Although this summer is shaping up to be relatively mild, the hot weather can create problems for swimming pools even when a routine pool maintenance program is followed.
Two of the most common problems that pool owners experience this time of year are cloudy water and algae.
Treating cloudy water
The best long-term solution to cloudy water is to find out what is causing it and take care of the problem.
In the short term, however, there are water clarifiers available that remove particulate matter, which could clear the pool.
Clarifiers coagulate particles so that they become large enough to fall out of solution and be trapped by the filter.
There are many pool owners who use a clarifier on a regular basis to prevent cloudy water. This is especially recommended during this time of year, when cloudy water might keep you from enjoying your pool safely.
The cause of cloudy water is usually either a water chemistry imbalance or poor filtration.
If it is a water chemistry issue, it is usually low sanitizer (chlorine) levels or high pH levels — which makes the sanitizer much less effective. If you have cloudy water and suspect that it is a water chemistry problem, simply test the water and treat as recommended or better yet, take a pint of your pool water to a professional pool store.
The store will be glad to analyze your pool water and recommend treatment.
Poor filtration can also cause cloudy water. This could be as simple as excessive debris in a pump basket or skimmer basket, poor water circulation caused by a dirty filter, or it could possibly be a problem with your filter.
There are three common filters used on swimming pools — sand, D.E. (diatomaceous earth) and cartridge. Depending on the type of filter that you have, the following filter problems can occur.
• Sand filter: Your sand should be replaced every three to five years.
If you are unable to clear up cloudy water and have not changed the sand in several years, it is suggested that you change it.
• D.E. filter: You could have a torn D.E. filter grid, which allows D.E. to enter the pool, causing cloudy water. Disassemble your filter and check the filter grids for holes or the filter manifold for cracks.
• Cartridge filter: You could have a torn or old cartridge — either situation calls for filter replacement.
Most algae can be prevented and can usually be blamed on low sanitizer (chlorine) levels or high pH levels. It is much easier and less expensive to prevent algae than it is to treat it.
Many pool owners in the Denton area use an algaecide on a weekly basis as a preventive measure.
This, along with brushing the pool regularly, is effective in preventing algae.
There are several types of algae that are common in this area.
They are as follows:
• Green algae is either free-floating or attaches itself to the pool surface.
• Yellow (or mustard) algae is usually found in low-flow areas of the pool.
• Black (or blue-green) algae forms a root system that makes it difficult to remove.
Treatment varies with each one of these types of algae, but it usually consists of increasing the sanitizer level, using an algaecide and brushing the pool.
Preventing cloudy water and algae is the key to dealing with the heat that we are experiencing right now.
MATT GOHLKE, certified building professional, is the owner of Gohlke Pools and a member of the National Spa & Pool Institute, Aquatech and the Better Business Bureau. His firm has received national awards, certifications and recognitions in the swimming pool industry. He may be reached at 940-387-7521.