There’s nothing quite like the joy of using your safe, private home swimming pool and nothing quite like the disappointment of stepping outside to be greeted with green pool water. Don’t feel bad. It can happen to the best of us. Green water looks bad, often smells bad, and can turn your backyard oasis into a wet headache, but it doesn’t have to. As your swimming pool experts, we’ll walk you through how to treat green pool water, restore your swimming pool’s clarity, and prevent it from forming again so you can get back to using your pool as your source of exercise, relaxation, and fun for the whole family.
Causes of Green Pool Water
When your water turns green, it’s a sure sign something is wrong. There are several reasons your water can turn green, but of the possibilities, one stands above all others:
- Algae – Algae bloom is the number one cause of green-colored pool water. When you think of algae, you may think of it as the large sheets of plant manner that can build up on the side of docks, boats, or pools left uncleaned for too long. Before it gets to that point, however, microscopic algae bloom in the water itself. As concentrations grow, the water takes on the green color caused by the chlorophyll in algae and eventually the wet plant smell associated with it.
- Pollen – Another source of green water is pollen blown in by the winds. Pollen can range in color from yellow to green but often falls somewhere in between. If you’re in a high pollen area and season, this can easily lead to some green pool water days.
- Oxidized Chemicals – Finally, your green pool can be a result of your pool chemistry chemicals oxidizing metal pool fixtures to create a green hue. This is frequently accompanied by a heavy chemical smell often associated with swimming pools, but that doesn’t actually occur with properly treated and maintained pools and spas.
Identifying the Culprit
If the issue hasn’t reached the point where an evident smell points you in the right direction, it can be hard to know the exact cause of the green water in your pool. Some algae can be yellowish, and if a problem is caught early enough, no odor may be present. Luckily, it doesn’t matter much because the answer to each of them lies in the Three C’s of proper pool maintenance.
- Circulation – Moving water disperses chemicals, passes through your filter mechanism, and makes it harder for algae to form.
- Cleaning – Including both your filtration and the manual process of cleaning the pool, this removes physical contaminants from both the water and the surfaces of your pool.
- Chemistry – Proper chemistry creates water that stays cleaner and healthier while fighting off bacterial and microscopic contaminants.
Addressing these three critical areas of pool maintenance will get rid of green pool water faster and keep it at bay longer.
Treating the Problem
Treating your pool requires a little TLC, but there isn’t a lot of specialized equipment that you’ll need. Make sure you have your normal pool cleaning equipment on hand, know how to clean your filter medium property through backwashing, and that you have your normal pool chemistry supplies plus a dose of pool shock. Let’s get started.
- Clean Your Pool – Using your skimmer, vacuum, and brushes, clean the pool sides and bottom, scrubbing them to remove any potential buildup of algae or other physical contaminants. This important first step will make treating your pool further easier. It also gives you a chance to inspect any metal fixtures for signs of corrosion, wear, or damage.
- Balance Your Pool’s Chemistry – Balanced pool water is easier to clean and treat further. The proper amount of stabilizer and pH will allow the shock treatment to set in better, killing potential biological contaminants so they can be eliminated from the system. The pH levels should usually be between 7.4 and 7.6 with stabilizer between 30-60 ppm. You also want to make sure your chlorine levels are high enough to do their job. Free chlorine is what keeps algae at bay, and often algae bloom is caused by either the chlorine levels being too low or by the pH level being too high, which impedes chlorine’s ability to fight contamination.
- Shock Your Pool – Use the manufacturer’s directions to deliver a shock of free chlorine to the pool, killing algae and other biological contaminants. You’ve already balanced the pH levels to maximize the chlorine’s effectiveness, but you also want to make sure you start the shock process as the sun is going down. Sunlight can also inhibit the chemical actions that will get rid of the green pool water.
- Circulate the Water for 24 Hours – An extended circulation and filtration cycle makes sure that the chemicals are dispersed evenly throughout the water. It also gives your filter the opportunity to remove dead algae and/or pollen from the pool water.
- Clean Your Filter Medium – After 24 hours of circulation, your pool chemistry should be balanced, the water should be clear, and your filter will be ready for a rinse. Backwash the filter to expel the contaminants and ensure there is nothing left to allow the algae to rebloom. If your filter does not allow back washing, remove the cartridge and rinse it thoroughly or replace it.
- Re-Shock if Needed – Sometimes, a second dose of shock is needed in extreme circumstances to finish the job. Rebalance your pool chemicals to make sure the water is ready for shocking, and repeat the process.
Preventing Green Pool Water
Now that your water is clear, it’s time to make sure it stays that way. If the process of fixing the issue has you worn out, don’t worry. As with most situations, it’s far easier to prevent a problem than to fix it once it shows up.
- Keep Your Pool Chemistry in Check – Proper pool chemistry will go a long way toward preventing a reoccurrence. This includes monitoring your pool’s water regularly, adjusting it as needed, and shocking it when events that have a high contamination potential, like a big rainstorm, occur.
- Keep It Clean – Make sure you’re running your pool pump to filter your water at least 8 hours a day if it isn’t set up on an intermittent timer. This helps make sure contaminants don’t have the opportunity to sit in the pool, where they can become an issue. You also want to clean your pool regularly, vacuuming the floor and giving the sides a brush down to prevent algae from forming.
- Keep It Covered – A good pool cover will go a long way toward keeping your pool cleaner, healthier, and safer. Swimming pool safety covers provide a barrier against physical contaminants entering your pool while also preventing unsupervised access. A lack of safety barriers is cited as a contributing factor in a majority of the almost 4000 lives lost annually to accidental drowning, and these rip-resistant mesh covers–anchored around the deck and designed to support the weight of a full-grown adult–are a great way to keep your friends, family, and pets safer.
Schedule Your Free Estimate
Our independent All-Safe Pool installer is your local safer pool expert. They’ll set up a time to talk to you about your pool needs, measure your pool area, and tailor a safety quote that lays out your pool protection options. It’s cost-effective peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Reach out for your no-cost, no-obligation quote from your local All-Safe Pool pro today.