by Mark Garcia July 9, 2013
Swimming Pool Algae Wars
Atten-tion! At ease soldiers - war is a bloody business, and I am proud to lead you into battle, anytime, anywhere.
Our enemy - a vile lowlife, single celled warrior that has invaded the backyards of America.
Algae battles are won by slaughter and maneuver. Enter this war with the will to win it, and your family will sleep safely at night, because of rough men and women like you - ready to visit violence on those organisms that would turn our pools green, yellow and black.
Our battle plan is a five pronged attack. First, we balance the water and ready the troops for maneuvers. Then comes our Shock & Brush campaign. Afterwards, we clean up the mess, and reinstate chlorine as the rightful leader of the pool.
1. BALANCE THE CHEMISTRY: This is the first step towards killing algae and bacteria in the pool, pipes and equipment. Lower the pH level close to 7.0 - algae has trouble reproducing in a low pH environment, and your chlorine will be much more effective at a lower pH level.
Alkalinity should also be adjusted to be in the range of 80-100 ppm. This will help keep your pH stable, despite the efforts of organics to raise the pH.
Calcium Hardness that is too low, or too high also creates problems for fighting algae. Test and adjust to the range of 180-220 ppm.
The level of Stabilizer in the pool, also known as Conditioner, can be increased by additions of Cyanuric Acid. This will shield your soldiers (chlorine) from the bright summer sun, and conserve resources.
2. CLEAN THE POOL: Organic debris has no place in the field of battle. It creates a challenge for troop maneuvers, confusing our soldiers who, blinded by bloodlust, attack anything that's green, or brown. Carefully vacuum the pool if needed, and if some of the algae will vacuum off of the wall, set a multiport valve to waste, to flush it out of the system.
Backwash the filter thoroughly, and set the timer clock to run the pump 24/7, until the war is won.
3. SHOCK & BRUSH: The goal is a chlorine level of 30 ppm in the pool. Normally, the instructions on the bag of chlorine will tell you to add 1 lb of pool shock per 10,000 gallons of pool water. Depending on the severity of the algae attack, you may triple the dose. Dilute the shock first in a 5 gallon bucket, if your pool is vinyl lined or fiberglass.
Immediately after adding the chemical ordnance, use a quality pool brush, in good condition, to brush the entire pool, very thoroughly. It takes hard work to do this correctly. When done, your arms and shoulders should be aching tired, like you just hiked 20 miles with a 50 lb rucksack.
After brushing the pool, your water should be a blue-grey color. If it still looks green - add more shock. For additional chemical warfare power, use a chlorine accelerator, like Yellow Klear or Green to Clean, which will boost your chlorine strength and activity.
Don't add algaecide to the pool. Algaecides are an ineffective weapon against an established and entrenched enemy. Algaecide is best used as a deterrent to future attacks, and have no place in this battlefield.
4. CLEAN UP THE MESS: When the dust settles, and the chlorine level drops below 5 ppm, move in quickly with your vacuum equipment to clean up the field of battle. Vacuum to waste the dead algae, and the separated shock dust. Brush the pool again, and recheck the chemical balance.
Backwash the filter if the pressure gauge rises 8-10 lbs above the clean, starting pressure. DE filter grids and cartridge filter elements should be removed and cleaned thoroughly. If you can visibly see any remaining algae clinging to your filter media, soak for a few minutes in a 10:1 solution of water and regular bleach, or use 1 lb of dissolved pool shock in 10 gallons of water.
5. PREVENT FUTURE ATTACKS: If your pool was overrun by an especially agile algae army, organize a counter-insurgency with the use of a strong algaecide like Poly 60. Add a phosphate remover chemical like SeaKlear Phosphate Remover to cut off the enemy's supply chain, and starve them into submission.
In algae wars, there is no substitute for victory. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
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