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Simply speaking, ozone (O3) is a molecule made up of three oxygen atoms. Ozone is generated by lightning and can be found in smog. It is also a very strong oxidizer, which can make it useful in sanitizing a pool or spa.

As an oxidizer, ozone introduces oxygen molecules into the water. This causes oxidization, pulling electrons from the contaminants and consuming them. Unlike chlorine, ozone is not a sanitizer. However, it is a very strong oxidizer, which can make it as effective as chlorine.

The problem with depending only on ozone to keep a pool clean is that it disappears extremely quickly. For that reason, it may not reach the far corners of a large pool or clean really dirty water. It is recommended that ozone be used in conjunction with a sanitizer, like chlorine.

Ozone is introduced into pools and spas using an ozonator. UV ozonators use ultraviolet light to make ozone, while CD ozonators use corona discharge — similar to the electricity in a thunderstorm — to create ozone. A tube transports the ozone from the generator to a pipe, mixing the ozone with the pool water. Because ozone can help reduce a pool’s dependence on chlorine, it can make the water more comfortable for swimmers.