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Thread: Copper and Silver based ioniser system (Ecosmarte and such)

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    Copper and Silver based ioniser system (Ecosmarte and such)

    Hoping that I found a solid conclusion to seeking a sanitiser other then Chlorine in terms of Ecosmarte. As I am searching the web to find reports from goverments or other creditable agencies I came across a recent report from the The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). If you are looking into this technology as I am, save yourself time and money by reading this VERY interesting report.

    http://www.apvma.gov.au/qa/poolspa_FAQ_May2005.shtml

    I am still searching for facts and I will post on this thread as I find them. So far, I am staying with chlorine... Dang!!!! I really don't want to but the health of my family is too important...

    Mike
    20k Gunite/Prism Blue-Pebblesheen, Pentair Tagelus TA-100D Sand Filter, Heliocol Solar Water Heater, 2 bubblers and 2 waterfalls installed 2007, 3hp IntelliFlo VS Pump 011018 installed 2013, Aquabot Turbo T4 RC and Stenner 45MHP10 w/The Liquidator container installed 2012.
    Antigua Spa by Artesian Spas: 325 gl, 52 jets, 6 hp 2 sp & 6 hp 1 sp, Circulation System 24 Hour Whisper Pure, Ozonator, LED digital lighting, The Artesian Pillowfall installed 2007.
    Retired: 2hp Pentair Whisperflow, Legend Platinum w/booster pump, PH Adjuster

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    gonefishin's Avatar
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    Hi Sabot. Welcome to the forum


    What is it tht you don't like about chlorine?

    dan
    21' Aqua-Leader AGP (10,200 gallons).
    Hayward cartridge filter and two speed pump.
    Aqua-Cal HeatWave 100k (HeatPump)
    Salt 3200ppm (in non-salt water pool)
    Borates 20ppm (slowly raising)
    Aqua-Rite SWG

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    The standard effects on the skin/eyes and such. Being a first time pool owner I am not looking forward to having pool chems around the shed. Also I am a bit reserved on how to manage the water chemistry. To over come this I am looking into various automated chemical controllers. I am hoping that by using an automated system to introduce the chems to the water, I will have a more stable pool then if I did it manually. Thoughts?
    20k Gunite/Prism Blue-Pebblesheen, Pentair Tagelus TA-100D Sand Filter, Heliocol Solar Water Heater, 2 bubblers and 2 waterfalls installed 2007, 3hp IntelliFlo VS Pump 011018 installed 2013, Aquabot Turbo T4 RC and Stenner 45MHP10 w/The Liquidator container installed 2012.
    Antigua Spa by Artesian Spas: 325 gl, 52 jets, 6 hp 2 sp & 6 hp 1 sp, Circulation System 24 Hour Whisper Pure, Ozonator, LED digital lighting, The Artesian Pillowfall installed 2007.
    Retired: 2hp Pentair Whisperflow, Legend Platinum w/booster pump, PH Adjuster

  4. Back To Top    #4
    Guest
    There is no way to avoid having chemicals around when you have a pool. If you want to make things easier look into getting a salt water chlorine generator. You will not need to store chlorine but you will still need acid, stabilizer, and baking soda, and perhaps a few other items. Ionizers do NOT elimiate the need for chemicals. They put metals into the water, usually copper, silver, and/or zinc so they are hardly chemical free systems and you still need the other pool chemicals around like acid and such. They are also not primary sanitizers as you found out by reading the info from the APVMA!

    A properly maintained chlorine pool really is the best way to go.

  5. Back To Top    #5
    Kinguni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabot
    The standard effects on the skin/eyes and such.
    The stuff that bugs the eyes is chloramines and/or water out of balance (low pH etc.). If you maintain your pool properly with the advice given on this forum you'll do just fine with chlorine.

  6. Back To Top    #6
    Guest
    I just posted the following in another thread but I think it bears repeating here!

    I suggest you look through the forum. You will find some answers there. Chlorine is the safest santizier for an outdoor pool. Copper/silver/zinc ionizer systems (including ecosmarte) are NOT primary sanitizers, no matter what the marketing hype surrounding them says.
    Ozone and UV are not primary sanitizers either.

    IMHO, a salt system is the way to go. It is a chlorine system but it greatly simplifies pool maintenance.

    Here is something that I posted in another thread but I think it bears repeating!

    There are only 3 EPA approved sanitzers--chlorine, bromine, and biguanide (Baqua, SoftSwim, Revacil, etc.) ALL OTHER sytems are supplimental and MUST be used with a residual sanitizer (usually chlorine or bromine).

    As far as biguanide, it has more drawbacks than advantages and most people that use it end up converting to chlorine after a few years once the pink slime and white water mold takes hold. It can also attack and destroy certain plastics and at least one major spa manufacuter is now telling it's customers not to use it for this reason.

    Bromine has no advantages for an outdoor pool since it cannot be stabilized againt UV light like chlorine can. It is also a known sensitizer and many people develop an allergic reaction to it. It does have some usefulness in indoor pools and in spas that do not receive sunlight.

    That leaves chlorine, which is the best choice for an outdoor pool.

    There are supplimental systems that claim they can reduce the amount of residual chlorine in the water. Most are metal based (copper, silver, and zinc). However, the low residual chlorine levels (usually .5 ppm) are NOT enough to insure that the water is sanitized. They will prevent algae growth but the kill times fo metals are very slow and a minimum 2 ppm free chlorine should really be used with these systems, IMHO. One of the biggest drawbacks to these systems is staining of pools and people (copper is what causes green hair). Many of them need to be run at a much lower pH than is commonly used to help prevent the staining but this can be aggresive to the plaster finish of a pool.

    Ozone and UV light provide NO residual sanitation and must be used with a residual santizer. Ozone and chlorine tend to destroy each other so chlorine usage is usually higher in a system that also uses ozone. Ozone tends to work better with bromine but does cause bromates to form in the water. Bromates are a suspected carcinogen in drinking water.

    There are some companies that make some very dubious claims about their products that just don't stand up under scientific scrutiny such as breaking water apart into 'radicals', etc. This is pure snake oil!

    EDIT: Ecosmarte is a prime example. Check out this website and read the second box under "Other electrolytic processes, completely off-the-wall" where they talk about Ecosmarte and debunk some of the pseudoscience claims that they make!
    http://www.chem1.com/CQ/aquacrack.html

    Intersting read!


    Getting back to metals--they are often marketed as 'mineral' systems. If you consider copper sulfate and silver nitrate minerals then perhaps they are. Minerals sound more spa like and healtly than metals, don't they? It is interesting that in Canada these systems can only be registered as algaecides and not as sanitizers and in Australia they are required to be used with normal and not reduced sanitizer levels to provide quick kill times and proper sanitation. If only our own EPA was so dilligent at protecting our welfare (but that's a whole other can of worms, isn't it?)

    There is a lot of negative press about chlorine but much of it has to do with chlorine used to santize drinking water. Some of it IS applicable to chlorine in INDOOR pools since some of the disinfection byproducts such as the TMHs do collect in the air but this is not really a problem for OUTDOOR pools since UV light breaks them down and they cannot concentrate in the air as they do in an enclosed indoor pool.


    Hydrogen Peroxide, Potassium Monopersulfate and Sodium Percarbonate are oxidizers and NOT sanitizers and will not keep the water sanitized by themselves. They are usefule when used in conjucntion with one of the three EPA approved sanitizers as an oxidizer but they do present their own sets of problems.

    Where does this leave us---with chlorine!

    I am curious why you are looking for a low chlorine system. If you have a true chlorine allergy then biguanide is your only real alternative and you will have to live with it's shortcomings.

    Chorine is actually the safest and easiest santizer to use in an outdoor pool. If you have an indoor pool it does present a few problems but they can be overcome (such as using potassium monopersulfate as an oxidizer instead of 'shocking' with chlorine) or bromine is also a viable alternative.

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    I am going with chlorine treated system but not with a SWG since all my installers on gunite systems here in Austin that I spoke with won't install one. I just can't risk the health of my family and after doing my research I have too many questions and not enough answers to invest almost $5k with a Copper/silver/zinc ionizer system. I rather spend the money on automatic chemical distribution hardware which can assist me in maintaining the correct balanced water.
    20k Gunite/Prism Blue-Pebblesheen, Pentair Tagelus TA-100D Sand Filter, Heliocol Solar Water Heater, 2 bubblers and 2 waterfalls installed 2007, 3hp IntelliFlo VS Pump 011018 installed 2013, Aquabot Turbo T4 RC and Stenner 45MHP10 w/The Liquidator container installed 2012.
    Antigua Spa by Artesian Spas: 325 gl, 52 jets, 6 hp 2 sp & 6 hp 1 sp, Circulation System 24 Hour Whisper Pure, Ozonator, LED digital lighting, The Artesian Pillowfall installed 2007.
    Retired: 2hp Pentair Whisperflow, Legend Platinum w/booster pump, PH Adjuster

  8. Back To Top    #8
    Guest
    Automatic dosing systems will NOT elimimate the need for regualr water testing...If you are going with a trichlor feeder be careful. They will cause your pool to become overstabilized and will create more problems in the long run, particularly if you get a cartridge filter instead of a sand filter. If you are referring to systems that use ORP controllers and pH electrodes such as found in commercial pools then be aware that keeping such systems operating properly is often more time consuming than manual testing and dosing and they still do not eliminate manual testing.

    Bottom line is this...there is NO system available that will eliminate water testing and balancing. You might be able to automate chlorine and pH but not the other water parameters and to keep such systems operating propery requires quite a bit of maintenance. Commercial pools that use these type of systems have personal that test and regulate these systems on a regular basis.

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    divnkd101's Avatar
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    Sounds like you might want to start researching a reputable pool service to help minimize your invovlement in your pool. Automation is a wonderful thought. However, neglect of general pool maintenance will cost more time and money down the road. It has proven more than once on this site that individuals who spend less than 5 minutes a day on their pool live with a "Trouble Free Pool." Good luck with your choices.
    MIKE

    21K Inground Custom w/ Spa (Gunite/Plaster), SWCG, Hayward Northstar, Polaris 280, Hayward Color Logics, Jandy PS-8

  10. Back To Top    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by waterbear
    Bottom line is this...there is NO system available that will eliminate water testing and balancing.
    Well said Waterbear!

    Sabot,

    Water balancing is not that difficult, if you use common sense AND commit to spending a few minutes a day for a period of time to the chemical needs of your pool. I say "for a period of time" because as you get acquainted with the specifics of YOUR pool, you may be able to stretch the testing/chemical maintenance out to every two or three days, possibly more. You will NEVER be able to have a pool that you can just flip a switch and forget it AND have a properly sanitized pool in my opinion. Believe me, I wish it were possible but right now, there are just too many variable that can affect swimming pool chemistry and no systems that can account for everything reliably. I don't want to discourage you but you must go into this with your eyes open and understand there will be regular maintenance required. I do want to say that once you learn from the people here, it will be a relatively easy task. I stress from the people here versus your pool installer and local pool store because "we" are not trying to sell you anything and "our" principles are proven through real science and years of successful "Trouble Free" pools.

    Dave

  11. Back To Top    #11

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    Thanks guys! Looks like you will be saving me some hard earned $$$'s. I am by no means looking at not trying to maintain the pool or side step the daily testing. As I researched various items I figured I come to a place where folks are not going to try to sell me something such as a forum. Through research, I came across this forum and spent days reading prior to signing on. My kids are of age where they will be tasked to brush and do general daily maintenance and my wife and I will take care of the chemicals and oversee the cleaning. The entire pool project stems from my wife and children. I just recently agreed to the project with a clause on allowing me to find the ways to make the water safe for all.

    Once I gain experiance with balancing my pool, I will then look into the BBB method. Again, thanks for your input!

    Mike
    20k Gunite/Prism Blue-Pebblesheen, Pentair Tagelus TA-100D Sand Filter, Heliocol Solar Water Heater, 2 bubblers and 2 waterfalls installed 2007, 3hp IntelliFlo VS Pump 011018 installed 2013, Aquabot Turbo T4 RC and Stenner 45MHP10 w/The Liquidator container installed 2012.
    Antigua Spa by Artesian Spas: 325 gl, 52 jets, 6 hp 2 sp & 6 hp 1 sp, Circulation System 24 Hour Whisper Pure, Ozonator, LED digital lighting, The Artesian Pillowfall installed 2007.
    Retired: 2hp Pentair Whisperflow, Legend Platinum w/booster pump, PH Adjuster

  12. Back To Top    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Sabot
    The entire pool project stems from my wife and children.
    I know the feeling as it was the same for me. Who knew that our pools would end up being such an enjoyble pastime for me. They say I own a 30 foot sailboat but I just can seem to remember where it is in this heat 8)

    Dave

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    Ohm_Boy's Avatar
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    As far as I know (and certainly as far as I trust), there are only two places for pool information that have no profit-related agenda. Those are PoolSolutions/Poolforum and here. The former is dying away, as the founder seems to have left the planet, and most of the good folks there are now here.

    You must maintain a sanitizer.
    Chlorine is safe, and is pretty much the only thing that will keep your swimmers safe. There are several methods of delivering
    that chlorine to your pool, but most have side effects which will eventually cause problems - excessive stabilizer levels being the big one. Sodium Hypochlorite is the least troublesome (side effect and cost) and is available as everyday bleach.

    You will need chemicals. Muriatic acid (or ph-minus/dry acid), baking soda, borax are necessities. As has been pointed out, you really can't maintain a pool without them. Store and use them responsibly, and you should have no trouble.
    [center:1kpalu48]Helpful Links: Pool School | CYA/Chlorine Chart | Pool Calculator[/center:1kpalu48]

  14. Back To Top    #14

    In the Industry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabot
    I am going with chlorine treated system but not with a SWG . . .
    Have you looked into the "Liquidator," recently discussed here? It's an auto-feeder for liquid chlorine and is amazingly inexpensive! Now that I've learned about it, I really REALLY want one. . .
    ~Jules~

    My pool: INDOOR 13x27 rectangular fiberglass, built ~2001, BBB, TA-60 sand filter, Hayward two speed pump (1 hp/0.33 hp), 3/4 hp booster pump for solar heater
    Taylor K-2006 test

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    If you are still in the planning stages, I strongly suggest looking again at a SWG. The only real alternative for the long run is bleach (manual of with an automatic solution like the Liquidator). SWGs have been used for 30 years in Australia and have been used in the US for years. My water is tops, no chlorine smell and you don't have to shower or rinse after swimming. Everyone that comes swimming remarks on the great water.

    I'm sure PoolSean could point you to builders in that area that will gladly install a SWG system. The reason I'm saying this is that just this season, I have had 2 long time pool owners using Trichlor talk to me about constantly fighting algae "for the first time ever". Why? Because constant use of trichlor or dichlor will raise your CYA levels to the point where it gets very hard to fight algae in warm weather without running very high levels of FC.
    20 x 40 vinyl IG. SWG. Solar. Ikeric VS pump.

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