Green is good when it comes to currency, gemstones and veggies, but not so much as it pertains to your swimming pool. And yet, many pool owners will battle the green invasion at some point. We’re talking about algae — those pesky spores most commonly introduced through rain, wind and debris.
There are actually several types of algae that pose risk to pools: green, yellow, pink and black. But green is most common fresh-water variety, and it thrives in summer when wet weather wrecks havoc on your perfectly balanced and maintained pool. While it’s nearly impossible to prevent the spores from entering the pool, you can limit the risk of unsightly blooms developing by being extra vigilant. We’ve outlined some guidelines to help in your quest.
- Run the pump and filter for a sufficient amount of time each day. Experts recommend between 8-12 hours and even longer during periods of heavy usage. Avoid the temptation to skimp to save on energy costs. That strategy could cost you more in the long run.
- Ensure the circulation system is working properly. Clean the skimmer and pump strainer baskets regularly, and clean or backwash your filter too.
- Maintain the right chemistry. Test your water weekly and keep sanitizer levels at or above recommended minimums. The proper products kill algae spores before they grow into blooms. Periodically have a water sample professionally tested to make sure you’re on track. A floating chlorinator is a big help.
- Shock the pool weekly to take care of any spores that escaped the wrath of the chlorinator.
- Test the pH daily, especially after a heavy rainfall. Rainwater can tip the balance and make water unfit for swimming.
- Skim the water every day. Decomposing leaves attract bacteria, so get them out of there before they settle to the bottom.
- Brush the walls, floors and steps at least once a week. Algae spores cling to surfaces and can burrow into cracks if left for very long. Use a wire brush for a plaster or concrete pool and a nylon brush for a fiberglass, acrylic or painted pool.
- Vacuum regularly — and always after brushing — to suck up settled spores as well as dirt and debris that litters the floor.
- Once the pool is clean and algae-free, use an algaecide and retreat as recommended.
- Encourage swimmers to rinse off before jumping in. This reduces the amount of oils and contaminants introduced by humans or pets.
- Invest in a pool cover. This dramatically reduces the amount of bugs and debris dropping in. And it helps retain heat, prevents evaporation and provides an added measure of safety when you’re not around.
It may seem like a lot of work, but the payoff is a sparkling clean and healthy pool to make a hot summer more enjoyable.