Algae Control and Prevention in Residential Swimming Pools

by Pool Builders on 08-22-2010 in Articles

The occurrence of algae is common in residential swimming pools. Although in most cases it can be prevented with proper chemical balance and a good pool care routine, it can occur even in pools that are well maintained. But even when algae does show up in the pool, a pool owner who is on the look out and has a trained eye can detect it at its early stages and take remedies to control it before its even noticeable to most people.

The first step is to be aware that an algae problem is a possibility even if the pool is getting all the proper attention it needs. With this understanding, pool owners can implement a routine inspection looking specifically for the early signs of algae. If identified in its early stages, steps can be taken to control the algae before the average swimmer will even notice it. For an average sized residential pool, this inspection should take no more than minute or two and can be incorporated into the daily pool care routine. Start by making sure all the pool equipment is off and the water is calm so there is a good view into the pool water. Then do a simple walk around of the pool looking for the following signs of algae.

Green Algae - the first sign of green algae will be cloudy pool water and isn't hard to notice. Surprisingly though, it often goes unnoticed after a big pool party where all the chlorine gets used up. Although cloudy pool water can be a symptom of several other pool problems also, typically it indicates a lack of chlorine and the beginnings of an algae bloom. The other obvious sign of green algae is when the water starts to turn a cloudy greenish color. When either of these indicators exist, take steps immediately to control the problem. A pool can go from cloudy to murky green to dark green in a matter of hours.

Yellow or Mustard Algae - when this form of algae shows up on the scene, like its name suggests, it will be a yellowish color. It will first start appearing on the pool steps, pool lights, or on the pool walls in the shady areas of the pool, so those are the places to inspect carefully. It typically spreads throughout the swimming pool more slowly than green algae, especially during its early stages, which is why it is so important to detect it early. Yellow algae is probably the most common form of algae for residential pools and if caught in its early stages can be managed by simply brushing and filtering. The most common reason for yellow algae is a lack of filtration in the form of too short of a filter run or a dirty and clogged filter.

Black Algae - Black Algae first shows up as small black specks on the bottom, sides, or steps of the pool, or in the tile grout. In its early stages it can easily be mistaken for small pieces of dirt. If these small specks of dirt don't move when brushed, they are probably black algae. In most cases black algae is a very slow growing form of algae, but when ignored and allowed to get out of control, it can spread extremely fast and soon be covering a good portion of the pool bottom. If black algae is suspected, take immediate action to eradicate it as soon as possible.

All of the algae types above can be either prevented with a meticulous pool care routine or identified in early forms and controlled and eradicated with the proper measures. The key to algae prevention in all pools is proper chemical balance, sufficient filtration, and routine brushing and cleaning. The key to algae control is early detection. Routine inspections for the above forms of algae will allow a pool owner to realize there is a problem as early as possible and take action to eliminate the algae problem before it becomes a more costly issue.

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