How to Get Rid of Swimming Pool Algae

On the Verge of a More Active Algae Season than Ever Before Due to a Nation Wide Chlorine Shortage – There Are Steps That You Can Take to Prevent a Swamp Green Disaster.

There are many fantastic books on pool care available that some exceptionally brilliant people have written. But, what we are lacking are publications and courses that are in-depth and topic-specific. I saw that a program on algae was one of those missing, so I have written ‘How to Get Rid of Swimming Pool Algae’. I’ve been through and taught other programs that merely touch upon the topic. Still, there wasn’t really anything available that offered enough education to equip one with the knowledge necessary to remedy algae problems as folks encounter them in the field.

Rudy Stankowitz, CEO Aquatic Facility Training & Consultants
How to Get Rid of Swimming Pool Algae

GREEN TO CLEAN

It doesn’t make sense that people are forced to reinvent the wheel and employ a trial and error mean to develop a successful protocol of care. The pool industry has been very good to me, and I would like to ‘pay it forward.’ So, I have written this book based on my thirty years of experience and developed the Algae Prevention and Eradication Specialist certification program.

As I said, the goal is ‘paying it forward’. That is why within the first few pages you will see that this book is dedicated to the people who maintain swimming pool(s) for a living. This book is for them – this book is for you.

Rudy Stankowitz, CEO Aquatic Facility Training & Consultants

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the How to Get Rid of Swimming Pool Algae book is available Now

A MUST HAVE that applies to pools of any shape or size, whether you go on to take the certification class or not, you’ll have fewer bouts with green, yellow, and black algae 🦠with this ‘How to’ book on your shelf.

Don’t spend money on expensive treatments! Swimming pool algae is easy and super inexpensive to prevent when you know what to look for. Rudy shares tips and hacks that he has learned over his thirty years in the pool industry to help your pools keep that crisp, clear, Caribbean look.

All algae are not the same, and cookie-cutter treatments don’t always work. Stankowitz takes the guesswork out of identifying what you are dealing with and matching the best treatment to the specific algae type. An excellent book for both residential and commercial pools.

the Algae Prevention & Eradication Specialist certification course is available beginning April 2nd, 2021

Rudy Stankowitz has created a handbook and course that will set you apart from your competition. This is the only publication with a 100% focus on swimming pool algae designed to help you become an Algae Prevention & Eradication Specialist. Now that’s something you can put on your card that will give you a marketable point of difference.

Certified Algae Prevention & Eradication Specialist Course

Be careful; this has the potential to become the most valuable book you own. Rudy has left nothing out, and he does it all utilizing real-world scenarios that make it easy to relate. The A to Z of swimming pool algae: How to prevent it, how to kill it, and how to keep it away. The best part is that the handbook can be used in his online Algae Prevention & Eradication Specialist Certification class (not included in the book’s cost).

In this book, you will learn:

  • Algae Myths
  • Environmental Factors
  • The Role Water Chemistry Plays
  • Conditions Different Algae Types Prefer
  • The Influence of Filtration & Circulation
  • Characteristics of Algae Species
  • Algastats and Algaecides
  • And More!
How to Get Rid of Swimming Pool Algae

“Rudy, your field samples are very interesting – and rare. There is almost nothing published on the varieties of algae in pools… If you focus on black “algae,” you will be the first person in nearly 40 years to document it. That would be really, really cool.” – Dr. Roy D. Vore, Ph.D., Microbial physiologist, Senior Consultant, Vore & Associates LLC, previously Technology Manager, BioLab inc.

“Fascinating!!!” – Dr. Tom Lachocki. Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Executive Legacy LLC, previously Chief Executive Officer, National Swimming Pool Foundation

“Interesting Rudy. I think it points to the importance of conducting a larger study where a number of pools are sampled to look for trends and how and if the trends correlate to certain pool parameters (indoor vs. outdoor, disinfectant used, maintenance schedule, typical swimmer profile, etc.). It also demonstrates the importance of validating the efficacy of a product in a field trial(s). At the end of the day, the best approach may be tailored treatment plans that are optimized for each pools, similar to the “personalized medicine” trend. Good work!” – Darla Goeres Ph.D., Center for Biofilm Engineering, Montana State University

To see other books Rudy has written, visit his Author Page

20 Surprising Tips for New Pool Pros

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So you have chosen the Swimming Pool Industry for your livelihood.  Or maybe, like a lot of us, you kinda just fell into it.  I know I did.  Maybe you are just starting out or maybe you are a seasoned vet.  Either way, we are glad to call you a colleague.  I know being new can be a bit overwhelming.  Heck, I am still brand-spanking new with 4 years in.  My biggest success has been looking to old-timers as mentors.  This is a rare industry where we are eager to help our peers.  Asking questions, being humble, and actually seeking and taking advice are the number one ways to get ahead.  I asked all my pool pro friends what their greatest advice was for newbies.  I am excited to share tips for new pool pros with you.

CPO Certification Class
Tips for New Pool Pros

Before You Get Going

  • “The very first item every day should check the truck before you leave the property; Even if it’s a pick-up: Oil Fluids, Fuel, Mirrors, Lights”- Tony Dix of Custom Pools Long Island INC.
  • “Keep chemical bucket lids, or anything loose in your truck bed secure.”- Ryan Johnson, Check it Out Pools
  • “Never assume that boxes won’t blow out [of the truck] or cardboard from pumps, filters, etc.”- Kevin Stege
  • “Bring extra socks/shoes/boots and a change of clothes.  Invest in rain gear, avoid 100% cotton clothes.  You won’t make it through the day if you’re not comfortable and dry.”- Jeremy Loizos
  • “Read the directions!”- Jody O’Grady
  • “Recognize upfront if you can handle working in the heat. If not, don’t waste your time”. -Mark Thompson

Be Safe

  • “Hold your breath when opening a container [containing] chemicals.”- Kevin Stempien
  • “Don’t grab the Hammer Head when you fall in”- Chad Deal
  • “Don’t breathe in the acid cloud”- Megan Abbott
  • “Always [be extra] cautious.  Example:  a gate was open when you arrived, close it, and lock it on your way out.  It will be your word against the owners if Fido gets out or worse if a child enters the yard.”- Ryan Johnson
  • “Look into insurance- IPPSA, UPA, etc.  Hopefully, you will never need it, but if you truly want to be a professional, you will provide for your client’s protection.”- David Penton
  • Water first, then add chemicals when mixing.
  • Measure everything.
  • “Make sure you always turn off the water hose before you leave the property!!!  “-C&J Pool, Norman, Oklahoma.
  • “Safety first….always close the pool gate behind you every time.”- Keon Garcia

Have Integrity…Even Towards Yourself

  • “ The long way of doing a task is always the short way.  
    • Be courteous to customers , but don’t linger in conversations or it will become a weekly ritual
    • If you don’t know the answer to the customer question, don’t fake it.  Tell them the boss or the office will follow up and get them a straight answer”- Ryan Johnson of Check it Out Pools

Similar Story How Can a Homeowner Tell if a Pool Person Has Had Any Training? ?‍?

  • “After you are done would you like to get into that pool?  If not then why would your customer?”- Billy Bull
  • “Tell your boss ‘I am going to show up early, stay late, I am prepared to eat a shit sandwich every now and again, and I’ll be sitting in your chair in 2 years”. -Ronny Airin Barrett of Top-Notch Pool Management
  • “Know your worth.  Don’t undervalue your time and services.  Don’t let the customer treat you like ‘help’.  Value your time and services and the customer will too.”- Rory Stringer with East Texas Pools
  • “Find stuff most people won’t do and then get really good at it.” Justin Dodson of All Clear Pools
  • “Always be honest with the customer.  Your integrity is everything!”- The Pool Doc RN
Tips for New Pool Pros

Learn From the Big Dogs

  • “Take advantage of industry training opportunities, as many as you can. Most are at a nominal fee, some are even free. Check with local distribution to see what manufacturer training sessions are available; Trade associations are another good source; Wayne Ivusich (Taylor Technologies) has webinars on the reg; invest in an online certification course or two.” – Rudy Stankowitz of CPOclass.com
  • “There are a number of fantastic podcasts to listen to and educate yourself.  Pool Pro Podcast, The Aquanaut Podcast, Pool Chasers, Chlorine King….Spend your days listening to these to grow yourself, and pick up tips and tricks from those who have gone before you.”- David Penton of Pool Pro Podcast
  • Subscribe to industry blog sites (like this one. Hint, hint ?) and trade magazines
  • “Don’t give a friend or family discount.  It always comes back to bite.”- Joe Dal Monte of Liquid Motion Pool Service
  • “Get as many pool stores as you can to give you a business account.”- Justin Dodson of All Clear Pools
  • “Learn the importance of conditioner.
    • Only backwash once every 6 months”- Ben Delaney of Mission Pool & Spa Supplies
  • Test from the decanter, don’t put the drops in the pool.

Join a Group on Facebook at Talking Pools

I couldn’t fit all the greatness into one article.  Check back soon for even more great tips.  Got a great tip?  Leave in the comment section below.  Thanks for being loyal readers and I will see you poolside.

Available Chlorine Content vs. Active Strength… Huh?

1913 interior of hypochlorite plant

Available Chlorine Content (ACC) is perhaps the most confusing concepts to grasp. The term was created as a means of comparing the bleaching and disinfecting power of the different chlorine compounds. Simplified, ACC is nothing more than a comparison of that specific chlorine type to chlorine gas and really does not have much to do with how much chlorine is in the bucket. This measurement applies to that chlorine type as a whole, meaning that all chlorine of that type is this strength (or within that specific range of strength) compared to Chlorine gas, which is always 100 percent. Confusing? If we want to know what amount of the chlorine type is actually in the bucket you are purchasing, we will need to look at the listed Percent of Active Strength.

If we were to look at standard chlorine tablets, trichloro-s-triazinetrione (Trichlor): Available in either granule or tablet form. The compound (C3Cl3N3O3) is 90% Available Chlorine. This means that Trichlor is 90% as strong as chlorine gas. This applies to ALL Trichlor, ALL Trichlor is 90% ACC (Available Chlorine Content). The 90% listed serving as a comparison of the compounds as explained above. The product is also listed as > 99% active strength. This means that greater than 99% of what is in the bucket is actually trichloro-s-triazinetrione, the amount of the active ingredient.

Nowadays, Chlorine tablets (Trichlor) are not typically manufactured using binders to hold the product together in tablet form.  High-pressure equipment presses the compound into shape; it is strictly a lot of psi used to maintain that tablet form. Back in the day this was not always the case and binders such as xanthan gum were utilized to allow the product to maintain its shape. Still, tablets are often falsely accused due to the “gummy” build up found in erosion feeders (automatic chlorinators) following use. This, however, is due to zinc stearate which is used during production as more of a lubricant to keep the tablets from sticking to the manufacturing press; not as an actual ingredient. Think of its use as more similar to the reason one would use Pam cooking spray in a skillet.

In a quasi-similar (but not exactly the same) example, Bacardi 151 was 75.5% alcohol by volume; 151 Proof. If a bartender was to make a rum and coke utilizing one shot of Bacardi 151 and another with two shots of 151, the strength of the active ingredient (Alcohol Proof) does not change, the rum is still 151 Proof. The only change was in the amount of the Bacardi product to Coca Cola.

The product itself; a stabilized compound: contains cyanuric acid (stabilizer). This is evidenced in the formula C3Cl3N3O3 , the Cl3 (3 atoms of chlorine) displacing H(3 atoms of hydrogen) in the cyanuric acid compound C3H3N3O3. Therefore, we do add more than just chlorine nonetheless. 15 oz. of trichlor (stabilized chlorine tablets/granular) will add 10 ppm of FAC to 10,000g, but it will also increase the CYA (Cyanuric Acid) by 6 ppm and the TDS by 10 ppm. The product itself is also acidic with a pH of 3.0 and will, when used for chlorination result in lowering pH. Trichloro-s-triazinetrione has an indefinite shelf life and, in storage, will never lose any of its ACC.

1910 portable emergency hypochlorite plant

Sodium Hypochlorite (NaClO) has a Trade% of 10 to 12 (Volume % Available Chlorine). The rest is simply saltwater (the inert ingredient). A gallon of sodium hypochlorite (containing 2.34 pounds of solids) will add 12 ppm of FAC (Free Available Chlorine) to 10,000 gallons of water and will increase the TDS by 28 ppm. Sodium Hypochlorite (liquid chlorine) has a very short shelf life and drops to 8% ACC within several weeks of manufacture (household bleach from the supermarket has a 6% ACC). Sodium Hypochlorite, despite popular belief, does not increase pH; (except possibly in instances where manufactured with excess lye) as is the same with other hypochlorites (Calcium Hypochlorite, Lithium Hypochlorite, etc).

Confusing Terms for Weight %, Trade % and Available Chlorine
Weight % Available Chlorine = Trade % ÷ Specific Gravity
Trade % = Weight % Available Chlorine × Specific Gravity
Weight % NaOCl (sodium hypochlorite) = Weight % Available Chlorine × (NaOCl grams/mole)/(Cl2 grams/mole)
Weight % Available Chlorine = Weight % NaOCl × (Cl2 grams/mole) / (NaOCl grams / mole)
Weight % NaOCl = (Trade % / Specific Gravity) × (NaOCl grams/mole) / (Cl2 grams/mole)
Weight % NaOCl = (12.5/1.16) × (74.442/70.906)
Weight % NaOCl = (10.7759) × (1.0499) = 11.3136
Trade % = Weight % NaOCl × Specific Gravity × (Cl2 g/mole) / (NaOCl grams/mole)
Trade % = 11.3136 × 1.16 × (70.906/74.442)
Trade % = 11.316 × 1.16 × (.9525)
Trade % = 12.50
NaOCl grams/mole = 74.442
Cl2 grams/mole = 70.906

Liquid bleach is usually a Weight % NaOCl in the ingredients on the label and sometimes (for Clorox, for example) lists the “% Available Chlorine.” Liquid pool chlorine is most often sold by Trade %. The Trade % is technically the Volume % Available Chlorine and therefore is the only quantity that exactly matches its number with ppm in the pool water as with 1 gallon in 10,000 gallons of 12.5% chlorinating liquid produces 12.5 ppm
free chlorine.

1912  interior machinery of hypochlorite plant

Calcium Hypo (Ca(ClO)2) has a 48 to 72% ACC and a corresponding Active Strength of 48 to 72%. The inert ingredient in Calhypo is calcium chloride. Calhypo (Calcium Hypochlorite) added at a rate of 20 oz. per 10,000g will add 10 ppm of FAC, but will also increase your Calcium Hardness by 8 ppm and your Total Dissolved Solids by 15 ppm. It will take roughly three years before Calcium hypochlorite begin to lose any of its ACC, and then it does so at an extremely slow rate. Calcium Hypochlorite, as explained above with all hypochlorites, does not increase pH. The increase in pH is only temporary (except as noted above with sodium hypochlorite) because the pH of hypochlorites is high. However, when chlorine is “used up” the process is acidic, bringing the pH back down to pretty much where it started.

To reiterate, using Trichlor as an example, at 90% ACC (Available Chlorine Content) and  > 99% active strength = greater than 99% of what is in the bucket is trichloro-s-triazinetrione, it’s just that the trichloro-s-triazinetrione in the bucket is only 90% as strong as chlorine gas.

Similar Article: That Chlorine Smell ?

 

Special thanks to Robert Lowry, chemical consultant and pool/spa water chemistry expert, for the peer review and contributions to this article.

Confusing Terms for Weight %, Trade % and Available ChlorinePage 128 © Copyright 2018 Lowry Consulting Group, LLC All rights reserved. Duplicated with permission, Pool Chemistry for Residential Pools

Photo Credit: Historic photographs  Minnesota Department of Health, R.N. Barr Library; Librarians Melissa Rethlefsen and Marie Jones