Ozone is something you might only back in high school or through environmentalists talking about the ozone layer protecting the earth from sun UV rays. But did you know you can use it in your swimming pool? You can use an ozone generator to make it cleaner and safer.
But, what is a pool ozone generator? How does it work? Is it safe? Do you even need it in your swimming pool? Those some of the questions I’ll be answering in this article.
What is Pool Ozone?
Before we jump right to what a pool ozone generator is, you might want to know something about Ozone itself.
What is Ozone?
Ozone is unstable 3-oxygen (O3) atom molecule. Two of them form the normal oxygen (O2) that we breathe, and the extra atom detaches from the ozone molecule.
It stays free, waiting to re-attach to any surface nearby, thus oxidizing it and changing its chemical composition. The ability to remain active and react with other substances is what the manufacturers take advantage of.
It’s the same principle that protects us from sun UV rays from the sun. It’s a blue-colored gas layer made from the three oxygen atoms.
So, what is a pool ozone generator?
Ozone is applied as a sanitizer for removing the harmful bacteria, viruses, debris, and other microorganisms that might enter the pool water when it comes to swimming poles.
It adds extra oxygen molecules to it. The extra oxygen effectively oxidizes any pollutants in it, including metals.
Usually, we add bromine or Chlorine to our swimming pools to keep the water clean. However, Ozone is added differently since it can be harmful to humans in uncontrolled or large doses.
The best way to add ozone gas in a swimming pool is through the circulation system instead of adding it directly to the pool water. That allows control of the ozone levels to keep the water swimmable.
And because you have to keep the Ozone too low, you still need to use some sanitizer to keep the water clean and safe.
How Does Pool Ozone Generator Work?
Typically, you install a pool ozone generator in the pool circulation system. That way, when the water passes through it, it gets sanitized before it can return to the swimming pool.
And since Ozone isn’t safe for humans, the Ozone is used to treat the water before it returns to the swimming pool, where it comes in contact with the swimmers.
Ozone is usually generated by one of two methods: Corona Discharge or Ultraviolet Light. There are two ways Ozone can be generated:
1) Ultraviolet light
A UV Ozone Generator uses ultraviolet light to turns air into Ozone by passing it over UV lamps emitting narrow-band illumination at around 185 nanometers.
When the clean air is passed through the lamps, the high energy produced splits the oxygen molecules in the air to a state that recreates ozone molecules.
As you’re well aware, oxygen (O2) has two atoms whole ozone (O3) has three oxygen atoms. When the oxygen molecules split, they start a stabilization process that forms the Ozone.
The Ozone created is then injected into a venturi to be dissolved into the water. The ozone venturi injector creates a pressure vacuum for drawing the ozone gas into the pool water during circulation, or the air is bubbled through the circulating water.
A UV generator uses ambient dry air for ozone production, so they tend to be inexpensive.
However, most of these ozone generators produce Ozone with around 0.5% concentration or even lower, limiting the potential ozone production for commercial application.
This ozone generator also requires the ambient dry air to be exposed to UV light for an extended period, making it impractical for commercial applications.
2) Coroner Discharge
A coroner discharge ozone generator, or CD ozone generator, is mainly used in commercial pools, but you can still use it for a residential swimming pool.
It uses high-voltage electrical discharge to create ozone gas. When the electrical discharge is released, it makes an energy ring, and dry, clean air passed through it.
When that happens, the high-energy charges in the energy ring splits the oxygen molecules into two atoms of oxygen. When the oxygen atoms try to stabilize, it creates the ozone gas.
Corona Discharge Ozonator is typically a cost-effective method that requires only ambient air to provide 3%-6% zone concentration.
However, the coroner discharge ozone generator must be supplied with dry, clean air. Any moisture fluctuations in the air can cause variability in the Ozone created.
When the Ozone reacts with moisture, it forms hazardous nitrogen oxide. And at room temperature, the nitrogen oxides and form nitrogen acid, hazardous when inhaled.
How Do UV Ozone Generator and Corona Discharge Ozone Generator Compare?
Both ozone generators work in the same way – scrambling the air oxygen atoms to create ozone gas. However, they differ in how they achieve this.
Coroner Discharge Ozone Generators use high electric discharges to produce a high concentration of ozone gas compared to UV Ozonaters that use UV lamps. However, the Corona Discharge Ozone Generators are expensive to buy, install and maintain.
What’s more, unlike CD generators, UV ozone generators cannot produce harmful nitrogen byproducts. They can also operate well in humid air environments. However, because they have low concentration ozone gas, they are only applicable in small and residential pools.
Note: since ozone gas reacts with metals in the pool water, it creates insoluble metal oxides. That means you need to post-filter your water before it’s returned to the swimming pool.
How Does Ozone Generator Help Sanitize the Pool Water?
When you install an ozone generator and run your water through the venturi injector, the ozone gas is bubbled in it, and its oxides any pollutants.
That includes microorganisms like algae, bacteria, and metals such as phosphates, iron, and copper that can stain your pool.
As you can see, the pool ozone generator works better than Chlorine. It does also weaken the chlorine odor in the water. However, since it’s can be harmful to humans and any other living thing, you cannot use it in high concentration.
That means you still need to use some pool sanitizer. The good news is, it can reduce your pool sanitizer usage by 50-80%, something you’d want considering the amount you have invest in pool chlorine.
It’s also excellent at extending your pool salt cell. A pool zone generator improves pool water sanitation, which means the salt cell will lower its chlorine production.
You can use an ozone generator as your pool’s primary sanitizer or supplemental sanitizer depending on your needs, the type of Ozonator and the brand.
How is Ozone different from Chlorine?
Chlorine is the go-to sanitizer for most pool owners. With Chlorine, you get a sanitizer and an oxidizer in the same chemical.
Chlorine is the most common sanitizer among most pool owners, mainly because it’s a sanitizer and an oxidizer in the same package.
It’s available in three forms – solid, powder, and tablet. It fights the pull pollutants such as organic matter, microorganisms, algae, and debris.
Chlorine sanitization happens when Chlorine releases hypochlorous acid and free Chlorine (hypochlorite ion) when it mixes with water.
The free Chlorine stays active and unstable. When pollutants enter the pool, they get oxidized by it and thereby sanitizing your pool.
However, during the sanitizing process or when the free Chlorine gets broken by the UV rays from the sun, it gets combined with chlorine molecules forming chloramines.
The chloramines produce harmful gas with a powerful chlorine smell. They are also irritant to humans; they cause skin, eye, and throat irritation.
When you use an ozone generator that produces a tiny amount of ozone gas, you won’t have to deal with such problems. It’s also an excellent approach as the extra oxygen atom pairs well with Chlorine.
Ozone gas has a much stronger oxidizing effect than Chlorine, around 100 times better. It means an ozone generator can do the heavy lifting in removing the pollutants in your pool water, thus freeing the free Chlorine to be a ‘backup sanitizer.’
What Are the Benefits of Using a Pool Ozone Generator
- Compatible with all pools: A pool ozone generator can work with your indoor or outdoor pool. It also works with an inground, semi-inground, or above-ground pool. That means you can convert your existing pool sanitization system to an ozone sanitization system.
- Reduces Chlorine on Demand: with ozone gas being able to oxide most pool contaminants, it leaves the free Chlorine to do pretty little – it’s only a consistent backup. That means you will spend less money buying it. And if your swimming pool uses a saltwater system, an ozone generator can extend the salt cell lifetime.
- Doesn’t affect water chemistry: Ozone generator is there to keep your pool water clean by removing any contaminants in it. It doesn’t change the pool water pH or alkalinity level in any way. And since it takes away all the microorganisms and organic matter, your water stays balanced – you can say goodbye to the weekly pool chocking.
- Safe for all types of pools: ozone generator is safe for use in all kinds of swimming pools. When the system creates the ozone gas, it reverts to oxygen quickly, thus minimizing its effects before it even enters the swimming pool.
What Are Downsides of Using a Pool Ozone Generator
- Must be adequately contained: ozone gas is hazardous and harmful to human health at high concentrations. It must stay well contained. That means the ozone generator must be installed far away from the filtration system to ensure the gas can’t get to the pool water.
- It doesn’t work with all pool pipes: the highly reactive state of ozone gas makes it not ideal for metal pipes such as stainless steel. It will erode them, causing damages.
- You need a ‘backup sanitizer’: an Ozonator takes around 3-4 days to ozonate a swimming pool completely, and even when it’s done, you still need some free chlorine to keep the water thoroughly sanitized.
- It can be expensive in the long run: the upfront cost of acquiring and installing an ozone generator isn’t that bad, and since it can help save you on Chlorine, it makes things better. However, since it requires you to keep it running all the time, it can cost you by raising the electric bills.
How Much Does a Pool Ozone Generator Cost?
Pool ozone generators’ costs vary depending on the brand, type, and size. The prices range from $250 – $2,000. Some premium models might even cost higher than this.
You can get it for a residential model for anything between $250 and $750, depending on your pool size, type, and brand.
Should you install a pool ozone generator? Well, that will depend on what you need. But if you want to get rid of chloramines that cause skin, eye, and throat irritation, the ozone generator is a plus. It’ll also reduce the amount of Chlorine you use in your swimming pool, saving you some bucks. However, you might use some of them in paying the extra electric bills introduced since you have to run the device all the time.