Chemicals used in Swimming Pools:
Proper water chemistry is essential to maintaining safe and consistent swimming pool operation. Chemicals used in swimming pools include: Disinfectants to destroy harmful or otherwise objectionable organisms; Alkalinity and pH Adjusters to maintain a consistent acid-base relationship and acid buffering capacity; Chlorine Stabilizer to prevent unnecessary loss of chlorine; Algicide to kill and prevent algae, and Filter Aids to help remove foreign material. Following is a discussion of various factors which affect water chemistry, how they affect swimming pools and how to use pool chemicals to restore a properly balanced water chemistry.
Algae are tiny plants that bloom and grow in swimming pools if nutrients are present and a sufficient level of free chlorine is not maintained. Below are descriptions of the three most common algae problems in swimming pools.
Green Algae The most common algae in swimming pool floats in water and coats pool surfaces. Left unchecked green algae will very quickly turn the pool water pea green.
Mustard Algae settles on pool walls and causes a slimy yellow film.
Black Algae appears in “buds” or clumps attached to tile grout, corners, steps and pool surfaces.
Green Algae – is very susceptible to chemical treatment. Superchlorinate with 10 to 20 ppm chlorine in the evening. Keep the filter running and brush the pool walls and bottom. Periodically check chlorine and maintain above 3 ppm until water clears. Using an algicide containing quaternary ammonia the next morning will help prevent the return of green algae.
Mustard Algae – is much more resistant to chemical treatment and clings more tightly to pool walls than green algae. Adjust pH and superchlorinate as for green algae then brush diligently. Later vacuum the pool, check chlorine and superchorinate again if necessary. Mustard algae will generally return unless treated with a special mustard algicide or a copper based algicide. Algicide should be added in the morning to treat algae in daylight – its most active period.
Black Algae – is very difficult to get rid of. It can be controlled to some extent by frequent superchlorination and diligent brushing with a stiff brush. Spot treatments can be made by turning off the recirculation pumps and pouring granular chlorine directly on recently brushed spots. Trichlor tablets can also be rubbed on recently brushed areas to spot treat. Black algae can usually be controlled with the use of strong alicides and maintenance of relatively high free chlorine residual, but complete removal of black algae may require draining and cleaning the pool.
Note: Algae blooms are a problem best avoided. Maintaining proper water quality and frequent brushing of pool walls will deprive algae of the opportunity to get started.