The Straight Story on Ionization Purification

Here’s the short answer: Nature2 ionization is a great pool care system that can make pool care easier and more comfortable. Those people who have had problems with it have generally expected too much—possibly because a salesperson sold them the sun, the moon, and the stars. The purifier does not replace chemicals. It reduces some chemicals by replacing them with the chemicals inside the cartridge. The purifier is not a filter.

Nature2 Purifiers, used as directed, will maintain your swimming pool water to at leastdrinking water standards. However, Board of Health swimming pool standards do require heavier chemical use—because drinking water only has to not make you sick right from the tap—and it gets no chance to pick up bacteria or algae while it’s in a sealed pipe from the treatment plant to your faucet. It is not intended to protect strangers who take baths together.

Swimming pool water, however, has to stop the transmission of disease between two people in the same water. Mineral levels too low to make you sick can still cause staining of the pool walls, or prevent the sanitizing chemicals from working.

Therein lies the essential problem in pool care. How do we keep the sanitizer level low enough for the customer to enjoy the water, but high enough to prevent most or all pool problems? Actually, we can’t. So, we’re going to offer you several chemical recipes to use with your purifier—and you can decide what the proper level is for you.

How Does It Work?

The Nature2 Purifier works in two ways. Inside the cartridge, a chemical process creates nascent oxygen from the water, which is a very strong oxidizer. It immediately and effectively kills bacteria and algae, but only inside the cartridge. This oxygen never gets into the pool. However, the cartridge also erodes copper and silver ions into the water, in a similar fashion to copper and silver algaecides. The copper works best on algae, while the silver works best on bacteria.

This patented mineral process is compatible with chlorine or monopersulfate chemicals—which must be used along with the purifier—but not with biguanide polymers (Baquacil® or Softswim®), or any form of bromine. If you are switching from biguanide to Nature2, you should switch to chlorine alone for a month before adding the purifier. Residual biguanide can form a waxy coating over the chemicals in the cartridge.

If you are switching from bromine to Nature2, you should drain the pool. The permanent bromide salts already in the water can in some circumstances, create hypobromous acid, which will inactivate the silver ions in the water.

The Recipes

There are currently two Nature2 chemical recipes, dated 10/25/95, for the chemicals that you use along with your purifier. They both have the same start-up procedure, using chlorine. They both also require chlorine for winterization.

The chlorine-free recipe is used by about 13% of the people who use Nature2 Purifiers. It eliminates the side effects of chlorine, but there is nothing in the system that is an EPA-approved sanitizer. If you find that people using the pool are complaining of ear, eye, or other infections, try switching to a chlorine-based recipe for a while. An ozone generator and Proteam Supreme would be a big help.

The low chlorine recipe is used by about 87% of the people who use Nature2 Purifiers. It reduces the side effects of chlorine, by running a chlorine level much lower than the usual chlorine-based pool. Three Notes: it takes a special “DPD” test kit to test for free chlorine. If you have an “OTO” kit (with a liquid that turns yellow when you test for chlorine) you have the wrong kit. Nature2 calls for shocking with one pound of chlorine granules per 10,000 gallons of water. However, chlorine comes in lots of types and strengths. Only one of them is correct at that amount. When in doubt, follow the directions on the chlorine container. Finally, they call for cyanuric acid at 50 PPM (parts per million). We’re not inclined to disagree, but everyone else in the industry maintains at 30-40 PPM.

Our recipe would be similar to Nature2’s low chlorine recipe. Ask for a copy of our recipe card for Medium Chlorine or use their recipe card and make the following changes:

  1. Allow the free chlorine residual to drop to 1.0 PPM to 1.5 PPM after start-up. Give yourself some room for error—increase the chances of killing an infectious disease being passed by two people next to each other in the pool. 
  2. Run the filter 8-10 hours a day, preferably during the day, and always when people are in the pool. The cartridge is only working while water is running through it. 
  3. Every day (preferably between 4 P.M. – 6 P.M.) check the pH and chlorine. Maintain the chlorine always at 1.0 PPM or higher. Maintain the pH level at 7.2 – 7.4. That’s where the chlorine works the best. 
  4. Balance the total alkalinity (and all other balancing factors) three times a season: opening, closing, and mid-July. It really doesn’t change very often, and it takes a computer to do it properly and inexpensively. 
  5. Shock every two weeks, with a chlorine-based shock appropriate for your pool type and other chemical brand. Just follow the directions. Adjust your timing so that you shock soon after heavy rainstorms and heavy use. If you wait until the water has started to turn, it’s going to be much harder to turn it back. Plus, chlorine builds up levels of chloramines that render the chlorine ineffective. Shocking fixes that. But, unless you have very sophisticated testing equipment, you can’t tell that the chloramines are there. Shocking regularly fixes problems before they become problems. 
  6. Use metal-free algaecides according to label directions: ours are 3 ounces per 10,000 gallons per week. Since this is an EPA-registered product, we cannot tell you to use it differently. However, you probably don’t quite need a full dose, because Nature2 Purifier is also adding algaecide (the copper and the silver). 

Do’s and Don’ts

Do: Run your filter regularly—that’s how the purifier works.

Do: Buy a new cartridge every year. Once the cartridge is activated, it goes bad six months later, whether it’s running or not.

Do: Use the right size cartridge for your pool volume. Three months of a 15,000 gallon cartridge in a 30,000 gallon pool does not equal six months of a 30,000 gallon cartridge.

Do: Use a silicone-based lubricant on the Purifiers O-ring.

Do: Use the Professional Purifier if your pool has more than 80 GPM (gallons per minute) flow. The premium unit won’t handle it.

Do: Balance the water before you put the cartridge into the Purifier.

Don’t: Use a metal based algaecide (copper or silver). It may stain the pool, and will void your warranty.

Don’t: Use a petroleum-based lubricant on the O-ring. It will ruin the O-ring and void the warranty.

Don’t: Use a mineral chelator. It keeps the copper and silver from working.

Don’t: Put any chemicals through the purifier (like if you pour chemicals through the skimmer). They may ruin the cartridge. If you have to put chemicals through the system, take the cartridge out first (but keep it wet and put it right back when you are done).

Don’t: Use a purifier on a pool that used to be Baquacil or Softswim until it’s been converted to chlorine for at least a month.

Don’t: Use a purifier on water that used to be bromine or sodium bromide unless you drain the pool. Some treatments for yellow and “mustard” algae contain sodium bromide. So do some chemicals that are supposedly for “converting” a pool from Baquacil or Softswim to chlorine. Check your ingredients carefully.

Don’t: Use an above-ground cartridge on an inground pool. It voids the warranty—the cartridge actually has slightly different chemicals inside, with much higher copper levels.

Don’t: Start up a new cartridge unless the pool has been properly balanced to a Langlier Index of -0.3 to +0.3. That’s what pool water labs do. It could ruin the cartridge.

1996

Please let us help you, anytime.

IMPORTANT

Pool Size: ___________ Gallons Technician: ___________
Date: ________________

We write Pool Tips for the exclusive use of our own local customers. They are meant as a summary of general information, to be discussed in our store, with our staff, to determine which items are best for specific pools. Pool Tips are a trademark of Gull Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Our suggestions assume that you have given us a proper description of your pool’s size, history and symptoms. Sometimes we can figure it out, sometimes we can’t. Your doctor has years more training, far better diagnostic tools, and makes way more money—and sometimes he or she gets it wrong, too.

  1. Read all labels carefully, and only use chemicals exactly as described on the label. Never mix chemicals together outside of the pool. Some of them can cause a fire or explosion.
  2. Do Not follow any advice or suggestions here without coming into the store, customizing them to your specifics, and receiving them in writing.
  3. Do Not print these out or reproduce for any purpose whatever. They are all copyrighted, and we take our copyrights very seriously.
  4. Don’t Blame Us for anything. It’s free advice, and worth the price paid. We’re trying to help, but pools are complex, and chemicals and electricity are dangerous.
  5. Our Best Advice: Go find a local pool dealer who knows what they are doing, become a steady customer, and give them a chance to learn about you and your pool. Pick a brand, pick a store, and stay with them.