What is an ion?
An ion is an atom, or group of
atoms that possess an electrical charge. An atom is like a tiny solar
system, with a nucleus in the middle and one or more electrons orbiting
around the outside. Inside the nucleus are positively charged particles
called protons. The electrons are negatively charged. An atom usually
contains an equal number of protons and electrons. An ion gets its
electrical charge by losing or gaining electrons. If it has an extra
electron, it is called an anion. If it has lost an electron, it is a
positive ion, or known as a cation. Copper silver ion systems produce
What is copper-silver
The process that causes an
element to gain or lose electrons is called ionization. Copper-silver
ionization is the electronic release of copper and silver ions.
How does copper-silver
A set of electrodes, made up
of an anode and cathode are placed in a flow cell. This flow cell is
placed in-line with the circulation system. A controller provides a low
voltage, alternating DC current. This is passed between the anode and
cathode. The voltage causes some of the outermost atoms of the anode to
lose an electron, thus becoming positive ions, which attempt to flow
across to the cathode. In this process, the ions are carried away by the
flow of water.
How do copper and silver ions
An over simplified explanation
is as follows. The copper ion destroys the algae and bacteria by piercing
the outer membrane and disrupting enzyme balance. This also allows for
other halogens present to enter the cell and help destroy it. Silver ions
are effective as a sanitizer because of its efficiency in interrupting DNA
production preventing reproduction and accelerating the death phase of the
bacteria and viruses. While lethal to bacteria, many viruses and algae,
the system is completely safe for humans, animals and plants.
How do you control the actual
amount of ionization taking place?
The electrodes are connected
to a control panel which governs the system. By advancing the output time
on the controller, you increase the amount of ions dispensed into the
water. Buy reducing the output time, you reduce the number of ions
How do you know if ionization
is taking place?
Every Thomsontec ion system
includes a test kit that can measure a precise amount of copper ions in
the water. A single test should be done a minimum of once a week in the
hot summer months. The test only takes a couple of minutes. You compare
the color of the tested water to a chart on the test kit to determine the
copper ion level.
is the recommended copper ion level?
The recommended range is
between .20 and .50 ppm. If the reading is low, simply adjust the
controller to a higher setting; if the reading is too high, turn the
How can I tell if the unit is
The controller features a
digital readout of the duty cycle and an anode indicator. The anode
indicator will be lit when current is passing between anode and cathode.
The copper test kit tells the actual copper level.
Do I need to test for the
silver ion level?
Whenever the copper ion level
is correct, the silver ion level will be in range also. The electrodes are
a mix of copper and silver, so the right proportions are always being
released at the same time.
Is it difficult to change the
On the some models such as the
150MPC,, the electrodes come premounted in a PVC cap. Simply unscrew this
cap from the flow cell and replace with a new one. Wrap some teflon tape
around the threads before installing. On other models such as the 450MPC,
no tools are required as the electrodes are held in place by a quick
release sanitary clamp system.
How do I know if my electrodes
need cleaning or replacing?
The anode light will not be
lit if there is a problem with the electrodes. Also, running the system at
higher levels and not being able to generate any sort of copper reading on
the test kit will also be an indication.
How hard is it to install the
The installation is not
difficult in most cases. An installation manual is included with each
Will I ever have to shock my
Yes. As ion systems have no
oxidizing potential, it will be required. There are a number of
alternatives. If you prefer to use a non chlorine shock, one pound of
potassium monopersulfate per 10,000 gallons should be applied once a week
in swimming season. This non-chlorine shock dissolves instantly and you
can swim immediately after adding it to the pool. You can also use a non
stabilized chlorine. The amount will vary depending on the manufacturer.
Be sure to follow all directions from both the ion manual and your pool
Why do I need to oxidize?
Oxidizing helps maintain
clear, sparkling water. There are a number of contaminants that will be in
the water that are not algae or bacteria. These can cause cloudy water,
for example, body oils, suntan lotions, and other types of organic matter
can be present. The easiest and best way to get rid of these contaminants
is by oxidizing. Also, oxidizing helps dissolve the bio-shield that can
build up around algae cells preventing the ions from getting to the algae
and killing it.
How often will I have to
It all depends on your pool
and the environment. Maintaining good water balance and keeping regular
maintenance habits will help. Generally we recommend that you oxidize a
minimum of once a week. In cooler weather, or in dry areas, once a month
may be sufficient. Commercial pool owners are required to keep an
appropriate free chlorine residual in the pool at all times. This varies
from district to district. Commercial pool operators should consult with
their local health authority to insure they are within regulations.
Are there any other options?
Yes, ion systems work well
with ozone, bromine, chlorine and other methods of sanitation. Consult
your local pool professional for more information on your particular
Do I have to maintain a free
chlorine residual in a residential pool or spa?
In residential pools, there is
no legal requirement to use chlorine at all. In fact, many ion users
don't. They use a non chlorine shock or ozone and are very happy. However,
we are not suggesting or recommending the ion system is an alternative to
chlorine alone. Lab tests have been done and reports written that state
that a low level of chlorine and the use of an ion system is a much better
way to sanitize than either method alone. We are in favor of any method or
combination of methods that will insure safe, sanitary water and at the
same time provide exceptional water quality with virtually none of the
down sides associated with standard sanitizing chemicals. In this
combination the chlorine level is very low (<.5ppm) so it is basically
unnoticeable plus the ion system is much more effective because of the
presence of this low level of halogen providing constant oxidization. This
provides the best of both worlds.
I have other questions. Who do
I talk to?
We are always available to
help you and to answer your questions. Visit the
Contact Us page to find the best way for you to reach us with your