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7 Effective Ways to Reduce Algae Growth in Your Swimming Pool

Updated on June 27, 2019
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Alexis Reed is the Content Specialist of H2O Pool Service, a family-owned pool company that cleans & services pools throughout Arizona.

Owning a swimming pool comes with a number of perks. Of course, the most obvious benefit is that you have a place where you can instantly cool down on a hot summer day, and all you have to do is take a few steps from the back door of your house to get there.

Pools also provide you and your loved ones a fun way of bonding with all the swimming pool games you can play. A swimming pool offers a low-impact way to exercise as well. A few laps a day is definitely going to do wonders for your cardiovascular health, among other things. Then there are the parties you can host, where you get to show off your pool area to your friends and get them to enjoy it too.

Pool owners probably wish that having a swimming pool is all fun and games, but they aren’t that lucky. As a matter of fact, owning a pool carries with it a ton of responsibilities. You need to maintain it to keep it running optimally, as well as clean and sanitary at all times with swimming pool cleaning service. If you neglect your swimming pool in any way, then don’t be surprised if algae growth eventually turns your pool green and slimy and utterly unusable.

What is algae, and what causes it?

Algae are eukaryotic organisms that grow in water or damp surfaces. An algal bloom can occur in your swimming pool when the conditions are right, such as poor circulation, filtration, and sanitation of your pool, combined with warm temperatures and sunlight. And all it needs to survive and thrive is a lot of food, which your pool water can provide in spades. As far as algae are concerned, any speck of dirt, debris, and even contaminant present in your pool water is a feast.

The problem with pool algae

Swimming in a pool teeming with algae presents some possible health effects.

It’s not uncommon for people to suffer itchy rashes and eye infections when swimming in pools with an algal bloom. Algae-contaminated pools also tend to be slippery, which could lead to accidents that result in physical injuries.

What’s worse would be accidentally swallowing pool water filled with algae and bacteria, as it can lead to diarrhea, fever, and other symptoms of a bacterial infection.

With all the trouble algae can cause, pool owners have to do what they can to reduce algae growth. If you own a pool yourself, here are seven effective ways you can do just that.

1. Brush the walls and floor of your pool regularly

You can remove as much of the algae as possible by brushing the walls and floor of your pool at least once a week. Algae also tend to congregate behind ladders, on the steps, and other corners of your pool, so give those areas some special attention.

You also need to make sure you use a brush that won’t damage the surface of your pool. For concrete surfaces, a steel brush would be fine, but don’t use it if you have a vinyl, fiberglass, or acrylic pool. For those surfaces, you will need a nylon brush which has softer bristles.

To get rid of the algae you dislodged, you can use a swimming pool vacuum, or you can just let your pool’s filter do its job.

2. Check the filter regularly

Always check the filter so you can clean it when needed. Set it to backwash if you have a D.E. or diatomaceous earth filter. For cartridge filters, use a high-pressure water hose.

3. Maintain chemical balance in your pool

Water chemistry is crucial to preventing algae growth in your pool. You need to maintain chemical balance to make sure they work properly when added to the pool water.

Check your pool’s chemical balance every two weeks using test strips. Your pool’s pH levels should fall between 7.2 - 7.6, and its alkalinity at 80 - 120 ppm.

4. Administer chlorine shock treatments

Your pool needs a large dose of chlorine every week to kill algae spores. With this chlorine shock, you should be able to thoroughly sanitize your pool within one to three days.

5. Ensure proper water flow/circulation

You can prevent algae and bacteria growth in your pool by circulating the water properly. Good circulation also ensures even dispersal of the chemicals you put in the water to sanitize it. So run the pool pump for 8 to 12 hours per day to achieve proper circulation.

6. Use an algaecide

Algaecides are good for killing algae before they grow by disrupting their regular cellular processes. They aren’t much use for eliminating algal blooms that already exist though. So use them only in pools that are already algae-free, and in small doses once a week. Avoid using too much of it because most algaecides are copper-based and may, therefore, stain your pool. If you want to avoid this consequence, you might want to look for a copper-free algaecide instead.

7. Cover your pool

The wind and rains can bring algae spores into the water of your pool. Leaves, dirt, debris, and bugs also make it to your pool, and all of which give algae a very rich source of food once they decompose, allowing them to grow. They also happen to deplete the chlorine level of your pool, effectively throwing off your pool’s chemical balance and setting the stage for algal bloom.

We can throw whatever chemical is available into the pool, and we’re still going to need something as basic as a pool cover to make preventing algae growth much easier. With a pool cover, your pool will have a physical barrier that will effectively stop the elements necessary for algae growth from entering your pool.

Indeed, keeping your pool algae-free and safe to use takes a lot of work, but it’s a small price to pay for having a pool that you, your family, and your friends can enjoy for many years to come.

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