Pool Info: Ozone Pool Water Treatment
Ozone is as natural as oxygen, naturally occurring and has been around since the beginning of time. Also called tri-atomic oxygen, ozone is a molecule consisting of three atoms of oxygen, formed when oxygen molecules are broken apart and rejoined again. The “ozone layer” in the stratosphere that seems to have an ever widening hole over Antarctica is a 6 mile thick layer of tri-atomic oxygen.
Harnessing the power of the ozone molecule to sanitize water, kill pathogens and micro contaminants, is nothing short of miraculous. Ozone is also used for air purifiers in doctors’ offices and yoga studios. Maybe we can use it to power automobiles one day?
The ozone molecule is indeed a very powerful oxidizer and sanitizer, one of the most powerful on earth. It destroys anything it comes in contact with, faster and more effectively than anything else available. And when the sanitation is complete, after the killing is done, ozone created in ozonators reverts back to good ‘ol regular oxygen, O2.
Ozone is produced in the stratosphere by two methods. UV radiation from the sun will break apart molecular oxygen into individual nascent oxygen atoms. These atoms quickly attach themselves to the first molecule they encounter. When they join with an oxygen molecule, tri-atomic oxygen (ozone) is born. Another way in which ozone is created is through Lightning occurring in the stratosphere, which is a corona discharge method. The electricity breaks apart the molecules and rejoins them in the same manner as UV radiation. You can smell ozone in the air after a thunderstorm.
Ozone is also produced for swimming pool water by these same two methods. In the UV method, air is passed over a UV bulb, and the radiation creates nascent oxygen and then ozone. The molecules are then introduced into the water via a one-way injection fitting, and immediately begin to sanitize the water. In the corona discharge method, a pool ozonator creates a small lightning storm in an air filled chamber. Tiny lightning bolts (not visible, but it would be cool if they were) inside of the sealed unit creates ozone molecules, which are diffused into the water by an injection fitting or manifold.
Ozone is indeed a powerful sanitizer, but it is a gas, and somewhat limited in this regard. It is not marketed as a stand-alone technology simply because of the production required to have ozone molecules visit every square inch of your pool before it gasses off the surface, or reverts back to oxygen. In other words, we still have problems with the short life span of ozone, and the distribution of it. Better methods of introduction and greater efficacy levels have been created in recent years. But still, ozone is really more effective in spas, due to the smaller body of water. Also, ozone is also not very effective on algae, so a bottled algaecide or Potassium Tetraborate is necessary for those trying to be chlorine free.
The combination of ozonators and mineral purifiers produces a great natural synergy. For small, clean pools with a DE filter, you can run with small ozonator and a nature2 express and very little or no chlorine. Together, Nature2 and Del Ozone are a powerful system for pool water purification.
In Europe and other parts of the world, ozone plays a larger role in water purification. In the U.S., ozone has a strong foothold, and will continue to gain market share for pools, and it certainly has dominated the spa market.
Ozone gives water a better smell, taste and clarity than chlorine alone, and because it produces no byproducts, it doesn't contribute to TDS. Ozone removes certain dissolved metals and rids the pool of soaps, scum, oils and chloramines. It also has synergy with halogens, meaning that when combined, they work even better on certain micro contaminants. Plus – you’re creating more oxygen for the environment, while oxygenating your pool water!