Swiming Pool, Swimming FAQs

Is It Safe For Us To Swim in Green Water?

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The Shoreline Pools maintenance staff has provided some useful advice in this post about pool cleaning.

A pool is a great addition to any home in Connecticut or New York because it increases the curb appeal of your home while offering a lot of summertime activities. However, because a luxury pool requires so much maintenance, taking care of it can seem unnecessary. You will quickly notice a diminished appearance with green water if you ignore your pool’s cleaning schedule. However, swimming in water that is discolored can actually be dangerous.

What Causes Pool Water to Turn Green?

Pool water can turn green for several reasons. The most common include:

Algae growth is most frequently to blame when pool water changes from the usual clear blue to any shade of green. A lighter shade of green indicates that it is probably a new formation, whereas a deeper shade could indicate a more serious issue. an immersion in cleaning agents like bromine, chlorine, etc., can keep the agents from being strong enough to prevent algae formation.

Trace metals (primarily copper) can end up in the water as a result of inexpensive algaecides, metal pool fixtures, and acidic source water. Thus, the metals from a pool shock may oxidize and turn green, changing the color of the water in the pool. Water that has turned green due to oxidation is known to turn hair green and can stain the swimming pool.

  • Low chlorine levels – Starting with the most obvious, we have probably identified the cause of your pool’s green water if there is no detectable chlorine level in it. It’s important to keep in mind that there may be a variety of causes for green water compounding, so we must continue to monitor and address each issue as it arises. I’ll start with chlorine. More specifically, you must keep free chlorine levels between 1 and 5 ppm (aim for 2 to 4). Additionally, you must keep the combined chlorine level below 1.0 ppm. If you are unfamiliar with pool chemistry, this can be a bit of a tricky area, but with a brief explanation it will all make sense. The substance that is available and ready to attack contaminants like bacteria or organic matter is called free chlorine. As part of how chlorine functions it combines with these contaminants and is no longer “free” to work as intended. They are combined with stuff, and you need to keep the combined chlorine level under 1.0 ppm or else the water begins to be a problem. The only catch is that we can’t measure combined chlorine directly, so we have to go through an additional step. Next, we determine the total and free chlorine concentrations. You can assume that your combined chlorine level is the difference between the two. When free chlorine and total chlorine levels in a pool are exactly equal, there are no parts per million of combined chlorine. Be proactive and address climbing combined chlorine levels using “breakpoint chlorination” well before you reach the maximum of 1 ppm combined chlorine. By increasing free chlorine to a level that is 10 times greater than combined chlorine, the treatment process will be made simpler. If your combined chlorine level is 1 ppm, the breakpoint chlorination process to eliminate the combined chlorine would start at 10 ppm of free chlorine. The pool chemistry crash course page can be consulted for more information.

    Okay, now inhale deeply. Anyone who is just learning how to measure and adjust pool chemistry will find the paragraph above to be quite lengthy. You must, however, start there. When you have green pool water and are searching for solutions, it’s likely that the issue is either low or no free chlorine present in the water OR excessively high combined chlorine levels that are making the water unmanageable until they are resolved. Itchy skin and red eyes in swimmers, as well as high levels of combined chlorine, are frequently the result of these levels. You should try to get a thorough water analysis completed as soon as you can and, in particular, look at this section about combined chlorine levels to see how high they are, if you ever react to water in any swimming pool. Moving on to the next most common causes and solutions to green water in your pool:
  • High CYA levels – Cyanuric acid, or CYA for short, is also referred to as a pool stabilizer or water conditioner. As CYA prevents the deterioration of the harmful UV rays from the sun, it is also known as the sunscreen for chlorine. Without CYA, it wouldn’t matter how much chlorine was in your water when the day started because it would disappear after prolonged sun exposure. For this reason, we keep CYA levels in outdoor pools between 30 and 50 ppm. Without CYA present, chlorine cannot sanitize and oxidize in the same manner as before due to a complex chemical interaction. As a result, chlorine is not destroyed by sunlight. In order to maintain a relationship between the two where they can both function, free chlorine levels should typically be 5% of the CYA level in the pool. The CYA levels rise each time you add a chlorine puck or another type of stabilized chlorine to the pool. Your water’s free chlorine can no longer perform to a satisfactory level once it reaches 100 ppm or higher. Some advise raising the free chlorine and CYA levels simultaneously, which means your pool’s normal free chlorine concentration of 1 to 5 ppm must now be maintained at 5 ppm or higher. The likelihood of your water turning green increases if you drop below 5 ppm (5% of 100 ppm CYA). This is how you can maintain a reasonable free chlorine level in the pool while still having green water. You should partially drain the tank and refill it with fresh water if the CYA level is higher than 30 to 50 ppm. A more dependable method would be to treat the pool with reverse osmosis using a mobile service that will come to your home and treat the water there. Enzyme treatments can occasionally help lower CYA levels, but they seem to be only somewhat effective or don’t work all the time. You can also look into alum treatments, which have the potential to reduce CYA levels without requiring you to drain and replace the water. You should check your CYA levels if your water is green. If the concentration is higher than 50 ppm, your green water problems are probably caused by this.
  • High pH limiting chlorine function – One of the reasons bromine is frequently used in spas instead of chlorine is because bromine is more effective at higher pH ranges. Chlorine is not very effective at high pH levels. Although there is enough overlap that chlorine still functions, it is most effective in a pH range that is incompatible with bathers—at least human ones. Chlorine still functions adequately at a pH of around 7.4 or 7.5, which is where most people prefer it. Nevertheless, once the pH of the water rises above 8.0, particularly above 8.4, we are now in a range where chlorine is simply unable to function as it once did. This can lead to a situation where you can measure a few ppm of free chlorine in the water and have no issues with high combined chlorine levels, but your water is still green. If your pH levels are extremely high, it’s possible that chlorine is currently unable to handle the job, so you should first adjust your total alkalinity before lowering your pH to the proper range. Pool pH problems are particularly problematic for salt water swimming pools because they have a tendency to have high pH issues. As a result, saltwater swimming pools experience numerous green water issues.
  • Phosphates above 500 ppb – Despite the fact that most, if not all, other water chemistry values fall within the proper ranges, high phosphate levels can cause prodigious algae growth, which can result in green pool water. You might not even be aware that your water has high phosphate levels if you use sufficient amounts of chlorine to prevent algae growth. Even though you would be using more chlorine than if there were no phosphates in the water, it would be difficult for you to notice or measure by that metric. However, you’ll know if you ever allow the pH to rise too high, the CYA level to rise too high, or the chlorine level to drop too low…of just let the phosphate levels get too high. If this occurs, it may be difficult to restore chlorine levels because plant matter growth is so quick. Low phosphate levels are preferred. You should try to limit the amount of fertilizers your pool is exposed to because they are a specific source of phosphates. In some pool chemicals, such as some metals and stain-remover chemicals, phosphates can also be found. If you notice that your phosphate levels are excessive, be sure to identify the source of your water supply, which may be a rural well, as these sources are also susceptible to contamination. Ideal concentrations are below 500 ppb. Plant growth quickly consumes over 1000 ppb of chlorine. By 2000 ppm, the algae bloom and the supply of chlorine to the water will be difficult for something like a salt water chlorine cell to control. Simply by following the directions on the bottle, you can treat for phosphates on your own. There are numerous options for phosphate removal, but I prefer Natural Chemistry Phosphate Remover.

    High levels of copper in the water – In order to cover all the possible reasons why your pool water might be green, we must examine copper—at the very least, to the point where you must confirm that you do not have a problem with high copper levels in your water. Copper in pool water can either be held suspended in the water where it can be measured or it can attach to components of your pool, such as the interior surface, where it will no longer be suspended in the water and therefore be impossible to measure. It’s somewhere connected to your pool. The fact that it can be challenging to measure for metals in a pool is thus part of the issue. Since there should be no copper in a pool, its presence is a significant cause for concern. Because copper is a natural algicide, some mineral systems and algicides that use it may raise the copper levels in the water. Additionally, copper pipes were used in some earlier generations to build pools, particularly concrete pools because they last longer than other types of pools. When you add chlorine shock or an oxidizer to pool water that contains copper, the water can turn green suddenly. This causes the chlorine to oxidize and turn green. In particular, the water in a pool that has turned green due to copper being oxidized will always be clear, regardless of depth. Green water caused by algae growth is not clear, whereas green water caused by copper is usually still quite clear.

    Checking each and every one of the aforementioned items is the quickest way to get rid of green water from your pool. You cannot expect to clear your green water quickly, which is the goal of this article, if the root of the issue is not addressed. You can now run your pool’s filtration system around-the-clock once your chemistry is under control. With a variable speed pump schedule, this is something that all pool owners should do, but many still don’t. Even if you typically turn off your pump for a few hours during the day, you should wait until the pool has returned to having clear water before doing so. A pool’s filtration system is crucial because any trace of contamination that is left in the water must be chemically removed. When you could have simply increased your water filtration, this means more chemical exposure! The minimum value for filtering should be three times the volume of your pool every 24 hours.

    When algae in your pool causes the water to turn green, there is likely a lot of plant matter present. The best option would be to bypass your filter and let the water you are vacuuming out go down the drain instead of trying to remove as much of this as you can. If you don’t, you’ll fill your filter with both living and dead algae, which will necessitate filter maintenance such as backwashing or opening the filter to clean the media, depending on the type of filter you have. Most of the time, 24 to 48 hours will be enough to clear your green water with daily brushing of the pool walls and floor, vacuuming of the sunken algae to waste, and maintaining the water chemistry as described above. In general, a heavy chlorine shock to raise your free chlorine to the high end of the 1 to 5 ppm scale would be a good idea as well. Chlorine serves as a sanitizer, an oxidizer, as well as an algicide, so it is not a good idea to use less of it when resolving green water. If the water is extremely green or you want to get to clear water as soon as possible, you might need to use a flocculant to sink the organic materials so they can be vacuumed out before continuing with the usual brushing, vacuuming, and chemical treatments. These steps will help you solve your green pool water issue as quickly as possible.
10. Is It Safe For Us To Swim in Green Water2

What Are the Different Kinds of Green Water?

Three kinds of green water can appear in pools: light green, dark green, and black green.

  • Light Green: The most likely and least serious issue you have is probably pool algae. Low pool sanitizer levels and improper pool balancing maintenance can cause light green water.
  • Dark Green: More algae is present in your pool if the green is darker. Darker green algae are more hazardous, which is more important. You will have to put in more effort to remove the algae from the pool water because of how much of it there is.
  • Black Green: Possibly the worst water is this kind. Your pool has a ton of algae inside if it is a dark green or black color. This type of algae is very difficult to clean and is extremely resistant to cleaning methods. On your pool’s walls and floor, it might also leave hideous stains.

Is It Dangerous to Swim in Green Pool Water?

Okay, so can you and your family still have fun in the green pool water? Actually, it depends on the hue of the pool’s water. The alga is an important nutrient for aquatic life in bodies of natural water like lakes or ponds. However, the deeper the color, the less safe it is to swim in the water in swimming pools. Swimming becomes unsafe as a result because algae can support bacteria like E. coli.

Algae can also damage your pool, which means you’ll have to spend precious dollars on repairs. A pool’s filter may become clogged with algae and become useless as a result. Additionally, algae can stain the pool’s surfaces, leaving unsightly stains that are challenging to remove. The best way to deal with green pool water is to prevent it, so make sure the water is balanced and schedule routine cleanings.

Is It Safe to Swim in a Green Water Pool?

The shortest response is: it depends. A complete ecosystem, including aquatic life that consumes bacteria and toxins, can be found in lakes. This makes swimming in natural green water safe. The alga is a superfood for animals as well as humans. To bacteria and parasites, this superfood is enticing. These bacteria can enter the body through the mouth, nose, eyes, or even a small cut. The darker the green in this situation, the less safe it is to swim in the water. Because this is the most straightforward cause of green water, routine chemical testing is crucial.

If pollen is the cause of the green, constructing a building around the pool may be the only way to significantly reduce the staining. Fortunately, swimming in a pool with green water caused by pollen is safe provided there are no allergies to it.

What to Do With a Green Pool?

Adding a little bleach to the pool is not enough if the problem is past the point of prevention. Time for a thorough cleaning.

Vacuum to Waste

You must first clean the pool of any debris and algae. Since it isn’t desirable for the “junk” to get back into the pool, be sure the vacuum filter is set to Waste.

Brush the Pool

For precisely this situation, specialized algae brushes are offered. In order to fully remove the algae, it is best to use a stiffer brush rather than one with soft bristles.

Yes, you should brush your teeth after vacuuming. Although it might make sense to want to vacuum up the algae, the objective is to kill it. The algae must continue to grow in the pool for that to happen.

Test Chemistry

It’s crucial to determine the starting point in order to know which direction to adjust the chemicals.

If starting with this is simpler for you, go ahead and do it.

Shock the Pool

The algae are eliminated by this process. A cleaner with concentrated chlorine, ideally with a level higher than 70%, is called Pool Shock. Even though your typical shock doesn’t have chlorine in it, chlorine must be used for this.

Turn to a Professional

You shouldn’t let worries about the water prevent you from going swimming. Pool Troopers, a full-service pool maintenance company for homeowners with swimming pools in Tampa, St. Tampa, Sarasota, Fort Myers, Palm Beach, Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas, and Houston are some examples. See the complete list of places to find pool service and upkeep providers close by. In order to help create a soft water feel, we offer free use of a salt chlorine generator as part of our chemical service.

With our chemical, cleaning, and repair pool services, we look forward to helping you achieve your fitness goals. Since the 1950s, Pool Troopers has offered pool maintenance to homeowners. Call now to find out more and book pool services! Our goal is to keep you informed about trends, tricks, and tips for maintaining your pool and getting the most enjoyment out of it.