Home Page Back to FAQ's

 

 

Home Page Back to FAQ's

Water And Chemical Questions

 

Why Do I Have Algae In My Pool?

CAUSES:

A. We find the most common cause of algae is unbalanced water. Usually one or more of the following measurements are not within the acceptable range.

Measurement Acceptable Range
Total Alkalinity 80 to 100 ppm
pH 7.4 to 7.8 PPM
Calcium Hardness 150 to 500 PPM
Total Hardness >= Calcium Hardness and <Calcium Hardness =150ppm
Stabilizer, Conditioner, Cyanuric Acid Less than 50ppm (0 ppm is ideal)
Total Dissolved Solids (T.D.S.) Less than 2500 PPM If this is too high the pool should be partially or fully drained and the water replaced.
Copper 0.4 to .6 PPM - Depending on pool use and environment
Phosphates Less then 125 PPB

A. The water balance must be maintained for any sanitizer (ionization, ozone, chlorine, bromine) to be effective. All eight parameters must be maintained for proper water sanitation. (Note: Total Hardness is primarily a concern on new pools.)

B. A low sanitizer level can allow algae to form. The copper level should be on average between .4ppm and .6ppm during the summer. The winter level of copper should be about .3ppm if the pool is not used or heated.

The copper level may be low due to an undersized installation. Remember for a pool 22,000 gallons or larger, two sets of electrodes are usually required (for a Model 1500/1600 - 18,000 gallons). They must be plumbed so the water splits - goes through both chambers - then comes back together again. The water should not go through one chamber then the other chamber. See instructions for the Plus Option.

C. Not oxidizing or using too little or using the wrong chemical will contribute to conditions which would allow algae to grow.

Oxidizing products that have been used successfully for many years include:

Bio-Guard - Oxy-Sheen

Guardex - Super Oxidizer

EZ Chlor - O2

The typical dosage is 1 1/2 cups for a 17,000 (15' x 30') gallon pool per week during the summer.

Caution: Using a sodium monopersulfate product instead of potassium monopersulfate will allow algae to grow and will result in cloudy water.

As with chlorine pools after a good rain it may be necessary to shock the pool with 1 cup of potassium monopersulfate or 1/2 quart of liquid chlorine. Due to acid rain problems verify the T/A and pH are correct before adding the shock.

D. All the water in the pool must circulate through the filter at least 1 1/2 times each day. In addition, water throughout the pool must circulate. There should be no "dead" areas where water does not "move". If water does not "move" completely throughout the pool, then the sanitizing agent will not be evenly distributed throughout the pool. Consult your owners manual if a two speed motor is used. A table in the manual will list the required running time for the 2-Speed pump. Check the owner's manual for a variable speed pump.

E. On pool and spa combinations the water in the spa should be circulated during the filtration cycle in order that the sanitizer may be introduced into the spa.

F. If a waterfall is present, water should circulate over a waterfall daily. The pool should be designed so that when normal filtration is taking place a small amount of water is diverted to the waterfall. The waterfall must be properly "sealed". This means all surfaces that water could come in contact with must have a good "water sealer" applied to the surface. Except for high quality water sealers, normal water sealers (Thompson's) must be applied about every 2 to 3 years.

G. If filters are not cleaned properly on a regular basis algae can grow in the filter. Remember a cartridge filter is not clean unless it has been soaked in a cartridge filter cleaner fluid. Hoses and high pressure hoses do not properly clean the filter.

H. If algae is present in the water, swim suits can absorb and carry the algae spore. When your family visits a neighbor's pool that has algae, they can infest your pool if the swim suits are not sanitized. This is specially true with yellow (mustard) algae.

I. After items A. through H. have been checked and eliminated as a cause of algae, a test for the amount of phosphates in the pool should be run. The phosphate level should be under 125 ppb. If the level is high then the use of a phosphate remover is required. Once the phosphates are reduced then the algae must and can be killed.

Typically phosphates come into the pool from lawn care products, dead skin cells and even from the "tap water" used to add water to the pool. Another source is clothing items washed in a laundry using products containing phosphates. Phosphates can come from your neighbor's yard or even from someone who lives 3 blocks away. They can also come from "metal removers and stain control" pool chemicals. Pool sequestering or chelating products are another source. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions.

J. After items A. through I. have been checked and eliminated as a cause of algae, a test for the amount of nitrates in the pool should be run. The nitrate level should be under 10 ppm. If the level is high then some or all of the water in the pool should be replaced. Once the nitrates are reduced then the algae must and can be killed.

Nitrogen can come from lawn care products, but usually it's a case of sweat, urine or other types of ammonia. Your local water supplier depending on the method of water treatment can contribute a large amount of ammonia and therefore nitrogen are in the water.

 

How Do I Get Rid Of Algae?

Determine the source of the problem by going through the above causes of algae. Get the problem fixed.

Sometimes just getting the problem fixed will kill all the algae. If not, then a quick fix may be used. Do not use an algaecide! Obtain liquid pool chlorine. On a 17,000 gallon pool add about two quarts of pool chlorine per day, until the water is clear.

Use liquid pool chlorine only. Remember - MORE IS NOT BETTER! Do not put more than two quarts in at a time. Copper and chlorine do not mix. You may stain the pool walls if you add too much chlorine.

Once the water is clear then clean the filter thoroughly.

Return to FAQ's

Why Is My Pool Water Cloudy?

CAUSES:

A. The most common cause of cloudy water is poor water balance. If any one of the following measurements is not correct cloudy water could result.

Water Balance Requirements

pH 7.4 to 7.8 parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per liter
Total Alkalinity 80 to 100 PPM
Calcium Hardness 150 to 500 PPM
Total Hardness >= Calcium Hardness and <Calcium Hardness =150ppm
Stabilizer, Conditioner, Cyanuric Acid Less than 50ppm
Total Dissolved Solids (T.D.S.) Less than 2500 PPM If this is too high the pool should be partially or fully drained and the water replaced.
Copper 0.4 to .6 PPM - Depending on pool use and environment
Phosphates Less then 125 PPB

The water balance must be maintained for any sanitizer (ionization, ozone, chlorine, bromine) to be effective. All eight parameters must be maintained for proper water sanitation.

High hardness will result in scale and cloudy water.

Total alkalinity (T/A) must be properly maintained for a sanitizer to work. If the T/A is not within the proper range the sanitizer's ability to kill algae and bacteria is reduced or completely eliminated.

Once the total alkalinity is balanced the pH should be maintained between 7.4 and 7.8 for pools with the Natural Purifier. When the pH is to high scaling and cloudy water may occur.

TDS is the sum total of all the dissolved material in the water. If the TDS is too high it will affect the ability of the sanitizer to do its job. Corrosion, cloudy water and false readings on chemical tests may result if the TDS is too high. To lower the TDS, replace all or part of the water.

B. Failure to oxidize on a regular basis or using the wrong type of oxidizer will cause problems. A pool that needs oxidation may have an oily film on the surface, it may be green or the water may be cloudy.

As with chlorine pools after a good rain it may be necessary to shock the pool. Due to acid rain problems verify the T/A and pH are correct before adding the shock.

C. A low amount of copper may be the problem. The amount of copper put in the water is dependent on the running time of the pump and the setting of the output control.

Please note in the owners manual under the section on copper testing with a Palintest test kit, that a "clear or gray" reading is a copper reading. No copper would register as dark orange color. As noted in the owners manual if a pool is located in the Southwest, the zinc test using the EDTA tablets should be run about twice a year. Zinc will cause the test kit to reflect a higher copper reading than what is really in the water.

D. Poor circulation may result in cloudy water. A pump is used to circulate the water in the pool. All the water in the pool must go through the filter at least 1 1/2 times each day. Consult your owners manual if a two speed motor is used. A table in the manual will list the required running time for the 2-Speed pump. It is amazing the affect one additional hour of filtration will have on the appearance of the water. If you have a variable speed pump follow the pump owner's manual.

The water in the spa of a pool/spa combination should be circulated during the filtration cycle in order that the sanitizer may be introduced into the spa. The usual practice is to circulate the water in the spa and spill over into the pool during the filtration cycle.

If a waterfall exists water should flow over the waterfall daily. If water is not circulated over the waterfall, small pools of standing water will form. As in nature standing water will turn to green murky water. When the waterfall is then turned on all this debris and murky water ends up in the pool.

E. If the filter is dirty and needs cleaning or backwashing, the water may be cloudy.

How Do I Clear Up The Water

From the above items determine the cause of your problem and rectify the problem. Most of the time fixing one of the above will result in clear water. After determining the problem sometimes a little extra shocking may be necessary. After the water clears check the filter to see if it needs cleaning.

Return to FAQ's

The Pool or Spa Water Is Green - Why?

CAUSES:

If the water is dark green (pea soup) or the bottom can not be seen an algae bloom has probably occurred.See the section on algae.

A. If the water is clear but has a green tint, there may be several causes. Once again water balance is the prime suspect. Verify the water balance requirements mentioned above.

The calcium hardness must be maintained between 150ppm and 500 PPM for any sanitizer to work correctly. A calcium hardness measurement outside of this range reduces the ability of the sanitizer to do its job. When the calcium hardness reaches 300 PPM and above the total alkalinity range should be lowered to 70ppm to 90 PPM Once the hardness has reached 500ppm a portion or all of the water in the pool must be replaced.

Total alkalinity (T/A) must be properly maintained for a sanitizer to work. If the T/A is not within the proper range the sanitizer's ability to kill algae and bacteria is reduced or completely eliminated.

REMEMBER - ALKALINITY FIRST! Adjust the alkalinity first, only when the alkalinity is adjusted should you worry about the pH.

Maintaining pH.

Once the total alkalinity is balanced the pH should be maintained between 7.4 and 7.8 for pools and spas. When pH is to high, scaling, green and cloudy water may occur.

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

TDS is the sum total of all the dissolved material in the water. If the TDS is too high it will affect the ability of the sanitizer to do its job. Corrosion, green water, cloudy water and false readings on chemical tests may result if the TDS is too high. To lower the TDS, replace all or part of the water.

The standard symptoms of a pool needing oxidation are green tinted water, a slight cloudiness or a "oily film" on the surface of the pool.

Oxidation performs the same function as "super-chlorinating" or "shocking" in a chlorine pool. It oxidizes or burns off the accumulated organic materials in the pool. In addition it will have some affect on algae if some is present.

Products that have been used successfully for many years include:

Bio-Guard - Oxy-Sheen

Guardex - Super Oxidizer

EZ-Chlor - O2

HINT!

This oxidizer chemical has a pH of 2 (very acidic). If too much oxidizer is used or if the wrong concentration is used the water may turn green then clear up in 5 to 7 days.

If every water balance number is correct, if the sanitizer is proper, if the correct oxidizer is being used and in the correct quantity - run the pH on the high side (about 7.8 -8.0).

C. If the copper content is .8ppm or higher the water may appear green or bluish green. Slowly reduce the copper content in the water. Turn the Output control completely off. It may take 2 to 3 weeks before it starts to drop. Let the level come down naturally. In cold weather this could take months. The only way the copper comes out is by being used up, killing algae, bacteria and virus.

Do not use a "metal out" or "pool magnet" product. Let the copper come down slowly.

D. A pump is used to circulate the water in the pool. All the water in the pool must go through the filter at least 1 1/2 times each day. In addition, water throughout the pool must circulate. There should be no "dead" areas where water does not "move". If water does not "move" completely throughout the pool, then the sanitizing agent will not be evenly distributed throughout the pool. Consult your owners manual if a two speed motor is used. A table in the manual will list the required running time for the 2-Speed pump.For a pool with a variable speed pump follow the manufacturers instructions.

E. A dirty filter may be the cause of green water. A damaged filter grid or improper assembly of the filter can also cause green water. Make sure there is not an air leak in the filter or system.

Return to FAQ's

Which Non-Chlorine Shock Should Be Used?

Oxidation performs the same function as "super-chlorinating" or "shocking" in a chlorine pool. It oxidizes or burns off the accumulated organic materials in the pool. Just as a normal chlorine level does not oxidize organics that well (thus the need for shocking) ionization requires some form of oxidizing. In addition it may have some affect on algae if some is present (this may happen because the sanitizer can now concentrate on its primary job).

The National Sanitation Foundation recommends an ionized pool to be run with a halogen level of .4ppm. This method if followed will result in clear and safe water. However, do not put more than this amount in the water. MORE IS NOT BETTER! Too much halogen in the presence of copper will result in staining of the pool. For 25 years customers have used potassium monopersulfate as a shock. This must be in a form of 42% to 46% concentration. You can not use 1/2 of the amount of 100% concentrated potassium monopersulfate.

Products that have been used successfully for many years include:

BioGuard - Oxysheen

Guardex - Super Oxidizer

EZ-CHLOR - O2

DO NOT USE AN OXIDIZER BASED ON SODIUM MONOPERSULFATE! Many sodium monopersulfate products are being manufactured. If used with an ionizer, green water and algae will usually occur.

After using a shock or oxidizer, the pool should remain uncovered for 4 to 8 hours. Be sure and provide adequate air circulation on indoor pools.

Return to FAQ's

©1999-2014 Wailele Pools Inc. All Rights Reserved