Reading this guide should help you keep your pool nice and clear while you're away. You've just returned from a relaxing vacation and want to take a dip in your swimming pool. Once you get to the pool area, you notice your swimming pool has gone from crystal clear to swamp green. Following a few simple steps can help prevent this next time you're away.
1. There are a number of things that can cause your pool to turn green. The main causes are improper filtration/circulation, low pH/alkalinity, the presence of metals in the water, an algae problem and low chlorine.
2. Filter- Thoroughly clean out/back wash your filter. If you have a cartridge filter, make certain that the cartridge is clean. Your filtration system will play a major part in keeping your swimming pool clear. You want as much circulation as possible. If you have a timer, set it to run at least 8-12 hours per day. You can split the run time (if you timer is capable) in to two different times. For example: 6 hours in the morning and 6 hours in the evening. If you don't have a timer, I would recommend purchasing an inexpensive one or you may need to keep the pump and filter running for the duration of your vacation.
3. Chemicals- Test your swimming pool water several days prior to your departure and make the necessary adjustments (over several days if large amounts of chemicals are needed). When making adjustments, keep in mind how long you'll be away. If you'll only be gone for a few days (3-7 days), you can simply adjust your chemicals and keep them towards the higher end of recommended ranges (chlorine: 4-5 ppm, pH: 7.8, alkalinity: 120 ppm, calcium: 400 ppm). Adjusting the levels towards the higher end of the acceptable range will help keep your swimming pool from turning green if no one will be around to adjust them while you're away. If you plan on being away longer than a week, I would recommend having a neighbor, friend or a pool service maintain the pool while you're away. I recommend having an automatic chlorinator installed on the pool or using a chlorine floater so that chlorine can be dispensed into the pool. While you're away, you can set the chlorinator to dispense a higher level of chlorine than you normally would (approximately 5-7 ppm).
4. Metals- Make certain to test for the presence of metals and add a metal remover accordingly. Traces of iron and copper are present in tap water. The presence of metals can cause the swimming pool to have a greenish tint which will not go away with a shock treatment.
5. Pool Debris- Make certain to skim out any leaves or debris and vacuum whatever can't be skimmed out. Decaying leaves are acidic and will lower alkalinty, pH and chlorine levels. Also empty out the skimmer basket(s). The cleaner the pool, the easier it is to chemically maintain it.
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