Guest Post: Ditching the Chemicals with a Natural Swimming Pool

A water fall feature - Natural pools | SustainableSuburbia.netMany people really like the idea of having their own swimming pool, but are concerned about the potential health issues that associated with exposure to chlorine and other pool chemicals.  Chlorine has been linked to a variety of health concerns including heart disease, asthma and even some cancers.

The good news is that there are a number of different options available to you including choosing alternative types of pools and using different skin treatments to act as a barrier between your skin and the chlorine. I want to focus on the former – alternative types of swimming pools.

Salt Water Swimming Pools

Some pool owners are turning to salt water swimming pools in a bid to avoid chlorine exposure. However, it is important to note that salt water pools are not actually chlorine free. That is not to say they are a poor choice as they are far lower in chlorine than a traditional pool. Salt water pools work with a chlorine generator rather than relying on you handling chlorine to be added manually.

The key fact here is that this is not a chemical free choice, so only go for a salt water pool if you are happy to reduce rather than eliminate pool chemicals.

Alternative Filters

One option you may wish to look into is a UV swimming pool filter (PDF). This means that the water in your pool shall be passed through Ultraviolet (UV) light which will kill off any micro-organisms including algae and bacteria. It is a non-chemical method of sanitizing your swimming pool and it is gaining in popularity.

Alternatively, you might wish to go down the ionization route which involves using cooper as an algaecide and zinc or silver as a bactericide. There are systems like the Floatron on the market which can be used to introduce ionization to your swimming pool.

Natural Swimming Pools

The option that interests me most of all is the natural swimming pool. These pools are chemical free and rely on plants to filter the water naturally. That does not mean you will be swimming around in a plant filled pond – these are restricted to a separate area than the swimming ‘zone’.

Natural swimming pools are really popular all across Europe and they are now beginning to get some real attention from American pool owners too. It may be more expensive at the outset, but maintenance costs are much lower as you do not need expensive filters or pool closing chemicals.  Even if you already have a traditional chlorinated swimming pool you can convert this to a natural pool with just a few modifications.

When choosing a natural pool, water is filtered through a section containing rocks, plants and vegetation before being passed through a UV filter like those discussed above. Once the water is clean and aerated it is fed back into the swimming area of the pool – commonly via a small ‘waterfall’ feature. This makes for some really interesting design opportunities. Natural pools are much more creative than the standard concrete tub that represents most traditional pools!

In terms of choosing the best way to ditch pool chemicals, I am all for going for the natural pool option. I think it offers the best choice in terms of cost, maintenance and design. If this is not possible then choosing ultraviolet or ionization filtering is the next bet thing. If all else fails then a salt water pool will help to reduce chlorine exposure. The choice you make will depend on your own ideals so do weigh up all of your options before deciding.

Ameline Clerk loves writing about home design – both interior and exterior! She writes for poolproducts.com and particularly enjoys sharing her extensive knowledge of swimming pools with others.

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As usual, this post has been shared over at Essentially Jess.

 

  7 comments for “Guest Post: Ditching the Chemicals with a Natural Swimming Pool

  1. November 26, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    The chlorine is the one thing I HATE about swimming pools. I taught swimming for 3 years and I just would hate how horrible and dry my skin would be, never mind the chlorine smell and the damaged hair!! I’m desperate for a pool, so these options sound like great alternatives!! Thanks x Karen #teamIBOT
    Karen recently posted..Podcast Episode 4: Cross Cultural Marriage and Living in Another CountryMy Profile

  2. Ameline
    November 26, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Thank you for your comment, I am glad you found it helpful :)

  3. November 30, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    We’ve built a naturally filtered swimming pool. I’m planning a post about it soon as i get a chance.
    Linda Woodrow recently posted..Roots and Perennials Planting Days in Late Spring – Hazpac-ing the CarrotsMy Profile

    • Kirsten
      December 2, 2013 at 9:35 am

      Oh, I’ll be interested to read that Linda. It sounds like a lovely idea.

  4. Emma Lloyd
    December 10, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Interesting post – would love to spend more time swimming this summer but I have always hated that chlorine smell and wondered what it was doing to my hair and skin. I don’t have access to my own pool, so thanks for that link about ways to minimise exposure to chlorine – really helpful!

    • Kirsten
      December 10, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      You’re welcome Emma, glad I could help :)

  5. May 2, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    We have a salt water pool and we really enjoy it. It does cut down on a lot of that chlorine smell. I’m interested in possibly going the natural route though. I’ll have to look into it a bit more but sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing!

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