Salt vs Ozone - Need help!!!!

janesmSeptember 4, 2009

Met with my third PB and I like him the most but he is adamant against salt - says the equipment breaks down regularly - and promotes ozone. Anyone have any advice? My friends all swear by salt systems.

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Ozone can only augment a residual based sanitizer like chlorine and bromine. It also tends to cause the plastics in todays equipment to dry out and crack over time.

It only works when the pump is running. It does nothing for organics or algae which are in the pool or on the pool, only the water passing through it's injection point. As such, they should not be used as the sole sanitizer, nor should the use of minerals such as copper and silver be used since they can cause stains if the pH drops due to a lack of maintenance.

I personally don't think that ozone systems are cost effective for anything other than potable hot tubs.

Was the PB a rep/salesman? If the answer was yes, how long? How many years of field experience did he have? What brand of equipment was he selling?

Sounds like his motive might have to do with extra profit dollars for the ozone system r the recurring revenue fro visiting his store for chlorine tabs and shock.

I've had no problems with either Pentair's Intelllichlor and Auto-Pilot's systems. Jandy and Hayward have demonstrated a higher frequency of repair. They are less expensive for a number of reasons, none of which adds to the reliability of their products. The relatively few dollars saved is quickly lost with the 1st service call.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2009 at 10:08PM
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Personally I like the Ozone system better than salt. Salt can be so corrosive if the pH & alkalinity is not kept perfectly on target or if you have a lot of splash in Texas, natural stone (flagstone, slate, etc) is frequently used around the pool and deck. Salt can play havoc by causing the salt to erode the stone. It is a big problem here, because few people are perfect when it comes to maintaing the proper pool water balance. Some builders I know here will no longer install a salt system without a written waiver and disclaimer signed by the buyer. Some say salt erodes the guts of the equipment. I can't verify that personally, but I have seen lots of stone erosion. I seal all my stone in a salt water system and it still does not completely eliminate erosion. I like Ozone (I install the UltraPure), because it gives the same water quality feeling of salt and is less expesnive to install. The previous poster is absolutely correct...ozone is not a stand alone system. I always combine it with a Chlorinator, but you will find a greatly reduced need for chlorine if you have an ozonator with it. I vote for Ozone.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 10:52AM
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Salt is not corrosive. Salt, as well as other dissolved minerals can conduct electricity. This can be corrosive. Salt is very soluble. It washes off.

Calcium build ups, as can happen with the hard water conditions frequently found in Tx water, will be more of a cause for erosion due its less soluble nature.

The high temperature changes and differences in temps between the top of the coping where the sun beats n it strongly and the water temperature being cooler, causes expansion and contraction related erosion and damage.

Chlorine is corrosive too The chlorine levels normally used in pools is not sufficient to cause an issue.

The use of proper bonding and sacrificial anodes will prevent electrolysis. Weekly testing of the water will prevent pH related problems. Lighter colored coping usually has fewer issues with temperature changes in these conditions.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 12:07PM
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I can't think of a single customer that tests once a week after they go through the first year. Most of them don't test the water but a couple times a year or when something seems wrong. When I asked a customer recently how often he tested the water, he said never, it was his wifes job. It turned out that she thought it was his job and had not been tested in over 5 years. The pool is in great shape.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 8:11PM
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Scott,Thanks for your reply. The PB we talked to is a sales rep. I don't know how long he has been with this company but his family has been in the pool business for many years. The ozone equipment he recommends is the Paramount ClearO3. Is also involves chlorine tabs but he says the chlorine concentration is the same as in a salt pool. He also recommends the Paramount PCC 2000 in-floor cleaner, which sounds like something we would like, although it is very pricey. What do you think?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 9:40PM
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If a homeowner can't be bothered, then they had best be prepared to pay the price for this. When I have guests, you can be darned sure that the pool is clean and balanced. The last thing I want is someone getting a rash, Crypto, E-Coli, or other illness as a result of my negligence. I don't like giving someone a bill for a preventable repair such as a 3 year old heater thats had its core eaten by corrosion or a replastering due to thinning and pitting and roughness.


Ozone systems, as I said before can only augment a residual based sanitizer. Nothing in the pool will see it its benefits. Can it reduce the chlorine needs? Not in my opinion. Does it help oxidize contaminants? Yes. It does nothing for things stuc to the pool and spa walls and floor, It can also cause residual free chlorine to become combined and therefore, ineffective. Fortunately, they are usually installed before a salt cell or tablet feeder which replenishes the free.

The only time I think an ozone system is cost effective is when they are installed in a portable hot tub. There, skin dander, body oils, sweat and any other contaminants are oxidized, broken down and filtered out. Weekly shocking with lithium hyprochlorite shock is useful for taking out any biologicals such as algae, gardial cysts, etc...


    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 10:29PM
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So, then, salt system is the best? I'm in the same boat as the OP. I've heard pros and cons of both systems (chlorinator plus ozonator vs. salt system). I'm totally confused as well. I don't want to have to seal something year after year, but at the same time, I want maximum comfort and ease for my young family. I was told an ozonator w/the regular chlorine system does just what womanowned said--gives you that silky, eye-friendly water. That was going to be my choice, but as I read more and more, I'm just more confused!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 11:53PM
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Eye friendly water comes from proper balancing and filtering. Eyes have a lot of salt. Non salt pools may draw some of the salt out but salt pools lower this tendency.

Ozone oxidizes impurities such as skin oils, sun tan lotions, and a litteny of other things. Chlorine breaks them down also but may take a little longer.

Pool salt is pure table salt with out anti caking materials and no iodine. It is just Sodium Chloride. Simply put, when the water with this added salt passes an energized cell, the salt molecule is split, freeing the chlorine.

When water washes over tablets, they free chlorine.

My point is that chlorine is chlorine. Both systems work.

While chlorine is corrosive, the low quantities found in a normal pool chemistry is not sufficient to cause harm.

Improper bonding can result in electrolysis, aka a stray voltage resulting in a current flow. This can cause corrosion. Improper pool chemistry can also cause corrosion or scale to form. This is a chemical change in the materials.

Large temperature swings, whether rapid or gradual will not cause corrosion, but rather will cause erosion. This is a physical change in the material.

Pure water, does NOT conduct electricity unless an extremely high voltage is present, such as lightning. Adding chemicals and minerals does lower the voltage required for water to become an electrolyte, that is a liquid conductor.

Electricity is the the flow of electrons. It, like water, will follow the path of least resistance in proportion to the paths it has available.

Bonding is method equalizing and dispersing of stray voltages that can create current flows. These are typically sent to the same ground and the main power source for the home. Having two grounds separated by some distance may be able to sink stray current in different amounts. This difference in potential may create a battery to form between them. It may not be much, but its enough to cause electrolysis.

I have never seen a properly bonded pool have salt cell related corrosion. There has always been another underlying cause of the corrosion, if, in fact, it was corrosion and not erosion at work.

Please also know that water is also know in the chemistry world as the Universal Solvent. Next to the sun, water is a pool's biggest threat. Water can carry many thing in solution such as salt, calcium, chlorine, silver, iron, copper and a litany of other substances.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 9:26AM
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This PB says that with salt systems you have to shock every week or two. He says that with ozone systems you never have to shock the pool. Does this sound right?
My friends with salt systems say they just add salt every 3-5 months and add a little acid every 2 weeks or so.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 2:46PM
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Have salt system, never have to shock, hardly ever have to add salt, unless there is an awful lot of splash out,and then I might have to add some salt. No corrosion from salt, more of a problem with high calcium levels.
Add very little acid once a week to maintain ph level.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 3:18PM
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Any and all pools that use a residual sanitizer like chlorine should be shocked periodically. Shocking has a dual meaning so far as most are concerned.

First, when total chlorine is more than twice the free chlorine, shocking with 10x the total chlorine using non-stabilized chlorine shcks such as liquid, lithium r calcium hypochlorite for a short period will cause the combined chlorine to break down and free up. This high level will quickly dissipate, normally overnight.

The second meaning, while technically incorrect, is simply to raise the free chlorine level several points for several hours to ensure that any bugs like cryptosporidium or gardia, which can withstand extended period of lower chlorine levels normally kept in residential pools.

That PB is blowing smoke jane. Don't inhale. I think he is looking a potential profit. Tabs are not that profitable.
Getting consumers into a store loaded with toys and other high margin impulse purchase items is.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 10:00PM
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We have no experience with ozone, however we just converted to salt and we love it. Look at out thread "Our New Pool Build in Jacksonville, FL" for ideas. Our pb suggested Aqua rite SWG. Set and forget it.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2009 at 8:34AM
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I hope you really don't mean set it and forget it.... That will get a lot of people in trouble. If you are not testing you can still get bad bugs and green water. Just look back at all the posts that start with my salt pool is green, or this or that, why? I thought I could forget all about it and perfect water would be mine. Sounds like Renovxpt may be right.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 10:37AM
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You are right, I still check levels once a week, however with the SWG, you set the controls and adjust till the salt and chlorine levels are right. No more shocking and adding tablets or liquid.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2009 at 5:32AM
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