07/30/14 — Pool problems

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Pool problems

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on July 30, 2014 1:46 PM

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Bill Smith, owner of Bills Pool, Spa and Maintenance Service, also known as "Bill the Pool Man," holds a bottle of Algae Death which he uses to kill the influx of algae this summer. Smith works at Willow Run as well as other commercial and residential pools and has seen an increase in business due to the rain and hot weather.

Hot weather and high humidity have some Wayne County residents battling an unwanted green visitor in their pools and on their porch steps.

Bill Smith, owner of Bill's Pool and Spa Maintenance Service, said he has received a lot more calls this year from people with algae problems.

"This is one of the worst years we've had with algae," he said.

Smith said home pool owners and commercial pool operators need to test the water to make sure the chlorine level is between 1.5 and 2.5.

Sun depletes the chlorine from pool water, he said. Without the proper amount of chlorine, the pool water is not properly disinfected, and algae grows.

"It's hard to keep the proper amount of chlorine in the water with the sun and the rain," Smith said. "What I suggest is to use a stabilizer. It acts as a sunscreen to keep your chemicals in the water."

Also important to check are pH levels, which should be between 7.2 and 7.8. Test at least every other day -- or every day if you're having a problem with algae.

To get rid of the algae fast, use a chemical shock, Smith said. It burns the algae out of the water and what's left falls to the bottom of the pool. Then, just vacuum it out."

Green algae is the main problem, Smith said.

"There's a lot of green algae, and it can be hard to get rid of," he said. "You've got to catch it when it first starts; that's the key."

How do you know if you're getting an algae problem in your pool?

"You'll see a little growth at the sides and bottom of your pool," Smith said. "It will look green and your water will have a light green tint."

Jim Hall, general manager of Capital Pools and Spa Inc., also suggests the shock treatment for getting rid of algae -- and like Smith, he said he is seeing more of it.

"With the high humidity and heat that we've had, you need to treat your pool at least twice a week," he said. "We're seeing more green algae this year with a little black algae. Last year it was black algae. The year before that, it was green algae. The year before that it was mustard algae. You treat different types of algae with different types of products."

Hall said he has had customers who haven't had any algae problems for 12 years, then the last two years, they have had algae growth.

"Having algae in your pool is like having a sick child," Hall said. "You address the problem daily or every other day until it's gone. There's no magic wand to get rid of algae."

Hall said he has not seen as much algae on porch steps this year. That problem is caused by high moisture, too.

"If there's algae on your porch steps, there's not really a lot you can do about it except pressure wash them with some kind of chlorine," he said.

K&B Pools pool manager Kayla Lassiter said just about every year, there's some point where there's a lot more algae.

Ms. Lassiter said dealing with it requires a little more maintenance than usual.

"You almost have to double up on everything you use in your pool," she said.

The Environmental Health Department hasn't started its mid-season pool inspections yet, so hasn't seen a lot of algae yet in the commercial pools.

But although algae is not really something that could harm a swimmer, the clouds it creates in a pool could be a concern.

"It's more of a nuisance problem than it is a health problem," on-site waste protection supervisor Scott Lewis said. "It's usually a visibility problem, but that could turn into a safety hazard."