Limit phosphates? What are Phosphates and what do they have to do with pools? Phosphates are types of Phosphorous commonly found in water. Your pool can have many different types of phosphates in it. Most test kits only check for one type. Phosphates are generally misunderstood when it comes to pools. They are difficult to test for and cannot be killed by chlorine alone. In order to control a phosphate attack and remove them you will have to treat your pool with a phosphate remover. So why should you care about phosphates?
Phosphates are essentially food for algae. The more phosphates you introduce into your pool water the more algae will grow. The key is to limit phosphates in your pool water. First, we need to take a look at where phosphates come from. Second, we need to see how we can minimize them (since eliminating phosphates is impossible & they aren’t going anywhere). They are found in many different types of things.
- Leaves, Grass Clippings, & Other Natural Debris – Leaves & Grass clippings from foot traffic make their way into pools continuously. Place a shallow bucket on the pool deck and have friends & family members rinse their feet before entering your pool.
- Pool Chemicals – Scale inhibitors tend to be Phosphate-based. Make sure you know what type of chemicals you are using in your pool.
- Soaps & Shampoos – Yes, that is correct. Body soaps and hair shampoos contribute greatly to Phosphate problems in pools. Have swimmers rinse off before entering your pool. Leave-in dry shampoos are especially bad for pool water.
- Lawn Fertilizers & Insecticides – Wind and rain runoff introduces these into your pool water. Use hardscape around your pool deck whenever possible. Try to create natural landscape barriers, such as wall pavers & boulders, around your pool deck.
- Synthetic Laundry Detergents – Laundry detergents contain builders, and other ingredients like brighteners & perfumes. Wash your swimsuits in a gentle detergent (i.e. unscented baby detergents).
- Animals – Use a pool cover to deter ducks and other wild animals from entering your swimming pool. Give Fido a quick rinse before letting him take a plunge.
- Acid Rain – Pool covers are great for protecting your pool from acid rainwater.
Emergency phosphate control can become a costly hassle. If you are continuously fighting algae in your swimming pool try minimizing phosphates from entering your pool. Minimizing phosphates will help prevent an algae takeover.