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Posted by Pat O'Keefe
Pool season is upon us. As we transition further into spring, the temperature will stop fluctuating so much and those pools will start to open as we inch closer and closer to Memorial Day and the unofficial start to summer. As part of the pool opening process, getting your pool water to where it needs to be is very important. It’s imperative that you use the correct chemicals to neutralize bacteria, oxidize particles, kill bacteria, and restore water clarity so that you can enjoy your pool safely.
An algaecide is a very effective first step in starting the pool opening process. It is a chemical treatment specifically constructed to kill algae and prevent any further growth. You may ask “doesn’t chlorine prevent algae growth?” and the answer would be that it strongly discourages algae growth but other things like sunlight, pH, mineral content, temperature of the water, debris, and even people can introduce algae to pool water. Proper selection and use of algaecides plays a large role in getting your pool to its best shape.
There are two types of algaecide, metallic (think copper and silver) and ammonia. The most effective products will contain at least 30% active ingredient of either metal or ammonia. Cleaning the filters, checking all chemical levels, and shocking the pool all help the algaecide work to the best of its ability. Once the treatment has been applied, it is suggested that you vacuum the dead algae. Using algaecides regularly help with things like reducing the chlorine use, prolonging the water filtration system’s life, as well as just keeping the pool as safe as possible for swimmers. Following package directions or working with a professional are both strongly recommended.
The second part of this process is the use of shock. “Shocking” the pool means getting the chlorine level to at least 3.0 parts per million. Pool shock is an oxidizer and helps to remove chloramines which are combined chlorine molecules. A pool is shocked after contamination, heavy pool use, and for removal of algae as previously discussed. One big thing is that you can see the algae, and you can test for chloramines but the bacteria and other pathogens are invisible. It is because of this that many pool owners shock the pool every 3-4 weeks, even though the water may be clear and clean, just to be sure it’s disinfected and sanitary. For algaecides, our team here at E-Z Test Pool Supplies suggests BioGuard Algaecide or Jonas Algaecide
How much shock to use depends on the amount of water being used in your pool. This number can vary slightly, feel free to consult a pool volume calculator to help determine size. Typically the ratio is 1 pound of shock per 10,000 gallons of water, but just to be sure always consult the packaging for instructions. For chloramine removal shock the pool for a level of free chlorine that is 10 to 20 times the amount of measured chloramines. For algae removal a generally accepted target is 30 ppm but this can also vary. You can also consult the label or give us a call for the correct amount of pool shock to be used to reach a certain level.
If the water is relatively clear upon opening your pool, you should still test for chlorine, pH, alkalinity, and stabilizer. The pump should also run for at least 24 hours, use a pool vacuum, and retest the water. These activities will help determine a plan of action to get your pool ready for summer. . If the pool water is visibly green than there may be additional steps to take. If your pool was winterized it went through a very similar process which should then be repeated as you prepare for pool season.
For pool shock we suggest SOS shock or TKO shock. These products all have specific instructions for use that we would be happy to advise you on. We also are able to ship anywhere in the country at no cost to you with orders that exceed $50. Thank you very much and have a happy pool season.