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Using a Phosphate Remover to Treat Algae

There are several methods you can use to eliminate and prevent algae in your pool all season long. I am a big fan of adding borates to your pool to prevent algae and alternatively, you can use the PoolRX product or a maintenance dose of a sodium bromide product like YellowTrine or No Nor Problems. But what happens if you are currently using one of these methods or none of them and you still have persistent algae in your pool? This is where a good Phosphate remover can come in and save the day.

Keep in mind phosphates are measured in ppb – parts per billion instead of the standard ppm – parts per million used in the industry. To give you an idea of how small a ppb is, imagine a roll of toilet paper stretched from New York across the Atlantic Ocean to London. 1 ppm would be one tiny sheet of the entire roll that is stretched across the ocean! So a phosphate level of 100 ppb is extremely minuscule but any amount of phosphates in the water is food for the algae. We are dealing with the microscopic world in your pool and strangely these very small amounts can destroy the pool’s chlorine level and cause algae to bloom on the pool surface.

There are of course factors that contribute to algae in your pool. The main factors that I see are poor filtration, not running your pump long enough, flow issues due to air leaks in the system and improper chemistry – low chlorine levels each week. After addressing these issues, you can still get algae in certain areas of your pool and attached spa. That is where a phosphate remover like PHOSEfree can come in handy.

I have a handful of pools on my route that will develop algae in certain spots during the season. In this case, it is due to poor circulation in the attached spa or in the corner where the steps meet the pool. So what I do is add 8 oz of the PHOSEfree into the skimmer with the pool running for 6-8 hours and this usually takes care of it in one application. You may need to repeat it the next week are two if it is tough algae.

What a phosphate remover does is remove the food for the algae. It the food source is destroyed the algae cannot grow. By doing this you also give the chlorine a boost since it will not be used up fighting the algae growth in the pool. So, there is a dual benefit to this. The algae in the pool are eliminated and your chlorine level stays high each week.

I rarely will use the phosphate remover to actually treat a pool with high phosphates. Most of my pools have a phosphate level of 100 ppb or less so there is no use for the product for me except to treat algae spots in a pool or spa. Of course, if your phosphate levels are over 300 ppb or higher you would benefit from the full phosphate treatment outlined on the product directions. For spot algae treatment you are just using a small dose in the affected pool and are not doing the full phosphate treatment.

I am not a big advocate of adding chemicals to your pool and suggest adding a phosphate remover only if you need it. Rarely will your pool actually have a phosphate issue. I have only had a few pools with phosphates over 1,000 ppb and again very high phosphates are not a major issue for those in my area of the country. But it is not uncommon in very rural areas to have high phosphate issues and a full treatment, when needed, is perfectly called for.

The only time I suggest this method is if your pool has trouble holding chlorine week to week and you see algae in certain areas of your pool. There could be microalgae that you can’t see using up the chlorine in the pool. A maintenance dose of the phosphate remover will quickly eliminate the food source for the algae and in turn free up the chlorine allowing the levels to stay consistent.

So, using the phosphate treatment in the way that I am suggesting will help your pool if you are noticing algae in certain spots and if the chlorine level is not holding well week to week. Use the treatment with the understanding that even a small amount of the phosphate remover can go a long way in eliminating the algae because we are removing the algae’s food source. You do not need the full phosphate treatment unless the levels are elevated in your pool. Get a good phosphate test kit or use test strips just to be sure you are not dealing with high phosphate levels in your pool. If the levels are low, close to 100 ppb this method will work very effectively for you.

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