A swimming pool ionizer helps reduce the need for other sanitizers and keeps the use of pool chemicals to a minimum. Installed in a pool's return line, an ionizer uses a low-voltage direct current (DC) electrical charge to kill algae and bacteria in the water as it passes through the unit and back to the pool. For best results, choose an ionizer that has both copper and silver components. The copper ions kill algae, and the silver ions kill bacteria.
Installing an Ionizer Assembly
Plumb the ionizer unit directly into the pool's return plumbing after the last piece of equipment in the system. If your pool has a heater, this will usually be the last piece of equipment. The ionizer unit is a tee fitting with a clear plastic inspection tube so you can monitor the condition of the metal electrodes. Cut the return line and install the unit with PVC glue directly into the plumbing line so the inspection tube and electrode assembly is perpendicular to the return line for easier access.
Mounting the Control Unit
Turn the power to the pool time clock off and mount the control unit to the pump room wall near the pool time clock. Use number 12 insulated single strand wire and flexible PVC electrical conduit and PVC electrical fittings to wire the control unit to the load side terminals of the time clock. The load side terminals are the same terminals that power the pool pump. This insures that the ionizer will only operate when the pool pump is running. Attach the wires from the electrodes to the control unit terminals.
Running the Ionizer
The ionizer runs in conjunction with the pool pump, so it only operates when the water is flowing through the system. Generally, you will need to run the pump and the ionizer at least six hours a day for effective pool water ionization. In hot weather or when the pool is heavily used, you will probably need to run the system at least eight hours a day.
To "charge" the pool water for maximum ionization, add a product such as Instant-Ions to introduce enough copper, silver and zinc ions into the water to help boost the system on startup. A pint bottle will treat a pool of up to 35,000 gallons.
An ionizer is effective in eliminating algae and bacteria, but it doesn't oxidize organic material introduced by swimmers very well. You will still need to add an oxidizer, such as chlorine, or periodically shock the pool with an oxidizer. The ionizer will reduce the amount of chlorine or other oxidizers needed, however, by as much as 80 percent.
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