Ozone - fact or fiction

ldjdJune 10, 2011

Does an "ozonator" actually work? I can't tell if it is appropriate or not for an in-ground residential pool (approx 18x36, 3.5-7.5 deep). Thanks.

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ldjd

sorry, I forgot to mention that it would be used in conjunction with a saline system in northern california.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 1:20PM
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poolguynj

It won't do much but does offer some additional oxidizing capabilities and does kill crytosporidium faster than chlorine. Do you need it in a residential system? Millions of other residential pools suggest no.

Scott

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 6:35AM
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ldjd

Thanks. I had a feeling it was excessive, but the PB said it would help keep the PH balance better than a SWG alone.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 2:36PM
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poolguynj

That is fiction. Salt cells raise a pool's pH. The process can be slowed with the use of certain buffers such as borates and baking soda but they will always need a pH lowing chemical, usually dry acid or Muriatic acid added.

Scott

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 9:26PM
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ldjd

Thanks again for your feedback. The PB rep (who I like) really thinks ozone is something we'll want because of the reduction in chemicals. Evidently they plumb it directly into the pool to get more water exposure, so it's something that can't be added later. The normal way of plumbing it doesn't get as much exposure to water to really make a difference. The cost to buy/plumb it ~$500; run-time 24 hrs daily - cost to run ~$8/month. Does that modify your answer in any way?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 3:16PM
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poolguynj

The rep's job is to sell. It doesn't reduce chlorine demand or balancing chemical needs.

Ozone can augment only.

Ozone systems need periodic service.

The $8/month is calculated how?

The ozone systems I am familiar with are injected at the pump and swirl in the filter. By the time it makes it to the pool, most of it is gone due to it's either having done some work or broken down due to its short half life.

IMHO, he's trying to up sell for his benefit, not yours.

Scott

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 3:14AM
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ldjd

I think the $8/month was energy costs, and this is not the kind at the pump. They were saying something about plumbing it directly into the pool, but quite frankly it went over my head. This PB likes the mineral system with ozone and chlorine to supplement. However I'm going with saline, but they still like the saline with the ozone, with the ozone augmenting the saline system for additional sanitation. The one they are recommending is the "perfect pool ozonator".

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 11:55PM
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womanowned

I am very big on ozone's use in sanitation of a pool, but I am not sure it's worth the extra cost if you are going with a salt pool. I use ozone as an alternative to salt.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 11:12AM
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kspoolman

Was trying to stay out of this one, but just cant. LOL

I cant stand ozone systems.

In my opinion, they dont do much. The effective life of the ozone is SO short that the injection site really has very little impact. That is a sales tactic.

The ones that suggest injecting on the suction side really screw up your system. The pumps run with cavatation and the air builds up in the system (unless you spend extra time and money on a relief/bleed valve). If you have an inline chlorinator downstream of the ozone system, it will constantly airlock because the air is going to rise to the highest point (inside your chlorinator).

I could go on and on, but the benefits of ozone are so small and the problems associated with them so large, I would rather avoid them alltogether.

The idea of coupling them with saline has always bothered me as well. You arent helping yourself IMO.

I have coupled them with mineral purification units for clients who are super-sensitive to chlorine, but other than that its no ozone for me!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 7:19PM
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ldjd

Thanks for your input. I've been on the fence about it because my kid's skin itches after being in a traditional chlorine pool. I know that adding minerals/metals has it's own issues. Therefore I thought I'd go the route of saline, since the kids do better in their friends saline pools and the ocean, and I like the idea of generating chlorine vs adding it directly. The UV option was listed, however that seems too new to me. Then ozone was mentioned as a way to reduce chemicals further, rather than saline alone. Thus I arrived at saline with ozone. I'm planning on sticking with the saline, just the ozone is questionable...

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 1:01AM
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poolguynj

The skin itch is not because its a traditional system. Its improper an chemistry balance.

The salt cell or chlorinator better not be the highest, it should be the lowest at the pad. The heat exchanger of a heater or heat pump should have a Hartford loop of pipe or check valve between it and a chlorination system.

If you get more than a few small air bubble in the pump, you have too much of an opening for the ozone injection point. It's not cavitation. Its just a pump will suck air first.

Properly setting the injector and water velocity should clear out any trapped air.

Ozone, like chlorine, will dry out the plastics over time. Affected parts are in the pump though. the injector, the impeller, gaskets, are all subjected and will break sooner than normal, not much sooner, but those of use that have worked on this equipment get to see it.

Mineral systems are a waste of a homeowners money. I have yet to find a person with sensitive skin have a problem with a properly balanced pool, salt or tabs fed. The key is proper testing, something that was not the situation when the pool used, caused the sensitive person aggravation.

Scott

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 6:43AM
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misnbob

I just switched my pool off salt. The dirty little secret in the pool biz is that for every bit of hypochlourus acid, you get sodium hydroxide (lye) which is a stronger base than the chlorine is an acid. That's why the pH creep and the associated job of pouring acid in the pool every week, which then lowers TA, which results in your plaster being damaged. We still use salt to generate the chlorine, but the pool water doesn't contain the salt, just the chlorinator. Internally, the generator keeps the lye separate and a pH control valve is used occasionally to balance the pool. We installed our pool in 2007, and I regret having not purchased the equipment then.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 5:15AM
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poolguynj

Uhh, its not a "dirty little secret". Never was.

The use of borates in the pool can help improve the buffering but since it stabilizes at 7.8, more hypoclorite ions (great for oxidation purposes but less effective/slower at killing biologicals) are formed and less lye.

What you you do with your collected lye? Raise the pH of other people's pools that use tabs?

Failing to check and correct your pool's chems damages plaster. Your pool is no exception.

Scott

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 6:52AM
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womanowned

There is a brand of ozonator that does not inject air into the pump. It is mnaufactured by a company called Ozone Joe's. Hard to stay out of this argument, because the guys know I am a huge fan of ozone.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 12:52PM
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ldjd

Thanks all. We are waffling big time about the ozone, so I appreciate your feedback.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 7:07PM
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cascade

Does ozone work? I guess the simple answer is yes. Injecting ozone into your pool water will HELP to sanitize your water.

But from my experience working for an ozone system manufacturer as an installer some years ago, the only systems worth considering are corona discharge generators with air dryers, their own mixing chambers and off-gas systems. These systems are expensive and require quite a bit of maintenance.

Don't listen to the marketing BS, ozone will not reduce the need for other chemicals and in fact, I once bubbled ozone through a bucket of chlorinated water for a day and the ozone ate all the chlorine.

I still have a great relationship with the ozone manufacturer I worked for but now, as the owner/salesman for my own pool construction company, I rarely ever sell an ozone system, and then only at the insistence of the client. Even with a decent margin for me they are more trouble than they are worth, IMHO.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 7:44PM
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deckard12

Hi LDJD,

It's been 7 months since a post on this discussion - did you end up adding ozone?

I want a salt water pool and one PB I'm considering always adds an ozonator. Roughly $700. He says the ozone means you'll never have to shock and never have to clean the salt system. His words, not mine.

Reading this discussion and others fairly well leads me to say I don't need an ozonator.

Any difference in expert opinion considering I'm in south Texas and our pool will get a LOT of 100+ degree sun/weather?

Any other thoughts? Thanks all.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 10:40AM
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poolguynj

Ozone outside is a waste. Great for portable tubs but for residential pools, no real help, more maintenance, and that sales guy is full of bologna about not needing shocking or cleaning the cell.

Scott

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 1:25PM
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deckard12

Thanks poolguynj... I think I've seen you or someone else mention this, but any difference with ozone given that I'm down in very hot, very humid Houston?

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 1:33PM
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poolguynj

Makes no difference that I know of. Ozone oxidizes wastes. So does chlorine. Temp and humidity are not meaningful. In the water, humidity is 100% anyway.

Scott

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 9:29PM
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PRO
Hot Tub Spa Ratings

Actually, temperature and humidity make a big difference. Not in the effectiveness of the ozone, but in it's production. The "big boys" (commercial users of ozone, such as municipal water systems and water parks), use air driers, oxygen generators and coolers to precondition the air before it enters the ozonator. Without doing so, ozone production is greatly reduced.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 10:48PM
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poolguynj

That is very dependent on the type of generator. There are two basic types. UV generated systems have a much lower reduction than ionization systems.

Scott

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 7:00AM
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rockybird

Wow. I am also in the same dilemma. I was told by the pool co. that if I add the ozone system to the salt water pool we're building, it wont require as much cholorine. He said I could add it anytime later. It sounds like I wont need it. Thank you!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 12:56AM
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deckard12

Turns out a neighbor of mine used the same PB I'm considering (he installed the swg + ozonator) and says he only shocks the pool about 5 times a year (he's had it 3 yrs). He's got 3 kids, extended family, friends over, etc. and says it's only after big gatherings does he need to shock. Otherwise the pool is good with some weekly(?) acid.

I have no idea if this frequency of shocking is normal, the ozonator is reducing the need to shock, he's really good at maintaining a good pH balance, or what.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 3:17PM
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huskyridor

An ozonator is best served on a constantly heated hot tub in conjunction with a bromine feeder.
In a residential swimming pool application you don't get enough ozone generation to warrant the purchase and installation price and if you move to a commercial ozone genrator you better be seated when you get your price.

See ya,
Kelly

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 6:59PM
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womanowned

Ozone created via Ultraviolet light is the way to go! I would just say that those that bad mouth or say they are unnecessary have probably never installed one. My customers all rave about it. I am in the Houston, TX. area. Corona discharge systems are not effective in this humid climate. UV light is very effective. My opinion and others...
Scientists have known for almost a century that UV is a powerful neutralizer of algae, bacteria and viruses. UV sanitizer technology was first used to sterilize drinking water over 30 years ago. Ultraviolet disinfection gained popularity in drinking water and wastewater disinfection about 10 years ago. Now ultraviolet sanitizers disinfect a significant percentage of all drinking and wastewater.
The highly concentrated electromagnetic energy destroys organic matter and eliminates the formation of dangerous chlorine by-products called chloramines that commonly lead to red, stinging eyes, skin irritations, asthma and allergies. Ultraviolet is considered the best available technology for swimming pool disinfection. Studies show that in chemical disinfection, 90% of the chemicals are used for oxidation, and 10% for sanitation. Ultraviolet does both. Did you notice the enviable water quality at the Olympic games? The underwater cameras were able to shoot clearly across the entire pool. The secret? Ultraviolet disinfection. The secret is out, and now hundreds of commercial aquatic centers across the nation have installed UV. According to the United States EPA, "...UV has been found to be an effective disinfectant...simplicity of installation, ease of operation and maintenance, and low cost relative to chemical disinfection make UV a useful technology..." According to the World Health Organization, "Lower free chlorine concentrations may be health protective when UV is used." Some states are beginning to require UV on public pools. The state of New York recently mandated ultraviolet pool systems use on all public spray parks.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 1:05AM
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poolguynj

While ozone created by UV lamps is certainly a steadier producer of ozone than a coronal discharge based system, please don't mix low or med pressure bulb UV sanitation with ozone production. They are totally different.

Ozone is a powerful, gas based oxidizer of skin oils, lotions, urea, and other body wastes. It has a very short half life meaning that by the time it reaches the pool from the pad, if it's done no work, it is gone. It can also combine with free chlorine creating chloromines. Chlorine is also a powerful oxidizer and while not quite as powerful and it's oxidation process is almost a direct opposite chemically speaking, the amount of oxidation in a residential pool renders it use as a tool in a pool professional's arsenal as very meaningless. There are many commercial applications where ozone is a good fit though.

UV sanitation, be it a medium or low pressure system, is another tool in a professional's arsenal. It is typically an in line system that exposes water in the pipes for a period of time to UV light of a certain bandwidth and renders a biological either dead or neuters it so it can't reproduce and in the case of medium pressure systems, can free combined chlorine. This process may however, produce other undesired by products that can affect the health of people and property. More studies are needed. These systems are typically seen with indoor facilities. Outdoor facilities are typically exposed to the sun and don't really benefit though there are situations for some commercial applications where this functionality is useful, particularly where significant volumes of water are replaced replaced or where there is a significant exposure to the atmosphere.

For a portable hot tub, I find the use of bromine and dichlor or bleach to be an effective enough tool in the battle of sanitation and oxidation. The use of ozone changes things to where I will use MPS instead of bleach.

Scott

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 4:30AM
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