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It’s hard to believe, but there are a few people out there who don’t like swimming pools. Sure, there are some who aren’t comfortable in the water and others who will always opt for the beach over a pool. However, the number one reason we hear is ‘I hate chlorine’.
Why the Chlorine Haters Have a Point
There are good reasons why chlorine is used in pool cleaning systems and has been for many decades. It keeps the water free of dangerous bacteria and dramatically cuts the risk of sicknesses and infections being spread through pool water. It’s also true that the dose makes the poison. The higher the concentration of chlorine, the more likely the negative side effects are to occur.
Nevertheless, some people are very sensitive to chlorine and almost everyone will experience some irritation and respiratory distress if it’s too concentrated. It can turn dyed-blond hair green and fade swimsuit fabric. It can exacerbate asthma and allergies. It has even been linked to more serious health problems. So, cutting down on chlorine is generally a good thing, if you can find something that does the same job with fewer potential side effects.
What is a Natural Pool?
That brings us to natural pools. There are several pool cleaning systems that can cut down on or eliminate the use of chlorine. Pools that use these alternative systems are often called ‘natural pools’, however, the Europeans have a much stricter definition for the term. They define a natural pool as one that doesn’t use any type of artificial cleaning system at all and instead relies completely on plant-based filtration. Whether or not they create true European-style natural pools, here are a few of the alternatives to conventional pool chemicals.
Salt Water and Mineral Systems
Salt water pools sound ideal, but the fact is that they do actually contain chlorine. They simply produce it through electrolysis, which causes a chemical reaction in salt. They’re relatively expensive to install but inexpensive to maintain, and they can keep a pool sanitary with a lower concentration of chlorine than would usually be necessary, so they are still a good way to reduce your exposure to the chemical. Building a salt water pool also means that you don’t have to handle or store concentrated chlorine. More recently, Mineral-type systems have been released into the market and are being heavily promoted to potential pool buyers. A Mineral system works very similarly to a Salt system but instead of adding salt to the pool to produce chlorine, a different type of mineral is added such as magnesium.
Ozone systems use electricity or ultraviolet light to create ozone from water. This is done in an ozone cell that’s separate from the pool, and the pool water is pumped through it. They can be energy intensive, but this method of ozone treatment is so safe that it is used in many modern drinking water treatment plants. However, these systems are energy intensive. The pool water needs to be continuously pumped through the ozone chamber. Ozone units are most practical for small pools and spas.
Pool ionisers add copper and silver ions to the pool water through filtration and/or an electrical charge. They reduce the amount of bacteria in pools, and they greatly reduce the amount of chemical treatment needed to keep them clean and sanitary. Ionisers are inexpensive to use and maintain, as well, so they will pay for themselves through money saved on pool maintenance and pool chemicals. We offer Dontek Ionisers as part of the disinfecting system for our Fresh Water Swimming Pools. Our Fresh Water Swimming Pools work with an inline tablet feeder system which creates water that is noticeably softer and more natural-feeling than the water in conventionally disinfected pools.
Plants in Your Pool
By European standards, none of the pool cleaning systems mentioned so far make for a true natural pool; the only way to create a natural pool is to eliminate artificial cleaning systems altogether. How do you do that? You use plants for filtration. Most natural pools have two areas: a swimming area that can look just like a regular pool and a regeneration area with species of plants selected specifically to clean and renew the water. Often, decorative plants are added to improve the look of the pool. These pools can be truly stunning and are certainly at the cutting edge of sustainable pool design. Are they as safe as conventional pools? Only time will tell. Most people who want to create a European-style natural pool hire a qualified designer, and here at Albatross Pools, we’re always happy to work with your landscape and pool design consultants.