Identifying and Preventing Pool Algae
Almost every pool owner is confronted by algae growth in their pool at some point. Although it’s a common occurrence, it can still be irritating to be met with unsightly green or black spores when you are swimming. Learn how to prevent algae from taking over your pool this summer with our guidelines below.
WHAT CAUSES ALGAE?
A basic component in preventing algae is knowing where it originates. Algae is typically caused by dirt, wind, and rain that either naturally enters your pool or is brought in by swimmers. It actually starts as microscopic spores, but millions of the tiny plants need to accumulate fin order to be visible to you. That means by the time you see algae, it has already been growing for quite some time. Algae issues are incredibly common for pool owners and it’s almost impossible to keep algae out of your pool altogether. The key is preventing the spores from blossoming into huge growths on the sides and bottom of your pool.
Green algae is the most common type you’ll find in pools, usually giving the water a greenish tint. It’s mossy in both appearance and texture, and is either free-floating or found clinging to pool walls. Black algae, another prevalent type of algae, usually forms in the crevices and cracks of the pool’s shaded areas; this is often found in plaster or gunite pools. Black algae is rather easy to spot, but is frequently discovered when a swimmer notices a slick or slimy texture on the pool walls.
PREVENTING ALGAE IN YOUR POOL
The earlier you catch algae, the easier it is to get rid of it. Prevention is crucial to blocking a huge algae problem. A few simple steps can save you a lot of time tackling a pool full of algae later.
First, keep your water moving. Algae attacks when water is stagnant, so keeping your water filter running will prevent algae spores from spreading. In addition to adequate filtration, actually using your pool can help prevent algae growth as well. Swimming stirs the water around and pushes debris towards the skimmers rather than settling on the pool floor.
Secondly, properly balance your pool chemicals. Make sure your free chlorine (FC) levels are in the right place; when algae starts growing, you will notice the FC levels dropping more rapidly than usual. Once you notice this, it’s a good idea to start addressing the algae issue sooner rather than later. Having too high of pH levels can also create a breeding ground for algae. Usually the correct pH level is somewhere between 7.2 and 7.6, so just be sure to regularly monitor your pool’s numbers.
Lastly, it should be obvious that maintaining a consistent cleaning schedule will help keep algae at bay. Keep up with brushing and vacuuming, and make sure that your skimmer baskets aren’t getting clogged up. If they get too full, debris will start collecting in your pool water, inviting in algae.
It is likely that you will be faced with pool algae at least once, but algae does not have to take over your entire pool. By taking a few extra steps towards keeping your pool clean and managed, you can sufficiently prevent algae and keep your pool open all season.