Summer has arrived and with it raging heat from morning to night. After a long day of fishing, biking, or whatever leisure you like it’s nice to cool off in your pool. But what should you do when you realize the backyard oasis you envisioned is now a green pond? During the summer season your pool can become much more difficult to maintain as a result of the tropical weather. Here are a few steps, straight from the experts, on maintaining your pool and preventing and treating algae.
First, pool care experts stress the importance of visiting a local pool store weekly to test your pool water (some pool stores test water for free). You should bring with you to the pool store enough pool water to fill a water bottle. The employee who tests your water should be able to tell you if there are any chemical imbalances that can be corrected. They should test for:
- Chlorine – used to sanitize water and prevent algae growth
- pH – tested to determine if water is acidic, basic, or neutral
- Alkalinity – helps to balance the pH of water
- Calcium – helps keep the finish (floor and walls) from eroding
- Stabilizer – used to protect chlorine from evaporating
Pools require weekly maintenance to stay in top shape. Here is a list of things you can do weekly to maintain a sparkling pool:
- Net any debris off the surface and floor of your pool.
- Brush the walls and floor of your pool.
- Empty out your skimmer basket and pump basket.
- Clean (cartridge filter) or backwash (sand filter) your filter.
- Float two-to-three stabilized chlorine tablets.
- Add 2.5 gallons of chlorine and let your pump run 24 hours.
By keeping the chemical balance of your pool water in check and doing weekly maintenance you greatly reduce the chances of algae growth. This time of year, however, even when these steps are followed, it is still possible you may suffer from an algae bloom. This is caused by the warm weather and evaporation, rain and dilution, or even missing a weekly dose of chlorine just one time. The direct sunlight your pool takes in feeds algae through the process of photosynthesis. Rain dilutes chlorine and can even introduce algae into your pool. After a heavy rainfall chlorine should be added to the pool. You should also run the pool pump for the hottest eight hours of the day every day to keep the water from becoming stagnant. Even after taking all these precautions there is still a chance your pool may turn green or yellow.
If you do see algae starting to grow don’t be intimidated, follow these steps and your pool should look better within 24 hours:
- Test the pool water and if needed add acid and/or stabilizer.
- Brush the spots of your pool where algae is growing.
- Without a doubt you will be adding 5-20 gallons of chlorine depending on how bad the algae is.
- Let your pump run 24 hours to allow chlorine to circulate.
- If the algae isn’t cleared up in 24 hours repeat steps listed above.
- If the pool is cloudy 24 hours later use a water clarifier.
- If you have any questions about maintaining or clearing up a green pool go to your local pool store and ask for advice.