Swimming Pool Algae Problems?

What causes Algae problems?

Every pool owner has, at one time or another, done battle with the occasional algae bloom. Algae spores constantly enter the pool, brought in by wind, rain or even contaminated swimsuits or equipment. When conditions are right, an algae bloom can occur seemingly overnight. These conditions include out of balance water, warm temperatures, sunlight and presence of nitrates and/or carbon dioxide. Of course, a lack of proper circulation, filtration and sanitation may be the primary cause of the algae. The best process is one of elimination.

Algae is a living aquatic creature that multiplies rapidly on warm, sunny days. Containing chlorophyll, algae utilizes photosynthesis to grow. That is, they take in carbon dioxide and expend oxygen as a byproduct.

What problems can Algae cause?

The first noticeable problem is that no one seems to want to go swimming. The second problem is that it requires work and effort and money to rid the water completely of algae. It is therefore best to use preventative chemicals and techniques, described later. Algae can cloud and color the water, making rescue attempts difficult and reducing depth perception of a diver. Algae itself is not harmful to swimmers, but pools with algae may also be harbor to pathogens like E-coli bacteria.

In addition to clogging up sanitation pathways in the water, algae also clogs up the pores in a filter, decreasing filter effectiveness and requiring more backwashing or medium replacement. Algae creates a chlorine demand in the water for itself, actually consuming chlorine that should be working on other contaminants. Algae are kind of like weeds in your garden. Unsightly, unwanted space takers that create more work for the gardener, and sap up nutrients and resources from the flora we wish to grow.

What types of Algae are there?

There are over 21,000 known varieties of algae! In the pool business we avoid all of the complication by referring to algae by the color they exhibit.

Green Algae:

An extremely common variety, green algae will usually rear its ugly head immediately following a hazy condition in the water from a lack of proper filtration and/or sanitation. It is frequently found free floating in the water, although it also will cling to the walls. It reduces water clarity and is thereby distinguished from severe copper precipitation, which will impart a clear, green color to the water. Varieties of green algae also appear as “spots” on surfaces, particularly rough areas, or places where circulation is low. They also show up as “sheets”, where large wall sections, or even the entire pool, is coated in green slime…UGH!

Yellow Algae:

A wall clinging variety, also called mustard algae, is usually found on the shady side of the pool. It is sheet forming, and can be difficult to eradicate completely. Once begun, a pool owner could spend the entire season fighting yellow algae; re-infection is common. This variety is resistant to normal chlorine levels and must be dealt with firmly. Hit it hard!

Black Algae:

Perhaps the most aggravating strain of algae, it has been compared to herpes; “once you’ve got it, it’s there for life.” This is not entirely accurate, but the difficulty in eradication is due to the strong roots and protective layers over top of the black algae plant. Black algae will appear as dark black or blue/green spots, usually the size of a pencil eraser tip. Their roots extend into the plaster or tile grout, and unless the roots are destroyed completely, a new head will grow back in the same place. The heads also contain protective layers to keep cell destroying chemicals from entering the organism. Like yellow algae, black strains can bloom even in the presence of normal sanitizing levels and proper filtration. I was once told that this form of algae commonly enters a pool inside the swimsuit of a person who’s recently been to the ocean.

Pink Algae:

Not really an algae at all, but a form of bacteria. Appears as spots or streaks in corners and crevices. It is slow to spread and rare that it will bloom over an entire pool.

Pool Masters of America to the Rescue!

The Good News is: We make it our daily mission to seek out and destroy these types of Algae blooms from ever starting in our customer’s Pool!!!

At Pool Masters of America we feel it is important to educate our customers of the many factors that can affect your Pool and why it is so important to maintain your Pool’s chemical balance throughout the year.

We hope that you find this information helpful and that you will always enjoy your Pool!

Pool Filter Cleaning

One of the most important steps in keeping your pool clean is cleaning the pool filter. Your filter works hard to keep your pool clean and sanitary. But, if you fail to periodically clean your filter, dirt and debris and algae can build up within.

When that happens, the filter’s ability to clean is impaired and can become less effective. Filter cleaning is a messy job and should be performed by a professional. The key is to do it regularly.

By using a “backwashing” process once a week, can minimize the dirt that tries to build up within the filter. Over time, however, debris and contaminants can begin to collect on the removable filtering mechanisms called “Grids”. This is why occasional “deep cleaning” is required.

The three types of pool filters (sand, diatomaceous earth and cartridge) each require unique steps to clean them. This is due to each filter using a unique filtering process.For example, a sand pool filter uses a bed of roughly-grained sand to keep dirt from staying in your pool. To clean this type of filter, you should plan to replace the sand every 5 – 7 years.

Cleaning pool filters like Cartridge filters, on the other hand use a complex matrix within the cartridge to keep your pool clean. The main culprits that clog the cartridge are body oils, hair, perspiration and chemicals.

There is no definite lifespan for a filter. Instead, cleaning or replacing the filter is usually determined by canister pressure. Most experts suggest cleaning the Pool filter when the pressure reaches approximately 20 PSI. However, if a tear appears in the matrix of a cartridge or grid, you should consider replacing it.

Diatomaceous earth pool filters are generally the most effective. This type of system uses earth material that is specially-treated to filter out smaller particles than a sand or cartridge filter.

However, cleaning this type of filter often requires more time and effort than the other filtering systems. Your Pool professional will refill the proper amount necessary each time the filter is cleaned.

When the water is dirty, you may need to change the diatomaceous earth more often. To extend the life and longevity of your Pool equipment it is recommended that you clean the grids and filter assembly every quarter, (3 times a year). Think of it as being as important as having the oil changed in your car on a routine basis to extend it’s mechanical life.

Cleaning your filtering system is a critical part of maintaining an immaculate pool and ensures that your pool remains clean and healthy.