Floatron for a Low Energy Pool

I recently did an energy audit of my house and discovered that my pool was a major energy hog. Due to the salt chlorination system we need to run the filter/chlorinator for between 2 and 10 hours a day to maintain high chlorine levels. We run it longer in summer as the chlorine gets removed by sunlight (even with stabiliser chemicals).

We use a salt-chlorinated system (common in Australia) where about 20A at 12V is passed through a special salt cell that causes chlorine gas to be made from the slightly-salty pool water. You dump a few 25kg bags of pool salt into the pool every year to provide the chlorine ions, the salt cell adds electrons to make dissolved chlorine. If you keep the chlorine levels high enough, it kills the algae that would other wise make your pool bright green after about a week.

I attached my power meter to the pump/chlorinator and measured 860W (200W for the chlorinator cell, 660W for the filter pump). Based on an average run-time of 6 hours/day that’s over 5 kW-hrs a day or around $300/year at my current tariffs. Added to this is a new salt-cell every 3 years (at $300 each) plus a legion of algicides, stabilisers, and other exotic potions from the pool shop. All up I would estimate around $700/year, plus maybe $150 for every “green pool event” which occurs if (well, when, actually) we are not diligent.

But it’s the 5kW-hrs a day that really bugs me. You see I want to install a PV solar array for my house that will generate perhaps 9 kW-hr/day total. No way I want to use a good chunk of that power on a pool we hardly use. That sort of energy waste is just so 20th century! To be honest I would be happy to cover the top of the pool and turn it into a 60,000 litre rainwater tank, but on a good day it does look kinda nice:

So I started looking around for alternatives to chlorine. Some Googling brought me to the Floatron. This gadget uses a completely different principle to zap algae – ionisation. Rather than using chlorine it injects small amounts of copper ions into the water, which apparently kills algae but doesn’t bother us much. The cool thing is that copper ions last for 3 weeks, regardless of how hot it is. This also means that the copper ionisation process can be solar powered, as just a minute amount of electricity is required.

The testimonials looked good, so I tracked down the Australian distributor and bought one. It wasn’t cheap, about $450 delivered. There was much “wailing a gnashing of teeth” over the price by my wife, sick of spending money on that (add choice Italian swear word) POOL, but I convinced her that if it worked it would pay for itself quickly. I was a little bit nervous about the purchase, I mean, if it’s that good why can’t I buy one in my pool shop? More on that question later.

So I threw it in the pool about 2 months ago and duly followed the instructions. As the copper levels built up I reduced the chlorine by lowering the time we ran the pool filter/chlorinator each day. So far so good, the pool is healthy and my energy use is way down. After 2 months I now feel I know how to manage the pool using the Floatrons ionisation method.

With the Floatron you still need trace amounts of chlorine (about 20% of what is normally required). As well as killing algae chlorine also acts to keep the water clear. Initially, in my rush to reduce energy consumption I reduced the filter/chlorinator run time to just 1 hour a day. However the pool water tended to be a little blue-green and cloudy (e.g. objects on the bottom of the deep end were fuzzy). Any sort of green in normally a sign of algae breeding madly, so there was a moment of panic!

However I think it was more a case of dissolved (but benign) particles in the water rather than a run-away algae event. I upped the filter/chlorinator run time to 2 hours a day and after about 3 days: clear blue water, about as good as I have ever seen our pool. The chlorine level was still very low (maybe 0.3ppm, way lower than 1.5ppm required normally), but the water was clear. Normally at this time of year (November) we would be running the filter/chlorinator 6-8 hours/day.

Now this management of the residual chlorine level gives me an added level of control. I could drop back to 1 hr/day on the pump if I wanted to. I would get cloudy water but who cares if I am not using it? No risk of an algae attack so I can rest easy. Then, if we have an imminent party or kid invasion coming up, I just up the run time to 2 hours a day to get clear water. I like having this choice – previously I was forced to keep the run time (and expense) up, waste power and effort, as if my pool ever went green it would take me 2 weeks and $150 of algicide/shock treatment to fix it.

This got me thinking about the whole salt chlorination system and business model, and the reasons why using ionisation (rather than chlorination) isn’t that common. I mean the Floatron has been around for 15 years, so why aren’t we all using it?

Think about a salt chlorinated pool. If something goes wrong, e.g. the salt cell gets blocked or you flick a switch the wrong way and you don’t notice for a few days you get a green pool quickly, as the chlorine level drops immediately, especially in hot weather.

The warmer it gets, the more quickly the the chlorine breaks down, so the more you need to run your pump/filter/chlorinator. We varied between between 3 and 10 hours/day over the year, more in summer if the chlorine levels were low, or if the salt cell was nearing the end of its life. Plus you have the expense of a $300 salt cell every few years (we have gone through 2 in 7 years). Being chemically-challenged and slightly lazy we always end up with 1 or 2 “green pool” events a year. This means a trip down to the pool shop, $150 worth of shock treatments, algicides, and much stress and head scratching while we work out what we did wrong this time.

There are other benefits apart from reduced energy costs. Running the filter and chlorinator for a only a few hours a day reduces lots of wear and tear on expensive equipment, perhaps as much as 80%. Using ionisation to kill bugs means less risk of the pool quickly spinning out of control and going green as the copper ions last 3 weeks compared to chlorine in summer that lasts just a few hours. Now all we really need to buy is a few litres of acid a month to keep the PH between 7.2 and 7.8.

So the Floatron is a great thing for a pool owner but a very bad thing for a Pool Shop owner. Just about every dollar we spend at the pool shop is related to chlorine in some way, for example pool salt, algicide, new salt-cell, stabiliser. It even saves on filter sand and kreepy-krawly (automatic pool vacuum) replacement parts as they wear in proportion to filter use. This works against the Floatron – what pool shop would stock a “product of death” to their other lines?

I have two minor criticisms of the Floatron. Despite paying for itself quickly I think at AUD$450 here in Australia it is too expensive. I would suggest something closer to the US price of US$270. Having said that I would happily buy another one tomorrow at AUD$450, just my gut feels says it should be a little cheaper. The printed manual is well written and tells you everything you need to know but is written entirely in UPPER CASE. THIS MAKES IT HARD TO READ GUYS :-) (note however the on-line manual from the Floatron web site makes good use of lower case).

So in conclusion I think the Floatron is a great product, and ionisation is a fantastic way of maintaining a pool compared to chlorination. I figure with energy prices rising the energy costs of luxuries like pools need more attention. Ionisation is low on energy, low on chemicals, less chance of algae, less irritants, and less visits to the Pool Shop!


Low Energy Pool – How I used an old salt cell and the Floatron to reduce my pool energy consumption by 75%!

89 thoughts on “Floatron for a Low Energy Pool”

  1. Found the floatron page… it’s solar powered.

    It suggests that hydrogen peroxide can be used as an oxidiser to replace chlorine… so if you get a corona discharge (not UV) ozone generator you might be able to totally dispense with the need for any chlorine. Ozone units use a few watts of power (depends on the size of the unit)… so your power usage would drop dramatically.

    …now I’ve just got to work out how to reduce the power requirements of the pump.


  2. Hi Michael,

    Yes that’s right many oxidising agents can be used. I am currently using the salt chlorinator plus some solid chlorine pills. It’s now the height or summer here, and I found that I need roughly 0.5ppm chlorine (as the manual says!) to keep the pool nice and clear.

    So I am running the filter about 4 hours a day, which is more than I would like, but much less than pre-Floatron (8-10 hours/day). I figure I can propably drop that back to 1-2 hours for the non-summer months, as discussed in the original post.

    Yes, it would be nice to try some alternative to chlorine. Not really sure where to start though…..e.g. what concentrations would be required, how to measure them and where to source equipment.



  3. Floatron for sale($199) Moved location no longer have a pool. I found it amazingly cheap to use and extremely effective

  4. You may be interested in looking at this site for some additional ideas:


    This fellow used a linux box to automatically turn on and off the pool pump based on the number of hours of daylight. I also have a salt water chlorinator (even though I’m in the US) so I was thinking of adapting his idea to control the chlorinator and the pool pump separately.


  5. hi Paul Coggins – just stumbled on this site and we are looking for a floatron. Is yours still for sale?

  6. This is a great read. I too have a salt chlorinated pool and have just put a 2kw solar panel system in my house. I am keen to try the floatron but I didn’t see anywhere in the article where exactly you tracked it down. I would love to know.

  7. Hi Chris,

    The distributor is:

    Hillarys – Swimming Pool Equipment & Chemicals
    Cornfield Place
    Hillarys, WA, 6025
    Ph 08 9401 5911

    I have a floatron because when I bought the curent place I own it was in the pool. the company above stocks spare parts, including replacement electrodes to keep the pool clear, currently $90, lasts about 18 months, with very little to zero maintenance.

    Its a great product, as it cut my chlorine usage by 90% and I’ve actually turned off the pool pump/filter for months at a time with no problems.



  8. I also have figured out that you don’t need to run a pump 8-10 hours a day; I run it 2-3 in summer (in S Fla!) and 1-2 in the winter.
    How about water taste? I heard all sorts of praise for Bromine and Salt systems and was ready to go there – until I swam in and tasted the water of one…ich! If the water tastes metallic/copper tasting, I need to know. Otherwise it sounds promising….any info from a consumer research program? Who’s the manufacturer?

  9. Great Floatron Article – I am interested in buying one but have been quoted A$687! Where did you buy yours at A$450 September last year?
    Any readers have second hand ones or know where it can be bought at a reasonable price, in Australia.

    They are only US$300 in the US ie A$470!. Does anyone know – is there a problem buying one from there? Guess you would pay 10% import duty/GST.

    Thanks in advance

    Paul, Perth WA

  10. Excellent article! Now I have more confidence in buying one. look forward to saving money from chlorine purchases and electricity bills. As a pool owner I understand your many frustrations with the pool. here are some websites that have helped me out. By the way Im not a salesman and don’t work for any of these companies…feel free to take an objective take for yourself.

    Automatic pool cleaner: JetDemon Cleans pool in 2 hrs, uses own filter bags and not the pool filter, very low electricity use, and doesn’t wear out parts like belts. Check it out for yourself…


    here is a website for using everyday household chemicals instead of buying expensive ones from the pool store…


    This website has useful info on dealing with cloudy/algae water and innovative pool products…


    Wish you all the best of luck and Cheers mates! Or as we say in SoCal (southern California) Take it easy Bro!!!

  11. Another source for the Floatron is http://www.smarthome.com. Search for Floatron. Item number 3241.

    Costs USD289.99 plus shipping (USD47.89 via USPS International Priority Parcels (has tracking)). Total USD337.88. Need to use PayPal to pay. With the AUD exchange rate the way it is today, you can save a lot.

    Took about a week to get to Sydney, including a week-end. Could be quicker if you order Monday their time. In and out of Customs in six minutes.

    Floatron themselves will not ship to Australia, even though their shopping system seems to allow you to place an order for shipping to almost any foreign country. I called and was told that our Government requires $500,000 from them before they are allowed to ship here.

  12. Wow great post! It’s clear you’ve done extensive research. I agree with your strategy on tackling energy-costs. To many people are concerned with small stuff like shutting off the lights (which consumes probably 50 cents worth of electricity if you leave it on a whole year). Instead, it is much wiser to go after the “big ticket” items. Kinda like with personal finance where its easier to save on items like a used car then avoiding starbucks.

    Most people don’t hear about low-energy pools. There should definitely be a market for them considering how much electricity normal pools consume.

  13. Hi,

    I just purchased a floatron online from smart home. I sent them an email to Floatron Australia but they have not replied and don’t have retailers on their website even though they say they only sell wholesale. We have just put on a 3kw system and the pool pump uses so much power as does the solar water pump to warm the water in the day as we live in Victoria. The article above appeared in Renew which I received in the mail a couple of days ago.

  14. Just ordered it off smarthome also. Not really cheaper than USA prices but I paid in aussie dollars through paypal around $350 delivered. For me my aim is to drop pool filter pumps from 6 hours to say 2 will let you know and thanks for the article……

  15. Hi Marc and Debbie – good luck with your Floatron. Over the last few summers we have run our filter on 3-4 hours a day, down from 8-12 hrs/s in summer pre-Floatron. In winter 1 hour/day. Haven’t been to the pool shop in 2.5 years for algicide, shock treatment etc!

    Some times in winter (or when we go away) I turn the filter off entirely for weeks at a time. It then goes cloudy, and a little green. However you just run the filter a few hours a day, and maybe add a few chlorine tablets to get the chlorine to 0.5ppm and within a week it’s back where you want it. Much easier to recover from than pre-Floatron where it would take a legion of chemicals to bring it back. It never really “runs away” with the Floatron system.

    Currently I am working on a solar powered salt-cell with no filter. Just the salt cell sitting in the pool. I want to reduce my 3-4 hours/day filter run time in summer to 1. So the idea is generate small amounts of chlorine I need from a small solar panel, rather than running the filter just to make chlorine. I’ll blog on this soon.

    – David

  16. Hi David,

    Just read your article in renew… nice work! The Floatron sounds like a good idea for controlling algae in swimming pools. FYI, the traditional chemical for controlling algae in surface water is copper sulphate, so I have no doubt the Floatron provides a similar type of treatment for algae.

    The only issue I had with your article is that you don’t seem to address the potential problem of pathogenic microorganisms in your pool. Although chlorine will assist in killing algae, its main benefit is to reduce pathogenic microorganisms, originating from human faecal matter. To effectively kill these pathogens you need a relatively high concentration of chlorine maintained for a defined amount of time. There is also a second group of pathogens not easily destroyed by chlorine, known as Protozoa. Protozoa are usually removed by filtration.

    I’m sure that this is not a huge problem for your plan as long as you avoid swallowing the pool water. Although this could be the reason (as stated at the bottom of your article) that the Floatron can only be used in ponds under the Aust Standards.

  17. Hi Nick,

    Thanks for your comments – sounds like you know your chemistry! The Floatron site has a test report that suggests the Floatron also zaps microorganisms, but you would be better placed than I to evaluate that report (the sample size is just 1).

    The Floatron is approved for use in many other countries. My personal view for non-AU approval is that it is death-to-pool-shops. :-)

    Nick – if bacteria became a problem, how would it manifest itself? For example would the pool change colour, or would a harmful level of microorganisms remain at the invisible level?

    Could I evaluate the number of micro organisms in my pool using a microscope or simple equipment? Would be a great test to try.



  18. Hi David,

    Yeah, I work as a drinking water scientist for a Water Authority.

    Microorganisms are invisible to the naked eye even in high concentrations, and due to the nature and variety of microbial species that can be regarded as pathogens, it is very difficult to test for all of them. In the water industry we tend to use an indicator organism known as E.coli. If E.coli is present then it is likely other harmful species are too. The test for E.coli is relatively simple but unfortunately needs to be conducted by an experienced laboratory to get accurate results. The test is usually cheap. You will need to do several E.coli tests to see what’s happening as the levels will change after each use of the pool or addition of chlorine. Most healthy humans can tolerate consuming low levels of pathogens and sometimes build up some resistance [this is why most people on tank water don’t get sick], however young children, the elderly or people with low immune systems may get very sick.

    FYI, to produce safe drinking water we usually dose at about 5 mg/L (ppm) at the inlet to our water storage tanks. This level drops off quite rapidly due to the chlorine demand in the water (i.e. reacting with organic compounds, microbes etc) to 0.1 ppm.

    So I guess an alternative to the lab testing might be to occasionally superchlorinate your pool to kill off most of the microbes, then run it as you’ve suggested the rest of the time. Also remember to maintain your filter to minimise chlorine resistant protozoa (e.g. Cryptosporidium).

    Here’s a few Vic Gov websites that may be of interest – http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Swimming_pools_water_quality?OpenDocument

    Good luck…

  19. Thanks Nick, BTW I think your posts above would make an excellent letter to Renew commenting on the Floatron article. Good information the share.



  20. I’ve been using a Floatron in my swimming pool now for well over 10 years (with no sign it is wearing out). I have found it works well. I really great bonus has been I only need to attend to the pool once a week, instead of every day. It definitely saves lots of money, massively reduces chlorine needs and pump use.

  21. For those looking for the quick find on Home Smart for the floatron, click on the link below.


    US Dollar price $289 plus shipping $47.89 = $336.89
    As a converted cost in AU dollar as at today 30th December 2009
    using .88 for conversion = $382.83

    Our quarterly electricity bill is regularly AU$80 to $100 higher than our neighbours and we run the filter during off peak hours between 1am to 7am each day.
    Let alone the ongoing costs of chlorine and other chemicals, top up water(tank), water blanket and roller, any other maintenence and time!
    There are only two of us in our home, and we rarely ever use the thing (pool) any more. But is looks great and adds “value” ?? !!!
    So any reduction in chemicals and electricity will more than pay for itself in less than one year.
    So the initial cost is short term pain for long term gain!
    Mine is now on it’s way here.

  22. Hi Nobby,

    Thanks for that link.

    An average of 6 hours a day, at 1100W (our pump + salt chlorinator) is 6(1.1)(0.2)(365)/4 = $120 per quarter at 20 cents/kWh. But as you say thats just the start with pools.

    – David

  23. My only concern is though that every picture I have seen of the Floatron it has it in a pool without a solar cover. Here is South Australia we have requirements that the pool has a cover. Does anyone see an issue of perhaps the floating being in a localised area (a cut out in the pool cover) or the separation of the solar panel from the electrodes? Obviously separating the two would void the warranty on something that is expensive but my concern is that I don’t want to take the cover off for extensive periods.

  24. I live in SA but I don’t cover my pool. The Floatron manual (search on pool cover) suggests leaving a part of the cover off or making a small hole, just big enough to fit the electrode. Especially in the off season I don’t think it not moving will be a problem, as the ions will diffuse with occasional filter runs or just by themselves.



  25. Hi,
    Could anyone comment on the actual amount of direct sun needed to make the Floatron work?
    In QLD, pools are often built to get a lot of shade and mine for instance, probably doesn’t get much more than 2 h/day of sun on part of the pool only.
    Similar issue if we get a couple of cloudy/rainy summer days (but still hot). Will the floatron just stop working or is the diffuse light enough to keep the ionisation going?

    Wondering also how long would the electrode last or any other parts?

  26. Hello Phil,

    It’s a good question. Couple of things to consider:

    1/ Everyones pool gets some shade, mine probably gets 5 hours/day direct sun in Summer.

    2/ Even then the Floatron may drift to a shaded part of the pool, so I figure most people don’t anything like a full day of sun on their Floatron, and it’s probably designed for this.

    3/ The electricity from the solar cells is reduced when out of direct sun, but it’s not zero.

    4/ It takes about 3 weeks for the copper ions to build up and about 3-6 weeks for them to drop away. Much slower process than Chlorine, which can drop out in 1 day. So several days without sun is no big deal.

    5/ In my pool (60,000 litres) I have the Floatron in for about 2 weeks out of 4 to maintain the copper level. In a heavily shaded pool you might need it 100% of the time.

    6/ You could always leave it in a bucket in full sun for a few days then dump the water into the pool.

    – David

  27. Phil,

    My first electrode lasted 2 years and cost $100 including postage for a replacement. Like the Floatron I feel it’s overpriced (the electrode is a simple copper rod) but it’s a lot cheaper than the costs associated with the alternative Cl system. There are no other parts that need replacement.

    – David

  28. I’m very new at this and find the chemical jargon confusing. I live on the NSW/Q’ld border and my pool is in full sun for most of the year. It is a 75,000 litre pool and I wondering whether it would only require one Floatron. I have just experienced a ‘green pool’ event due to a clogged salt chlorinator and never want to go through that exercise again.
    Primarily I am looking at a way to reduce the electricity cost associated with running a pump 10/12 hrs per day during the summertime.
    I’m also wondering whether anyone has looked at the possibility of having the pump filter running as a ‘stand alone’ with its own solar panel?

    – Sue

  29. Based on my experience with a 60,000l pool one Floatron would be fine.

    A 1kW grid connect PV system would about cover your pool energy use, hell of a waste though.

    I am experimenting with powering just the salt cell from a 20W solar panel. The salt cell is sitting in the pool with no pump attached, just both ends open. I am relying on natural circulation, and I can see bubbles coming out all day long while the sun is up.

    I also have the regular salt cell connected to my pump, and currently run the pump 2 hours a day. The pool is staying clear however the Cl level is very low, so I think I need to try a bigger solar panel.

    – David

  30. Can anyone give me an Australian supplier of the Test Ion kit for the Floatron, ours is aout to run out. ‘Fish’ website WA. in past comments here
    does not seem to be a supplier – just an information site.

  31. Dianne – I purchased my replacement electrode from sales_at_floatronaustralia_dot_com so I imagine they would carry the test kits.

  32. My wife had a question after I asked my last one about what happens if things are not running right. At the moment you go to your local pool shop, get the water tested and then they tell you how much of your money you need to spend on their product. If the chlorine levels are being substantially reduced how do you get accurate testing of the other levels? I am really keen but need to convince my wife fully before we will be able to give it a shot.

  33. Hi Anthony,

    Yes I recall those detailed pool shop tests, usually followed by $150 leaving my wallet! I think the other chemical tests would still work, but the pool shop will tell you you chlorine is way too low. They will also tell you to add shock treatment or similar which wipes out the copper and interferes with the Floatron operation.

    Once a week we just test chlorine, Ph, and (very rarely now) the Floatron copper level.

    To be honest we dont really need visits to the pool shop any more to get the water tested.

    The most common thing for us is the chlorine goes to zero, and we get a cloudy or a slight greenish tinge. However if you bump the filter up a few hours/day or add some chlorine tablets when the chlorine reaches 0.5ppm the pool is clear again. Its very easy to correct, unlike the previous “green pool events” which were major problems (runaway algae I guess).

    In winter or when we go away I turn the filter run time right down and let the pool go cloudy on purpose, knowing I can recover in a few days if I need to use the pool.

    – David

  34. Great info David – thanks for starting this blog. I’m in Perth WA and have been concerned about the pool power for some time. This sounds like the answer.
    Does anyone with a Chemigem (auto chlorinator) also use the floatron? I guess I can just set it very low. But what about the acid which is also added automatically? Would I turn that down too?

  35. My company supplies Del Ozone, Dontek Ionizers, Water Quality Testing Strips and Meters. I’m also an energy Assessor conducting Sustainability Audits. One of my colleges directed me to your Blog David.

    Answer to James is yes wind down the Chlorine but not the Acid you need to maintain your pH levels. Chemigem and an Ozone or Ionizer is the perfect combination.

    I recently changed over a Salt Chlorinator to an Ozone system for a customer who was closely monitoring their energy consumption with a Climate Smart meter. The running of the pool went from 9kw p/h to 6kw p/h, using a 3rd less energy is a huge saving on energy and money not to mention the saving on using less chemicals.

    A 240v ionizer or ozone only costs on average $20 per year to run anyway.

    My next advice to anyone using alternative sanitization methods is that you will need to take care of pool yourselves and educate the local Pool Shop if you must. Simple accurate Testing Strips are available Pool Check 3 in 1 Copper Tests for Copper, pH and Total Alkalinity, Pro Ozone Tests for Ozone. If you local Pool Shop isn’t maintaining Ozone or Chopper charged Pools it is very likely that the Copper Tablets used in the Test will be expired when they come to test yours.

    For more info please feel Free brett@poolbits.com.au

  36. Great post David,
    I read it a while back and have been looking into the floatron for a few months. as well as your electric car exploits, which is truly fantastic.
    I have an eBike and am increasingly envious of you!

    Theres a site thats based in the US that sells the floatron for $299US but they dont mail to Australia?!
    The cheapest I have found it here in Perth is $450AUD +$20 postage from the Hillarys who are the local distributors. seems like rather a large markup, anyone know anywhere cheaper?


  37. Hi Brad,

    Actually I am kind of envious of your ebike :-) But my pushy is about the only exercise I get :-)

    A people above seem to have ordered from the smarthomes site, not sure how the handled shipping.

    I paid $450 AUD from a Perth Floatron dealer and it has been well worth it.



  38. Just had a call from Floatron Australia in WA. They will ship for $450 plus $20 postage and handling. Phone 08 9401 5911. When you work out exchange rates and fees this works out to be a pretty good deal especially as they handle all warranty claims and fully support the product.

  39. In addition to my last comment. I just ordered one from WA on the phone but he said that, although he is looking for distributors in the Asian region and in the eastern side of Australia, it can be ordered from him using the email.

  40. This is really a good post, and thread. I live in the US and a site SolarDirect.com sells the floatron for US$289 and the thing seams wonderful. I was considering a UV system to lower the clorine levels. For me I am just sick of the pool with the high clorine levels, so we tend to let them fall low, maybe because we forget or because we are cheap (but cost more later if not maintained, I know it) but mainly I just don’t like the clorinated water. I feel bleached every time I get out of the pool. Anyways this thing sounds the best and technically it seems the cheapest of all the options out their the UV system is like $600 and you still need to maintain the clorine levels like the floatron. Also the replacement for the bulbs is just as much as the replacement electrode as the floatron. I do like the UV because it says that it kills the e.coli and all the other little bugs out there. But the floatron does not really address this. As mention in this post already. That is the one thing I want to know more about. I will me making sure we get one on these for or pool this year.

  41. Hi,
    Ive had my floatron in the pool for about 3 weeks now.
    I dropped it into the pool with a tiny little bit of chlorine just as the pool was just starting to “turn” and I was a little worried that it would be too much for the little thing to deal with 55,000 litres of algae filled water, but between it and the chlorine it has slowed the initial spread of the green menace and has since turned the pool back to its normal state. the chlorine is now only at a trace level and the copper is ionising nicely. so far so good!

    David, how did you go with your solar powered salt cell?

  42. Hi,
    The Floatron sounds great, but before deciding to buy, if copper ions do the work of keeping the green algae from growing, what about just putting in a teaspoon of copper sulphate in the pool every few weeks. That adds copper ions just like from the Floatron copper anode. Anyone think otherwise? Copper sulphate is very cheap.

  43. G’day Dave,

    My Dad spotted the floatron in an eco magazine and told me all about it. After reading this blog to see the pros and cons I decided to buy one. I live in north Qld and have had it in the pool for about 2 and a half months now and have the pool pump down to 2 hrs a day. We moved into our property just under a year ago and in all that time the pool has NEVER stayed as clear and beautiful for 3 weeks better loan 2 and a half months. I am very happy with the results so far. Just have one concern though I was wondering if anyone has had any dramas with black spot I am beginning to see a few large black spots here and there that are not wanting to scrub off. (Hopeing they are bat droppings)as I am not familiar with black spot algae. They are all different sizes and shapes. If you could give me some feedback as to if there has ever been black spot concerns with not running the pool as much while using the floatron, it is a 60,000 ltr fibre galss salt and chlorine pool. The copper kills algae doesn’t it? or is black spot a whole new kettle of fish.

    Many thanks Dave I apreciate your time.

    Kind Regards

  44. Hi there,
    I have had the Floatron for 3 months now after finding out about it in Renew.
    So far I have not had a green pool and so am happy in that respect. However every time I do an “ion test” I still am only getting the bare minimum reading and so haven’t dropped my Cl production down as much as I had hoped to by now. I have been cleaning the electrode every week with the wire brush. My pool is 84000L and I live in southern NSW where it gets very cold.
    Any tips?
    PS Have loved reading all these comments!!

  45. G’day Dave,

    False ALarm, Definatley NO Black Spot, have found it is only leaves leaving markes, but they come off over time or straight away with Chlorine.

    JENNY I have also found that my Ion doesn’t get to the level they say it should either, but have decided not to worry about it as it is beautifully clear and at this time of the year I have turned the pool off for a week at a time and found that it stays beautifully clear as it has always been since I out the floatron in.

    The Floatron is awsome it is keeping my electricity bill right down and no chemicals except a cup of Chlorine maybe every 2 months before guests come over.

    I RECOMMEND IT TO EVERYONE!!! Very happy customer

    Cheers :-)

  46. Just found this blog and our compnay Bioniser use to be the importer of the Floatron before selling it to WA. Have quickly read most of this blog and the agree with most things said espaecially the part apart pool shop not pushing ionisers because of lack of chemicals sales.
    Pushing my own boat for a moment and helping to answer concerns about bacteria, is the new product we sell called a Bioniser. The anodes have a high level of silver (6%) contained in the mix to kill bacteria which a Floatron never had. This silver with small chlorine or Hydrogen Peroxide levels (0.4ppm) will kill bacteria faster than even just straight chlorine. Read this report http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst;jsessionid=MDzJw6cskmzV29sTFwjD21V2ht2q1WjqJRrRrtQNZvL7ldQHvv1h!-730112469!-1455036664?docId=5002317684 then have five minutes.
    In relation to power concerns a Bioniser draws 13w/hr so about $4.98 per year in 50,000 L pool from last calculations.

  47. Thanks for the blog David, it helped us with the decision to purchase a Floatron back in early February. We are in a similar location to Sue (7 Jan 2010 reply) with a similar size pool which gets full sun in the swimming months. Found the Floatron works as advertised. Looks like the electrode is wearing out fairly quickly, so we’ve taken it out during non-swimming season as we only need to run the pump for 15 minutes per day to keep chlorine up at 3ppm (pool is always covered when not in use). Then when the swimming season commences, we curl the corner of the cover back and pop the Floatron in, bringing the target chlorine back to the 0.5ppm. So for us the Floatron is a swimming season tool for not having to wind the pump/filter run time up so much. It seems a versatile little thing!

  48. great post here and my question may be an odd one. A friend has a floatron and raves about it so I’m very interested but his blue pebble tec pool seems to have a greenish tint to it and my wife is very concerned that our tan/brown pebble tec pool will turn green from the copper ions. has anyone else noticed any greenish coloring of the finish of their pools from the floatron? Everythinh I read about it makes me want to get one but I need to know that one answer.

  49. We live on the VIC/NSW border and have a salt-chlorinated 80,000 litre pool. We bought a Floatron in March 2010 and are looking forward to our first summer with a Floatron.

    One of the slight hitches we encountered was that our copper testing kit doesn’t seem to work particularly well. For many months it showed no traces of copper and now it only gives a reading of 0.1ppm whereas our pool shop test on the same day said it was 0.4ppm.

    I have a few questions for you, David, about the levels of other chemicals:

    1. The Floatron instruction manual suggests ph range can be 7.2-7.8 but our pool shop assistant said her experience with ionised pools was that the ph should be maintained at 7.2-7.4. Any comments?

    2. The Floatron instruction manual does not have any suggestions for salt levels. In the past we needed to maintain these at 4,000ppm and our pool assistant suggested we could let this drop to 500ppm. Do you agree?

    3. Do you agree that Alkalinity levels should hover around 120 (again no mention of these levels in the manual)?

    4. Finally, you mention the need to oxidise the water every so often in summer (presumably to burn off the ‘bad’ chlorine). The pool assistant suggested we do this too and recommended two cups of granular chlorine every week. Would you agree with this regime?

    Thank you very much for getting back to me on this. I haven’t found the Floatron distributor at Hillarys in WA to be a very useful source of information on his product so I really appreciate any enlightenment you can provide!

  50. Lizette, I can help you with a couple of these and let David or someone else provide the rest.

    1. Floatron copper test kit. We have experienced the same situation – I’ve stopped using it and just use the occasional pool shop copper check. I can see the floatron is working as the electrode is gradually dissolving the copper into the water.

    2. pH and salt levels. I think your pool shop is confusing the floatron with a full blown pool ionizer. Most people use the floatron as part of a hybrid setup with salt chlorinator or manual chlorination. Like us, if you have a salt chlorinator you still need to keep the pH and salt levels within the chlorinator limits (sounds like 7.2-7.8 and 4000ppm for you also). General concencus is to keep the pH towards the 7.2 end where possible for various reasons. If now you are aiming for chlorine level of .5ppm with the floatron in, compared with say 1.5ppm previously, then you only need to run the chlorinator (and hence the pump) for one third the time (providing the filtration is otherwise satisfactory). This is how the floatron achieves the energy saving. If you let the salt level drop too low, you need to run the chlorinator for longer and this defeats the whole purpose.

    Sorry, can’t help with the alkalinity advice and we don’t manually add chlorine at all – the chlorine generated by our salt chlorinator does the job just fine.

    Hope this is of a little help!

  51. The most accurate way to use our Bioniser Copper Ion Test Kit is to make sure the pH is between 7.0 and 7.4 (which others have also pointed this out) and to also make sure the Calcuim Hardness is between 200 to 250ppm. This use to be the same for the Floatron reagents unless the formula has changed since we had the distributorship.

  52. Thanks very much, Rod, and especially Grant for your replies. It was not only the lady at the pool shop who told me to reduce my salt levels but also the ‘new’ Floatron distributor (Brian). Brian suggested (rather unconvincingly) that because we could aim for an 80% reduction in our chlorine levels, the same applied with to salt levels (i.e. we aim to get salt levels to 80% of what they originally were). So thank you, Grant, for your advice on this – it certainly makes more sense to me. Any additional comments by David would be gratefully received.

  53. Hi, thanks for a great blog. I have just ordered a floatron from smarthome -A$350 delivered to Sth NSW, (sorry to the local suppliers) and can’t wait for it to arrive as we have just installed a 1.5Kw solar panel system and don’t want to see all go into our pool pump. I have read all the posts and would like to add my thoughts.

    1 A very early post mentioned the power needed to run the solar water heater as well as the pump/filter. Since buying a Daisy solar water pool blanket 4 years ago, I have not used my solar heater and I am hoping to get rid of it. My lovely (and happy) wife still gets her 32deg C water and my water evaporation rate has been nearly zero as the cover goes on when not in use.
    Unfortunately this means running the pump/filter for 10-12 hours a day. hense the floatron

    2 During winter, I pack the blanket away, add a small amount of copper sulfate and turn the pump/filter off. The copper sulfate prevents ANY algae growth until the water starts to warm up in spring. This leads me to a post by Doone in March suggesting whether this process could replace the floatron. I wish I had thought of this last week before buying the floatron. Perhaps a teaspoon of copper sulfate every now and then could result in reducing pump/filter run times even more.

    Hope someone finds this useful. Bring on the hot weather!

  54. Fascinating blog. I am trying to develop a natural swimming pool, as is more common in Europe, where filtration is achieved by and large by planting. Algae is the bane of my life. Does anyone have any experience of using the floatron in that scenario.

  55. Awesome blog. Thanks sooo much. I have just moved into a house with a 45000 litre pool and am trying to deal with an algal bloom at present. It’s driving me mad!!! My question: Our pool has an ioniser as a sanitiser already but having just received an electricity bill of $200 for 14 days (that’s $5200- per year) I have freaked out and was wondering if the floatron would allow us to reduce filtration time as well. Can you use a floatron with a copper/silver (aquamatics) ioniser or not???? When I checked the electricity meter it was spinning as fast as it could with the filter on and almost stationary with it off so I’m guessing the filter is the culprit!!!! Any advice would be appreciated…I have NEVER had a pool before and they appear to not come with manuals…

  56. What a great site this is. We are renovating our pool and looking at alternatives and came across Floatron. Whilst the US website has a lot of information, the Australian website seems all about fish. Is there a reason for this? We live in Melbourne and am hoping we get enough sunlight to make this worthwhile. All the comments seems positive so hopefully all will be good

  57. Hi the reasion the floatron web site in Australia is All about Fish is that it is there for the Asian Market Koi Fish are big in the Asian Market The Floatron product is the same product for the swimming pools as the koi fish but the differance is you cant put chlorine with the koi fish it will kill them if you use floatron for your swimming pool you you have to put chlorine with it there is no problem it is the same product as the koi fish product when you buy a floatron in Australia your Warranty is covered in Australia and you get the Back up and service and replacement parts Brian of Floatron Australia

  58. Reply to Jane OCT 15 2010 in line copper silver systems do not save power you have to run them all the time this is were the floatron comes into its own because its solar powered and running it with your in line system and cutting your pumping time down the saving time is huge it pays for itself in the first year if you have have a large pool you will see a big reduction in your power bill also when you go on holliday you will be amazed how great your pool looks when you come back Brian Floatron Australia

  59. We are limbering up to reinstate our derelict 70,000ltr in ground pool, and were thinking of using a Zodiac Tri Pro automatic chlorination unit.

    Having read the above comments, it seems that using a Floatron in combination with an automatic dosing unit might work quite well. I am a little concerned about the eColi comments and reduced breakdown of organic stuff. Would the combination be a good solutionm, or overkill?

    I assume the filter and everything else would be the same.?

  60. smarthome tells me that they cover warranty for 30 days & after that we go to the manufacturer. Has anyone purchased a floatron from USA and had experiences with warranty claims?

  61. Can anyone tell me what the minimum concentration(in ppm) of copper that is needed to kill Algae. What range does the Floatron recommend?.

    1. David, Floatron recommend .2 to .5 ppm copper, with .3 being “normal”. My pool is between .3 and .5 and is clear as anything. My Cl level is well below recommended (not sure exactly what), so am only running my pump for 1.5 hours a day! Water temp is 32deg thanks to a daisy pool cover. I even had the pool pump out of action for 3 days due to a blown capacitor and the pool stayed clear. Floatron works brilliantly.

  62. Maurice, thanks for the information. I have been experimenting with coppper sulphate in the pool and the levels of copper I have measured are in the range you mentioned. My Cl level is around 1ppm. So far the pool has been extemely clear but I have still been running the pump for about 8-10hr. I will now decrease it and see what happens. When I have completed tests I will let people know all the parameters.

  63. Can anyone tell me if the Floatron will keep ‘black spot’ at bay. I noticed someone had mentioned it before, but then said it was a ‘false alarm’. Sadly, my black spot is not a false alarm, but an ongoing problem. I just can’t seem to get rid of it. Just when I think it has all gone, a new batch sprouts up. The pool shop keeps saying add more acid, but it doesn’t seem to be helping. Of course, I have added all the recommended chemicals, scrubbed (I have even water blasted), and vacuumed the pool to within an inch of it’s life, but it just reappears after a few weeks. I thought it was pretty much under control for the moment, until I had the pleasure of trying some scuba gear in my pool, where upon I noticed that there is still lots of new blooms (I think that’s the technical term, please feel free to correct me if I am wrong).

    1. For me I found that after a few weeks of Floatron use the black spot fell off, however it could have been other factors.

  64. Hello David and everyone,
    This product looks like the thing for us. One year ago we bought a house with a pool (it just came with it :). not salt water, and 62000 litres, sand filter, with a drip feed chlorinator working off the filter pump. Being cash strapped we have become extremely energy conscious. Over the year I’ve experimented a lot with filter run times in effort to keep power and liquid chlorine costs down. Works fine during the week when no one is swimming, in fact I’ve not been running it at all Mon and Tues. The pool has ‘tended to green’ by Friday so I would shock it with 500grams of granular chlorine Thursday night. With a litre of acid the next day. Works a treat! I used the granules rather than liquid as concentration is 70% versus about 12%, a huge cost saving. The downside is calcium hardness in water, but 500grams once per week has had little impact. This cycle would be perfect, except for one thing! and that is the very fine brown algae dust all over the bottom of the pool. I’ve found this to be very hard to pick up! it passes straight through the sand filter back through the return lines dispersing into the pool, extremely unsightly. It also sprays out through the fine weave of the Polaris bag. With the manual hose vac I don’t like vacumming to waste due to water loss. What does work, is vacuuming with TWO filter socks over the skimmer basket, and a clarifier gel block inside the basket. But VERY time consuming, after every two strokes of the vac I have to turn it all off and clean the socks and put them back, and do a backwash every 2nd/3rd sock clean (as even some still makes it through). Not an ideal cleaning routine.
    Sorry for the long story, my question now is that if I have a Floatron, is it likely to control the algae better, stopping it before it falls as this brown dust to the bottom? It seems like it could be a lot more preemptive so could be my answer! I gather most pools (without Floatron) don’t experience this dust simply because the systems are on almost 24hrs a day (constant chlorination and filtration is preventing the algae formation in the first place).
    Thanks and sorry for the essay…, Mike

  65. Thanks for everyone’s info here, I purchased a Floatron about 3 months ago and I’m very happy with it. Now that the pool is looking so good all the time I have started to notice the little imperfections on the pool walls (little stains)that I wish to clean/remove. My pool has pebblecrete walls.

    I had little stains on the pool walls before the Floatron(rust spots and stains) but my pool seems to stain easier now from foreign objects entering the pool.

    Has anyone else noticed increased ease of staining? Thanks.

  66. We have had a floatron now for 2 months and after 4 weeks the ion concentration reading went high .5, so we removed the floatron from the pool. We have had it out of the pool for 1 month and the reading is still higher than ‘normal’ . Our pool has not gone green but is a little cloudy. We are only using a third of the chlorine tablets we would normally use. We have reduced the pump to 5 hours a day. We were told by the supplier that we had been running the pump too long (8 hours a day) and that this had caused the ion levels to go very high. Our pool is large: 80 cubic metres – any advice on what to do when readings are high and how long can you keep floatron out of the water, etc.

  67. Wow I’m glad i found this site , as there is a lot of positive comments on the Floatron System , I do have a couple of questions , as i have a salt water pool do i need to keep the salt levels up and does the salt effect the way the Floatron works , I understand to produce clorine i need the salt.
    Does the salt effect the copper rod in any way. Thanks

  68. I am another Floatron user. The thing just works! I live in Sunny Southern California. Weekly visits to the pool store were routine, and my electric bill was something I dreaded to look at during the summer months.

    Now that I have had the Floatron for about 1 year, I can tell you that it has worked well for me. I have a 27,000 Gallon pool. I leave my Floatron in all the time. Pool has never been green since. I put one tablet of chlorine in my dispenser weekly. I run my pump 3.5 hours a day. With our sky-high electric costs, the Floatron paid for itself in about 5 months.

  69. I’ve had a floatron for a year no. The water is better than in the past with the salt chlorinator. I fully agree that the Australian price is too expensive. Floatron ought to ship it direct from USA to buyers in Australia as even with shipping it would still be cheap. The price for replacement electrodes is an absolute rip-off in Australia. At $97 for one electrode (plus $13 postage) it is outrageous. It ought to be about $55 for an electrode. And it doesn’t get substantially cheaper if buying two or three of them either.

    It;s rip-offs like these that cause Australian consumers to buy on the internet from overseas – except that with this one they have it tied up as Floatron won’t ship to us from USA.

    I’m wondering if anyone can advise if there are alternative electrodes used in some other ioniser that would fit the Floatron and that we can buy at a much lower price.

    Any suggestions?

  70. Thanks one and all for your advice/input. Have just had a 50,000 litre pool renovated and the builder commented that in the past he has taken out 4 ioniser pool systems he was asked to install because of problems with staining. I just discovered that the previous house owner took his ioniser system with him and left a salt water chlorinator in its place. The builder said, that explained why he couldn’t shift the green copper tinge out of the pebblecrete as he didn’t know the pool had an ioniser installed before. He advised against it for a pebblecrete pool as you cannot shift the copper out of the concrete once it is in.

    My question is, if I go ahead with a Floatron do I still put the 6 bags of salt in the pool or not as it is fresh water at the moment. My aim is to reduce power costs and not have the salt or excessive chlorine, as it is rusting the doors and window frames due to electrolysis. Thanks for any input.

  71. Hi Colin,
    From the advice I have had you do not put salt in with the ioniser and if there were salt in it when you first put an ioniser in then you do not replenish the salt and let it gradually disappear over time eg from rain filling the pool and draining water out. The ioniser is for fresh water.

    I hope someone can provide an answer to my query re substitute electrodes.

  72. Great site, lots of fantastic information. I was keen to seek an opinion from the group around the safety and health of the water. A pool guy and the pool shop have both dismissed the floatron as dangerous and that is why they are not certified for use in Swimming pools in New Zealand and Australia. They claim that the device kills the algae but not the bacteria and that by reducing the chlorine you could have dangerous bacteria in the water and that you have reduced the sanitising effect of the chlorine. I would really appreciate some feedback and opinions on this – regards Ian

  73. REPLY TO POOL SHOPS why do you think pool shops rubish Floatron its because it cuts them out of selling all the add ons that go with swimming pools Floatron has been sold in the tens of thousands in the world it has been going 24 Years and never had a problem it speeks for is self it has copper and silver in the electrode there is not many products that stand up for everything they say about the product this is one Brian

  74. to clear things up…….
    other than inventing the product, we have been manufacturing (made in USA) and marketing the floatron around the world since 1989, with a couple hundred thousand units sold. we do know more about the product type and process than any other, including the so called ‘experts’. when someone makes negative claims, it is quite common that the motivation is other than factual; ie, financial.

    remember one thing: there exists not one product which is in essence “set it and forget it” for the pool industry…. although, it would be nice. the floatron mineralizes pool water (or other bodies of captive and recirculating water) with copper, zinc, and silver. this is all good. any amount of minerals in a pool is better than none, as the mineralized water offers superior quality and protection against undesireable organisms…but, at least a small amount of oxidizer should be used. there are those geographic areas which experience acid rain which actually replaces the oxidizer – that is one “good” thing about acid rain. this phenomenon occurs in the new england area of the USA, for example. normally, once mineralized, a trace amount of oxidizer / chlorine / non chlorine oxidizer is all that is necessary.

    other factors affect just how easy – or not – your water is to maintain, including hardness, other chemical additives present, pool surface condition, amount of rainfall, etc,,, with the most common source of management problems being really old water….as in many years old. actually, pool water gets harder and harder over time due to evaporation, and sooner or later, it must be changed out. we have not seen one example of a pool store recommending this to any customer – ever. without changing out excessively hard and high chemical residual water, you can expect an impossible situation. not only can minerals not do their job, chlorine cannot either…..

    all in all, the floatron is quite simple and cost effective. if a problem exists, there is a reason. we (the factory) most likely know the answer.

    regarding government “approval”…. we have seen that this is more politically motivated more than any other reason, as it brings in additional revenue to the government. for example, the floatron was marketed with great success in Australia for twenty years, but all of a sudden we were to pay for testing and proving that it does what it should, to the tune of six digits of money. as a company, we found this to be absurd. the way many countries are adopting new and universal codes, it is becoming increasingly difficult for legitimate products to continue providing the consumer with a quality product, such as ours, without undue (unnecessary) hassle and expense. this seems to be the way of the future; accordingly, chlorine may well be the only choice for water management in the future…. a frightful thought.

  75. Is there any effect from the Floatron copper ion generation on concrete pool surfaces? Is there a risk of colour staining?

  76. I wish we could buy the parts (eg electrodes) at a price similar to that in the USA. At about twice the price here, plus postage, it seems like a bit of a rip-off.

  77. Hi There – The cost of a replacement anode in NZ is about $150!. After having an anode tested, I have discovered that it comprises of 91.12%Cu, 7.21% Zn & 1.18%Ag. I have sourced a similar material at a 10th of the cost, but it has no silver component. Are you aware of the impact of no silver in the anode? I believe I might have to add a bit more chlorine at times to keep on top of algae.

  78. Hi, – been reading the blog as I am about to put in a new pool in France and want to minimise energy use. Assuming I use a Floatron and salt chlorinator, any thoughts on what size pump, filter and chlorinator to use? The pool is 72m3 and 1.5m deep. Any thoughts welcome.

  79. Hi Roger,
    We recently switched from a one-speed pump to a two-speed one, which saves us masses of energy. For normal filtering purposes, we run the pump on slow speed, which is sufficient to filter all the water in our 20,000 litre pool in 8 hours, although we actually only run it for 2 or 3 hours per day. We turn it up to fast for cleaning, for a few minutes as needed. By running the motor slightly slower, you save over 80% of the energy. Here’s some info from the US Govt Energy website – (in California, single speed pumps have been banned because they waste so much energy)
    Energy and Cost Savings Comparison – note the reduction of energy used from 12.6kwh to 2.2kwh per day!

    The following example illustrates how replacing a single-speed pump with a variable speed pump can create significant energy savings. The average residential swimming pool contains 25,000 gallons of water and has a suggested
    turnover rate of 24 hours. A single-speed pump drawing 2,000 watts, operating at 3,450 rpms and generating a flow rate of 66 gallons per minute can turn over the entire 25,000 gallons of water in roughly 6.3 hours. (25,000 gallons / 66 gpm) /60 minutes = 6.3 hours At this rate the single-speed pump would consume 12,600 watt hours or 12.6 kWh per day, to
    turn over the pool.
    6.3 hours x 2,000 watts = 12,600 watt hours (12.6 kWh) However, because of the Pump Affinity Law, slower flow rates create greater energy savings. In
    the field, a variable speed pump set at a flow rate of 22 gpm will draw 116 watts and turn the pool over in 19 hours but only consume 2.2 kWh of electricity.
    (25,000 gallons / 22 gpm) /60 minutes = 19 hours 19 hours x 116 watts = 2,200 watt hours (2.2 kWh)

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