11 Top Tips to Prevent Green Pool Nightmares
Why does your pool go green and especially when you want it the most; Christmas, children’s birthday parties, New Year’s Eve and whenever guests come to stay. Not only does a green pool look bad and is a costly hassle to fix, you and the kids could end up with an ear infection!
But don’t worry, we have you covered with our top tips to avoid a green pool nightmare:-
1. Get an automatic control system with sensors. That does not mean a salt chlorinator run by a time clock that does the same thing every day. It means a proper control system that senses and responds to changes in water chemistry. The reality is that pool water chemistry is fundamentally unstable and it is genuinely difficult to manage manually. In really hot weather, the pool needs constant attention to do this well, without overdosing with chemicals or running very long chlorination hours. You can save up to 60% of your pool’s energy use and over 50% of the chemicals and chlorine with the right control system. We discuss some of the alternatives control systems below.
2. Run your pool at night, if you can do so without filter noise upsetting the neighbours. Strong UV destroys chlorine, removing almost half every 35 minutes on a sunny day. This means that your salt chlorinator will not be able to get your pool to the sanitiser level required to kill algae and bugs in the daytime. If you run it at night, you should reach the required level and the pool should not go green. If you are using liquid chlorine, you will need a lot less during the night than during the day.
3. Get a bigger chlorinator. Most salt chlorinators are undersized, which means that they make your filter pump run for long periods of time and still may not reach minimum sanitiser levels. An average 50,000 litre pool might survive on a 30 gram per hour chlorinator in high summer, but a 40 gram unit will last longer and use less energy. Size does matter and in salt chlorinators, it is the area of the plates that does. If you have a chlorinator with plates about the size of playing cards, or rated capacity of 15 or 20 grams per hours, it will be too small in most pools, especially as it ages. Most pools need multiple plates about the size of 2 playing cards each.
4. Replace the chlorinator cell. Chlorinator cells are consumable items. When the coating on the plates wears off, they stop generating chlorine. The cell should have lots of bubbles of hydrogen coming off it. If it does not, get a new one and do not get a cheap replacement. Cheap ones do not work well or last more than very short periods.
5. Improve the circulation in the pool. The chlorine won’t kill algae if there are dead-spots due to poor circulation . Buy a directional nozzle and glue it into the return pipe to the pool and angle it so the water rotates like a very slow whirlpool. If that does not work, sprinkle a little calcium hypochlorite on any algae on the steps or swim-outs.
6. Add pool acid every 3 days in high summer, in accordance with the test kit recommendations if you have anything but a fibreglass or painted pool in good condition. You need this to control the pH.
7. Use phosphate remover if you have had a lot of vegetable matter or run-off in your pool. Phosphates promote algae growth.
8. Stop using floating dispensers or anything that adds too much isocyanuric acid or stabiliser in any of its multiple forms to the pool. These work just great when you start but soon build up so much stabiliser that the pool goes into “chlorine lock.” When that happens, your chlorine becomes ineffective, your pool goes green and unpleasant and you will need to empty most of the water in the pool and start again to get the water under control.
9. Shower before going in and don’t pee in the pool. Seriously. It will also smell of chloramines and sting the eyes if you introduce enough nitrogen this way.
10. Keep dogs out of the pool. A dog uses as much chlorine as 25 people.
11. Try a new technology developed by Pooled Energy, called Advanced Water Chemistry (AWC). This uses a combination of bromine (which is widely used in hot tubs) and chlorine. This provides spectacular water and eliminates the need for acid, buffer, stabiliser and calcium lifter in all but new pools with highly active surface finishes that have not yet settled down. You also get very high quality, comfortable water that does not go green. All you need is about a half a shoe-box of chemicals twice a year (for pools under 45,000 litres), which they ship to you when needed. There is a greater than 50% reduction in chemical types and quantities and in chlorine used.