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Natural/bio pools - what's your experience?


#1

We’re looking into natural/bio pools and we’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts about them.

  • Have you ever owned, or considered owning, a natural/bio pool? What made you decide for or against them?

  • Do you like the idea of having a non-chlorinated swimming pool, or are you not convinced of their ability to deal with waterborne nasties?

Thanks in advance for your responses - looking forward to hearing your thoughts!


#3

hi
I looked into this 12 months ago when I was updating my pool equipment and did heaps of research.

the idea of having no chlorine OR any other chemicals in the water is enticing
… but, the fact of the matter is that IF you want to protect your family and guests you need to have some form of sanitation

I opted for a hybrid system - Brauer Ozone Low-Salt with Theralux Minerals - it is 100% safe, low salt TDS and low chlorine( bcoz the ozone kills any nasties) and it has low annual cost and very low maintenance
… for me, it has provided crystal clear sanitized water that is a pleasure for swimming

my second choice was the Enviroswim ES3 system - but it needs more maintenance
my third choice was Magnapool

… see my Post last Dec.16 -
Pool Sanitisers - OZONE Swim vs ENVIROSWIM vs MagnaPool v s Theralux

I did not refer to ‘natural/ bio pools’ in my above post
… because, in my opinion, to work effectively a ‘natural/ bio pool’ would require a lot of backyard space (to create the bio …) … and, I think that it would require alot of checking to ensure safety (time which working city people do not have) … they look great and it is an ideal … but …

I think that ‘personal experiences’ with pools AND the safety of your family is the best step forward


#4

I had a salt pool years ago - loved it - but I’d have to ask, how would you test a bio pool? You can test for presence of salt, presence of chlorine, etc etc, but how does one test for the absence of nasties? That aside, I don’t recall testing the water at Ormiston, Glen Helen or Ellery before diving in - they are bio-pools after all and we swim there often :slight_smile:


#5

That’s interesting @ppa! Sounds like you found an effective low-chemical option that ticks all the boxes.
Was the size required for the bio zone a significant factor in your decision not to go with a natural pool? Or was the lack of chemical sanitisation the deal-breaker for you?


#6

Good question @draughtrider! I am very curious to know how these pools deal with nasties like Crypto etc. I’m guessing that they must be sufficiently safe given that public/commercial natural pools have been approved by councils/regulators in several countries - commercial pools are usually subject to very strict controls.
I’ll do some more research and let you know what I come up with!


#7

A few years ago I looked at alternative systems when we had to upgrade our electrolytic cell salt pool system. Living a warm climate and having solar pool water heating, we were wanting to keep the pool healty and prevent algal growth.

Getting whole of life costs (looking at the equipment required plus consumables for a 5+ year period, assuming power consumption was approximately equal) showed that the alternative systems non-chlorine systems would be more expensive.

As we didn’t have any chlorine issues, we stayed with the electrolytic cell salt system as it is relatively cheap to run with salt as the prime consumable, and utilising the newer power efficient pumps.


#8

Hi again
I just saw this Domain article -

basically, it is says that -
(a) more expensive to build - ’ 85k or 25k plus install to renovate existing pool’ - bcoz need to either create the bio regeneration zone … or… build treatment underground …
(b) “Natural Swim Pools owner Wayne Zwar, who has installed about 40 of these pools over the last five years”

my personal opinion is that they would entail the same time & cost to maintain (if not more) bcoz I think that ‘constant water movement’ would be critical for a bio-pool … therefore, the pump would need to run longer (more electricity)

hopefully, these people installing the bio-pools would provide the customer with some sort of scientific testing kit - to check for nasties…

I think the bio regeneration zone looks great – but, nothing is ‘no maintenance’


#9

We used our bio-pool last weekend. To be fair, we share it with other people, and it’s not ‘ours’ as such, but I’d never trade it for an $85k puddle in the back yard :wink:


#10

Thanks for sharing this!

I’ve spoken with a few natural pool builders as part of my research for this article, and they’ve said that, yes, the pump does need to run for longer than in a conventional pool, but natural swimming pools (NSPs) use far smaller pumps, which means you use less energy overall.

Basically, the pumps in conventional pools need to be larger to push the water through the filtration system in a shorter period of time, whereas in an NSP you’re basically trickling the water slowly through the system for most (or all) of the day.

My understanding of how it works is this: the faster the water flows, the more resistance there is when it hits the filter - therefore you need a higher-powered pump to move the water. In an NSP, the pump moves the water slowly through the regeneration zone/biofilter, so there is little resistance, which means you don’t need a high-powered pump. Does that make sense?

Wayne Zwar (quoted in the article) has built at least one pool that’s run on solar, so I guess they are genuinely low-energy. :woman_shrugging:

But you’re exactly right - nothing in life is ever truly ‘no maintenance’! The person who invents a truly no-maintenance pool will be set for life!


#11

The good, the bad and the sludgy - check out @AliceRichard’s article on natural pools:

https://www.choice.com.au/outdoor/pools/cleaning-and-maintenance/articles/natural-swimming-pools


#12

hi -
not sure HOW the Energy Usage was calculated in Alice’s article - BUT, it must be wrong …
… how can the energy Usage in a Natural Bio Pool be so much lower WHEN the Pump has to run 24/7…? and, I don’t know IF States allow 24/7 pool equipment usage …
and, IF you want to run a Vacuum and Heating you need a ‘normal pump size’
… most pools run on 1hp pump… IF you have Solar Pool Heating, combined would be 1.5hp pump
… therefore, in my simplistic mind, IF you run a 1/2 hp pump for 24hrs all-year IT will consume more energy than a 1 to 1.5hp pump that is running max 8hrs Summer/ 4 hrs Winter
… it sounds like ‘Natural BioPool Salesman talk’ to me…


#13

Pump power usage depends on load as well. Most Natural pools run low loads as no pressure vessel is required, whereas the filter pumps on most households’ pools have high loads thus requiring more power.


#14

Hi @ppa. Thanks for your comment. The difference in energy use certainly does seem hard to believe when you consider that natural pool pumps run 24/7, but natural pools are set up very differently to conventional pools.

Natural pools use far smaller pumps than conventional pools because the water is circulated far more slowly. In a conventional pool, the pump has to force the water through the filter, which creates considerable resistance - think of it as trying to empty a bucket through a funnel rather than simply tipping it over and letting the water flow out. In order to move the water through the filter, quite a lot of energy - and therefore a powerful pump - is required.

In a natural pool, the water basically trickles slowly through the gravel beds in the regeneration zone, which means less resistance, meaning that you don’t need anywhere near as powerful a pump.

Suction cleaners (like the Kreepy Krauly) need a powerful pump as they work by drawing the water through the cleaner. Most natural pool owners use robotic pool cleaners, which are powered by electricity, so they don’t need a large pump to operate. (More info here: https://www.choice.com.au/outdoor/pools/cleaning-and-maintenance/buying-guides/pool-cleaners)

The energy figures were based on ‘no-frills’ pools with no heating, water features, etc and were a ball-park figure as energy costs vary across the country and from pool to pool. We shared these figures to give readers an indication of the difference in energy use - and obviously this will be different for each pool owner, and costs for a heated pool will be significantly different.

Hope this addresses your questions!