Last week we received a call from a client that was getting ready to put her Boyes Hot Springs house on the market. The pool was in distress from lack of attention and a few mechanical issues - once solved, the pool was back to normal just hours after treatment.
Before you start pouring shock into your green pool, here are a few things you need to know about algae, our valley water and the road to recovery from an algae bloom.
1. Check your chemistry. Algae blooms are more likely to occur when your chemistry is out of balance. Most likely a combination of a low chlorine level and high PH - the recipe for an algae bloom. Couple that with a high phosphate count, and your pool will be a beautiful shade of green in no time.
2. Check your flow rate. Is your filter dirty? Is the water pumping at a mere trickle? This is also a precursor to an algae bloom. Check and clean your filter if you suspect the flow rate is low. A high pressure reading on your filter is usually an indication of a dirty filter and low flow.
3. Check the weather. Be proactive. If the forecast calls for high temperatures, elevate your chlorine levels while remaining mindful of swimmers.
The perfect storm is this: windy conditions and high temperatures, followed by rainfall, with wind and high temperatures again. This is a scenario we often see in the valley towards the end of summer. September and October is prime time for algae blooms as the above conditions are common. Add early leaf drop, with large amounts of organic materials entering the pool and you will find yourself with an emerald swamp in your backyard.
What to do?
1. Elevate your chlorine levels via shock treatment. Lower your PH to between 7.2 - 7.5. Algae does not like to reproduce in an acidic environment. This can be accomplished by lowering your PH with muriatic acid. Check your chemicals with your test kit and adjust accordingly. Elevating your chlorine level will kill off the existing algae.
2. Use algaecides. Quality chemicals do make a difference. Our local hardware stores sell algaecides, but the potency of some of these products off the shelf can be diluted and inferior. Avoid using products that are labelled 'algae control' or 'algae prevention' when a bloom is already present. These are more of a proactive way of keeping algae from forming, and are quite ineffective once a bloom has occurred. There are many types of algaecides out there, but a good quality all purpose algaecide is best. Be aware that some algaecides can cause foamy conditions in hot tubs or spas. If you have a combination pool/spa, you will want to use a non-foaming style algaecide.
3. Increase filtration time/flow rate. As described above, make sure your filter is clean and that you are running it enough. Typical run time for a pool is 6 hours a day. When an algae bloom occurs, your run time should be doubled until the water is clear.
4. Call a professional. When all else fails, call in a professional. There could be underlying issues if you have a troublesome algae condition that doesn't seem to clear up.