Algae Problems and Removal

Algae is around us, almost everywhere we go. They are a single-cell plant and have over 30,000 varieties in existence across the earth. To thrive and grow, they simply need sunlight, carbon dioxide and warm water.

When it comes to pools and spas, most algae begins with a slippery, slimy feel on pool or spa walls before it is visible. It takes just a few short hours to multiply to the point where it completely overtakes the water and causes cloudiness or haze. This result is called “Algae Bloom”.

There are 3 main types of algae that are usually found in pool and spa water:

  • Green Algae – This type of algae floats in the water or forms on the sides of the pool or spa known as ‘green dust’. The water can become so cloudy that it is unsafe because you can’t see the bottom.
  • Yellow Algae – Also called “Mustard Algae” because of its mustard color. It appears as yellow powder deposits usually on the shady sides of the pool or spa walls.
  • Black Algae – This type of algae can also appear as a Blue-Green colour and forms very adhesive dime to quarter size spots on pool and spa surfaces.

Why does algae appear? Quite simply, it is an indication of poor chlorine level maintenance. Algae does not form in the presence of adequate levels of free chlorine. However, once established, algae may become chlorine resistance in concentrations up to 5 PPM Free Chlorine. The best algae prevention? Regular maintenance of free chlorine levels. Algaecides can also be used to control algae but they do not destroy the organic waste nor do they sanitize the pool after an algae bloom. However, they can be used to make up for sloppy chlorine maintenance.

Removing Algae

To remove algae, simply follow the step-by-step instructions below:

Step 1: Check your filter and see if it needs to be cleaned out. If it does, backwash it or clean your cartridge element as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 2: Thoroughly brush your pool walls of any algae. Be sure to use a wall brush that is compatible with your pool’s wall type to avoid any damage. Stainless steel brushes, while the most effective type of brush, can only be used on concrete pools.

Step 3: Determine the type of algae your pool is infected with and buy an appropriate algaecide. While most algaecides will take care of common green and blue-green algae, they are ineffective against tougher pink, mustard, and black algae strains. There are many different algaecides available to target and eliminate your specific algae problem. Visit us for more information, and follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper use.

Step 4: Verify sanitizer level & continue to add sanitizer until a stable residual level is maintained.

Step 5: Verify and re-clean your filter as needed.

Step 6: If your water remains white and cloudy for more than a few days, then a clarifier may be needed to increase the performance of your filter system.  Add the appropriate type of clarifier for your filtration system as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 7: If your algae problem still persists after scrubbing and applying an algaecide and a clarifier, then you may have a high phosphate problem. Phosphates can get into your swimming pool in many different ways. After being exposed to the sun they will transform into a food source for algae. If this is the case, then no amount of algaecide will be able to kill them off. To determine if your pool has high phosphate levels simply purchase a pool phosphate testing kit, which will give you accurate results in just a few minutes. If your pool has high levels buy a reputable phosphate remover. Once applied to your pool, the phosphate levels will fall dramatically, killing the algae in a matter of days.

Step 8: Finally, check to see if the chemical levels have returned to normal before entering your pool. This will help prevent any irritation or bodily harm. Refer to the instructions on the algaecide bottle for proper guidelines.

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