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One of the most common battles for swimming pool owners is prevention and control of Algae growth. Nothing can ruin a backyard summer more than struggling with algae in your swimming pool all summer long. The good news is that in most cases, there are a few simple steps that can be taken to avoid the cyclical struggle with algae growth that many pool owners’ experience.
What is Algae? Algae are one-celled plants and there are over 20,000 known varieties. The word algae is derived from the Latin word for seaweed. Algae thrive in sunlight, warmer pool water, and pool water with inadequate sanitizer. It appears in pools as green, brown, yellow, or black slime often resembling fur. Algae will first show up in your swimming pool on steps and in corners where the circulation can be less effective. If unnoticed or untreated, algae can quickly spread and become out of control, sometimes in as little as 24 hours.
•Forms of Algae
Green Algae – this is the most common algae and is green in color and grows as a broad slime on the swimming pool surface. Green algae can be removed by brushing, but that doesn’t kill the plant. Brushing along with super chlorination and/or algaecides should eliminate most green algae problems.
Yellow Algae – is also known as mustard algae and can appear as yellow, brown or muddy in color. Yellow algae does not grow as rapidly as green algae, but does grow in the same broad pattern. As with green algae, brushing combined with super chlorination and/or algaecides should eliminate most yellow or mustard algae problems.
Black Algae – black algae is the worst form of algae. Black algae show up first as small dots, appearing to be specs of dirt on the bottom or steps of the pool. Slowly over time these small specs grow larger and in more population in the pool, and start showing up on the walls of the pool. This growth slowly accelerates and without proper treatment can quickly get out of control. Black algae cover itself with a hard substance and resist all scrubbing with a normal pool brush. Only a stainless steel brush will break open the hard shell exposing the algae to sanitizers or algaecides that can then help kill the plant.
Pink Algae – pink algae is not really an algae at all. It is a fungus and appears as a reddish slime in the pool. It is easily removed with brushing and normal sanitizing.
Algae Prevention There are three primary components to creating the healthiest environment possible for your swimming pool in order to avoid constant algae problems. Two out of three won’t do the trick in most cases, so make sure all three of these components are being addresses and maintained at all times. Preventative maintenance is the most effective form of algae prevention.
3. Water Balance
Circulation is a must. Make sure your swimming pool pump and motor are running properly and are in good order. You should be able to notice if your swimming pool has good circulation by a couple simple observations. First make sure your pump is pulling a full basket of water. If you see a lot of air in the pump basket, there is a problem. Secondly you can simply observe the circulation in the pool or feel the return lines with your hands to make sure water is returning to the pool with enough pressure to indicate good circulation.
Filtration is crucial. If the circulation in the pool is fine, the next step is to confirm that your pool is getting adequate filtration. Visually inspect your filter media to make sure there are not any holes or cracks in the filter cartridges or filter grids, or any of the equipment that hold the filter together. Once you verify that your filter is in good working order you will need to make sure that you are running the filter equipment for the proper amount of time each day. For the typical swimming pool, the filter needs to run for 6 – 10 hours a day, depending on the size of the pool, season, and climate.
Water Balance is the final piece to the puzzle. Once the circulation and filtration components are in good working order, the last primary issue is to balance and stabilize your swimming pool water. Always keep the proper amount of sanitizer in the pool and regularly test and adjust the alkalinity and PH as needed. Swimming pools like consistency!
Keeping these three components of your swimming pool maintenance plan in check should prevent most occurrences of algae and set you free from a constant battle with swimming pool algae.