Ver veniet, si sic credas, translated from Latin, means “Spring will come, if you believe thus“. In southern climates, spring has already sprung, while in the north we must patiently believe.
Hello again students, I’m Dr. Pool, chemical research and product scientist at In The Swim, and have been asked to contribute some solutions to avoid a green pool opening this spring.
If you suffer a dark and green pool opening every spring, I have some tasks for you this weekend. To prevent a green pool opening, you need to start early, before the water temperature rises too much.
So What – Who Cares?
Some may say, “The pool is green when we open it, but we just shock the [*edit*] out of it and it’s fine in a few days”.
Fair enough, pool shock is an excellent algaecide – however, when algae has a chance to bloom out of control in a pool, even though you kill it, some of the molecular building blocks remain, helping subsequent generations of algae.
Rather than choking your water with skeletal remains of annual algae blooms, with some simple treatments and methods, you can avoid a swampy pool opening, even if you have a mesh pool cover, and even if you open late into the season.
Time is of the essence, start now, before any algae begins to really take hold.
Step One: Pull the Pool Cover to One Side
For a water bag type cover, two people can quickly pull the edge of one side of the cover over to meet the cover edge on the other side. Weigh down the cover edge to keep it from slip-sliding into the pool.
For safety covers, you can pull the cover open on both sides. Leave it attached on both ends in the center, and pull each side open, laying the cover in the center – so the pool is open on both sides.
If you shock the pool, leave the cover open until the chlorine level subsides below 3 ppm.
Step Two: Test and Balance your Pool Water
Test your pH level with a reliable test kit or strip. By the way, many people write-in and ask what type of pool test kit I use, and although I would say my preference would be the highly regarded ColorQ test kit, I currently test with a Taylor FAS-DPD kit – also very accurate. The Taylor K-2005 is my usual recommendation for a pool owner who wants to test all pool water parameters with accuracy.
Test for Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness if you are able to. Adjust as needed with the chemicals by adding them to a bucket filled with water, and pouring along the edge of the pool.
Step Three: Brush & Skim the Pool
We have poles, nets and brushes if you have a need for replacement pool tools. Give the pool a good brushing of walls and floors and skim the surface. If you use a winter chlorine floater, remove it to see if it is empty.
Step Four: Check the Water Level
If you have a mesh safety cover, or solid with drain panels type of cover, the level of your pool water is crucial to preventing a tea-bag effect of leaves leeching in the warm waters seeping through the cover. If you can see a wet spot in the center of your pool cover, your water level is too high.
Lower a winterized pool by using a pool cover pump, sump pump or other utility pump. You can also initiate a siphon effect with garden hoses or a pool vacuum hose – if you have a 2-3 foot elevation drop around your pool. Davy describes how to set-up a siphon in a previous post.
Step Five: Shock the Pool, Fill a Floater
Shock with your favorite granular oxidizer, chlorine or non-chlorine shock – or use a 6% liquid bleach to reach 10 ppm of free chlorine. Brushing the pool again will help to distribute the hypochlorous acid.
Fill a clean chlorine tablet floater full with 3-inch tablets, and set the distributor to a very small size opening. Carefully place it into the pool. Tie a string through the lid and connect to cover anchors or safety line hooks to keep it from floating around freely. Never add chlorine tablets to a winter floater containing a non-chlorine sanitizer, like those used in our Winter Kits.
Alternatively, instead of shocking the pool, you can dose the pool with a quart of Algaecide 60 plus, which will prevent algae from growing in the 50-70 degree temperature range.
If the water temperature begins to reach 70, and you still haven’t opened the pool, you should add another cleaning and chemical treatment, then re-cover the pool.
When Extra Help is Needed
If you have had repeated algae blooms every year for several years – you probably have a phosphate level that is feeding algae.
Using a phosphate remover chemical is recommended for pools that open green. The best product to prevent another green opening is Pool Magic + PhosFree. A blend of enzymes and phosphate remover that although technically not ‘Magic’, it can work wonders.
Davy just [raised his hand] sent me a tip for when extra help is needed; he says, and I quote; “Fire up the pump 2-4 weeks before you open, but leave the pool cover on, and run the filter 2-4 hours daily”
Excellent point, David. Filtration and circulation are powerful weapons against algae and bacteria growth.
Now then class, pop quiz - tell me which one of these ways below will Not help you with a blue pool opening?
- Cleaning the pool with nets and brushes
- Adding more sanitizer or algaecide
- Adding enzymes and phosphate removers
- Running the filter prior to the full opening
- Peeking under the cover, 2 days before opening
If you chose option five, A+ on the quiz ~ gratulatum vobis!