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.
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.
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!