A chlorine wash may be recommended if you have an extensive algae bloom. Algae can be a persistent problem in swimming pools and spas. Pool owners struggle with this problem most often in the summer months, but pool water chemistry can cause algae to occur at any time of the year. A common misconception is that swimming pool/spa algae is caused solely by a lack of chlorine. Although a lack of chlorine will cause an algae bloom, there are usually underlying causes such as:
TOTAL DISSOLVED SOLIDS (TDS): Total dissolved solids is the measure of the total amount of dissolved material in the water. It is made up of mineral and chemical residue, dust, dirt, human waste, sunscreens, tanning lotions, etc. When water builds up an excessive amount of total dissolved solids, it no longer allows the chlorine to work effectively. This increases the likelihood of algae. This usually happens when total dissolved solids reach approximately 2000ppm. On average this occurs every 3-5 years.
PHOSPHATES: Phosphates play a very significant role in the production of algae in a swimming pool or spa. Phosphate levels rise due to the constant introduction of organic material such as fertilizers, leaves, dirt, and other common sources. Phosphates are food for algae. Therefore, the presence of phosphates in swimming pool water, even at low concentrations, can cause accelerated algae growth. Levels should be kept below 100ppm at all times. All American Pool Company suggests regular phosphate treatments to reduce the likelihood of algae growth.
NITRATES: Nitrates are a product of nitrogen gas. Fertilizer is the most common source of nitrates in swimming pools. Gardeners sometimes allow yard fertilizer to drop or drift into the pool. In our area, microscopic fertilizer from our local dairies float into pools. Birds flying over or sitting in overhanging trees, and dogs swimming in the pool are also common causes of nitrates. Other causes are water run-off, acid rain, human waste, sweat, and body oils. Those with water wells and septic tanks are particularly prone to nitrate contamination.
CYANURIC ACID LEVELS: A low level of cyanuric acid increases the likelihood of algae blooms. Cyanuric acid (conditioner) is a chemical that helps prolong the life of chlorine in the water by slowing down chlorine decay due to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. If your pool loses a lot of water due to evaporation, splash-out, leaks, partial draining, etc., cyanuric acid will need to be checked and added more often.
Depending on the type and extent of algae you have and the condition of your water chemistry, All American Pool Company can help you decide the best way to handle your swimming pool’s algae removal. Although it is not always necessary to drain the pool and perform a chlorine wash, many times it is the quickest and most economical method. Call All American Pool Company and we will come out for a FREE assessment and estimate.
An acid wash literally removes a layer of plaster from the walls, so it's not something you should consider as part of your annual pool maintenance, but if there are stains from either organic or inorganic sources, or a calcium build-up, then an acid wash can be considered.
All American Pool Company recommends that all acid and chlorine washes be done by professionals. If you plan to attempt this yourself, please take all necessary precautions, and make sure to have someone else there in case of an emergency. Proper safety clothing, a breathing apparatus, and safety procedures should be maintained at all times.