Saltwater pools are becoming increasingly popular due to their many benefits, such as being easier on the skin and eyes, requiring less maintenance, and costing less to run than traditional chlorine pools. However, like all swimming pools, they require regular maintenance to ensure they remain clean and healthy for swimmers.
One essential aspect of maintaining a saltwater pool is using algaecide to deal with sudden algae growth and to get it early before a full bloom sets in and creates a bigger problem.
In this blog post, we will discuss the dos and don’ts of using algaecide in saltwater pools, with tips from pool maintenance experts. Equally importantly we’ll discuss how to prevent algae in the first place.
Algaecide Usage and Algae Mitigation and Prevention
DO: Use algaecide regularly
The most effective way to prevent algae to keep chlorine and other chemicals in check while also promoting good maintenance habits with proper filtration. Don’t leave your solar blanket on for more than a day or so at a time, too, as the trapped heat can encourage algae growth quickly.
The next most effective way to prevent algae growth in a saltwater pool is to use algaecide regularly if algae is a real problem for you. Algaecide is a chemical that kills and prevents algae growth in the water.
DO: Choose the right type of algaecide
There are different types of algaecide available, and it is important to choose the right one for your saltwater pool. Look for an algaecide that is specifically designed for use in saltwater pools.
Using the wrong type of algaecide may not help and just waste your time and money and possible make the algae problem worse if it doesn’t kill it early.
DO: Follow the instructions on the label
It is important to read the label on the algaecide carefully and follow the instructions. Using too much algaecide can be harmful to swimmers and can damage the pool’s equipment. It’s also a waste of your money.
On the other hand, using too little algaecide will not be effective in preventing algae growth or killing off the algae that you have.
To ensure that your pool’s chemistry is balanced and that the algaecide is working correctly, you should test the water regularly. The pH level should be between 7.2 and 7.8, and the chlorine level should be between 1 and 3 parts per million (ppm). If the levels are outside of these ranges, the algaecide may not work as effectively.
In fact, as long as you have the chlorine level within this range and have good filtration and enough pump time, you should be able to prevent green algae full stop. When you see the first sign of algae, it’s a strong hint that there is something wrong in the water that needs to be quickly addressed.
DON’T: Use algaecide as a substitute for proper maintenance
Algaecide is an essential part of maintaining a saltwater pool, but it should not be used as a substitute for proper maintenance. Regular cleaning, brushing, and vacuuming of the pool are necessary to remove debris and prevent the buildup of algae. Neglecting these tasks will make it harder for the algaecide to do its job.
And if you aren’t doing these tasks, you’ll be dumping costly algaecide into the pool simply to make up for this oversight.
Truthfully, you can often eliminate the need for algaecide full stop if you just do the proper maintenance and keep chlorine between 1 ppm and 3 ppm while maintaining a proper cleaning and filtration regimen.
DON’T: Add algaecide to a dirty pool
Adding algaecide to a dirty pool will not be effective in preventing algae growth. Before adding algaecide, you should ensure that the pool is clean and free of debris. You should also shock the pool to raise the chlorine levels and kill any existing algae.
Once you’ve added algaecide and it has started to work, you’ll probably need to backwash or otherwise clean your filter mediums to get rid of the accumulated algae, perhaps several times if the algae bloom is bad.
DON’T: Swim in the pool immediately after adding algaecide
After adding algaecide to your saltwater pool, you should wait up to 60 minutes before allowing swimmers back into the pool depending on product instructions. This will give the algaecide time to mix with the water and do its job. Swimming in the pool immediately after adding algaecide can be harmful to swimmers and can reduce the effectiveness of the algaecide.
Another option is to add algaecide in the evening after the sun goes down, keep the pump on and get it to circulate throughout the night to get rid of it quickly when the pool isn’t in use.
What Causes Algae In The First Place?
Algae is a common problem that can occur in swimming pools, and it can be a frustrating and unsightly issue to deal with. Algae is a type of aquatic plant that can grow in a swimming pool under certain conditions.
Here are some of the reasons that cause algae in a swimming pool:
- High pH levels: Algae thrives in environments with high pH levels, typically above 7.8. If your pool’s pH levels are too high, it can create the perfect environment for algae to grow.
- Warm water temperatures: Algae grows best in warm water temperatures, typically between 75°F and 85°F. If your pool’s water temperature is consistently in this range, it can promote algae growth.
- Lack of proper circulation: Proper circulation of water is essential to preventing algae growth. If your pool’s circulation system is not working correctly or if the water is not being circulated enough, it can create stagnant areas that are prone to algae growth.
- Low chlorine levels: Chlorine is a critical component in keeping a swimming pool clean and free of algae. If the chlorine levels in your pool are low, it can create an environment that is ideal for algae growth.
- Lack of regular maintenance: Regular maintenance of your pool is essential to preventing algae growth. Neglecting routine cleaning, brushing, and vacuuming of the pool can create an environment that is prone to algae growth.
- Heavy rainfall: Heavy rainfall can introduce organic matter, such as dirt and debris, into the pool. If the pool’s water chemistry is not properly balanced or the filtration system is not working correctly, this can create conditions that promote algae growth.
- Presence of phosphates: Phosphates are a nutrient that algae needs to grow. If your pool’s water contains high levels of phosphates, it can promote the growth of algae.
Dealing With Common Forms Of Pool Algae
|Green Algae (common)
|High levels of sunlight, low chlorine levels, poor water circulation
|Brush the pool walls and floor to loosen the algae, vacuum the debris, shock the pool with a high dose of chlorine, use an algaecide if necessary, maintain proper chlorine and pH levels, ensure adequate circulation
|Lack of proper sanitation, poor water circulation
|Brush the pool walls and floor to loosen the algae, vacuum the debris, shock the pool with a high dose of chlorine, use an algaecide specifically designed for yellow/mustard algae, maintain proper chlorine and pH levels, ensure adequate circulation
|High levels of sunlight, low chlorine levels, poor water circulation, lack of proper sanitation
|Brush the pool walls and floor to loosen the algae, vacuum the debris, use a stainless steel brush to break up the algae heads (concrete or gunite pool only!) or use a vinyl brush for a fiberglass or vinyl pool (do not steel on these types of pools!), shock the pool with a high dose of chlorine, use an algaecide specifically designed for black algae, maintain proper chlorine and pH levels, ensure adequate circulation, consider using a copper-based algaecide or algaecide containing silver or other metals
In conclusion, using algaecide can be an essential part of maintaining a clean and healthy saltwater pool. By following these dos and don’ts, you can ensure that the algaecide is working effectively and that your pool remains clean and algae-free.
It’s important to note that preventing algae growth in the first place is the best approach, so it’s essential to maintain proper water chemistry and sanitation, as well as adequate water circulation, to keep your pool free of algae. Regular brushing and vacuuming can also help prevent algae growth. If you do notice algae in your pool, it’s important to address it promptly to prevent it from spreading and becoming more difficult to remove.
If you have any questions or concerns about using algaecide in your saltwater pool, consult a pool maintenance expert for advice. This is especially true if you find algae is a constant problem as there might be an underlying problem that you need professional help to deal with once and for all.
Lastly, you might be interested to learn about a product called Salt Water Magic which may offer multiple benefits including algae prevention.