When summertime is here and it gets hot, of course, you want to swim in the pool. But what about all the chemicals they put in conventional pools? Too much chlorine can be a problem. Although we naturally produce chlorine inside our body, too much chlorine is linked to digestive problems, vitamin and mineral malabsorption, asthma, allergies and digestive system cancer. Thankfully, there are several different types of swimming pools that lessen or eliminate the toxic chemical exposure encountered in conventional pools: Ozone, saltwater, freshwater and Natural water swimming pool systems are the best choices for families looking to avoid hazardous chemicals. You’ve trusted Mamavation to cover topics like fluoride in your water, how expensive hormone-disrupting chemicals are to the healthcare industry, & safer pest control around children, now join us as we explore the five main types of pools, and explain how each of them works.
Table of Contents
Conventional Swimming Pools
Conventional pool systems rely on various chlorine treatments including sodium hypochlorite and calcium hypochlorite, as well as other disinfecting chemicals like trichloro-s-triazinetrione to keep the water clean. The problem lies in the hazardous nature of the active ingredients and the long lists of potential side effects for each one. And the labels read like a horror show — dangerous for humans and domestic animals; toxic to fish and aquatic organisms; corrosive; causes irreversible eye damage and skin burns; harmful if swallowed, absorbed through the skin or inhaled. Another major concern is the lack of inactive ingredient information on conventional pool products. In fact, up to 90% of other ingredients aren’t even on the label!
Pros: Crystal clear water
Cons: Extremely toxic chemical additives necessary, can still become discolored and full of algae is not carefully monitored and brush cleaned
Ozone Swimming Pools
Ozone pool systems use an ultraviolet light or an ozone generator to split oxygen molecules into two parts that combine to make ozone, O1 + O2 = O3. The new oxygen molecule is injected into the water and works to sanitize the water by coming into contact with and oxidizing any oxidizable substance including algae, bacteria, and fungi. The oxidization causes the contaminants to stick together and swell which allows the filter to remove them.
Pros: Crystal clear water, no harsh chemicals needed, effective sanitation
Cons: Higher upfront cost, UV light bulb, and other parts need replacement over time
Saltwater Swimming Pools
Saltwater pool disinfection systems also use a type of chlorine to clean the water. The big difference is that the neutralizing chemical starts as salt which is then converted into hypochlorous acid via electrolysis by passing through two charged titanium plates inside the filter system. Hypochlorous acid is a non-toxic version of chlorine, unlike chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) which breaks down into toxic and carcinogenic chloramines which can cause serious respiratory problems, damage to the delicate mucosal lining of the digestive tract, respiratory problems including asthma, and severe skin reactions, especially for people that already suffer with existing conditions.
And while saltwater systems can also be treated with chlorine, there’s really no need to buy bottles and bags of mystery chemicals if the water is routinely checked and maintained. Just a big bag of pool salt is all that’s needed. It’s also possible to convert your conventional pool to a chlorine-free salt water system with a special kit that fits on the filter pump.
Pros: Crystal clear water, least expensive to maintain, hazardous chemical-free
Cons: Has a light salt water feel and taste to the water
Want to get started? Purchase pure USP-grade pool salt
Fresh Water Swimming Pools
Freshwater pool systems don’t use salt or chlorine to disinfect the water. Instead, they focus on ph balance through ionization. The system features copper electrodes through which the water passes that works to sanitize, as well as titanium electrodes and/or additives like baking soda to control ph levels, and oxygen tanks that oxidize the water to help the existing pool filter system work more efficiently.
Pros: Crystal clear water, no harsh chemicals needed, works with existing pool filters
Cons: Higher upfront cost, cartridges need replacement over time
Want to get started? Purchase the EcoSmarte freshwater pool system
Natural Water Swimming Pools
Natural water pool systems are the simplest of all. No filters, no additives, no testing. Sometimes a water pump is necessary to maintain movement for effective filtration so very little electricity is used, but the real key to having a successful natural water pool is the presence of localized plant life, usually cattails, water lilies, and duckweed, whose root systems naturally filter the water. Keeping healthy plants is about the hardest thing you have to do after construction. It’s inevitable that some critters will find your pool an inviting place to be, so get used to the idea of toads, frogs, dragonflies in your space!
Pros: Completely natural, chemical-free, most environmentally-friendly
Cons: Lacks the crystal clear look of a treated swimming pool, plants need light maintenance and attention
Want to get Started? Purchase A Guide to Building Natural Swimming Pools
What Do You Think?
Now that you’ve learned all about alternatives to conventional pools, what do you think? Do you have a pool at home and if so, what type do you have? Have you been looking into alternatives? Would you consider purchasing one of these alternative systems instead? Tell us!