7 things you didn't know could cause algae
There are several proactive steps you can take in algae prevention. If you already have algae and are struggling to get rid of it, read: How to get rid of algae fast in 2 days. This post is a more of a preventative approach for homeowners.
It is a good practice to maintain your chlorine level between 3 – 5 ppm. This is done by using either calcium hypochlorite, liquid chlorine or chlorinating tablets. Please note that 1 lb of calcium hypochlorite or 1 gal of liquid chlorine will treat 10,000 gal of pool water. Chlorine tablets alone will not provide enough chlorine to kill algae. They need to be used in conjunction with another type of chlorine. It is also important not to use too many chlorine tablets in your pool. 1 tablet for 10,000 gal of pool water. A salt chlorine generation system can also be used to maintain the proper levels of chlorine in your pool. These systems run continuously while the pump is running and need approximately 3200 ppm of salt in order to function properly. Please check your owner’s manual for the proper salt level.
Your pool filter and pump need to run an appropriate amount of time to ensure that the pool water passes through the filter at least 1.5 times per day. There are some complicated math formulas that you can use based on flow rate, size of piping and other variables. A good rule of thumb is 1 hour of filtration for every 10 degrees of heat. For example, if it is 100 degrees outside, the pool pump must run for 10 hours. The pump and filter should always run during daylight hours. As a best practice the pool pump and filter should run at least 10 hours a day every day regardless of temperature.
The water in the pool needs to move in a circular motion around the pool as this helps the skimmers do their job and prevents some of the dead spots. Dead spots in a pool is when the chemically treated water doesn’t flow as much as it should. These spots are typically areas such as the deep end corners, steps, benches and ledges. You can assist the circulation by adjusting your return fittings and using a brush to brush over those spots. Circulation is fairly easy to determine, most of the time it is just an eye test. Do you see the water moving around the pool? If yes, most of the time that is all you need.
Sometimes it rains, and when it does it rains hard, as a result the additional water added to our pool sometimes leaves our chlorine level depleted. It is important to check and adjust your chlorine level after a good rain. In DIY pool maintenance you should test your water on a routine basis, meaning the same day each week. After heavy rains should be the exception. You may need to add some chlorine to replenish what the rain diluted.
What is the point to having a pool if you aren’t going to use it? If you have a pool party or large gathering where the pool is being used by more than the normal amount of people, it is important to check and adjust your chlorine levels after the party. The additional swimmers can deplete your chlorine level and create a prime algae growing environment.
Another way to prevent algae is to avoid throwing dirty toys into your pool also, remember to always remove your pool toys after use. These toys should not only be removed from the pool, but they should be hosed off and stored in a clean environment. In other words, try not to remove them from the pool and throw them on the dirt or grass next to the pool. If you do that, you could be asking for trouble. Not only will you be putting dirt and debris back into your pool, but you will be introducing debris that will make the chlorine work harder.
We all have pets and most love to use the pool. If you have a pet that enjoys the pool, remember his paws are tracking dirt and other debris into the pool that could cause chlorine consumption. That means you have to add a little more chlorine every week. Dogs also shed, so their hair can clog your skimmer and pump baskets creating a circulation issue. If your animals use the pool as much as your children, always check the skimmer baskets and pump baskets.
Just remember that the pool in your backyard is a big investment and being proactive with algae prevention will also keep your pool cleaner and more enjoyable for your family.