Biofilm In Swimming Pools - The Cause of Pool Problems

by Pool Builders on 12-12-2011 in Articles

One of the biggest and most overlooked problems in swimming pool care is biofilm. Biofilms form in all areas of a swimming pool, and contain almost 99% of the bacteria in the pool. Chlorine and bromine can only do so much to remove and sanitize biofilms because they can only reach the top layer. To effectively remove and prevent biofilms, there are a few steps that need to be taken.

First things first lets talk about how biofilms form. The biofilm will initially find a place to grow, and that can be in any or all parts of your swimming pool, not only on your pool walls, but also all through your filter and plumbing. Once the biofilm has found a place to grow it begins colonization. This is where the bacteria begin to grow rapidly. Next comes protection, the biofilm will begin to excrete a protective coating that is resistant to most chemicals including chlorine and bromine. This coating is usually very slimy, and heavy making it very hard for chemicals to penetrate, and kill treat the bacteria at its core. Once this protective coating is formed, the bacteria again undergo rapid growth. While chlorine and bromine will attack and kill the outer layers, the inner layers are still growing and multiplying. Once the biofilm has reached substantial size, it begins to break apart, and again distribute itself all over your pool.

So how do you deal with such a diverse bacteria?

There are a few steps that need to be taken. Regularly cleaning your visible pool surfaces will help, but can only get you so far. You also need to use a chemical specifically designed to eliminate biofilms in your filter, skimmer, and plumbing. This is where most of the biofilms grow and thrive because they are unseen, untreated, and have all they need to survive and thrive (water, a surface to grow on, and plenty of nutrients flowing through your system). There are a few products on the market that help to eliminate the source of nutrients that help biofilms grow, but they become very resistant to these over time. You must use products designed to actually kill the biofilm, not just treat the spreading.

There are also some side effects to treating a biofilm if you have not done so before. If it has been left untreated for an extended period of time, you will likely have to chemically clean your filter after treating the biofilms. You may also need to even change your filter media.

Once you successfully eliminate the biofilm in your swimming pool or spa, there are a few products, and maintenance tips that will help prevent them from forming in the first place. It is recommended to brush your pool regularly; this will make it much easier for chlorine or bromine to eliminate the biofilm seeing as it is not attached to any surfaces. Also, you will want to find a product that helps to keep your filter clean, and running at optimum levels.

It is also very important that you regularly use a filter-cleaning product. This will reduce the amount of biofilm that can build up in your filter in the first place. You will have better filtration, your filter media will last longer, and you will also have a lower chance of developing combined chlorine.

Follow these steps to ensure you never develop an unclean, cloudy pool in the first place.

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