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Your above-ground pool is green. You probably are getting ready to start enjoying it again after a break or just fell behind in caring for it. How do you get it back to the natural blue color that you are used to swimming in?
Let’s examine it step by step and discuss how you can keep it from getting that way again. When all is considered, maintenance over the long term is the best way to prevent algae so we will help you discover whether you can do this on your own or if you need help from someone to care for your pool.
What Happened to My Pool Anyway?
The reason why your pool turned green is related to algae and the chemistry involved with your pool’s water. When a swimming pool is clear, it is primarily free from organisms that might live in the water.
But when you don’t treat it with chlorine or you don’t filter the water, it becomes closer to a pond available for life to grow within. So think of the pool as something available for your use or care as part of your home or something else, many things, will make it their home.
How Do I Know That Something Is Growing in it?
Algae growth is usually the first thing. They reproduce so quickly that you will notice cloudiness well before you see any hint of green.
Since the life that grows in your pool is so small, when you even start to see cloudiness, this means that algae are already growing out of control. You don’t want to wait to treat it any longer. Think of crystal-clear water as your standard for drinking and swimming.
If your pool does begin to look green, there is a vast population of algae within your pool and so the growth continues from there. The greener the pool, the more algae you will find within it.
So the bottom line is that something is living in your pool that needs to be exterminated before you get your beautiful pool back.
The #1 Thing That You Can Do
So what is the most effective approach to rid your pool of algae and get it clear again?
Chlorine is the short answer. How much is determined by how big your pool is and how much algae is in it. So it is not a one-size-fits-all solution.
But the goal is to shock the algae with the amount of chlorine you add. There are products available that play on these words, such as algae guard and pool shock products.
Any of these will provide about the same level of power as the chlorine will.
When you shock your pool’s water, you will probably have to pour in at least a 2.5-gallon bottle of chlorine (or more) or several pounds of granules. So it is better to buy the larger sizes to get the best value. You can even purchase 25-pound bags of granules as well.
Plus, it takes more to eliminate all traces of the algae than it does to kill it. So you will need to read specific directions on the packaging of the product you choose for your size pool.
Start by calculating how much water your pool holds (it should be in your pool’s instruction manual). Read on the packaging of your chlorine how much it takes for that amount of water. Start there and see what it accomplishes!
There are also free apps available to do the math for you, like Pool Pal.
You will also probably need to follow a protocol of letting your pump clean the pool for several hours and then check your pool chemistry. Don’t forget to clean your pool or filter in the meantime. That will help you know how much chlorine to add to get the water levels right.
How Long Will It Take?
There is no doubt that if you use the right amount of chlorine, you will see a huge difference in 24 hours. But there are some considerations:
- Your water is still likely to be cloudy, not clear. It may take your filters days or a week to clean the water back to crystal-clear.
- Check your filters often during this process. You don’t want to add stress to your pump.
- You may have stubborn green spots that need to be scrubbed to get off. That is just part of the process of making your pool clean again.
So How Do You Prevent It From Happening Again?
Again, waiting on your water to turn green is not the best monitoring plan. You may wait for it to begin to become cloudy but there is a more scientifically accurate way to test it: water testing kits that give you precise measurements of your water chemistry. That is the best way to test and know what the status of your water is. The Taylor K-2006 is the ideal test kit to use with your pool.
But cleaning your pool regularly is a must. Consider these tips some best practices to help you maintain your pool. The goal of this approach is to be proactive in cleaning your pool so you don’t have to be reactive and shock it after a mess has been created.
Consider all of the following parts of your ongoing to-do list for cleaning your pool.
Best Practices for Cleaning Your Pool
- Maintenance: You will want to check critical items of your pool to make sure they are running well. Your water pump and filter are the two primary items on this checklist. You can keep the filter clean and changed often. Double-check that the pressure of the water is still strong. A reminder: maintenance of your pool equipment is not something you can ignore for long periods. Your pump and filter are designed to clean your pool. If they are not working correctly, you will have issues keeping your pool clean. Then you may be back learning how to clean a green above-ground pool again!
- Testing: Testing is primarily done through pH testing kits. You aim to get your pH level around 7.4 to 7.6 (7.2 to 7.8 is okay). Don’t forget to check your other levels too and make sure everything falls within the ideal range. So you may read this article and think about how much you don’t want to have algae and overdose your pool with chlorine. That’s not good; you don’t want too much chlorine either. If chlorine levels are high, don’t add more chlorine until your level has adjusted.
- Choosing Your Chlorine Carefully: You can buy your chlorine at the grocery store but you will pay more than if you buy larger containers that most pool stores make available. You have options for liquid chlorine, tablets, or granules. As noted before, you will need to check directions to know what is the recommended amount to add to your pool to do the job. That’s probably why it is a good idea to buy larger sizes from a pool store than the one-gallon bottles. This purchase will help you save money and will usually guarantee you have a fresh product. People have different opinions long term about which type of chlorine they like best. The floating dispenser delivers the most consistent amount of chlorine in your pool’s water and is a good choice. The goal is to keep chlorine in your pool water all the time.
- Not Skimping on the Time That You Run Your Pool Pump: It is essential to run your pool pump for the recommended amount of time. For the freshest pool water, some experts say run it during the daytime and turn it off at night. Again, check your pool’s instruction guide for the best reference to the amount of time to keep your pool clean.
- Doing Additional Cleaning: You might use enough chlorine to wipe out your algae but you are probably still going to need to vacuum or scoop to keep it in the best condition.
- Remembering the Filter: Clean it no matter what. Think of it as you do your air filter in your car, the lint filter in your dryer, or the filters inside the return vents to your HVAC system. You need to keep it clean for the most efficient cleaning to occur. You will need to backwash your filter or clean it before a shock process. Be sure to clean any debris that might get into the filter as well before it does so. Most agree that the DE filters cost more but are most effective. Others will work fine but may need to be cleaned more often to maintain efficiency. You get what you pay for more often than not!
The reality is that you will want to do most of these steps every day for the highest efficiency and being proactive. You won’t regret it, will probably pay less over time, and will prolong the overall life of your pool for your family’s enjoyment.
What If My Pool Has Moved Beyond Green to Brown or Even Black?
That is a great question! Are you asking for a friend? Seriously, yes, pools that are left for even more extended periods can start to turn brown or even black with sludge-like substances growing on them.
The bad news is that your pool can reach a point beyond when you can shock it with chlorine and still not get it clean. If you can’t see into the pool water because of how brown the water is, then you probably need to take further action.
Some pools that reach this point will need to be drained and cleaned by acid washing to get them back to the right form and safe for use again.
Algae are caused by algae spores that arrive in a pool through wind or swimmers themselves. There are several types ofalgae common in pools: black, green, and yellow.
- Maybe you guessed this already but green is the most prevalent. That’s why we think of algae being green. Thankfully, green algae are also the easiest to treat.
- Yellow algae grow on the bottom of your pool. Some think that it is sand or another substance at first. It is more likely to develop if part of your pool is in the shade. You may need to purchase an extra chemical to get rid of this algae. Yellow Out (available on amazon) works great, just make sure to follow the instructions on the bottle.
- Black algae are the rarest kind but also the hardest to treat. If you see black spots of different sizes, that is black algae. While other algae may live more on surfaces, these black algae attach deeper within the surfaces they cling to. You will need a brush in addition to chemicals to remove the black algae.
Do it Yourself or Get Help?
The stories of pool owners might be similar to those of boat owners. The two best days ever for a boat owner are the day he gets his boat and the day he gets rid of it. That is a great joke but what is the truth at the heart of it? Maintaining a boat is hard. The same can be said of pools.
Many people think that the cost involved with pools is all found in the installation. But all pool owners find out quickly that is not true. The cost of equipment to keep a pool clean can be quite significant. So it is vital to consider the costs of maintenance.
But the time it takes to clean the pool daily can be surprising to pool owners as well. Those who do the best at cleaning their pools make it a daily routine. They enjoy it for the most part. And they know that it will prolong the look and life of their pools.
Others love the water but dread the daily cleaning of the pool. It has already been discussed how important it is to clean your pool and maintain it to keep from algae growth overtaking your pool, but is it worth it to pay someone else to do it for you?
The following five reasons show that it is a good idea to have someone assist you in maintaining your pool.
- Professional pool cleaners work with speed and efficiency. There is no doubt that the task of pool cleaning is the same as learning anything else: it takes time to learn the ropes but the more you do it, the better and faster you become at the task. Some find that their pool professionals can do double work time. And they are motivated to do an excellent job so that you will keep them on board.
- Are you worried about the pool chemistry? They know what to look for and how much chlorine to add. The determining of chlorine may be the number-one thing that seems to be a guessing game to pool owners. How much chlorine do I need in order to prevent algae? Professionals know and do so without wasting chlorine or wasting your time by adding more chlorine later when you didn’t use enough. This dilemma is another instance when their experience saves time and we all know that time is money.
- They can bring their pool equipment. While you will want to have your necessities such as pumps, skimmers, and chlorinators, a pool professional can also bring the more expensive vacuums that you don’t or can’t afford to purchase. There is no having to worry either if you are purchasing a quality vacuum or if you are giving up quality in exchange for a better price. They bought their equipment for one primary reason: to get the job done.
- They know how to spot algae. We started this article with the scenario of a green pool. That is the easy-to-spot way to know that you have algae. But if the pool is cloudy, how do you know if it is algae or just too much chlorine? And is that sand that the kids have tracked in your pool or some of that nasty yellow algae? Pool professionals know what to look for whether you are looking at cloudy water or yellow algae. Leave the diagnosis to the pool doctors.
- They know how to maintain and service your pool equipment. Is your pump just having a bad day or is its demise imminent? Is that filter one that needs to be cleaned or do you need a new one? What is the average life of this type of pump? There are so many questions but it is sometimes very difficult to find reliable answers.
These reasons show why it is great to have a pool professional to help you out with the maintenance, service, and eventual replacement of your pool equipment.
When you are looking for help with your pool, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is an investment that can benefit your health for decades, build community with friends, serve as the go-to spot for your children and their friends, and add value to your home that will yield results when you eventually sell your home. It’s an investment that you won’t regret!
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