Dealing with an Algae Problem in Your Pool

At Tyler’s Pool & Home Care, we receive phone calls from customers with swimming pool issues year-round. It starts in the spring, as we help to get pools up and running, continues through the summer when algae starts to become a problem, and finally, in the fall when we close them down.

Of all the calls we get, the ones in the middle of the summer with pools that are as green as broccoli are usually the trickiest—yes, even for experienced pool experts to get under control. And, of course, it’s sweltering hot, and you just want to jump into clean and cool water.

The first step to overcoming an algae problem is to try and prevent it from forming in the first place. This means, keeping your chlorinator full of chlorine. Especially in the heat of the summer, pools can use up chlorine very quickly. At least half of the pools we visit that have algae issues have little or no chlorine in them.

As mentioned in previous posts, you can almost not overdo it with the chlorine. If it's very hot, and the pool is getting a lot of use, keep chlorine levels high (as close at 10 PPM as possible). And check the chlorinator daily. Just 24 hours without chlorine, and a pool will start to show signs of algae. And once algae starts, it can be a long process to get rid of it.

In addition to keeping your chlorine levels high, remember that your pH must also be in the correct range of 7.2-7.8. If it isn't, your chlorine won't be effective when it comes to killing bacteria in the pool. Finally, when it comes to preventing algae, try using an algaecide product at least once per week.

Now, what should you do if you're already past those preventative steps and have algae starting to form or have a fully green pool?

The first step is to check your pool chemicals. Make sure your pH, Alkalinity, and Stabilizer are in the desired ranges. If not, then adding shock and chlorine is pointless.

Once the water is balanced, now it's time to start killing that algae. Start by super shocking the pool. This means at least ten times its current level (at least go up to 20 for 12 hours). Once the shock has started to circulate after a few hours, you’ll want to add a healthy dose of algaecide. If you have a small algae problem just starting, you won’t need to add a lot, but if you have a bad algae problem, start with at least half a bottle of concentrated algaecide. Keep your pump turned on to filter, and really at this point, you’ll have to let the sand filter, chlorine, and algaecide go to work for a little bit.

After 24 hours or so, you should start to see the water lighten up a bit. Chlorine and algaecide don’t actually remove the algae from the pool; instead, those chemicals are used to kill the algae and cause it drop to the bottom of the pool.

There is only one way to actually remove the dead algae, and that's to vacuum the algae out of the pool. I usually like to use a vacuum with a brush on the end to brush the sides of the pool and bottom since some of the algae will stick and the brush helps remove it. Go slowly over the entire surface of the pool. When vacuuming algae out, you also want to set your filter to “Waste.” This will take the algae and water you're vacuuming out of the pool and will not put it back in the pool.

Once the pool is vacuumed, it should look quite a bit better. But you're not quite done yet. Now is the time you should backwash your filter for a minute or two to remove any lingering algae from the sand in the filter. Then, add another round of shock and another round of algaecide and wait about another 24 hours. One more vacuuming and another backwash, and you should be on your way to a clean pool. Just make sure to get the water balanced and set the chlorine between 5-10 PPM again.

Call us with any questions or issues, and we will be happy to help.

Tyler’s Pool and Home Care provides professional lawn care, pool care, and snow removal services for Omaha-area homes and businesses. Contact us today at 402-590-6860 or

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