanitizer to destroy harmful microorganisms like bacteria and algae.

Introducing a product like Chlor-Free (non-chlorine shock) helps aid pools , especially ones with little to no sun exposure.

What to know:

  • Great for indoor pools and spas
  • Safe to swim immediately after application
  • Requires a sanitizer
  • More expensive than chlorine shock
  • Safe with chlorine, bromine, and mineral sanitizer systems
PoolSupplyWorld Chlorine-Free Shock Bags

BROMINE

Often used in spas, Bromine is an effective sanitizer that is more convenient than chlorine, if you don’t mind the extra cost. Water that is sanitized with Bromine does not require as much testing and is more stable than chlorine. This allows the water to stay balanced for a longer period of time. Bromine can be used with an automatic chemical feeder, as chlorine can, but does not have the potential of raising CYA levels. CYA or cyanuric acid is used in automatic feeders in order to protect chlorine against UV rays. The UV rays in sunlight cause a “burn-off” effect, reducing the effectiveness of chlorine. Protecting it ensures the chlorine will remain effective at relatively low doses. Bromine cannot be stabilized against UV rays and thus takes much more of the chemical to sanitize your pool. Indoor pools and spas use bromine because they are often covered from the sunlight and don’t require CYA like an outdoor pool. Some pool owners use Bromine as their main source of sanitation for outdoor pools. Pools with a large amount of sunlight will be problematic, potentially raising chemical costs for the pool owner.

What to know:

  • Great for indoor pools and spas
  • More stable than chlorine in high temperatures
  • More expensive than chlorine tablets
  • Reduces skin irritation and red eyes
  • Not stabilized against UV rays
PoolSupplyWorld 1" Bromine Tablets

MINERAL SYSTEM

Mineral Pool Water Systems are one of the fastest growing sanitation options for pool owners around the country. The reason is because they are incredibly easy to maintain and are known to reduce chlorine use by up to 50%. Both Pool Frog and Nature 2 have options range from simple, pre-filled floating chemical dispensers all the way to complete sanitation systems like the Nature 2 Fusion Soft Kit. Complete systems are unique in a few ways: 1) they feed small amounts of copper or silver into the pool, 2) some combine minerals and salt for soft and clean pool water, and 3) convenient maintenance of the automatic sanitizer generation. When using either the floating chemical dispenser or an automatic mineral system, maintenance is a breeze with the pre-filled mineral cartridges. When installing a mineral system, it is recommended to super chlorinate the water to burn off contaminants and activate the cartridge. Not all mineral purifiers use electrically created ions, so there is no potential staining of pool surfaces.

What to know:

  • Low maintenance
  • Reduces need for harsh chemicals
  • Creates soft water
  • Controls algae and bacteria
  • May be costly initial investment
Nature 2 Fusion Soft Mineral Sanitizer Kit

COMPARISON GUIDE

To view the Chlorine Alternatives Comparison Guide, click the image below.

Chlorine Comparison Guide
SHARE
Previous articleBuilding the Ultimate Saltwater Above Ground Pool
Next articleHow to Winterize an Above Ground Pool
Kevin
When Kevin’s not enjoying the water himself he’s engaging himself in the wide world of pool and spa knowledge which he passes on to our customers through producing content for our blogs and website. Outside of the pool world you can find him enjoying life with friends, family and his off the wall dog Brixton.