Finding the Perfect Pool Sanitizer Solution

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You don’t have to be paying very much attention to see all the buzz around alternative supplemental sanitizer products in the residential pool industry. It can seem like every few months there’s a new system on the market. UV-C and ozone have been well-known for years. In some ways they are forgotten and rediscovered all the time. Now the latest buzz is all around advanced oxidation process (AOP).

Most pool professionals are familiar with some of the options, but it can feel overwhelming. Every year it may seem like there is a new “best” system. So when it is time to recommend a system to a customer, how can you know where to begin? Is there a single “best” system for everyone?



If these systems have been around for years, why doesn’t everyone already use them? Some confusion comes from a few myths that have spread and stuck around.

Many of these myths start as an attempt to explain a technology that may sound confusing at first. But long term they can do more harm than good.

Zero Chlorine?

In the USA, there is no official or agreed-upon standard for chlorine levels below 1ppm. Will these systems reduce chlorine consumption?
Yes! Will they improve chlorine performance and destroy disinfection by-products? Absolutely! Will they reduce chlorine to almost zero? Not safely.

Maintenance Free?

Care for most systems is fairly minimal, but it is definitely required. For service pros, care for bulbs and other components are a great add-on item for regular service routes.

Is Every System the Same?

New options may pop up making big promises. Always follow up — is the product tested? Has  there been any third party certification? Is it from a company with a track record of producing quality and effective products?

Before moving into the “what,” it can help to start with the “why.” Pools have used chlorine since what seems like forever. What is the purpose of these advanced systems if chlorine has worked just fine for so long?

Are these systems just another new gimmick? In a nutshell, there are three main benefits: reduction in chlorine use, destruction of chlorine-resistant contaminants and clearer water. UV-C, ozone and AOP will all provide these benefits to varying degrees.

The most important of these is water safety. Pools can be more contaminated than we realize, to the point that chlorine is totally overwhelmed. Reports of chlorine-resistant bugs like cryptosporidium are in the thousands. Recent studies have also shown that swimmers regularly introduce a heavy load to the water. Instead of rinsing before swimming, they are essentially using the pool like a bathtub. Adding a second advanced sanitizer takes over this heavy load so that water is cleaner and chlorine works better.


What are the primary differences between the most common “alternatives?”

1. Ozone Generator Systems

Ozone is probably the most well known alternative sanitizer. Pioneers like DEL Ozone® have produced ozone generators for pools and spas since 1975. Ozone systems create a powerful oxidant made of three oxygen atoms (O3). The unstable molecule is highly reactive and destroys foreign bodies in the water. Ozone safely kills pathogens, microorganisms and other contaminants through oxidation.

2. UV-C Light Sanitization

UV-C wavelength light interferes with the DNA and reproductive cycles of microorganisms. This prevents pathogen infection. UV-C can also reduce some chloramines in the water to improve free chlorine levels. To be effective, the best systems maximize exposure time to the UV rays. UV systems do not oxidize, but they disinfect. UV systems have no effect on the water balance and typically install directly inline with the pool system.

3. Advanced Oxidation Process

AOP combines Ozone and UV-C technology to create a new reaction. The result is highly-reactive hydroxyl radicals that can destroy 99.9% of harmful contaminants. This oxidation of contaminants happens almost instantly. When it comes to pure oxidation potential, AOP is the most powerful option on the market.


With so many great choices, how do you find the right one? Is there one best system? The truth is there are many “personalities” when it comes to finding the right system. Each system is best in at least one aspect.

What is your number one and two goal when installing a system? What problems are your customers trying to solve? Consider the options, then offer them a sanitizer solution tailored to fit your needs and their desires. Below are a few things to consider when finding the right system for each pool.

Is cost a factor?

  • UV-C typically has the lowest costs for residential systems, both for equipment and installation.
  • Ozone systems cost less than AOP, and the technology is well established.

What’s your typical bather load?

  • UV-C is great for relatively low-demand pools and if no pets are present.
  • AOP is best for pools used more often and with heavy bather loads.

Is your main goal less chlorine use and consumption?

  • UV-C introduces nothing to the water. It helps reduce chloramines, but will do the least to reduce chlorine use.
  • Ozone and AOP will reduce chlorine consumption — AOP will have the biggest effect. Both can also destroy chloramines, making the chlorine more effective and preventing disinfection by-products.

Water safety

  • Ozone and AOP are oxidizers. They quickly oxidize crypto, giardia and other chlorine-resistant microorganisms.
  • AOP works faster than any single system and can be more effective than chlorine, UV-C and even ozone.

Retrofit vs. new pool constructions

  • UV-C is a good option for retrofits and can be used on any type of pool. These sanitizers adapt easily to existing systems. No dedicated line is needed for any installation. Lamps will periodically need to be replaced.
  • New construction is an ideal time to install systems that require an external injector and more control over flow rates and pressures. For ozone, this is also an ideal time to install with a dedicated ozone return.


The most important thing to take away is that every single pool should have a supplemental sanitizer system installed. These systems are recommended by the CDC and required on most commercial installations. Every single study shows they improve water safety and chlorine performance.

An additional sanitizer system will make the pool safer for swimmers by destroying pathogens. Each option will help reduce chlorine consumption and improve chlorine performance. The question is not “if” but “which one.” Maybe it seems overwhelming, but by considering a few factors it is possible to find the perfect system for every pool.

We’ve created a fun tool to make this even easier to discover. Take the Sanitizer Personality Quiz at and you will find the right system for your next installation.

For more information about Advanced Sanitizers visit or call 800-733-9060.

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