Chlorine alternative disinfection technologies is a huge industry. It
is perhaps most commonly found in the use for disinfecting swimming
pools and spas because of concerns of toxic chemicals being absorbed
through the skin. Many chemical alternatives to chlorine and electronic
disinfection systems still may produce dangerous disinfection
byproducts. Copper ionization is a safe and effective technology and is
the ONLY technology that offers a healthy alternative for pools, spas,
and drinking water.
Do not be fooled by imitations. Intec was the first company to
commercialize this technology and has been selling it to consumers for
over 30 years.
This page is intended to educate individuals on the technology and has
a question and answer section that addresses the most common questions.
Transition Metal Ionization (TMI)
There is sufficient evidence that transition metal ionization can offer
superior disinfection capabilities over currently utilized methods
without producing harmful disinfection byproducts.
How TMI Works
The biocidal effect of copper ions stems from a combination of
mechanisms. These positively charged metallic ions attach to the
negatively charged algae or bacteria cell membrane and causes cell
lysis and death. Metal ions will bind to the sulfhydryl, amino and
carboxyl groups of amino acids, thereby denaturing the proteins they
compose. This renders enzymes and other proteins ineffective,
compromising the biochemical processes they control. Cell surface
proteins necessary for transport of materials across cell membranes
also are inactivated as they are denatured. When copper binds with the
phosphate groups that are part of the structural backbone of DNA
molecules, the result is the unraveling of the double helix and
consequent destruction of the molecule. Unlike chlorine, transition
metal ionization does not result in dangerous halogenated organic
by-products such as trihalomethanes, chloramines and chloroform. Also,
copper ions are stable, making it easier to maintain an effective
residual. Furthermore, the ions will remain active until they are
absorbed by a microorganism.
Health Benefits of Copper
The health benefits of copper is well documented. The trace mineral
copper helps prevent anemia, bone and skeletal defects, a degeneration
of the nervous system, defects in the color and structure of hair,
reproductive problems, and abnormal cardiovascular problems. Also,
copper is as important as calcium and zinc for bone formation, red
blood cell integrity, skin and immune functions, nervous system
functions, propagation of oxygen throughout the bloodstream, and the
conversion of beta carotene into vitamin A. More information on copper and human health.
What is an Ion? Ions are atoms which carries either a positive or negative charge.
What is Ionization? The electronic release of copper ions.
How does Ionization work?
A safe low voltage DC current is applied to the copper electrodes. As
the ions attempt to move from one electrode to the other, many of them
become suspended in the water.
How does copper ionization purify water?
Copper ions have the ability to pierce the protective outer membrane of
a cell and disrupt enzyme balance thereby killing algae. Although
lethal to bacteria and algae, this process is completely safe for
humans. A multitude of scientific tests have been done proving the
effectiveness of copper systems over chlorine. Experimentation at the
University of Arizona proves that such mineral ions, in conjunction
with trace chlorine are 1,000 times more effective against algae than
Is ionization all that you need for your water?
Copper ionization completely purifies water. Even though copper is
effective a killing algae and bacteria at a wide range pH level, it is
still necessary to maintain a proper pH balance in your pool. A light
flocking agent or oxidant may be necessary as a filtration aid to
remove body oils, suntan lotion, or hair.
Is ionization safe?
Not only is it safe, but the minerals used for water purification are
recognized as essential minerals to the body. Normal concentration in
spas and hot tubs is about 1/3 the amount allowed by the Environmental
Protection Agency for drinking water.
How is ionization safer than chemicals?
Most, if not all of the chemicals used to purify water are caustic and
or toxic. Many of which are now thought to be Carcinogenic.
How is ionization better than chemicals?
The need for high levels of chemicals is eliminated. Also eliminated
are the strong chemical odors, damaging effects on hair, skin, fabrics,
liners and spa equipment.
What are the operational Costs?
In most cases, the electrodes will last two to five years and are
relatively inexpensive to replace. The only other cost is the
electrical consumption which is only a few dollars a year.
How often will I have to test the water?
You will need to test the pH level every few days to ensure proper
water balance. You should test for copper residuals at least once a
week. The ion system is pH neutral so it will not change your water
balance like chemicals do. Calcium hardness will need to be tested
twice a year.
Will ionization damage my plaster or vinyl liner?
Absolutely not. Matter of fact, it will last longer due to the fact you
are not using strong oxidants. Typically it will increase the surface
life of your liner/plaster three fold.
Will the system cause staining of plaster?
Stains are caused from dissolved organic and inorganic materials in the
water molecule and by a low pH. Scale, which is often confused with
staining, is caused by a high pH. Any pool disinfection method could
cause staining or scale if your water chemistry is not in balance.
However, Intec uses only highly purified copper which is more effective
at disinfection than what our competitors utilize. Also, our
disinfection levels are almost 1/3 of the level set by the EPA for
staining concerns making it theoretically impossible.
Does your system use salt?
No. This is not a salt water chlorinator which converts sodium chloride
(salt) into sodium hypochlorite (bleach). Although very popular,
corrosion issues related to the salt are a common complaint and growing
For information on chlorine free pools, please click here
For information on copper ionization for drinking water and livestock applications, please click here