Controlling winter algae

Algae problems in swimming pool water.
Green (cloudy) water or slimy pool walls.
Black algae. Mustard algae. Pink or white pool mold.
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Controlling winter algae

Postby dano9 » Tue 09 Sep, 2008 06:59

We live in community with a neighborhood pool that a pool company manages for the summer, but we tend to over the winter (budget is REALLY tight). We've been using granular chlorine to knock back algal blooms, but I'm afraid it's hard on the paint. Is there a cheaper, more effective way to keep the algae in check during the winter?

BTW: For the winter we are using an above ground pump to keep the water circulating (no filtration). Periodically we clear the bulk of leaves using nets. Typically we go through about 8 buckets of granular (a little bigger than a 5 gal bucket) and 3 tubs of sticks (we've attached a chlorinator to the pump) in a winter. Not sure of the pool volume, but the main body has 5 swim lanes, plus a deep section with 2 diving boards and a shallow portion that is maybe 25x25. Keep in mind that this is real grass roots - all volunteer and no real budget. Also, in the spring it's our responsibility to get the water clear before turning over to the pool company (again, to save $$$).

Any suggestions would be REALLY appreciated.

chem geek
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Postby chem geek » Tue 09 Sep, 2008 10:09

The least expensive way to prevent algae over the winter would be to maintain a sufficient Free Chlorine (FC) level that is at least 7.5% of the Cyanuric Acid (CYA) level. In the winter, you should have much less chlorine loss from sunlight (assuming you are in the northern hemisphere and not near the equator). Also, with the water colder, the chlorine usage should be lower and algae will grow more slowly.

Other alternatives include using an algaecide such as PolyQuat 60 or using a phosphate remover, but these are extra costs especially for the larger initial dose. Though normally a weekly maintenance dose would be required, the colder water temperatures may let you get away with every other week or possibly even once a month dosing (PolyQuat breaks down from chlorine, but more slowly at colder temperatures).

It takes a LOT more chlorine to fight an algae bloom than it does to prevent one from forming in the first place so I would expect that chlorine costs should be lower if you maintain the appropriate FC level. Use The Pool Calculator to calculate dosing. You'll probably lose less than 1 ppm FC per day, but should have a good test kit to be sure. You can get the Taylor K-2006 for a good online price here or the TF100 test kit from tftestkits(dot)com here with the latter kit having 36% more volume of reagents so is comparably priced "per test".


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