Algae is not a fun thing to have in your pool. It is certainly very irritating if all you want to do is relax in the water, but to do so, you have to clean it first. You don’t have to hire a professional to clean out the algae; since it’s a straightforward process, you can do it yourself with little issue.
It may seem complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it, algae won’t stand a chance in your pool. Remember to keep up with cleaning your pool and check it as often as you can. Cleanliness is the only way to keep away bacteria.
What Is Algae?
Algae are microorganisms common in wet environments. They are usually not harmful to human beings, but if a bloom occurs for some reason, bacteria are attracted to the location water source of the algae. What is an algal bloom, you ask? It is a simple term to describe when algae all of a sudden increase in the size of their population at an alarming rate.
Algal blooms are very noticeable since an almost unnatural color appears in the body of water. For pools, algal blooms are typically green. The shade of green algae varies, and the transparency can be different as well. It depends on how long you let the algae increase in your pool and if bacteria is present or not.
Signs of Bacteria and Algae in Your Pool
The first thing you will notice is that your pool is either starting to turn a shade of green or it suddenly became dark green overnight. You may also notice the presence of tadpoles and other bugs that aren’t usually abundant in your pool. Avoid swimming in it if you see either of these things, since the water is most likely no longer safe, especially for young kids.
Although it is noticeable when algae are in your pool, some bacteria show no signs of infestation. Bacteria don’t necessarily need an algal bloom to make their way into your pool; low pH and chlorine levels alone will do the trick. A lot of bacteria are due to people urinating in the water, along with dead skin cells that fall off of your body, and general bacteria that you bring in with you when you swim.
Some common bacteria found in pools are E. coli, shigella, campylobacter, and salmonella. Proper pool maintenance will prevent you from ever having to worry about any of these bacteria.
What Makes Algae Green
Other colors of algae occur in the wild, but for pools, green the most common. Algae protists use chlorophyll to conduct photosynthesis, much like plants. Photosynthesis is a process that uses sunlight to produce growth; for algae, photosynthesis aids in blooming.
Algal blooms can be quite alarming with how green they get. However, don’t be afraid to put your arm in the water while you are cleaning and testing it. It won’t cause you any immediate harm, but it is best not to swim until it is completely clean, and most importantly, do not submerge your head during the occurrence of an algal bloom.
What Causes Pool Algae
Many factors can lead to green pool algae. Sometimes it’s for one reason, but usually, it because of many. The most likely causes are a lack of circulation, a malfunctioning pool pump/filter, a low level of chlorine, an inaccurate pH level, or general uncleanliness plus environmental contributors like rain and flooding.
For example, maybe you and your family left town for a week, little did you know that the pool pump broke, thus allowing the chlorine to settle and algae room to grow, and your pool is bright green the day you get back.
In another likely situation, your pool looks great, the chlorine is up to par, the leaves and debris are cleared out, but you haven’t had time to check the pH level recently, so the rain caused it to fluctuate and made a sweet spot for algae and bacteria.
No matter the reason, algae finds a way to thrive and tarnishes the relaxation aspect of your pool. The best way to keep away pool algae is to check your pool every day and take care of it to the best of your ability.
How to Get Rid of Algae in Pool
Before you begin the process of ridding your pool of algae, you may want to do some research online as well as visit your local pool supply store. Most pool places allow you to bring in a sample of your pool water to their store, where they can test it and determine how serious the condition is. They then use that information to advise you on what products you will need.
A pool professional might recommend that you buy one of the following pool products: pool algaecide, pool shock, and/or water clarifier. Algaecide and pool shock both kill algae, and water clarifier helps to make the water clear again since it’s most likely cloudy due to the recent contamination.
Algaecide and shock use different ingredients for the same purpose. Algaecide contains either copper or ammonia to kill the algae directly, while pool shock uses a concentrated chlorine powder to clean the water and kill algae in the process. Pool shock is a little safer than algaecide, and there is a lot of debate on how harmful algaecide truly is since it’s basically a pesticide for microorganisms.
There are some pool kits available that come with both an algaecide or shock with a water clarifier. You can find them online or in a pool store. Some other stores carry pool shock, but they most likely won’t have everything you need.
Amazon is one of the quick and easy places online that you can buy the items you need for getting rid of pool algae. Most of the products are affordable too. A few items and their website links are below this section if you would like to buy them from there. Remember to consult a pool expert first if your pool is awful.
Which Product Works the Fastest
If you need to get rid of algae in your pool quickly so that you can have it cleaned and ready to go within a day or two, your best bet will be to buy a pool shock and water clarifier. Pool shock is a container of powder, which you will pour either half or a full bottle into your pool, depending on how many gallons it holds. To help the pool shock work faster, clean the pool filter beforehand and start the pump so that the water is circulating. The pool pump will allow the shock to reach every area of the pool.
After dumping shock into your pool, you can swim within the hour, but it is best to wait longer so that it completes its job and so that you don’t accidentally bring in more dirt and outside chemicals. Once you have given it some time, jump in the pool and use a vacuum and a skimmer to get larger debris and leaves out, as well as dirt stuck in the corners of the pool.
If you have water clarifier, add it at the end. Follow the instructions on the water clarifier bottle for dilution, which should be in a separate bucket before introduction to the pool. Leave your pool pump running overnight or during an entire day so that the clarifier works completely. You can swim in it beforehand, but it won’t work as well.
Keep Algae at Bay in the Future
Getting rid of algae in a pool can be stressful simply because of the time you waste running back and forth to the store and waiting for results to show in the water. Even though it is a simple process, it can be just as frustrating as a difficult one. So, in the future, when you are maintaining your pool, keep up with it, and test the water as often as you can.
Also, if you plan on going out of town, hire a pool person or ask a friend to check on your pool at least every other day to make sure the pump is running at the correct time that you set on the timer, and to skim out any leaves floating on top. Someone who takes care of pools for a living would be the best help to hire, but anyone can do the job with guidance from you before leaving town.
Here’s an idea, when you are at the store buying these pool supplies for algae, buy a few extras to keep in storage so that next time you don’t have to go anywhere to fix your pool, you can just grab it out of your closet and go.