Ozone is known as one of the newbies to pool sanitation, but it’s actually been used since the 1800s and used specifically for pool sanitation since about the 1950s. Ozone is simply active oxygen, known by its chemical name O3. When an oxygen molocule picks up an extra atom, it becomes active oxygen, or ozone. You have probably heard of the Ozone Layer that protects Earth from the sun’s brutal rays.
Ozone is used to purify drinking water and air in many applications and is becoming a popular choice in the pool and spa industry with people who dislike the smell and effects of chlorine.
In the quanitites used for pool water purification, ozone is completely harmless. If you can smell it at all, it has a vaguely antiseptic odor but, used in the quantities necessary for pool sanitation, you won’t notice any odor at all. It’s amazingly effective for killing bacteria, including the stuff you fear showing up in your pool, such as E. coli. Ozone is also effective at killing viruses like colds and flu viruses.
Not only is ozone more pleasant for humans (and less pleasant for viruses and bacteria), it’s also kinder to your equipment.
How does ozone pool sanitation work?
Light. Both ultraviolet light (UV) and corona discharge (CD) produce ozone, which creates a pool sanitation system without chemicals. In fact, it’s much faster and more efficient than chemical systems like chlorine — 3,000 times faster! And it leaves behind no byproducts aside from pure oxygen.
Ozone sanitation systems work via a lamp that delivers the exact wavelength of UV light, which converts the oxygen molocules in your pool to ozone (remember that extra atom?). This process happens inside the ozone generator, returning clean water back into your pool.
The final thing to know about ozone sanitation is that it does not replace testing your water regularly and adjusting the chemicals as necessary. It is physically impossible for the UV light to penetrate every single molecule of water in your pool on a regular basis. So, you’ll still need to supplement the system with other chemicals, but ozone can significantly reduce the use of harsh chemicals like chlorine, making your pool gentler on your skin, eyes, and body. It’s also kinder to the environment!