Why Pool Ozonators are that great

Why Ozonators Aren’t That Great

Over the last few years, you may have heard all about the greatness that are ozonators. Ozone, in fact, is a great swimming pool oxidizer, sanitizer, and is a safe alternative to chlorine. It destroys trash and kills bacteria simultaneously. Ozone does almost everything chlorine does and can perform at a higher efficiency. With that being said, do we recommend you to run out and purchase an ozonator immediately?

Not necessarily. And here’s why.

Before running out and buying an ozonator, there are a few things you might want to take into consideration. Did you know that despite the name, ozonators do not actually ozonate the water in your pool? Yup, you read that correctly. ozoneSwimming pool ozone systems only ozonate the water in your pipes. In fact, some only ozonate portions of the pipes. They are specifically designed to assure that no ozone ever reaches your swimming pool or the swimmers in it.

Why, you ask? Because ozone is poisonous. Yes, poisonous. Ozone is harmful to bacteria but also very harmful to humans as well. Like chlorine gas, ozone is poisonous, but neither are dangerous as long as they stay within the water. That’s where the problem arises. Unlike chlorine gas, ozone will not stay put in water. Therefore, the ozone must be removed before it reaches your pool.

Still, there are a lot of great benefits to ozonated swimming pools. There are incredible health benefits associated with ozone systems, but one of the main ones is the comfort of the water. Red eyes, rashes, faded swim suits, and other chlorine-related problems are no longer an issue. Ozone also eliminates pool odors common to traditional pools and oxidizes and destroys oils and other contaminants.

The underlying truth is that ozonators actually produce very little ozone. In an ideal pool environment, it takes approximately 3 to 4 days to completely ozonate a swimming pool. However, it will take weeks before a residential swimming pool is completely ozonated. This creates a tiny problem, unless you’re okay with swimming in last week’s flu water.

ozonetreatsBecause of this, you still must add chlorine or bromine to your pool so that there is an active ingredient killing germs where swimmers will be and not just in your pipes. When you chlorinate your pool, the chlorine is both in the swimming water and in your pipes.

Ozonators have the potential to perform really well, but are not ideal or practical for residential pool owners. Ozone has a very short half life. It cannot be stored, only used soon after it is produced. And although it is a lot stronger than chlorine, it alone is not a sufficient sanitization method for most swimming pools. It does not eliminate all swimming pool contaminants that are potentially dangerous to swimmers.

 

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53 thoughts on “Why Ozonators Aren’t That Great

  1. Hi Charlie. I am in the design process of a pool and have been quoted to include both the Ozone and the salt system together. Does this combination give you the levels of chlorine required to maintain a healthy pool?

    1. Hi Sandra, Did you decide to go with both systems? My daughter breaks out with a horrible burn like rash when she uses sunblock and enters chlorine pools…. using both systems together sounds like a helpful alternative.

    2. Charlie,

      I am wondering why the gentleman who wrote the article said: ” Did you know that despite the name, ozonators do not actually ozonate the water in your pool”? If you buy a Prozone unit that is either UV/Ozone or Ozone only, it does Ozonate the whole body of water. The process depends on how long it takes your pump to turn over your body of water. Think about it! Ozone is injected directly into the water, but the water is always being circulated because you have a pump, meaning the water that is passing by the Ozone is being treated, so the whole body of water is treated at some point through the day. The filter picks up all the nasty that is destroyed while it is running. I am unsure why he said it doesn’t ozonate the whole pool and only the pipes. The water does run through the pipes and it is an added bonus to have your pipes cleaned since that is where biofilms build up. Don’t let some guy tell you that ozone systems aren’t a great investment.

      1. Not a great investment for any pool. A chlorine pool or salt water pool will keep your pool sanitized more than enough. Any additional sanitizers seem redundant.

        1. You are correct a chlorine or salt can sanitize a pool but you need to maintain 3-5ppm of chlorine. Corona Discharge Ozone generators paired with UV-C and slower flow rates will allow you to effectively sanitize your pool with around 0.5ppm of chlorine, used as a residual. For those with sensitivities to chlorine or simply just dont want as many chemicals it can be a great investment.

      2. We have a prozone unit and wouldn’t do it any other way! It’s amazing!! We are able to use very little ch in our chlorinator, therefore no red eyes and green hair. 😊also no chlorine smelling suits and dry skin.

      3. The difference is that chlorine is in the water in the pool and in the pipes so it’s doing it’s cleaning job all the time. Unlike ozone which is just cleaning the water when it goes through the pipes

      4. Yes, the entire pool is exposed to ozone, but there is no ozone in most of the water. Ozone is a murderously unstable chemical. It has been considered as a rocket propellant, but dismissed as too hard to work with. In pure form, it is well known for its tendency to transform into a super-heated oxygen fireball even when cooled to near absolute zero with almost no provocation.

        It is this violent decay process, occurring constantly on a microscopic scale that allows ozone to serve as so effective of a decontamination agent. The downside is that the ozone produced by your generator doesn’t last long. In fact, it never gets out of your pipes: by the time it has reached the pool proper, all the ozone has exploded already, and all that’s left is regular oxygen. This is how your pool remains unozonated despite your water being exposed constantly.

      5. With an ozone only system there is no residual sterilization going on in the body of the pool. Also, pools have dead spots, or less well circulated volumes of water, So all you are doing is diluting bulk dirty water with ultra-clean water.

      6. Wrong. Most Ozone systems are Side Stream & therefore it takes many days for all the water to pass the Ozonator. You also need a residual sanitiser in the pool water to combat enviromental contamination, bird crap & swimmers. The new PuraPool low ppm pink salt “Oxy Minerale” systems produce Anolyte – Hypoclorus acid & detergent. Leaving a residual sanitiser in the pool. Arguably the best machines on the market!

  2. This article is a little misleading. If an ozone generator is the ONLY sanitation system you use then, yes it isnt good enough. If you pair it with other systems you can all but effectively eliminate chlorine and be just fine.
    From my understanding chlorine does 3 things. Oxidizes, germicide, residual. 70% of your chlorine is used for oxidizing purposes and by adding a ozone generator you can effectively reduce the need for chlorine by 70%. Add in a wide spectrum UV-C unit which is 99.9% effective as a germicide you can reduce chlorine by 90%. What ozone and UV-C cant do as the author of the article alluded to is act as a residual which is why the addition of chlorine erosion feeder allows you to keep your pool at 0.5ppm of chlorine.

    In addition ozone is not dangerous at the concentrations being created here, unless you are sucking on the output of the generator itself and if you plum in the ozone generator-> UV-C -> chlorine feeder post filter you can get the ozone to the pool in plenty of time before the O3 reaches its half life.

    1. Sounds great thank you for the information.
      How much chlorine for pool size do you need for your pool. What type of pool in ground or above ground, fiberglass, etc?

  3. If ozone were poisonous, we wouldn’t be able to go outside and breathe the air, especially during sunshine, a thunderstorm, lightning, or after the rain. The fact is, unless breathed directly into your lungs in a high concentration, ozone is very safe just like oxygen and very beneficial to our planet and all of us that live here. It is completely safe in water. To prove this obvious fact, many scientific studies have been done by experts on ozone, and all confirm the safety and beneficial aspects of ozone over and over again.

    1. Ozone does truly terrifying things to organic molecules. The concentrations you’re talking about are in the parts per billions. Keep in mind that the MAXIMUM safe concentration of ozone in air is recognized as 1 ozone molecule per 10,000,000 air molecules. It’s also a carcinogen, because of course it is.

      For comparison, Chlorine gas, a KNOWN CHEMICAL WEAPON used in WWI, is considered safe for short periods in concentrations below 1 chlorine molecule per million air molecules. To reiterate: A LITERAL CHEMICAL WEAPON is ten times LESS POTENT a poison than ozone.

      THAT SAID: ozone does have a number of things going for it. It decays very rapidly to non-toxic byproducts. It is effective in small concentrations. Unlike chlorine, which can produce a variety of poisons when reacting chemically with certain materials, the oxides that form on reaction with ozone are largely harmless. It is also a far stronger oxidizer than chlorine.

      Ozone can certainly be a superb alternative to chlorine, but only if properly handled. Like any chemical, there are circumstances in which it can be LETHAL, and circumstances in which it can be harmless. To drive this point home, all one must do is google “dihydrogen monoxide”. Some people never realize that’s just another name for H2O, or ordinary water.

      In a pool, you are far more likely to see the harmless side of ozone, because it’s very rare that even a single atom of the compound actually reaches the pool water, due to the prompt self-destruction of the ozone molecule after it has done its job as a oxidizer and disinfectant.

      1. I’m a physician and oZone therapy is safe, but it should not be breathe in directly to your lungs, but you can bubble it through oil into your lungs for lung cancer states. O-Zone helps heal, helps cancer therapy. You can use it hemolytic, rectal, tympanic, injected into your skin and joints or drink it in water. You can look up the YouTube’s on the renowned specialist Dr. Shellenberger who teaches medical physicians throughout the United States. O-Zone pools are great! In Mexico, ozone has been used for years and years as a therapy and used in their pools for cancer patients, so people that are healing are NOT EXPOSED TO CHEMICALS.

  4. My understanding of ozone is that it is nearly impossible to maintain as O3 at normal temperatures. Because it rapidly degrades at lower temperatures, like your pool, it will only disinfect the water it immediately comes in contact with. So, dangerous, doubtful.

  5. Interesting read but based on experience I disagree with some of the content. I have been installing corona discharge ozone systems with de gassing units on our residential builds for over 10 years. I agree that ozone treatment is directly linked to pool turnover rates, has low residual and therefore takes time to treat. However after servicing hundreds of ozone and non ozone pools it is clear to me that ozone is a great investment for a residential pool if you appreciate great water and air quality, no more chloramines and huge reductions in chlorine consumption.

    1. Exactly. I’m a builder that had been on the ozone train for 10 years as well. Nothing but good things to say about it. Over 1k pools built in the time and 99% are ozone + chlorinator. As close to chlorine free as you can get. Salt systems that aren’t maintained can destroy pool materials and equipment. Salt is corrosive. I don’t think anyone can dispute that.

      1. Damn, I’m in the wrong game….a 1000 plus pools built over the last 10 years and 990 plus of them (approx) are ozone/chlorine hybrids.
        That must be a $50 million turnover, very roughly of course (based on $50K new build per pool).
        I need a new job, oh, and an ozone unit…

      2. I am not an expert but have had an ozone generator on my pool for about 12 years. I have always handled all my own chemicals and only used an expert on occasion when there was an equipment issue. About 6 years ago I had a terrible problem with algae that I have never had. I went through all the issues and then figured out the phosphates were very high and I struggled to get them to come down. The problem came and went for months before I finally called my guy and boom ozone generator had died and I didn’t know it. Seems I wasn’t keeping my chemicals quite as good as I thought (didnt even know what phosphates were until then) but the ozone generator was covering for it. Put a new one in and no more issues and I am back to my slightly better, but not much, chem maintenance without issues cause the ozone keeps it under control. I’m a believer

      1. Yes. Ozone is not a residual meaning it does not last long in your pool. Chlorine takes care of this but theoretically you wont need as much chlorine due to the Ozone handling the oxidation process.

      2. We have a prozone unit and wouldn’t do it any other way! It’s amazing!! We are able to use very little ch in our chlorinator, therefore no red eyes and green hair. 😊also no chlorine smelling suits and dry skin.

        1. This totally posted twice, but my experience with my ozone unit is yes, we still use ch in our chlorinator BUT a 25 lb of 3in tabs lasts me the whole summer and my ch tests at 2 every week and I stay crystal clear. During winter I use 1 tab every 2 weeks just to give a lil extra

    2. I recently was on another site that just slams Ozone and UV. They claim there is no way to know how much ozone is being produced since there is no way to measure it (i.e. there is no test strip like there is for chlorine). They also claim ozone actually destroys chlorine and therefor ozone pools actually use more chlorine. What is your experience?

      1. As a pool owner with an ozone system, I thought I would weigh in. You know it is working because you never have any combined chlorine when tested. I have played around with chlorine levels quite a bit trying to understand this debate. I have never had a test come back with even a .1 ppm CC. I love the ozone system. It is most effective when the pump runs the whole time, but with a variable speed pump this is quite easy and cost effective. An ozone system and liquid chlorine maintaining low levels of free chlorine and never having to shock the pool has produced a very easy maintenance experience for me.

    1. I am not sure where you are located but generally the best course of action is to contact local pool technicians or contractors to confirm they work with ozonators. Research those companies that deal with ozone online by checking Google, Yelp, and Facebook reviews.

  6. I’ve been running an ozone system on my indoor pool in my folks home since 1986. We now list our home on Airbnb and the guests can not believe how clear the water is, they never complain of rashes or chlorine smell. The pool equipment has lasted for years with minimal corrosion. I poor in 1/2 gallon of liquid chlorine once a week to shock the pool between guest stays. I have a “smart house” switch and turn on the Ozone as needed based on usage. My indoor pool is only 15k gallons, marcite, fresh water. My ozone system uses 400w, so keep that in mind when running it.

  7. Hi. I work at a swimmingschool t days a week and 28hours per week. Its an ozone pool. Recently I’ve been coughing badly and and use my asma pump for relieve. I am on antibiotics as well. Is it normal to smell the ozone gas? When I walk into the swimming area I can smell it.My employer says its not dangerous but I’m really worried. Thank you

    1. If the smell is something you’re only recently noticing I’d bet they’ve turned up their systems to accommodate bather load. It’s not dangerous but too high Ozone in the air can be an irritant so you could feel it in your nose and throat. It wouldn’t be able to cause anything that requires an antibiotic, however. That treats bacterial infections.

  8. In my humble understanding of pool chemistry, doesn’t oxidation destroy chlorine? Would you still have to use cyanuric acid to stabilize the chlorine levels or can you inject it into the water output? It seems that if you use cyanuric acid to stabilize the water, then you can cut down on the use of chlorine even further

  9. A word of caution to homeowners: make sure you have the ozone generator properly adjusted. I was having a problem with my cartridge filters in the Pentair Clear and Clean for a long time. The rubber ends of the pleated filters began getting coated with a sticky, waxy, off colored substance. I went through two new cartridges, looking for the cause. No one could explain it. Then, I ran across the ozone connection and found out that if the generator produces too much ozone, it degrades (in my case, melts) the rubber in the filter element. The installer company, the local pool store, and the manufacturer of the cartridges–NOBODY had heard of this. But at the Paramount Company, the generator’s manufacturer, I reached their resident expert who said I might have the unit misadjusted. I did, in fact, because when I adjusted it to specs, the problem cleared up within a day or two. I think all the “professionals” out there need to take note.

    1. Yes, people, staff etc, need to pay attention to many things on their job and Companies need to make sure all staff is better trained. Companies have an obligation to the people of this country to spend more time educating their staff and staff training on the job and make sure management have what they need to do their job. Stop squeezing every Minute out of management training to save a penny.

  10. Hi. We need advice. We just had an above ground pool installed with a sand filter and zone system and our water turned green immediately. It’s see thru but green. The water tests keep coming back fine but it’s still green. We have tried everything they have given us – metal out, shock, ph balance, etc. We are considering emptying the pool and possibly replacing the oxygen system but my children and I are extremely sensitive to chlorine. Any suggestions??

  11. So if i’me understanding this ozone thing correctly ,the water passes through the filter then goes through the ozone generator where the water is sanitized then out to the pool,then you add an additional sanitizer such as chlorine but in smaller amounts,in a nut shell is this correct ??

    1. That would be true if your ozonator was too small to handle the whole pool. In a properly sized ozone system, you won’t need any further sanitation other than maybe an occasional shock to control algae.

  12. To suggest that ozonators “do not actually ozonate the water in your pool” is ludicrous. In a proper ozone system, you either have sufficient length of pipe, and/or a contact tank plumbed into the system. The fact ozone doesn’t leave a residual in your pool water doesn’t mean the water hasn’t been ozonated. The water had to run through the pipes, correct? You don’t need residual ozone in your pool if there was sufficient contact time in the pipes and/or a contact tank for it to do its thing. That’s one of the reasons ozone is better than chlorine, because it doesn’t leave a residual, and the chlorine residual is a carcinogen and bad for you. Your bottled water doesn’t contain ozone either, but it was purified with ozone before it was bottled, so there no longer being any ozone it it while true, is irrelevant.

  13. Ozone’s history spans more than 120yrs. 70yrs, of International Medical evaluation, and use. Including, Direct Injection into wounds, infections, and into our blood streams to cause a sterilization of our bodily fluids.
    Writing of Ozone in waters. A big drop of water, holds as much Ozone, as a big drop of blood. 03 reacts within 30min with our dirty blood. Then it’s gone.
    Clean water will allow the 03 to last longer in the fresh water. 56 degree water holds Ozone for 24 hrs with a cap on. 104 temp readily degrades the 03 gas.
    One more thing. If you can smell Ozone, (actually, Ultraviolet light your smelling) it’s in the pool.

  14. I have a custom built 316 stainless steel pool that holds 18000 gallons that I finished this year

    I use a non-pool industry ozone generation system that injects 10 grams of ozone per hour into the pool using using a contact and mixing chamber. I have only used ozone and a clear blue copper/silver/zinc ionizer. There has been zero algae in my pool fo rthe last 3 months and not one drop of chlorine, bromine or other chemical agent. I do not agree with this article. Ozone is healh and safe unless it is inhaled in very large doses. The North American pool industry is backwards and very low tech compared to the European pool industry which has used ozone exclusively since the 1990s. Please do more reserach and actually swim in an ozone pool engineered properly before writing arricles like this.

    1. the copper ionize puts copper sulfate in the water …. thats even more dangerouse than chlorine …..
      you dont know what you are talking about ….i think the nirth amarican pool insutry is more kwnolegble about the pool senario

  15. It seems to be really a massively misunderstood story. To start with I am using an ozonated indoor swimming pool since 20 years, the water is crystal clear, soft and the air around the pool smells tremendously fresh. I do have air ozone sensors installed just in case though. Plus we use a system which releases very small amounts of copper and silver into the water. Our bought in the shop standard 4 person spa is ozonated by default and you can smell the ozone quite well. Since the Barcelona Olympic Games all Olympic swimming pools must use Ozone instead of chlorine. The reason for it was that there has been the observation of increased risks of sigmoid colon cancer in people who train extensively in chlorinated water. In our house all tap water is ozonated. It disinfects foods faster and more efficiently than chlorine and is the best mouth rinse compared to the chemicals in mouth washes.
    Mixing generated Ozone efficiently into the water is the secret of all good ozone swimming pools. Bubbling ozone into water is a total waste of time. The Olympic swimming pools have separate mixing chambers were ozone is mixed by force into the water were it rapidly disinfects the water which is then pumped further into the pools. The residual Ozone in these pools is indeed very low, but definitely the best water you can ever swim in. Chlorinated pools are cheaper, but if you don’t change your pool water every second year you start to swim in a chemical concentrate you get from all the chemicals you put in there after each pool water test. If you talk pool water ozone, you must do it right, its expensive but the best water you can ever swim in.

    1. Are you able to give some link of good installations of ozoned pool, because here in europe it is hard to find good systems. Most of them for residential pool they just put ozone via a venturi tube before the pump and after this there is air left in the circuit and potential ozone in the pool especially if it is a internal pool.

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