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Ionizers for Pools

Metallic ions help reduce chlorine and oxidizer usage.
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An Alternative Type Pool Water Sanitizer.


Scroll down to browse through some archived SWIMMING POOL questions and answers.  Please click the Pool Problems Link, on top of every page, to access a complete listing of Pool Problem subjects, an alphabetized Website Table of Contents, Pool Equipment Information, About Alan Biographic Material and a Pool Glossary. Use the other links to access additional subject information. More information about some new and unique products, for pools and spas, can be found by visiting The Website Store. You'll never know what you'll find and that's always fun. Be better prepared and avoid costly problems!


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Using Ionization, to help sanitize pool water!!!
Ionization is the process, by which metallic ions, such as copper, silver or zinc, are utilized in helping to sanitize swimming pool water.  Ionization is not a complete water treatment system, as it lacks the oxidizing function, required to oxidize organic wastes and byproducts.  Chlorine is typically used to provide the oxidizing function.  Sanitizing is a must, for proper pool water management.  Salt Chlorine Generators are a better way to utilize chlorine, producing more controllable results. They eliminate the need to handle, measure or store chlorine products, while reducing buildup problems.  An Electronic PockeTester Kit is a convenient way to monitor the salt level.
Salt Chlorine Generators - 3 models Testing The Salt Level Salt Chlorine Generator - No Installation
Reliant Salt Chlorine Generators, for all types of pools, up to 40,000 gallons. #1749 PockeTester Kit, for salt TDS and temperature. MegaChlor-CD salt chlorine generator, with Chlorine Detection Technology.
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If you have a pool or spa water testing need, we should have the product.
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A ColorQ, all digital Water Tester can perform all of the common tests, while eliminating the color-matching and guesswork.  With 10 models, performing up to 11 different test factors, one is right for every need.  The Circulator is a replacement return jet fitting, that creates a spiraling return flow, which dramatically improves circulation.  The WaterLink SpinTouch Labs are the ultimate tester, doing up to 10 different water test factors, in just 1 minute.
ColorQ All-Digital Water Testers Circulation Boosting Return Jet Fittings WaterLink SpinTouch Labs
#2094 ColorQ 2X PRO 7-Plus 2nd Generation model. The Ciruclater replacement return jet fitting improves pool water circulation. WaterLink SPIN Touch Lab
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How to use an Ionizer or Mineralizer, as an alternative sanitizer?

Ionizers and Mineralizers are devices that supply metallic ions to the swimming pool water. The metallic ions function as an algaecide. Used properly, the ions are maintained at very low levels, avoiding the possibility of staining or discoloration. Mineralizers and Ionizers utilize an electrical current, to facilitate the release of the metallic ions. Mineral Sanitizers accomplish a similar end result without the use of electrical circuits, by utilizing an erosion principle. Mineralizer, Ionizers and Mineral Sanitizers are not stand alone pool water treatment products, but can reduce the total amount of chemicals required for proper pool water maintenance.  Minerals alone cannot destroy organic buildup and contamination and cannot destroy dead microorganisms and organic debris. The reliance on metallic ions, for aid in sanitizing, requires pool water oxidation and the use of products such as: salt chlorine generators, chlorine, bromine, non-chlorine shock or ozone. All, oxidizers can be used with Mineralizers and Ionizers. The overall water chemistry should be based upon the manufacturer's recommendations. Ionization products that make claims about 100% chlorine are doing this without the sanction and approval of the US Environmental Protection Agency. In the real world, they perform better with low levels of chlorine, bromine or other oxidizers. Stating "100% Chlorine-Free" helps sell the product, but does not solve the problems caused by lack of proper oxidation.  If problems arise, refer to the Pool Problems Page, as a source of problem-solving information, broken down into various categories.  Scroll down the page and click on the linked keywords, catch phrases or images, in the archived answers below, to access additional information, on that topic or product.

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Ionizers Have Their Limitations?

I have a vinyl above ground pool with a power ionizer. I have been told conflicting advice about chlorine. The person who sold us the pool said don't add Chlorine and to use a non chlorine shock, adding it to skimmer basket. The folks at the pool supply store says our pool has no Chlorine and we need to add chlorine shock, by broadcasting on pool surface. One says don't use a Cl floater. The other one says, yes, use it. I'm confused! Help?

Hill T., 6/12/2019

My guess is that you went with the ionizer, because you didn't want to use chlorine. Am I right? If the dealer told you, that you still needed to use chlorine, would you have bought it? Telling you to add non-chlorine shock is disguising the fact, that you need to add chSaltron Reliant salt chlorine generator, for pools.emicals to oxidize wastes. In addition, the ionizer is not a complete sanitizing system. Chlorine is both an oxidizer and a sanitizer. Your system will work better and provide better results, if you try and maintain 1-2 PPM level of free chlorine. Because of the ionizer, the amount of chlorine required, to maintain any given level will be much less, than if the ionizer was not there. I suggest that you add enough quick dissolving or liquid chlorine and get a stable 1-2 PPM level of free chlorine. Keep adding chlorine, until you have a stable level. It may take more chlorine, than you think, berceuse of the condition of the pool. Once there, try and keep it there.  Adding shock to the skimmer is not a good idea.  Choose a shock that is quick dissolving, in order to avoid liner fading issues.  Liquid chlorine is ideal, as it disperses instantly.  A salt chlorine generator would have been a much better choice. It sanitizes and oxidizes and does not contribute to the chemical buildup problems, associated with the use of chlorine floaters and stabilized chlorine.  I hope that the information provided was helpful.

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 6/12/2019

What is Ionization-Oxidation?

A friend has a pool that uses something called Ionization-Oxidation. He seemed very happy with it and I must admit there was no heavy chlorine smell. It sounded too good to be true, but I didn't want to press him on the details. Can you fill in the blanks?

Jerry N., Darien, GA, 6/23/2020

Ionization-Oxidation is a hybrid method for purifying water. The technology was actually used in the space program to purify water on many manned space missions. In the better units, electrodes release controllable amounts of copper and zinc ions, to act as sanitizers. In addition, other electrodesSaltron Reliant salt chlorine generator, for pools. produce forms of active oxygen to destroy organic matter, algae and waste products. The Ionization-Oxidation unit is operated for a preset time and carries the sanitizing load, with a minimal chemical presence. Frequently, it is touted as 100% chlorine free. In the real world, better and more consistent results are gotten, by also maintaining a very low level of chlorine.  It requires very little chlorine and there should be little or no sense of this being a chlorine pool. However, the oxygenation leaves the water quickly, after turning off the unit,  and many users make the mistake of increasing the copper level.  When the copper level goes above 0.3 PPM or the pH too far above 7.2, copper staining becomes a possibility. The chlorine just helps bridge the gap between the shutting off of the unit and its restart the next day. If you are interested in a pool that uses a minimum of chemicals, you might consider a salt chlorine generator.  It is the better way to do chlorine and avoids the buildup of unwanted byproducts and does not contribute to the possibility of copper staining.  I hope that this information proves to be helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/24/2020

Ionizer Needed Chlorine To Maintain Water Quality?

I purchased this powered ionizer, for above ground pools and I think it is time for me to replace the cartridge in this ionizer. I am debating buying another cartridge, because the replacement price is going to be around $150. Can you please share your opinion and/or suggestions about this product or any others similar to it? What is your personal experience or advice regarding these ionizers? Being a new above ground pool owner, I am not able to determine if this product is worth re-investing my money again every 2 or 3 yrs. Please advise & Thanks for all your help.

Debbie R, Dallas, TX, 11/25/2017

Wastes must be oxidized, with the use of chlorine, bromine, ozone, potassium monopersulfate or hydrogen peroxide. WHAT ARE
MegaChlor salt chlorine generator, for spas and swim spas.YOU ADDING TO OXIDIZE BATHER WASTES? THIS PRODUCT WILL NOT DO ANYTHING TO ELIMINATE URINE!  Mineral sanitizers and ionizers usually suggest the use of chlorine or bromine or some other oxidizer, at lower levels, to destroy the wastes. In my opinion, stand alone ionizers fail to provide proper water quality and add to the risks of staining. In many cases, the dealer tells the pool owner that no chlorine is needed. Just add a gallon of laundry bleach weekly.  Guess what! Most laundry bleach is chemically identical to liquid pool chlorine, only at about 1/4 - 1/2 the strength.  And if you have to add chlorine, There are above ground, Salt Chlorine Generators in the same price range, as the refill, that can work in most any type of pool. I am really interested about what other chemicals, you are adding. Please get back to me.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 11/26/2017

To be honest with you, my pool guy, (who bailed on me in July), was treating my pool, as if the ionizer was not there. He said,  he wasn't too sure that these ionizers were very efficient, so he just kept caring for my pool with chlorine and shock, which of course kept my pool clean and blue. However, I was in Florida for a month when my pool guy quit, and when I got back, I had a green tinted pool. Since then, I lost my job, and have had a hard time buying the chemicals necessary to get all the algae out. Not too mention it has been raining almost every other day or 3rd day here in Dallas for the past several months. When the pool supply places test my water, I have had ELEVATED levels of both pH and alkalinity and 0 chlorine. When we finally got the ph and Alk level. Then I treat with algaecide, then 5 to 6 lbs of shock and floating 1 inch stabilized chlorine tabs. I vacuum, and still am unable to get my pool totally blue.  I think the rain is killing my chlorine levels, because I cant seem to keep it up. And those 1-lb pkgs. of shock are so expensive, it is ridiculous. I have been looking for pool chemicals online, but am unsure which ones are the best value for the money. My vinyl is solid White, with the exception of a 7 inch color design around the top edge of the liner, right about where the top of the water level should be.  I am not concerned about bleaching any color from my vinyl, yet the pool supply people, keep wanting to sell me the more expensive shock treatment made especially for vinyl pools.  Every week, when I go to the pool supply store, it is costing me anywhere from $80 to $130 in chemicals. So that is the reason I was inquiring about the efficiency of my power ionizer and whether or not I should invest in another ionizer cartridge, due to the pricing of the item. I was hoping to save on over-all chemical costs. And, after reading the info you suggested a Salt Chlorine Generator, I am a little confused. Do I have to have a salt water system already set up on my pool, to use a salt chlorine generator?  Any suggestions or advice you provide will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for all your help.

Debbie R., Dallas, TX, 11/28/2014

Like I said, an ionizer cannot work without chlorine or some form of oxidizer. At best, it can help reduce chlorine usage. Your pool was being maintained on chlorine. When the chlorine was stopped, that is when algae took over. The low pH and TA are the result of the algae and not the cause. It seems the product did little to deter algae and I would not invest in a replacement cartridge. Because this is a device, their claims are not regulated by the EPA. They can boast about no chlorine, but in the real world, the truth gets exposed. I suggest that you add chlorine and get the free chlorine level elevated.  Liquid pool chlorine is vinyl-liner safe and cost effective. Or read the labels and use a cost effective choice, since money is a consideration. It will probably require a lot of chlorine.  A salt chlorine generator is the easiest way to add chlorine and to make use of this product, you will have to add some salt to the pool water.  This is a much better option that just an ionizer. Good luck with the clean up and I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 11/28/2014

An Ionizer vs. A Salt Chlorinator?

I'm building a new concrete 26X42 pool and I'm having a little difficulty deciding on the purifier to use. One of my concerns is to eliminate as much as possible any chemicals used (i.e. I hate the smell and feel of chlorine). So I've looked at several chlorine generators and Copper/Silver Ionizers. Some vendors swear by the generators because you don't have to handle chlorine. But, they can't answer my concern that the Chlorine content of the pool is probably no different (i.e. regular Chlorinators). On the other hand, Ionizers claim to use little or no Chlorine. What can you tell me about the relative strengths, beyond trivialities, between generators and Ionizers? Any recommendations are appreciated.

Mike S., 8/22/2010

With an Ionizer you will still have to add chlorine, bromine or non-chlorine shock on a regular basis. Otherwise, organic byproducts will buildup to problem levels. The use of chlorine or bromine will act as a backup sanitizer and help assure betterRelaiant salt chlorine generators, 3-models, for all types of pools, up to 40,000 gallons. water quality. The ionization unit will reduce the use of chemical sanitizing products - how much less will depend on your particular usage pattern.  The overall pool chemistry must still be maintained, as with any pool. Your concern about chlorine should be eliminated, if you add a salt chlorine generator. Under normal conditions, it is chloramines that prove odorous and irritating. With a salt chlorination system, all the water passing through the cell will be free of odorous and irritating chloramines and there should be much less of a sensation of chlorine being in the pool.  My own long-term, experience bears this out. It is the chloramines - not the chlorine that are smelled. There are no chlorine containers to handle or store! As with any chlorine pool, you will have to maintain all of the other water chemistry parameters. Test the salt level, periodically to assure that the amount is within the proper range. Good luck with your decision. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/13/2010

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Salt chlorine generator. Magnetic water conditioner help solve scaling and hardness problems. The Pool Circulator is a replacement return jet fitting, that dramatically improves circulation. Stain Reversal Kit. #2086 ColorQ 2X - 2nd Generation Pool/Spa Tester
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Ionization 101?

Is there any research that proves that ionization or mineral purifiers are effective pool treatment options, with comparison to chlorine or bromine treated pools?

Toby W., Christchurch, New Zealand, 5/11/2012

While I don't have any research findings on ionization, I'm sure that such material exists. Ionization unitRelaiant salt chlorine generators, 3-models, for all types of pools, up to 40,000 gallons.s and Mineralizers have been around for at least 30 years. The theory is sound: metallic ions, usually copper, zinc or silver, help provide sanitizing and algae control. You still have to maintain the overall water chemistry. It will reduce chlorine or bromine consumption, but will not eliminate the need for shock treatment for oxidation of wastes, debris and byproducts. If you want to completely eliminate the need to handle all chlorine and shock treatments, you should think in terms of a salt chlorine generator. If an ionization unit is used with a salt chlorine generator, it will allow the free chlorine results to be maintain at a much lower 0.4 PPM and still have optimum results. This lower chlorine requirement will extend the life of the salt cell. I hope that I have been of some assistance.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/11/2012

An Ionizer Is Not The Best Choice???

I have an 8400 gallon pool, vinyl liner, variable speed pump, sand filter, Destin Florida 32541. It's a vacation rental home with heavy bather load, lots of kids. Water temperature above 90 in the summer. Does an ionizer need to have both copper and silver? Do they serve separate purposes? I'm getting conflicting advice from different websites, and am about ready to settle for an ionizer with copper only. I would then use my chlorinator with bromine tablets to maintain a constant 0.9 ppm bromine instead of 0.4 ppm chlorine. [Bromine instead of chlorine so as to avoid the stabilizer buildup in pool water that will occur with chlorine tablets.] I'm searching. Does this sound like a viable plan? Also, am I correct in concluding that the mineral purifiers are more expensive to operate in that they require the cartridges to be changed twice a year, whereas an ionizer, powered electrically, require the electrodes be changed every 2-3 years. Thanks for your help.

Chuck, Destin, Florida, 1/28/2011

You received some bad advice!!! An ionizer will not preclude using chlorine or bromine. Your concern about the build up of
MegaChlor salt chlorine generator, for spas and swim spas. cyanuric acid is well founded and correct. Using bromine will avoid that problem. However, bromine cannot be protected, from the destructive effects of the Sun's UV rays, as can chlorine. Bromine will prove costly to use, in the hot Florida Sun, and is a poor choice, for you! With an ionizer, people would have been dialing up the copper output, at the first sign of trouble. That would be an unlikely solution and could result in too much copper and green hair, fingernails and staining problems. I suggest that you add a salt chlorine generator. It lends itself to automation and output can be controlled, to suit the requirements. All that you should need, after the initial salt addition, is acid to control the pH. With chlorine or bromine tablets, regular additions of soda ash would be required, because of the acidic nature of the tablets. I hope that this information will prove helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 1/28/2011

Floating Fungus?

Our pool continually gets a powdery fungus in itÖthe water is clear but just light weight fungus. Iím so tired of my husband spending every night after working cleaning the pool with the vacuum. We have an ionizer. What do we need to make the chore easier? He was just out of town for a week, and the pool didnít get itís daily cleaning and itís taking him hours to vacuum to clean the liner, sides and bottom of this fungus. Our local pool people have been no helpÖand this has been going on for years, since we had it installed, almost 10 years now. I suggest throwing out the ionizer and going with a regular cleaning pump. Do you have a good suggestion?

Pat F. 9/25/2018

An ionizer is not a complete sanitizing system and requires regular additions of an oxidizer, such as chlorine. Dealers like to down play this need for an oxidizer or chlorine, as a means of making the ionizer seem more attractive. This mold, algae or
fungus evidently has become resistant to the ionizer and requires increased sanitizing and oxidation. That usually means chlorine. The easiest and best way to do chlorine is with a salt chlorine generator. A salt chlorine generator is chlorine without all the negatives. No chlorine odor, no handling, storage or buying chlorine and much better water quality. You'll have to buy some salt - common, non-iodized food grade or water softener grade - inexpensive! Thereafter, you need to add more salt only to replace that lost through pump out, splash out, backwashing or overflow. With a salt chlorine generator, all you need to do is add an initial dose to stabilizer to bring the level up to 40-60 PPM. Thereafter, the overall water chemistry should be maintained in the usual manner. Because salt chlorinators destroy chloramines so effectively, you will find the swimming conditions more pleasant and easier to maintain. You can continue to use the ionizer, with the salt chlorine generator, if you choose.  Proper salt level is important. Too little and not enough chlorine will be produced. Too much could shorten the life of the salt cell. Salt PockeTesters are the easy way to test the salt level. I hope that this information has been helpful. I hope that this information is helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 9/25/2018

Too Much Copper From Ionizer?

I had my copper ionizer set too high and I ended up with too much copper in solution. Instead of 0.3 PPM, I have 0.8 PPM. It hasn't caused a problem, because I am keeping the pH close to 7.0. I know that adding a metal treatment will inactivate the copper. So how can I get it down to a safer level and still keep the copper effective? Thanks.

Peter G., Beaufort, SC, 4/9/2012
METALTRAP Filters remove iron, copper and manganese.

Too much copper can lead to green hair and fingernails, as well as pool staining and discoloration. Fortunately, there is a
simple solution, other than replacing water. Turn the ionizer off. Attach a small submersible pump (pool cover type) and a length of garden hose to a MetalTrap Filter. Test the copper level. Keep recirculating the pool water through the MetalTrap Filter, until the copper level is below 0.3 PPM. At that point you can stop recirculating the water through the MetalTrap Filter. When the copper level drops to 0.2 PPM, turn the ionizer on again, but at a lower, more appropriate setting. This should solve the problem.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/9/2012

Sequester Or Not To Sequester?

We have many customers that are switching to ozone, ionization or mineral cartridges. We live in an area that has high mineral content, and to solve this issue we have had our customers use heavy amounts of a sequestering agent. This has solved many of the staining and discoloration issues. My question to you is will the use of a sequestering agent inhibit the effects of a mineral cartridge using silver or zinc? And if so what do you suggest to eliminate minerals while still using the mineral cartridges if the customer doesn't have a water softener? Sincerely.

Justin N., 10/31/2008

METALTRAP Filters remove iron, copper and manganese.
Chemicals used to treat calcium and other metals can interfere with ionizers and some Solar-Powere
d Mineralizers - especially those that rely on copper and/or zinc. While not all sequestering or chelating agents may cause problems, I can't tell you which products will or won't. However, there is a better way to lower the copper level. Attach a METALTRAP Filter to a small submersible pump, with a garden hose, and use it to recirculate the pool water. As the water passes through, copper will be removed. Continue, until the copper level has dropped in the safe, recommended range. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 10/31/2008

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Ionization And Chlorine?

We have a 120,000 litre ionised pool with spa to which we add 5L of liquid chlorine to weekly in summer and about 3L in winter. The pool is always crystal clear. I have recently started using a company to do the pool maintenance for me and they keep telling me the chlorine levels are too low. Should an ionised pool have a specific chlorine reading? The pH level is always too high after 1 week (usually needs about 1 cup acid weekly) - is this normal or is there a better product to use than liquid chlorine to maintain a better pH level? Sorry, being Australian, I can only work with metric!

Wendy, Australia, 9/2/2007
Unltravioloet (UV) sterilizers, for all ypes of residential pools and spas.

Liquid chlorine is a good choice. You should maintain the same free and total chlorine levels as any other chlorine-sanitized pool or spa. Even though
you have an ionizer, the levels should be the same. However, the presence of an ionizer should allow you to use less chlorine to maintain any given level. Liquid chlorine has a high pH and regular additions of acid are required. Adding an Ultraviolet Sterilizer will reduce the amount of chlorine used and make pH control much less of an issue. I hope that this information is helpful.

Alan Schuster, 9/3/2007

How Do Ionizers Work?

Could you explain how an Ionizer works? Simply, if possible. Thank you very much.

Tom M., Ukiah, CA, 12/2/2010

Most Ionizers work on the principle of adding a low level of silver and copper ions to the water. Ions are the electrically charged soluble form of these metals. The copper ions function as an algaecide. The silver ions function as a bactericide. At these low levels, staining and precipitation should be eliminated. The Ionization unit contains a silver and copper electrode and
The Circulator for all types of pools.the regulation, of the current between these electrodes, will control the amount of copper and silver ions released into the pool water. The device is plumbed in line and operates with the same cycle as the filter. In addition to the copper-silver Ionization, there must be oxidation. For this purpose chlorine or a non-chlorine shock are usually used, in order to destroy organic contamination and build up and to destroy dead algae and debris. An ozone generator can accomplish the oxidation, while reducing the chemical usage.  The overall water chemistry must be maintained for bather comfort, water quality and to protect the pool surfaces and equipment. These products will not necessarily allow you to eliminate chlorine completely, but will allow you to get satisfactory results, while maintaining a lower level. No matter how you sanitize a pool, it will greatly benefit and be more effective with better circulation.  The Pool Circulator can be installed, in the return jets and will dramatically improve circulation, thereby eliminating dead zones, which promote algae growth.  I hope that I have been of assistance.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 12/2/2010

Floating Ionizer?

You've given me valuable information before about salt water chlorinators. I've just come across a floating, solar-powered ionizer. How do you rate this product compared with a salt water chlorinator?

Kevin R., United Kingdom, 4/5/2009
MegaChlor salt chlorine generator, for spas and swim spas.

This product does not produce chlorine. It is an ionizer and probably releases copper and silver ions into the pool water, when
there is sunlight to power the solar cells. Ionizers do not have to work 24/7 and this type of unit might produce enough sanitizing ions, even if there are cloudy periods. It is however, not a complete stand alone product. It must be used with chlorine or other oxidizers, in order to destroy wastes and to act as a proper sanitizer. Salt chlorine generators are much better choices, as they can act as a complete, stand alone, sanitizer.   I hope that I have explained the difference.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/5/2009

Too Much Copper, From Ionization?

Thanks great website. I need your help I have a pool guy coming to clean my pool every week suddenly the pool sides are turning blue and under the pump where it was leaking it is purple this has been going on for a week now. He says everything is fine as far as the chemicals are concerned. the pool is in ground 20x40 the water looks clear but the sides and the baskets are turning a sky blue. Can you help? Also I also have a copper ionizer, as well.

Joe K., 5/11/2006

Metal Trap Stain Remover
I am not sure what kind of ionizer you have, but I suspect that your problem is too much copper. It could be set too high.
I suggest that you have the water tested for copper and manganese. Treatment may be necessary and that can present a problem with an ionization unit. Try placing a few vitamin C tablets on a stained area. If it works, the pool should be treated, with METALTRAP STAIN Remover. You may have to lower the pH of the pool to 7.0, discharge all of the chlorine and add a pound of the METALTRAP Stain Remover, for each 10,000 gallons. I hope that this information proves helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/11/2006

You were right it has a high content of copper. It is recommended to unhook the ionizer, which uses copper electrodes and empty half the water and then treat. Would that be your recommendations? Thanks so much. I will recommend this site to all my pool buddies.

Joe K., 5/12/2006

METALTRAP Filters remove iron, copper and manganese.
That would lower the copper content and make more staining less likely, but you still have to deal with the stains. There is
a better way to lower the copper level, without interfering with the ionizer's performance. Use a small submersible pump and a length of garden hose and connect this to a METALTRAP Filter. This cartridge-like device will remove the copper , as water passes through it. Monitor the copper levels and stop the recirculation, when the level drops under 0.3 PPM. In the future, operate the ionizer at a lower setting.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/12/2006

The Shocking Story?

I have been using an Ionizer on my pool for several years. I was instructed to use a non-chlorine shock, on a regular basis. I understand the need to shock the water because the Ionizer will not destroy organics and dead algae. I am wondering if I can use a chlorine shock, instead of the non-chlorine shock? I like the Ionizer, but maybe chlorine shock would be more convenient and cheaper? Thanks.

Bill W, 6/4/2009

Most people, buying a Ionizer, do so to avoid chlorine completely. The combination of an Ionizer and nRelaiant salt chlorine generators, 3-models, for all types of pools, up to 40,000 gallons.on-chlorine shock does just that. So far as I know, ionization units can be used with chlorine or non-chlorine shock or, better still, an ozone generator. The presence of an ionizer will allow you to maintain ideal conditions with less chlorine. These products will not necessarily allow you to eliminate chlorine completely, but will allow you to get satisfactory results, while maintaining a lower level. So long as you're going to have to add some chlorine, why not do it a better way?  A salt chlorine generator provides more control and better results and could eliminate the need to any any shock or use an ozonator.  In any event, I suggest that you follow the manufacturer's recommendations, so as to assure proper functionality and product life. I hope this information proves helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/4/2009


Dear Alan, your fame spreads far and wide! Another couple of questions from the other side of the pond (U.K.) I am considering fitting an ioniser, several manufacturers out there, some use copper electrodes, some copper and silver, some use copper, silver and zinc. from my own studies of bacterial research via the web it appears that there is a synergy between copper and silver which provides a kill rate at 4ppm which can only be matched by copper alone at 8ppm therefore am I correct that the life of the electrodes (copper and silver) will be longer due to the amount of ions required and also the electricity required will be less saving the planet a bit more not too mention that staining should be less? Second question, You do not seem to mention that some manufacturers include a second pair of electrodes (titanium or platinum) that are used to provide oxygen to burn up those impurities normally carried out via chlorine, thus eliminating chlorine completely. What are your thoughts? I have also found a German company that has made diamond surfaced plates that produce 100% more oxygen than platinum plates. Kind regards.

John W., U.K., 4/10/2015

I will always have fond memories of the UK and the pool business, having attended a trade show in Brighton, many years ago. Ionizers, sanitize by releasing metallic ions: copper, silver and zinc. As far as concentration is concerned, 4 or 8 PPM, is far too high, as that would likely
Unltravioloet (UV) sterilizers, for all ypes of residential pools and spas. result in staining and discoloration problems. Levels in the tenths of a PPM would be more appropriate, in a swimming pool. While an ionizer helps sanitize the water, it is not a complete system. Oxidation will still be required.  Towards that end, an ozonator or ionization-oxidation unit could be used to provide the needed oxidation. Because the oxygenation and ozone are so fleeting, perhaps lasting only 20 minutes, it can be challenging to totally eliminate chlorine, as its presence on a persistent basis provides both sanitizing and oxidizing. This might be required, occasionally, if the bather loads are high or conditions warrant. The maintenance of a minimal level of chlorine or bromine, helps to confirm that the sanitizing and oxidizing needs are being met. For those that want to totally eliminate chlorine. adding high efficiency filtration, The Pool Circulator for improved circulation or a UV Sterilizer will make success more likely. If you want to minimize the use of chlorine, a combination of systems may be the best answer.  A salt chlorine generator is still chlorine, but it is the better water to utilize chlorine.  I hope that this information proves useful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/10/2015

Amazing Reappearing "Rusty-Colored" Stains?

I live in South Florida. I recently acid washed my inground pool, which uses a copper oxidation electrode system rather than chlorine. The surface looked great and I refilled and balanced the pool; and then about 4-5 days later small rust stains began to appear only on the shallow end. I was told that it may be rust leaching from impurities in the marcite surface, but I don't know if this is true. I can scrub them out manually with a scrubber stone but they come back. Is there anything I can do to remove them permanently?   I was thinking of spot painting over them because I don't want to resurface the pool. None of the pool centers know how to handle this because of the copper mineralizer system I have. I really need and would appreciate your advice. Thank You!

Mike F., Florida, 5/3/2013

There are problems with dark spots on plaster finishes, but this doesn't sound like that. It sounds like fertilizer granules. Is it possible? The problem the dealer is having is that if you use a metal treatment, it may compromise the copper electrode function. The only way to treat the metals is to add a metal treatment. That will negate the copper algaecidal function, unless a suitable metal treatment is used. To provide algaecidal activity, you could use a polymer based algaecide for a few months, while the copper becomes re-established. This is one of the limitations in dealing with mineralizers or ionizers, that utilize copper, and having a heavy metal problem. There are metal treatment products that are safe to use, so be sure to check with the dealer.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/3/2013

The algaecide treatment and shock treatment, combined with chlorine tabs on each spot, successfully removed the stains. I also pressure washed to clear the top of the screen enclosure of debris. The problem is, after the pool looked great, when I went to bed. This morning new spots appeared, about 50 of them, in the same areas, but not the same spots. I have no idea what's going on, but I'm frustrated as hell. Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks.

Mike, 5/5/2013

The stains are not copper or another metal or else the chlorine would not have removed them. The plaster spot problem that has been widely reported does not respond to chlorine. That only leaves algae or some organic type of stain. Have you ever added a metal treatment?  Is your pool overhung by a tree, such as a live oak or black olive?  If chlorine was the solution, it seems that the oxidation function is inadequate, on a 24-hour basis. Perhaps, you should simply maintain the pool on a very low level of chlorine, so that there is always some present, for those times with active oxygen is not being produced. Using bromine would be even better, as it seems more effective against certain problem types of algae. It would be safe to assume that the copper is not able to control the problem, possibly due to the addition of metal treatments. Add a polymer algaecide and continue for a few months. I suggest that you shock the pool, raising the free chlorine level to 5-10 PPM. Use the brush and improvement should be forthcoming, in a day or so. Good luck.

Alan, 5/7/2013

Yes! There is a live oak above that area of the pool. Has that been known to cause this or similar problems? No, I have not used a metal treatment because the manufacturer of the copper system said not to. I agree it must be something organic, but damned if I know what it is, particularly since the stains show up so quickly.

Mike, 5/8/2013

Blame it all on the tree. As far as I am concerned the best live oak tree is a dead one. The same for black olive trees. I have a live oak in front of my
house. It makes a mess of the lawn and stains the driveway. The state of Florida makes it difficult to take this native tree down. Certain times of the year the problems are worse. If you can legally take it down, I would do it. Your problem is this. The oxidation function produces forms of active oxygen that last only for a short time, after the unit is shut off. Leaves, seeds and bits of debris from that tree will leach tannins. Without an oxidizer or chlorine present, the tannins appear as rust colored stains. It has nothing to do with "iron rust" and it is not a metal stain. Tannins can be destroyed by chlorine and other oxidizers. You have several options. Get rid of the tree. Use a very low level chlorine as a backup sanitizer/oxidizer. Lastly, a robotic pool cleaner can micro filter and vacuum up the bottom.  It operates independently of the pool pump and filter. This way there is little or no debris to cause staining. This does explain why the stains keep reappearing! 

Alan, 5/9/2013

Alan, hi! This is great because at least now I know what I'm dealing with. Before it was a crap shoot. The tree is a neighbor's tree but branches hang over my pool and (with some difficulty I fear) I'm going to find a way to cut them back. I do use an automatic pool cleaner already and the tannin stains did only seem to appear, in the six hours the motor was off at night. I'm grateful that at least we were able to diagnose the cause. Now for a solution! Thanks again!

Mike, 5/9/2013

Hi Alan, I followed your advice and had the tree cut back away from the screen enclosure. Shocked the pool, and the stains disappeared permanently! I plan on keeping a little chlorine present, just as a backup. Thanks so much for your patience and help. You have a great website!

Mike, 6/4/2013

Editors Note. In the final analysis it was simply a matter of there being no chlorine or oxidizer present during the overnight period. The problem was not attributable to copper staining. It was simply a matter of fine particles of live oak tree debris falling into the pool and leaching tannins, after the pool was shut off at night. The solution: maintain a low level of chlorine, while using this copper-oxidation unit.

Alan, 5/10/2013

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