How to Clean an Above Ground Pool That Has Turned Green

From time to time, your backyard swimming pool may wrestle with a bout of algae. This condition can occur because of neglect, imbalanced water, broken equipment, vacations or not enough sanitizer. Whatever the reason is, it is possible to bring your source of summer relaxation back from the brink of being a swamp. If you follow the steps in this article, you and your family will be swimming again before you know it. Here is what you need to do.

Things You'll Need

  • Pool water test kit that Includes an alkalinity test
  • Pool wall brush and extension pole
  • Alkalinity increaser
  • PH Plus
  • PH minus
  • Chlorine shock
  • Concentrated algaecide

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There may be leaves accumulated in the bottom of the pool that are acting as a food source for the algae. Vacuum the waste and see if that is the case. If it is, continue backwashing until the majority of the debris is probably out. It is a judgment call on your part since the visibility is non-existent at this point.

Refill the pool with fresh water until it is at the proper height, which is halfway up the faceplate of your skimmer.

Establish your water chemistry. For your sanitizer like chlorine to work, your alkalinity must be between 80 and 120 ppm (parts per million). Alkalinity adjustment is a step that pool owners either try to avoid or are not aware of, and instead only adjust the pH level. The problem with that is that the pH will not remain where placed without alkalinity to keep it there. If the alkalinity is too low, the pH will revert to its former level in a matter of days and the problem will still be there. Test your pool water for both pH and alkalinity. If your test kit does not have the alkalinity test, buy one that does. Adjust the alkalinity first, then retest and, if necessary, adjust the pH either up or down. It does not matter if the pool is pea soup green; this needs to happen before the next step.

Brush the pool walls and floor completely even if it is so murky you cannot see them. The object of this is to dislodge all of the algae from the surfaces so when it is treated, the chemicals will kill it all. Without brushing, only the top layers of algae will die. They then form a protective barrier, which shields the bottom layers and keeps them alive.

Triple shock your pool and add a full dose of a concentrated algaecide as recommended. Run your pump and filter, paying close attention to the pressure gauge. Dead algae float to the surface and appear as a white material that, in sufficient quantities, may cause your filter pressure to rise. Backwash and rinse the sand and continue to filter. Add more fill water as necessary. Use more shock and algaecide as needed, but never allow anyone to swim directly after an application. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended waiting period before entering the water. Retest the water daily, adjusting the alkalinity and pH until this cleaning process is over. Continue to vacuum and brush the pool as well to ensure that all of the algae are gone.

Treat the inside of ladders and steps with concentrated amounts of chlorine shock and algaecide, brushing the insides off whenever possible. This should be done if you are not able to resolve the algae problem, which may be because it is more extensive than you can see. Algae can form a layer in your filter sand, which requires the sand to be changed. Ladders and steps are also susceptible to algae formation. Check inside all areas that come in contact with the pool water.

Tips & Warnings

  • Shock the pool in the evening so the chlorine lasts longer because the sun will pull the chlorine from the pool.
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