Here at Crestwood Pools we advocate health and safety not only for our environment, but for our bodies as well. There has been a growing popularity in our industry for the implementation of salt-chlorine generators. These systems are marketed by some manufacturers as an “alternative” to chlorine by way of the description “salt generator” to make consumers believe they are swimming in water that is equivalent to swimming in the ocean. NOTHING could be further from the truth. In reality, these systems do, in fact, generate CHLORINE. We promote a product called the ClearBlue™Ionizer system. It keeps your pool clean NATURALLY with the use of copper and silver. Used in conjunction with a non-chlorine oxidizer, a chlorine-free swimming experience is easily attained. For more info, read below…
SALT GENERATORS PROS
1. No more mixing, measuring or handling chlorine
2. System is automated, therefore no daily chore involved
Scientific research has shown that since saltwater pools still use chlorine sanitization, they generate the same unhealthy disinfection byproducts (DBPs) that are present in traditional pools. Of highest concern are haloketones and trihalomethanes (THMs). Among these, bromoform has been found in swimming pools at up to 13-fold higher than maximum levels set by the World Health Organization.
1. The liquid chlorine produced has a pH of 11.7 (proper range is 7.2 – 7.8), therefore constant use of pH down is
required, otherwise pool is in a scaling mode.
2. Stabilizer must be added or pools chlorine will dissipate with sunlight
3. Salt may corrode pumps, heaters, ladders, and even the walls of steel pools (premature corrosion of pool or
equipment is not covered under any manufacturer warranty)
4. Constant splashing of salted water leaves a salt residue on pools decks and coping. Decks and coping should be
sealed or at least hosed down after each pools use
5. Occasional use of algaecide, clarifier, stain and scale and shocking will still be necessary
6. System must be cleaned once a season or the system will scale up causing the cell to shut down.
7. Cell must be replaced every 2 – 4 years at a cost of $400 to $600 making it the most expensive sanitizer on the
8. More and more cities (i.e.: Toronto) are banning the backwashing or pumping of salt chlorinated water into the
sewers or storm drains
9. If the system should run dry for any reason, the possibility exists that it might explode (manufacturers warning is
in the directions)
TO THE RIGHT ARE A COUPLE OF EXAMPLES OF THE DETRIMENT OF SALT CAUSES.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ClearBlue is a disinfectant system which uses silver to kill bacteria and virus, and copper to kill algae. Zinc is used to prevent staining on the pool liner, and is beneficial to the skin. Organic material such as insects, leaves, body oils, suntan lotion, shampoo, deodorant, hair gel, make-up etc. need to be removed through oxidation. An oxidizer such as chlorine, bromine or a non-chlorine oxidizer is useful to “burn out‟ organic material which is then removed by the filter.
No. ClearBlue is not a filter. You must still use your regular filter and backwash regularly.
How long does it take to get the ion level up?
It usually takes 7-14 days in a pool; one day in a spa. During this time, do not stop using your current sanitizer (chlorine) or algaecide until the ion level has reached the minimum of 0.2ppm Cu. Afterwards, you can reduce the oxidizer level to approx ½ chlorine puck once a week or equivalent oxidizer alternative. If you cannot get the ion level up in this time frame, read the troubleshooting guide.
We recommend ClearBlue be placed on a separate circuit which is not on the timer; ClearBlue can run full time (24/7) even if the pump is off and the water is not circulating. The microscopic ions will concentrate in the pipe and it will be dispersed in the pool or spa when the pump starts again. If the water drains from the electrodes when the pump is off, then no ionization can take place while the pump is not on. The ionizer is low-voltage (12v) and therefore costs pennies a day to run.
How often do I need to oxidize the pool?
Generally once a week is sufficient, maybe less if the pool is not used much. Pools can turn green overnight after a large rainstorm, so that is a good time to oxidize it.
If the ion level is between 0.2 – 0.4ppm as recommended, an algaecide is optional. It is always a safety precaution which helps avoid the surprise algae attack. An algaecide is usually a copper based solution which is not harmful and poses no danger to the swimmers. The regular strength algaecide is cheaper than the super kill variety, and is quite effective in keeping the ion level “topped up”.
Before closing the pool, set the controller to maximum and get the ion level as high as you can. These ions will stay in the water all winter long and keep the water algae free. Shocking the pool before closing is a good idea too to get the water in good shape before closing. (Premix any powdered shock before putting it into the pool to prevent a nasty bleached area on the liner.) If leaves or other dirt fall in the water during the winter and algae starts to form while your ionizer is off, it will be necessary to add shock. If you reside in a region where there is frost, you should unplug and remove your system from its installation. Store the unit in a warm place.
Salt based electrodes break down the added salt, which is sodium chloride, into sodium and chlorine. The chlorine then oxidizes any organic matter (yes, even the bathers) and quickly recombines with the sodium. The salt system is a chlorine based sanitizer even though you don’t have the hassle of adding chlorine, you just add salt instead. Some people like the feel of the salt water and others don’t like the salt residue left on your body and hair, and you may need a shower after swimming in the pool. ClearBlue uses pure minerals as anti-microbial and disinfectant and is not chlorine (chemical) based.
ClearBlue (Ions) will work effectively in salt pools. The salt (chlorine) generator can be turned down to the lowest setting for production of chlorine (oxidizer). When the salt generator membrane needs replacing, they system can be permanently removed and ½ chlorine puck can be added once a week instead. Pool owners may consider the automatic chlorine generation a benefit to keeping the salt water system.
A chlorinator will not affect the electrodes and can be installed before or after them.
No. ClearBlue is designed to have a constant current source which automatically adjusts ionization rate. This keeps ionization constant regardless of water temperature and or conductivity.
The best time to check the electrodes is in the spring when the water level is low. The “Ionizing” light on the control box only illuminates as 80mA of current is going through the electrodes into the water. If this light is not illuminating, there is a good chance the electrodes need replacing. The electrodes should last from 1 to 3 seasons in a pool, depending on the size, conductivity and usage. You will get an average of 2 years electrode life in a spa.
Most well water is fine. If the water has high sulphur content it may smell a bit like rotten eggs. High iron content may cause a metallic taste to the water and cause rust stains. It’s not a bad idea to take the well water sample to a pool shop and have then test for alkalinity, PH as well as other water quality parameters such as TDS , turbidity etc. Then you will know that the well water is in good shape. We recommend that as you top off the pool after opening that you test the water before you turn on the ionizer. This is simply to get an accurate sample of water for testing.
Alternatively, you can run your (well) water through a metal trap filter, before filling the pool or spa. It is best to fill or top up your pool or spa with high quality water.
The EPA has published guidelines for the amount of silver, copper and zinc ions that are required for good health and the maximum recommended daily intake. You would have to drink 200 gallons of pool water a day to even come close to reaching the maximum level per day.
Because of the low copper levels (0.2-0.4ppm), you will not get any hair discoloration. Beware of ionizers that put too much copper in the water. ClearBlue takes into account salinity, chemistry and conductivity of the water for a constant ion output which is regulated by the digital controller.
You should not use a sequestering agent with an ionizer. Stain & Scale Preventer is only ever needed if you have water from a well with high concentrations of metal, lime etc. Although Stain & Scale Preventer is designed to remove iron and calcium, it will also do so to the copper, silver and zinc. If you have a serious staining and scaling problem, it should be treated at the point where the water enters the pool or spa using the Metal Trap filter. This filter can be attached to any garden hose and will provide better water quality to your pool or spa.
If you have already added a sequestering agent to your pool or spa, it will combine with minerals and get collected by the filter (backwashed) out or dissipate within a month. Therefore, you can use your ionizer after this period without depleting the copper, silver and zinc ions.