Replace Your Swimming Pool Pump's Chlorinator with Something More Fun
Every swimming pool needs a chlorinator or some other system for adding disinfectants to the water. In fact the chlorinator and the filter are probably the two components that need the most frequent attention to keep the pool operating with sparkling fresh and clear water. But there's a cheap and effective option to the chlorinator that comes with the pool installation. Here's our experience:
The pool that we had installed at our Florida home was about 10,000 gallons in size and came with the usual pumping system: A pool pump to circulate water from the pool through a filter (ours used a filter cartridge), a chemical feeder, that in our case held chlorine tablets for dissolving as water was pumped through it, and a mineral sanitizer that provided an additional layer of cleaning by destroying bacteria and algae. Ours used silver to do this, but others use copper.
The Chlorinator Breaks Down
It worked great, at least for a while. But like most plastic exposed to the sun and chemicals, the equipment started to break down and needing replacement after a few years. The first to go was the chlorinator. Since the chlorinator had been installed with PVC piping that was glued together, I had to cut into the line to remove the original unit and was faced with splicing pipe together to install a new one. But before doing that I spoke with our local pool store operator to get his advice on the best approach and replacement parts.Credit: Kem-Tek
A Floating Tablet Dispenser
He suggested not replacing the chlorinator, but instead to use a floating tablet dispenser. He had been chlorinating his own pool using only this for years with no problem and liked it because:
1. The A pool pump to circulate water from the pool through a filter (ours used a filter cartridge), a chemical feeder, that in our case held chlorine tablets for dissolving as water was pumped through it, and a mineral sanitizer that provided an additional layer of cleaning by destroying bacteria and algae. Ours used silver to do this, but others use copper.
2. The cost and hassle of periodically replacing an offline chlorinator (maybe $60 plus installation parts and labor) was eliminated. When the floater ($10) started breaking down, as they also do from sun and chlorine, you simply buy a new one and let it bob around in the pool. (We now do this every two or three years.)
3. Adding replacement chlorine tablets was simple. It’s not tough to do for either approach, but the floater doesn’t require shutting the pump off and making sure the chlorinator is tightly sealed when finished so that anyone in the family can do it.
4. By having one less apparatus to pump through, there’s a little less resistance for the pump to overcome. I don’t know how significant this really is, but I accepted it.
What We Did
So that’s what we did. The chlorinator is now gone and, since the replacement cartridge for the mineral sanitizer is pricey and hadn't been replaced in a while, I took that out too. The sanitizer may have been doing some good, I couldn't tell. We may now have more bacteria in the water without it, but after 10 years no one seems to have gotten sick and the water is as sparkling clear as ever.Credit: Poolmaster
Instead we use the classic blue and white floating tablet dispenser right in the pool. We've also done the gator style floater for fun or you could try the duck option or something else. They all work fine.
I’ve also found that I don’t have to run the pump as long to keep chlorine levels up. During the hot Florida summer it runs two hours a day. That's way less than the eight hours that's usually recommended. We also have a Polaris pool vac that runs off the return water that we use as needed.
I could probably cut the pump's run time back further in the cooler months but I don't. Our children are now grown so the pool isn’t used quite as much as before so we can get away with this. If yours is the scene of regular pool parties with more things in need of disinfecting being introduced, you probably want to run it more often. But however long you run it, if you have a floating chlorinator then it’s always getting treated.