ECOsmarte copper system: clean your swimming pool without chemicals

Part of the reason we chose the lot where our house now sits is because the yard backs on to protected green space and gets sun from the east fence to the west from about noon onwards.

And we wanted a swimming pool.

After living in the city where it’s nearly impossible to find a backyard big enough to accommodate a pool unless you’re spending in excess of a million bucks, our move to the ‘burbs came with the promise of summer days spent doing cannonballs.

Several of our neighbours had really positive experiences with a local pool company called Arcade Pools, so we didn’t do much shopping around. Instead, we spent our time humming and hawing about what size, what shape, what configuration and – most important – what kind of cleaning system to put in.

You’ve heard of chlorine, of course, and for the past few years, salt has been all the rage. Maybe you’ve heard of bromine, too, which my friend who used to be a championship swimmer put in her pool because it’s what she was used to. But you might not have heard of another option. One that involves few to no chemicals and that is enormously inexpensive to run once installed: ECOsmarte.

Arcade Pools is the only swimming pool company I know of in the GTA installing these ionic copper cleaning systems for swimming pools. He’s put in about 40 of them to date and only had two customers ask to have it changed out for an alternative.

I was nervous. I didn’t know anyone with ECOsmarte installed and I had read really mixed reviews online. Nonetheless, we went for it. The promise of chemical-free summers and cheaper maintenance on what is one of the biggest purchases we’ve ever made was strong. Plus Rick, the pool company’s owner, had one in his own pool and that sold it for us.


Hidden along the unused side of our house, ECOsmarte becomes part of the mechanical pieces that work together to ensure we have heat and hygiene.


It really is a cost-effective way to clean our pool. We only have one season under our belts, but it cost about $6 in baking soda and another $8 in muriatic acid (both of which help balance the pH levels in the water as you get used to managing the cleaning system with ionic and oxidized copper) for the six weeks our pool was operational after we installed in at the tail end of the season last year. Talk to people buying hundreds upon hundreds of dollars in chlorine pucks and this is reason enough to consider ECOsmarte.

Copper is naturally antimicrobial, has been shown to kill E.coli. (and apparently the higher the water temperature, the more it kills),

If you want to know more about the science behind how all the ionizing and oxidizing works, you can learn more here.

When it comes to the filter, ECOsmarte uses finely crushed recycled glass, which gives the swimming pool water exceptional clarity and is such good quality that it’s certified to drinking water standards by the Water Quality Association. Our water is so beautifully clear; none of that typical cloudy appearance you usually see. It’s like swimming in Evian. This glass filtration system replaces sand (or ZEOlite) in freshwater and saltwater pools. The glass is also preferable to sand because it means you only need to backwash your pool monthly instead of weekly, saving you gallons upon gallons of water.

ionized copper to clean swimming pool

This is the little kit we got when our pool was installed. It came with some little droppers to check pH levels, and I feel like a total science nerd every time I use it.

Overall, the cost is only marginally more than chlorine or salt systems, as long as you choose ECOsmarte before you start building your pool. I mean, hey, once you’re spending tens of thousands of dollars on an inground pool, what’s a thousand or two more?

Copper won’t erode pipes like salt. Bonus.

ECOsmarte started as a product for chemically sensitive, environmentally and cancer-conscious consumers in 1994. Since then, it’s been installed in across the USA and in more than 100 other countries.

Did you know that if you’re having a pool party and you run a chlorine system, you need to prep your pool with added chlorine for all of the extra swimmers? If you don’t prep it properly, you’ll be shocking the pool for days to get it back to normal. The nice thing about ECOsmarte is that it doesn’t matter how many people we have in the pool at any given time. The copper always does its job.

We have found it very straightforward to manage, but…


You really have to be dedicated to watching your pool’s pH levels. Like, every day or every other day. Ensuring it doesn’t go out of whack means you can just enjoy an otherwise maintenance-free and low-cost pool all summer. But if you forget or go away and don’t leave someone reliable in charge, you can expect that hideous green water to start emerging and then you’ve got no choice but to toss in a chlorine puck or two to clear it up and make it suitable for humans again. Fortunately, this hasn’t happened to us. At least not yet. And that’s good. ‘Cause we’re humans.

If you already have a pool and you’re thinking of switching to ECOsmarte, be prepared for a significant investment to change out your existing system.

The one thing I’m really nervous about is my and Miss Q’s blond hair. We didn’t use it long enough last year to see if the copper would ruin our golden locks. Apparently this can happen. I’m crossed my fingers that it doesn’t. Stay tuned.



So…where can you get it?

  • In the Greater Toronto Area, Durham Region, Clarington and surrounding areas, you can have an ECOsmarte system installed by Arcade Pools


DISCLAIMER: There is no disclaimer. We paid for our swimming pool!

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  1. Simone says

    Thank you so much for writing this. I was especially happy to hear that in 40 installations, only 2 converted back to another system. This is the kind of question I had. With chlorine vs salt, many people convert back to chlorine.

  2. Jeff says

    I just purchased the Ecosmarte turbo system, and I have to say I am a bit overwhelmed. I had an electrician install it since it was 220v. We called the company because he wanted to the know the amp rating, the tech (CHRIS) was very rude and continually mentioned the pdf. Yes I looked at the pdf online, but found no mention of this, and he then just would remark, I’m not sure what to tell you. Also, in the small installation booklet that came with the system it indicates that if you had a salt system, you must completely drain your pool. I could find NO mention of this on their website, and I had even talked with (BEN) at the company and discussed with him my current setup when asking about the product. Now I have the system installed, and really not sure what to do. I really really do not want to completely drain the pool of 30,000 gallons, and then refill it.

    • says

      I’m not sure because we don’t get the same kind of desert heat in Ontario that you get in Vegas. My guess (and it is merely a guess) is that you’d have to spend more time checking the Ph levels and that’s a con. Because it’s not like just dumping chemicals in every week and walking away. We check at least once every 3 days and course-correct as needed to keep the pool from going green. You may have to check daily. I’m not sure. But that’s really the only downside for us — because overall, everything else is easy and inexpensive.

  3. tj says

    This system requires a very low PH level, so low it’s bad for your pool’s plumbing. If you use your pool a lot PH change will render the copper useless and you will get algae. If you live in a hot region, the copper won’t keep up and you will get algae. Then the trouble is, the manufacturer says you can’t use typical algaecides to rid the algae, only the most expensive special liquid algaecides are compatible with their copper system. And it’s hard to localfind reps to service it as well.

    I wish I had researched these systems more before spending all the money to buy and install the ecosmarte system.

    For less than the cost to replace their copper bars, you can get a complete solar copper solution like the Remington system.

    The next time my copper bars wear out I’m going to try the solar solution. It doesn’t require breaking into your existing plumbing to fit ecosmarte’s ionization chamber, it doesn’t require a control box which fails and then you are without sanitizer for two weeks or so because you have to mail the controller back to the company and wait for them to fix it and send it back to you.

    And the cost of the replacement bars from ecosnarte is crazy too, 180 bucks? You can find them half price online but still that’s more than twice the cost of the solar system’s copper bar which is only 40 bucks.

    This system has not been worth the money or hassle for me.

    • says

      Thanks for your comment. I don’t know where you live, so am unable to ascertain if perhaps your climate may have something to do with the dramatically different experience you’ve had with ecoSmarte than we have. We are going into our fifth summer with it and would choose this system all over again. Maybe it’s because we have our pool company open and close it each year?? We live in Ontario (Canada) and our pool is open from May through October, with a heater used in May, June, September and October. In five years, we have only had a green pool once and that’s because we went away for a week and it was very humid plus we had the solar blanket on the whole time. Yes, you have to check the pH levels every day or two, but we don’t find it onerous in exchange for the very inexpensive maintenance. We have not had to replace anything at this point but thank you for the suggestion.

      • says

        I don’t think that you know what you are talking about, in my opinion you are just a shill for Ecosmarte. One is baking soda will not change Ph unless you use a whole lot of it which will whack your alkalinity. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate instead what pool supplies sell for Ph up is really washing soda aka sodium carbonate. I don’t even think that you are in Ontario as I am (Barrie)

        • says

          No. 1 – I live in Ontario. Near Oshawa, not all that far from Barrie.

          No. 2 – we absolutely use baking soda as part of our pH management. And yes, we are talking a box at a time.

          No. 3 – you’re free to call me whatever you want. I am not paid by EcoSmarte for anything.

          No. 4 – have a nice day.

          • Vince says

            Ok, I apologize for the tone of my comment, it won’t happen again. You probably do live in Ontario although you didn’t exactly specify the location. I might call you if I had your number perhaps it is in your blog somewhere. I haven’t read all of it but I will since you have my interest.
            Please explain to me why you use baking soda.

  4. says

    Helol. Just wanted you to know that we would NEVER use anything but an Ecosmarte!! Our whole family has allergic reactions to chlorine and have never had a single one with Ecosmarte. Also, when our friends with a chlorinated pool system were having to deal with 6-7 algae blooms, we had only one. (Ohio has a lot a alkaline rains.) We used a non-chlorine shock which did the trick! I tell all my friends and family with pools that not only is it great for family, friends and environment, but your pool equipment and liner will last much longer. Just an added note. We have had ours 10 years!! Enjoy!!

    • says

      Thanks for taking the time to write! We’ve had one “green” spell but it was quickly cleared up and our pool is sparkling more than ever. What’s a non-chlorine shock? I’m intrigued!

        • says

          It’s AMAZING! If we ever bought a new house, I would 100% put the ECOsmarte system into a new pool. It’s still easy to use and maintain and costs us almost nothing every summer to operate.

  5. Tom says

    How did you r pool do at the end of the summer? I am looking into installing the system and there have not been any recent reviews. Our neighbor has had theirs for one season and love it.

    • says

      Hi Tom! Our pool is going on summer #3 and the ECOsmarte system is still working incredibly well for us. I would still totally recommend it. As long as you stay on top of testing the Ph levels, it works brilliantly.

  6. says

    Thank you very much for the great review on our chlorine-free, salt-free product. It is good to hear that you are enjoying your pool and Ecosmarte System. My name is Alex and I am the Marketing Director at ECOsmarte Planet Friendly, Inc. Would you mind if we used your post above as a testimonial on our website?

    Alex Krahling
    Marketing Director
    Ecosmarte Planet Friendly, Inc.


  1. […] I don’t remember much about Canada Day as a kid other than fireworks. Admittedly, I’m a bit more over-the-top than my parents; I always buy everyone in the family matching shirts to show off our Canadian pride, and we normally head to a local park or arrange neighbourhood fireworks. This year, we did both, though we did cut the park short because it was so hot that all the kids wanted to do was go home and jump in the swimming pool! […]

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