How to Stop Winter Pool Algae in its Tracks
Pool closing season is just around the corner and for some of you, that may mean big temperature shifts, cold weather, and heavy snow and rain will be hitting soon. If your region experiences cold winters, then you need to take steps to prevent algae overgrowth once the pool has been closed for the season.
For a detailed description of the different types of pool algae and how to remove them, check out our DIY Types of Algae article, and keep reading to learn why it is so important to prevent algae from blooming in your pool during the winter season, and how to avoid algae problems during next year’s pool opening.
In order to properly observe the quality of your winter pool chemicals during the off-season, lift the winter cover and do the following:
Check Pool pH Level Even though your pool is officially ‘closed’ for business, it is still a good idea to check the pH levels and maintain the range between 7.2-7.6 pH. If you notice that the chlorine levels are towards the higher end of the scale, and then make adjustments as needed, as this means that the chemicals aren’t killing off potential unseen bacteria that may be living in your pool walls and floor.
Shock the Pool with Shock It If you notice fluctuating pH readings after checking the pool pH, use pool shock at approximately 1 lb. per 7000 gallons of water (check the pool shock manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended dosage). Once pool shock is applied to the water, run the pool’s filtration system for 24 hours a day, and re-test the water to be sure the shock eliminated potential issues.
Look For Algae If you still notice potential algae blooms after 12-24 hours of running the filtration system, then add a second dose of shock and repeat this step until you notice the algae has turned either gray or whitish in color. If you notice the significant color change, this means the algae blooms are dead, which is a great sign! Now all you need to do is remove the algae from your water supply using an automatic pool cleaner or a pool vacuum. Be sure to remove the dead algae right away - if not, then you give it the opportunity to start growing again.
Backwash Pool Filters Remove your pool filters and clean them thoroughly with a garden hose or backwash them. You want to be sure all potential live and dead algae are completely gone from the area. Remember that if your pool equipment isn’t clean then your water supply won’t be clean either. Don’t give algae the chance to come back from the dead!
Use Winter Algaecide For Pools As the winter weather in your area continues, take time every few weeks to observe the condition of your water supply. If you notice fluctuating pH levels, add some winter algaecide to the mix. Read the instructions on the label so you know exactly how much is needed per gallon.
Add Pool Phosphate Remover Consider using a phosphate remover as an additional precaution against winter algae blooms. Changes in the pool’s phosphate levels could be a direct cause of your algae problem. Pour it into the pool and run the filtration system accordingly. After approximately 24 hours, clean your pool and filters to be sure the phosphate remover has been completely removed. If any residual phosphate remover remains in your supply, it could cause problems down the road. Test the water, and if your phosphate levels are at 0, repeat Step B, and shock the water to be absolutely sure that the nasty bacteria is gone for good.
Now you can call yourself a ‘champion’ of algae removal! Just repeat the steps above if you notice any changes and you will have a cleaner and easier pool opening come next year.