We’ve all heard the phrase, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
And it’s true: When the sun’s ultraviolet rays meet oxygen in the atmosphere, they produce ozone, a highly unstable molecule that does an excellent job at destroying bacteria, viruses, mold and mildew.
That’s why some pool cleaning systems harness the power of ozone to sterilize pool water and reduce chemical use; these ozonators convert oxygen into ozone using electricity.
Some pool ozone generators, like the ones sold by DEL Ozone, can slash your use of conventional pool chemicals like chlorine and bromine by 60-80 percent.
Other hybrid ozone systems boast that they can eliminate your need for chemicals entirely: The ECOsmarte ozone/ion system sanitizes pool water by either oxidizing the water or introducing copper ions, which kills both algae and viruses, the company says.
In addition to cutting down on chemical use, pool ozonators produce a soft water that is gentle on your skin and eyes. And in the case of the ECOsmarte system, you may be able to dispose of the wastewater without any special treatment, as the water contains no chemicals (you should always check with your local sanitation department first).
The main drawback to ozone systems is their high initial cost compared to a standard chlorine pool. However, ozonators can actually save you money over time: You’ll be spending less money on pool chemicals, and, because ozone does not damage pool infrastructure like chlorine and salt can, you will have reduced maintenance and part replacement costs.
Another disadvantage of ozone systems is, like salt-to-chlorine generators, they can consume a lot of electricity. But each ozonator’s energy requirements are different, so talk to the retailer about typical annual energy use and costs before making your purchase.