Ozone systems for swimming pools aren’t new, but pool builders say they’re seeing more owners opting for ozone as a way to keep pools bacteria-free. Pam Leimbach, designer at Blue Haven Pools & Spas in Las Vegas, estimates that 90% of the 500 to 600 pools her company builds each year now use ozone as their primary sanitizer, rather than chlorine.
Pool chemicals like chlorine should be checked regularly, especially during periods of extreme heat or when the pool is used often, and frequent adjustments are often necessary, Ms. Leimbach said. But ozone systems generally require much less maintenance, she said.
“Once a month you test the water,” she said. “Most owners end up adding only a few gallons of acid per year. The labor is greatly reduced.
The acid added can be a liquid hydrochloric acid or a granular acid. Ozone systems cost around $4,000, although builders like Leimbach’s company often offer discounts.
Pool builders warn that even a pool with an ozone system is unlikely to end up 100% chlorine-free. David Morrill, president of California Pools & Spas, which builds some 3,000 swimming pools a year in Southern California and Arizona, ranging in price from $30,000 to more than $150,000, said the systems ozone usually get a little help.
“It’s a great sanitizer, but it has its limitations,” Morrill said, noting that ozone must be continuously released into the water to keep the pool clear. “If the pool is not running 24 hours a day, algae will grow.”
Most homeowners would rather not run a pool pump 24 hours a day and end up with huge electric bills. Manufacturers therefore often recommend keeping a trace of chlorine in the pool, using tablets or installing a salt water chlorination system.