The Pros and Cons of Pool Sanitation Systems – Chlorine, Saltwater, Ozone, and UV

What you sanitize your pool with is one of the most crucial decisions you will make as a pool owner. Contrary to popular belief, there are many different ways to clean your pool. Chlorine is a great and reliable option, but it isn’t the only one. Today on Pool Calculator we are going to be diving into different types of Pool Sanitation. Here we are going to explain each type of pool sanitation is and give the pros and cons of each system.

Pool Sanitation systems come in 4 different forms; Chlorine, Saltwater, UV, and Ozone. The two formers have been mainstays in pool systems for a while, but the latter two have burst onto the scene more recently.

Sanitation systems are the heart of the chemical balance and identity of your pool. This is why choosing the right one is such an important decision.

Click here for a deeper dive into a comparison of Saltwater Sanitation and Chlorine Sanitation

Chlorinated Sanitation Systems

Chlorine systems are the “traditional” pool systems. They use chlorine alone to treat and disinfect your water. This has many upsides and downsides.

Chlorinated System Pros:

  • Most common form of sanitation
  • Widely available, cheap prices for sanitation
  • Works as a residual sanitizer, meaning it works for a long time after it’s added to water

Chlorinated System Cons:

  • High risk for chlorine-related health issues
  • Annoying side effects: dry skin, red eyes, lung irritation, allergies and more
  • Leave lingering pool odor, and can damage other property

Saltwater Sanitation Systems

Saltwater systems are the second most common type of pool. They use salt treatment that is converted into a “chlorine-like” system that relies on less chlorine.

Saltwater System Pros:

  • Lower maintenance compared to chlorine systems
  • Less harmful on the body: less chlorine content in the water
  • Not as damaging to property like towels, swimsuits, etc.

Saltwater System Cons:

  • Saltwater pools are not chlorine-free
  • Require manual handling and storage, like chlorine systems
  • Saltwater is corrosive to different surfaces and equipment in your pool

Ozone Sanitation Systems

Ozone systems are considered the most obscure sanitation tactic on this list. They use ozone gas (O3) and inject it into the pool to oxidize bacteria and clean. 

Ozone System Pros:

  • Advanced oxidation process to target bacteria
  • Reduce the amount of chlorine needed in your swimming pool water
  • Water is “softer” when compared to chlorinated sanitation systems

Ozone System Cons:

  • Expensive. Higher barrier to entry than previous two listings
  • Can’t provide continuous sanitation, require residual sanitizer
  • Ozone is a toxic gas that can build up in “covered areas” (under pool covers, in pool pump room)

UV Sanitation Systems

UV systems work by having water exposed to a UV bulb that uses UV rays to suppress bacteria. These lights also are great at targeting microbes that have become chlorine-resistant.

UV System Pros:

  • Reliable secondary sanitation system
  • “Clean” form of sanitation that isn’t as harsh
  • Lower levels of chlorine needed to supplement the water as opposed to other systems

UV System Cons:

  • Leave harmful bacteria cells in water. Can “come back”
  • Like Ozone treatment, doesn’t provide continuous sanitation. Need residual sanitizer
  • Expensive, harder to find equipment and repair options

Which Sanitation System is Right for You?

Overall, all of these systems have their fair share of benefits and downsides. Chlorine and saltwater systems are traditional, and ordinary. However, this means they are widely available, cheaper and easier to fix.

However, new systems like the UV and Ozone ones offer a new look at pool sanitation. These systems, while not completely independent, will get rid of a lot of the side effects of common pools. This will make your swim experience better, but at a higher cost and with a lot less support.

We at Pool Calculator like to lay out the information for all of you to consumer. However, at the end of the day the decision is yours alone to make.

For more articles on Pool Maintenance, click here!

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