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A True Chlorine Alternative

Clear Comfort offers a hydroxyl/hydrogen peroxide system

When Forrest Walterson, general manager at Mr. Pool Inc., in Boulder, Colo., sat in an office to learn about a new chlorine-free sanitation system, his reaction was exactly what you’d expect.

“That all sounds great, but can you show me?” Walterson remembers saying.

Walterson was meeting with Clear Comfort, which sells a two-stage sanitation system using hydroxyls and hydrogen peroxide to clean the water.

“It’s a patented technology that’s been used in agricultural applications — things like dairy farms, where cattle were being fed chlorinated water for the same reasons you chlorinate pool water, but they wouldn’t drink much water because it tastes like chlorine so they would produce less milk,” says Steve Berens, CEO at Clear Comfort. “It’s been used in power plants, shrimp farms and very large bodies of water on the whole.”

Ambient air goes through the Clear Comfort device where a combination of UV light and magnetism changes it to O1, or a hydroxyl radical. The hydroxyls oxidize impurities quickly when they hit the water and leave a hydrogen peroxide residual that cleans throughout the pool.

Wary as most pool professionals are when it comes to new water cleaning technologies, Walterson says they are closely monitoring the pools they have Clear Comfort on. “Seeing that it’s effective has gotten us more on board for sure,” he says.

Clear Comfort has one residential-size model that will treat up to a 50,000-gallon pool and multiple commercial models that scale all the way up to water-park size. For commercial customers Clear Comfort has developed a rental program.

“Our commercial customers don’t need to deploy a large amount of capital like they would for a UV or ozone system to battle things like cryptosporidium,” Berens says. Instead of a potentially big plumbing rework, “in an hour it can be functioning and operating.” The rental charge is based on the size of the system.

Berens says for commercial clients, Clear Comfort helps them know and keep down their costs, making it easier to develop and stay within their budget.

“The economics make more sense for them and for us,” Berens says. “It makes it very predictable for them; that’s why they like it.”

Clear Comfort is developing a protected, preferred dealer network. Those dealers can sell, install, service and monitor the systems.

“We’re not looking to flood the market,” Berens says. “We’re looking for serious pool service companies that really want to bring better solutions to their customers.”

Henry Wernars has been using Clear Comfort on the indoor pool at his home in Boulder since January. Having owned multiple homes with pools, the indoor pool didn’t intimidate him like it had other buyers looking at the property. The chlorine smell that permeated the house was a big turnoff, but Wernars felt he could eliminate it.

Switching to saltwater like he planned wasn’t feasible because of the existing plumbing and fixtures, however. And when the hydrogen-peroxide system he had installed started costing him $300 a month and turned out to be a hassle, he wondered if he’d made a big mistake. When he heard about Clear Comfort from a business contact, he hoped he’d found the answer.

“They came to my house and they installed this systemin two hours,” Wernars says. “I haven’t had anyone back since. I don’t have to do anything. I have no maintenance. I have to clean it about once every two months. My water looks amazing, it feels amazing and I have no costs.”

For commercial pools with high bather loads, Berens says his system has already been proven to be highly effective against cryptosporidium, with complete inactivation (4 log) reduction in less than an hour.

“Which basically translates to complete inactivation,” Berens says.

Commercial applications still need to use chlorine in order to meet code. Walterson has one unit installed at a neighborhood homeowners’ association swimming pool.

“So we’re keeping chlorine levels between 0.5 and 1,” Walterson says. “That has worked well. The water looks great over there.”

Berens says Clear Comfort is committed to helping its preferred dealers market the product and educate them and the consumer.

“We provide a lot of training and easy terms for [dealers],” Berens says. “We don’t force them to buy through distribution or retail, where they’re also competing with online pricing.”

Berens doesn’t expect Clear Comfort to end up on every pool. “This is a premium product,” Berens says. “We’re getting rid of chlorine for people who want to do that.”

“Everyone is familiar with the customer who doesn’t want any chemicals in their pool and we’re probably exposed to that more because we’re in Boulder,” Walterson says. “I’m sure that’s a common sentiment across the nation and this is something that can help accommodate those customers.”

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