How To Convert Your Swimming Pool From Chlorine to Hydrogen Peroxide
Your burning eyes and irritated skin may leave you scrambling out of the pool — Despite you wanting to blow off some more energy and enjoy the coolness of the water under the blazing sun.
Well, we’ve got some good news for you! The side effects that you’re experiencing are the result of chlorine (Still sounds bad, right?). Allow me to explain- most people assume that the only way to disinfect your pool is through chlorine; however, that is simply a myth at this point!
You can substitute chlorine with hydrogen peroxide, which is also a way of converting your pool into a ‘Natural Swimming Pool.’ This, of course, will rid you of all the irritations caused by chlorine and will allow you to enjoy the bliss of your pool without most of the unwanted reactions.
What Is Hydrogen Peroxide?
Hydrogen peroxide is also otherwise known as hydrogen dioxide. It is made up of two parts of oxygen and two parts hydrogen (H2O2).
You may already know of hydrogen peroxide through the various disinfectants you use to sanitize your home (they usually contain a 3% concentration of hydrogen peroxide). Hydrogen peroxide is also famously used as a bleaching agent for paper and found in drugstores in a basic brown bottle. However, it is only a 3% solution and is nowhere near enough concentration for a pool.
What Do Hydrogen Peroxide and Chlorine Do to a Pool?
It is a fact that certain substances are needed to maintain the hygiene and cleanliness of your pool. Two of those substances happen to be hydrogen peroxide and chlorine.
These substances are used to eliminate the germs present in pools, which can cause various illnesses and diseases such as E.coli, norovirus, and Cryptosporidium.
The two functions that bacteria-killing agents must fulfill are- oxidation and disinfecting. Chlorine performs both functions. However, hydrogen peroxide is not a strong disinfectant on its own.
It is, however, very functional as an oxidizer, more so even than chlorine. According to ‘Lenntech,’ hydrogen peroxide has an oxidation potential of 1,8 as compared to Chlorine which has an oxidation potential of 1,4.
It is important to note that certain conditions can grant hydrogen peroxide the ability to be a strong disinfectant- this condition happens to be the availability of direct sunlight or ultraviolet light.
The Result of Sunlight Merging With Hydrogen Peroxide
Many users of hydrogen peroxide claim when sunlight or ultraviolet light merges with H2O2, it results in a strong disinfectant.
And it’s true! Ultraviolet light, which is a segment of the sunlight spectrum, breaks down hydrogen peroxide , and voila! Strong disinfectant at your disposal.
However, it is not as easy as it sounds. There are many hurdles when it comes to carrying out this process.
Firstly, ultraviolet light breaks down hydrogen peroxide very quickly. For this reason, H2O2 must be carried and transported in polyethylene, stainless steel, or aluminum containers. It should also be stored in a cool dark place away from the reach of children for proper preservation.
Secondly, as sunlight is a part of nature, its timings and appearance cannot be controlled. This means that at night or on days when the sky is overcast, the pool will be deprived of an adequate supply of ultraviolet light.
You may be questioning why one doesn’t just use artificial ultraviolet light to solve this issue. Well according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even Ultraviolet light will have to be exposed to the pool 24 hours a day every day for it to remain successful.
This can result in increased expenses and complexity, however, it cannot be denied that this may still be cheaper than if chlorine was used!
Chlorine Prices Spiking Amongst Shortage
As you may already be aware- the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in lockdowns all around the world. This, of course, resulted in borders being closed up and therefore tourism being very negatively affected.
With so many families cooped up in their homes, this led to increased demand for home renovations, particularly those of swimming pools.
This increased demand doubled with the fact that one of America’s greatest chlorine manufacturers ‘BioLab’ burnt down after Hurricane Laura– majorly reduced the country’s chlorine supply and stimulated a shortage of chlorine tablets.
Ann Everhart of Ever-Klear Pool Supply in Phoenix has said that chlorine prices are getting very close to being 100% doubled. Moreover, in some regions of the country chlorine prices have already doubled.
IHS Markit also previously predicted that the demand for hydrogen peroxide was likely to further increase during 2018-2023, and the loss of Biolab will only further boost this demand.
How To Create a Natural Swimming Pool With the Use of Hydrogen Peroxide
- Before we begin the process, make sure to equip yourself with protective eyewear and gloves. Also, avoid inhaling the hydrogen peroxide but if you do end up accidentally swallowing or drinking it, quickly gulp down some water and immediately contact a doctor or poison control. The last precaution you must take is to avoid stocking up on more than a 30 days supply of hydrogen peroxide since it oxides rapidly.
- You will need to purchase 35% hydrogen peroxide for your pool. Do note that this is a very high concentration of hydrogen peroxide and therefore will have to be handled with care.
- You will also have to purchase hydrogen peroxide testing strips. These will aid in testing the level of hydrogen peroxide present in the water measured in PPM (parts per million or milligrams per liter (mg/L)).
- Before you start, you must retain this fundamental formula — 1 cup (250ml) of hydrogen peroxide must be used for every 250 gallons (946 liters) of water.
- You may now start the process after calculating and adding the hydrogen peroxide according to your pool’s requirement. Make sure to let the pump run for 6 hours before you dive into the pool! This will ensure that the hydrogen peroxide has been fully absorbed and, therefore, the pool is safe to swim in.
- The level of hydrogen peroxide must be maintained between 50 – 90 ppm. Use the test strips once a week to ensure that this level is maintained. If you notice the level of hydrogen peroxide slipping below 50 ppm, add 1 cup (250ml) of hydrogen peroxide for every 500 gallons (1890 liters) of water.
- Lastly, follow the manufacturer’s instructions; run the pump every night and replace the filters about every two weeks.
Comparing the Side Effects of Hydrogen Peroxide and Chlorine in a Pool
Here’s the big debate; what’s the difference between hydrogen peroxide and chlorine. And are these differences major enough to encourage one to switch to using hydrogen peroxide?
Let’s list down most of the side effects caused by the use of chlorine to disinfect pools.
- Burning redeyes
- Itchy dry skin
- Brittle stiff hair
- Decreased thyroid function
- Increased risk of bladder cancer
- Altered hormone function in boys
- Destroyed vital gut flora, eventually weakening the immune system.
Moreover, if you suffer from asthma or allergies, chlorine is likely to trigger these illnesses.
On the other hand…how many side effects does hydrogen peroxide cause? None is the answer.
Hydrogen peroxide, unlike chlorine, isn’t a chemical that is harmful to your body. Don’t believe it? What if I were to tell you that your own body produces hydrogen peroxide to sustain and stimulate healthy cell function.
Let me rectify my previous statement. Hydrogen peroxide does have side effects- they just happen to be positive ones. Hydrogen peroxide allows us to wade in bacteria-free pools, all the while strengthening our hair, skin, and cell function.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration also recognizes hydrogen peroxide as a safe substance for various purposes as long as the correct concentration is used. Therefore, it can be agreed that hydrogen peroxide is the best cleaning agent to go for if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle.