Ok, summer is here! The kids are out of school and you cannot afford to have the pool shut down because of gross green algae. In this post, we will lay out the perfect strategy to stay algae-free this summer.
Keeping the pool clear and blue is not as hard as it seems and does not need to take a lot of time
1. Consistent Chlorine Levels
So, this one is kind of obvious I know, but chlorinated water does not grow algae. If you always keep your chlorine levels consistently between 3-5 ppm your water will stay blue.
This means you should use a basic test strip 2 to 3 times a week to make sure that chlorine level is where it needs to be. We also recommend testing every time the pool is used, as bathers affect chemistry.
It only takes 15 seconds to test the water with a test strip, and the more you test the better.
Just shocking 1x/week is not enough, you need to have a consistent slow feed of chlorine every day. Chlorine tablets in a floating dispenser are ok, a built-in chlorinator is even better, and a saltwater chlorine generator is best!
If you are using chlorine tabs, especially in an automatic chlorinator you need to keep an eye on your cyanuric acid level. Also called stabilize, CYA is used to protect your chlorine from the sun so it lasts longer in the pool. This is good; however, you can have TOO MUCH stabilizer. Chlorine tabs contain cyanuric acid in them and in a lot of pools this level can get too high. Anything over 50ppm can affect how well your chlorine works and disinfects.
So the higher your CYA level the higher you need to keep your chlorine levels in order to sanitize the water and keep algae at bay, and the only way to get cyanuric acid down is to drain the pool… not fun, or cheap.
You can test this level at your local pool store at least once or twice a month to see where you are at. Most test strips also test this level, but it can be hard to really know the exact level on a strip. At St. Cyr’s Pool and Spa in Middleton MA we offer free water testing all year long!
2. Keep the water moving.
What looks cleaner to you, a river or a pond? Which body of water would you rather swim in? The river right?
The reason rivers are so clean and clear is they are constantly moving; they do not sit stagnantly. Stagnant water gives algae a chance to cling to walls and things. This means the more we run the pool and keep it circulating the less likely it is that algae will have a chance to get a foothold.
Most pools should run 8 to 12 hours a day, DURING THE DAY when the sun is on it and the water is at its warmest. I say you should run your pump even longer than that, 12-14 hours a day for the best algae control.
Also, look at your return jets in the pool, make sure you have the eyeball fittings set up, so you are eliminating dead spots as much as possible.
That Sounds Expensive!
Now all this extra pump run time might make you nervous about your electric bill, and for good reason, your pool pump is one of the more expensive appliances to run. Therefore, we recommend upgrading to variable speed magnetic drive energy-efficient pools pumps that cost a fraction of the amount as your traditional single-speed motor.
They may be more expensive upfront but will pay themselves back VERY quickly. And with the savings, you can run your pump 24 hours a day which really helps keep the algae away.
To learn more about energy-efficient upgrades for your pool contact our service department. We service all of North Shore, MA.
3. Brush Brush Brush
Keeping algae off the walls is the best way to keep the green away. Brush at least once a week, more is better but AT LEAST once a week… grab a beer, your pole, and get out there. Even if you do not see any green. Algae starts out clear and invisible. Keeping it off the walls makes it easier to kill.
This also goes back to number 2 when we mentioned positioning the jets to eliminate dead spots. Obviously, you can’t eliminate all the dead spots with the limited jet placements in the pool. This is where brushing helps, you move the water and agitate the walls that do not get hit by the flow of the jets.
4. Use Your Pool!
You know what else helps you eliminate dead spots and keep the water moving? Swimming!! Yup get in your pool, or get the kids in the pool, splashing around and moving that water. This helps you keep the green out and keep everyone enjoying the pool and having the best summer ever!