This article discusses pool ionizer pros and cons.

Everyone wants less chemicals in their pool. There are several products on the market that help you acheive that, including pool ionizers. This article looks at the pros and cons of pool ionizers to help you decide if they are right for you.

Pro: Pool Ionizers are Effective at Algae Control

With a backyard swimming pool, algae is your worst enemy. Algae comes in many forms and the hotter it gets, the more it grows.

Pool ionizers are extremely effective at controlling algae. The ClearBlue Ionizer in particular uses a combination of silver, copper and zinc, all known to battle different types of algae.

If you have an ionized pool, you don’t need algaecide and you need less chlorine to keep the water clear. Plus, ionizers use natural minerals with no additives, so they are a clean and healthy way to control algae.

Con: Pool Ionizers do not Oxidize Organic Material

One of the primary functions of a pool sanitizer is to oxidize organic matter. Copper and silver-copper ionizers assist in controlling bacteria and algae in pools and spas by augmenting the bactericidal and algicidal activity of primary disinfectants. But they do not break down sweat, lotions, makeup, etc. So, all pool ionizers need some form of oxidizer for a complete system. The most common one is chlorine at a reduced level.

Pro: Pool Ionizers Allow Chlorine Reduction

Most pool ionizers recommend maintaining a residual of 0.5 – 0.6ppm of chlorine, vs. 1-3ppm with chlorine alone. This is a 40%-80% reduction of chlorine and is the same amount permitted in drinking water. With this reduction, there is no chlorine smell and the water does not dry skin or fade bathing suits. If the chlorine level is safe enough for drinking water, you can be sure it’s safe to swim in.

Con: Pool Ionizers Have a Replaceable Cell

Pool ionizers use a mineral cell to build up minerals in the water. These cells have a lifespan that ranges from 3 months to 3 years and when it runs out, the ionizer stops working.

Replacement cells range from $70 to $200+, so you need to account for this when you are budgeting your pool maintenance. However, since the chlorine, algaecide and pH balancing chemicals are reduced, you should recover most or all of this additional cost.

Pro: Pool Ionizers Offer Great Value

There are several products that help you reduce the chlorine requirement in swimming pools. The most common ones are ionizers, UV and ozone. Each of these solutions allows you to reduce the chlorine requirement down to 0.5ppm, according to NSF, EPA and other governing bodies. While they all take a different approach, the net reduction is the same and no combination of systems will allow you to safely reduce chlorine lower than this.

The cost of pool ionizer is less than UV and ozone systems, both in terms of up front cost and long term cost. So you are spending less money to get to the same result.

Con: Pool Ionizers Have the Potential to Stain

When you are adding minerals to pool or hot tub waters, there is always the risk that they will come undissolved and collect on surfaces. Collected minerals will eventually stain if they are not cleaned off. This can be an issue when water parameters are not properly maintained and the copper level is not tested on a regular basis.

Early pool ionizers and solar ionizers developed a bad reputation for this and many pool professionals will tell you to stay away because of these bad apples. However, not all systems are created equally. The ClearBlue Ionizer, for example, is precisely controlled to keep the minerals at a consistent level that is too low for them to collect.

As an insurance from staining, you can use a chelating product like The Ionizer Stuff or Orenda SC-1000. These products keep the minerals dissolved so that they are in the water and killing micro-organisms – not collecting on the surfaces. If you have a concrete pool, white fiberglass, or other light colored pool surface, it is a good idea to use this type of product at least twice a year. If you close your pool for the winter, the best times to use it are when you open the pool and when you close it.

So there’s your pool ionizer pros and cons. Hopefully this will help you decide which alternative sanitizer is best for you!

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2 Comments
  1. When I put the bags of shock in do I have to take out the ironizer .

    1. If you have a floating solar ionizer, then you may want to take it out when you shock. If your system is plumbed inline, you do not have to take it out to shock.

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