How To Remove Phosphates From A Pool
- Add a Phosphate remover containing Lanthanum
- Remove and replace the water from a low-phosphate supply
Phosphates and Nitrates are in your pool, all the time, you cant see them or taste them, but they are there. To keep them at bay, keep your pool as clean as possible, and keep your water balanced, including a constant chlorine residual. Be careful with fertilizers as you apply them, and if your pool is prone to flooding from surrounding planter beds, do what you can to mitigate the possibility of overflowing into the pool.
How To Remove Phosphates In A Pool
In most cases, you wont need to address phosphates for a very long time. However, there are several things that you can do to prevent phosphates from building up or to remove them. Keeping organic materials, such as leaves and yard waste, out of your pool prevents phosphate buildup. As organic material breaks down, it releases phosphates into the water. Another option is to prevent algae buildup as much as possible.
If you need to remove phosphates, there are chemicals that you can use. Phosphate removers should be used sparingly if at all since they pose a health risk. Always consult a professional before considering phosphate removal chemicals.
No More Ring Around The Collar
Synthetic laundry detergents contain a few primary components: a surfactant , a builder, and other ingredients like brighteners and perfumes. Were going to focus on the builder.
The builders function is to soften water and to release hard-to-clean stains and calcium buildup. Because phosphatesin particular, STPPare especially good at removing calcium deposits, the soap industry began using it as the primary builder in laundry detergents, and eventually in other industrial and domestic cleaning products such as dishwasher detergents.
The first company to create synthetic laundry detergent was Procter & Gamble with their brand Dreft®, launched in 1933. They soon found it didnt clean heavily soiled clothes very well, though, so they marketed it as a gentle detergent for delicate fabrics and baby items, which it continues to be today.
Their next experiment was much more successful. With the addition of phosphates, they created an efficient detergent that cleaned better than any formula that had come before it. The result was Tide, launched in 1946. By 1949, P& Gs production of detergent far exceeded that of soap.
As a result, laundry wasnt as difficult a chore as it once had been. It was easier to get clothes clean, and with less effort. The laundry detergent industry boomed. Everything seemed peachy keen. That is, until the late 1960s.
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How To Remove Phosphates And The Benefits Of Doing So
In an ideal world, where we can keep phosphate levels down and sanitizer efficiency up, we should never have an algae outbreak. So regular phosphate removal is an easy practice to adopt if youre not already doing so. Simply use a phosphate remover as needed. Maybe its quarterly for your pool. It could be once a year. Some pools may need phosphate remover every week or every month. It just depends on the pools needs, and how frequently phosphates are being introduced to the water.
Different products have different instructions. For our PR-10,000 Phosphate Remover, pour the recommended dose around the perimeter of the pool. If your phosphate levels are high, you may have fallout that precipitates at the bottom and needs to be vacuumed out. Otherwise, clean your filter after removing phosphates with PR-10,000.
With regular phosphate removal, where you keep the levels below 500 parts-per-billion, you may find your chlorine demand is reduced because the growth rate of contaminants has been reduced. Chlorine can stay ahead, and water can stay cleaner as a result.
How To Test For Phosphates In Pool
When removing phosphates the goal is as low as possible. So it doesn’t really matter how high they are to start with or where the test maxes out at. For the Taylor test there is a high limit version that goes up to 2000ppb but it’s not necessary, just use water dilution if you max out to get a feel for where you are. Most commercial grades of PO4 removers can handle 10,000ppb per 10,000 gallons of pool water per quart of of product administered.
Taylor has the K-1106 phosphate test kit. The Taylor K-1106 test kit can test at phosphate levels of 0-1000 ppm or 0-6000 ppm. It has two different color comparator cards for the two tests.
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Problems With Using Phosphate Removers
If you are looking for environmentally friendly ways to take care of your swimming pool, phosphate removers might not be the answer. Lanthanum, one of the most popular active ingredients in phosphate removers, is moderately toxic to some living organisms.
In order to maintain a balanced ecosystem, oxygen needs to exist in the water source for organisms to survive. When algae die, it releases stored phosphates for more algae to feed off of. The effects phosphate removers have on the environment can be toxic.
Phosphate removers wont eliminate algae and keep you from having a green pool. To do that, youll have to invest in an algaecide or improve your chlorine levels. Keep this in mind if your pool water is looking green as a result of algae. There is no need to use a phosphate remover if youre already using chlorine to maintain a healthy pool.
If you use a phosphate remover after a phosphate-based sequestrant, youre canceling out the effects of the sequestrant because the most effective metal sequestrants are phosphate-based.
Algae And Other Scourges
We are fairly certain that if Sun Tzu had owned a swimming pool while writing The Art of War, history would have been irrevocably altered by his seminal chapter on conquering algae. Being that no such chapter exists, well improvise. In order to understand how to defeat algae, you must understand what it needs to survive.
Algae reproduction depends completely on the presence of five key things:
Phosphates are compounds of the nonmetallic element phosphorous and are a primary food source for aquatic plants, including all types of algae. Phosphate compounds are broken down into their simplest form, orthophosphates, in one of the following three ways:
Regardless of how it happens, if phosphates are allowed to remain present in pool, spa, or pond water, they will be reduced to orthophosphates, which are the only form of phosphates that algae can digest.
Orthophosphate levels should remain below 100-125 ppb . Once levels exceed 200 ppb, algae becomes increasingly resistant to sanitizers, including chlorine shock. Excessive levels of orthophosphate, such as 1,000 ppb or more, should be brought under control with Natural Chemistry PHOSfree Extra Strength.
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What Is Phosphate And What Can I Do About It
01 January 2017
Phosphates are mineral salts, and they are not only present in many household cleaners but also in pool some chemicals.
Recent worldwide reports in relation to phosphate dramatically illustrate two points.
For pool owners, however, there is another threat from this situation. Last summer, some of the highest recorded levels of phosphate were reported in pools right across New Zealand. Apparently, the problem of phosphates in our oceans and groundwater has now crossed over to our swimming pools as well as they can enter swimming pools in many way, including leaves, rain etc.
The biggest concerns for swimming pool owners from increased phosphate levels are excessive, stubborn algae blooms and rapid chlorine consumption. Wet algae weighs 1,000 times more than the phosphate needed to nourish it.
For the swimming pool owner, removal of phosphate is imperative in order to maintain good water quality. Then, once the phosphate has been removed, it is important to maintain a low level. This will ensure clean water, better chlorine performance and no algae.
Pool owners can avoid high levels of phosphate in various ways:
How To Lower Phosphates In Your Swimming Pool The Easy Way
High phosphate levels in your swimming pool is a terrible problem to have not only does this increase algae buildup but also makes your pool water turn green. Today I will cover how to lower phosphates in a swimming pool.
Phosphates also cause a lot of other issues, as we will discuss later in this article. So, removing phosphates from a pool is inevitable.
With so much information available all over the internet regarding phosphates in swimming pools, it is important to be rightly informed about the issues at hand. Lets look at what phosphates are, how they enter the pool and how to get rid of them.
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The Verdict: You Really Truly Do Not Need A Phosphate Remover
If youve stuck with us to the end, hooray! Now we can feel good about all that time we spent reading scientific journal articles, and boning up on the history of detergent.
But we feel even better about providing you with information that will help you save money, and will put your mind at ease about how you maintain your pool.
Focus on the three most important algae fighterssanitizer, algaecide, and the occasional pool shockand your pool will be just fine.
What’s The Best Brand Of Phosphate Remover
One of the first cons on phosphate removers is the price.
After I purchased a phosphate test kit and found my levels towards the high end I started searching for the best phosphate remover to use. I found there to be a rather large difference in quality from my searching. A liter of Natural Chemistry will only remove 2000ppb phosphates from a 10,000-gallon pool while a product such as Orenda PR-10000 will remove 10,000ppb phosphates from a 10,000-gallon pool. Both are in the $40 range while the Natural Chemistry is sold as a 2-liter compared to Orenda which is sold as a quart. Regardless the Orenda brand is considerably the better dealbut how costly is it truly to use?
For me and our 24,000 gallon pool I started out my phosphates were roughly 1500ppb, so I needed to add roughly 15 ounces or roughly ½ a bottle. Now as expected the pool became cloudy within minutes which cleared up after a day of filtering. After adding this initial dose last year I needed to add another dose once at the start of this season which was another 10 ounces. As I sit today I still have just over 10 ounces remaining even after 2 years of use now. If the pattern continues in our pool this means the initial purchase of a $40-dollar bottle of Orenda phosphate remover will last me roughly 3 seasons and make the product about $13 a season.
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Phosphates: The Invisible Problem In Swimming Pools
Orthophosphates come from phosphorus, a naturally occurring element found in soil.
Phosphates are an invisible problem in swimming pools. Phosphorus, the naturally occurring element, comes in many formsbut as it pertains to pools, we care about orthophosphates. Phosphates in swimming pools have become a prevalent problem, as evidenced by the growing amount of phosphate removers sold in the U.S. pool market. But why are phosphates a problem?
First, we need to understand what phosphates are. Dont worry, weve got you covered. Our parent brandOrendahas an article about it. Phosphorus is a key ingredient in fertilizers and is naturally occurring in the environment, yadda-yadda-yadda. Heres the point: phosphates are an invisible problem particularly in swimming pools because of what they indirectly do to chlorine efficiency. And perhaps more importantly, because chlorine cannot remove phosphates on its own.
The Detergent Industry Cleans Its Conscience
Starting in 1970, the three major detergent manufacturers in the United StatesP& G, Lever Brothers, and Colgate-Palmolivebegan a concerted effort to reduce phosphates in the laundry detergents they produced.
However, it wasnt until the early 1990s that phosphates were completely removed from laundry detergents produced in the U.S. after several states banned phosphate detergents. Numerous countries about the world, most notably in the European Union, have also instituted such bans.
In 2010, several U.S. states also banned dishwasher detergents that use phosphates. In response, manufacturers stopped using phosphates in their dishwasher detergents because it didnt make sense, nor was it cost effective to produce non-phosphate detergent for some states, and traditional detergent for others.
Phosphates, and the algae that feed on them, continue to be a problem in natural bodies of water. Which brings us to the phosphates in your pool, and why you dont need to worry about them.
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Brush Your Pool Regularly
It is crucial to brush the pool regularly. To avoid high phosphate levels and algae growth:
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If your pool water is green and cloudy, it is possible that the phosphate levels in your pool are too high. Having too many phosphates in your pool can make algae growth more likely and makes it more difficult to maintain proper pool chemistry. Read on to learn more about phosphates, why maintaining low phosphate levels are important, and how to lower the phosphate levels in your pool.
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Effects When Fighting Algae
When a user already has algae in their pool Phosphate Removers do very little. In fact when testing for phosphates with a green pool the test will result in a false result as quoted
Algae in a Pool will result in a false reading. as displayed on the instructions from the Orenda 10,000
Additionally a user may add a large amount of phosphate remover to the pool only to see phosphates return quickly once the SLAM Process is complete. This is because live algae has phosphates in the cell walls and these phosphates are released once the algae is killed. If a user removes all phosphates from their water before killing the algae there’s a chance they’ll need to do it again once their water is clear, thus wasting their money.
If you have algae in your pool water forget trying to remove phosphates and focus on using chlorine to kill the algae.
What Does Phosphate Have To Do With A Swimming Pool
When testing your water chemistry, most check for sanitizer and pH. Others testing for commercial pools and on a weekly basis for homeowners include tests for alkalinity, calcium hardness, and cyanruic acid. There are many other tests out there including cooper, iron, salt, TDS, nitrates, and phosphates. But why are we testing for phosphates? Phosphates are mostly inorganic materials that have the potential to feed and encourage algae growth in your swimming pool, as well as cloud your water. Algae needs sun, water, air, and a food source such as nitrates and phosphates to flourish. That is why a swimming pool is the perfect environment for algae to bloom!
But you say that you dont add phosphates to your pool. So, how are they getting into the pool? Your pool is in an open environment subject to sun, water from rain, air, and algae food that can be introduced in many ways. These phosphates are present in your landscaping and fertilizer materials that can be introduced through wind and water run-off by means of rain or your own backyard watering efforts. Those phosphates can be deposited from environmental debris that enters in pool in the form of leaves and tree droppings. Also, you may be unknowingly adding phosphates to your water if you use any chemicals that contain phosphoric acid or phosphorus materials, or if your fill water has phosphates in it .
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How Do I Test Pool Phosphate Levels
To test pool phosphate levels, you can buy a phosphate testing kit or take a pool water sample to your local pool supply store. Since phosphates take a long time to build up, having the store technicians test your water every time that you go to the store is an easy way to monitor your phosphate levels.
My Phosphates Are Between 200
This is the gray area of phosphates. While most manufacturers prefer phosphates levels at zero, we personally have not seen many adverse effects until the levels get above 500. Usually below that number we dont find it necessary to add a phosphate remover unless you have had a history of algae problems or continuous phosphate growth.
There is also some debate about how much more chlorine is used at this level of phosphates, but that is where the grey area kicks in. We have not seen exact numbers pointing to the additional cost of chlorine versus the cost of phosphate removers at this level so it is possible you would be paying for one to reduce the cost of the other.
Do you have a Salt Pool?
The manufacturers of chlorine generators in salt pools are more concerned about phosphate levels so it is good to keep them lower than 200 if you have a salt pool. In a salt pool it is better to err on the side of caution and lower the phosphates. Your salt generator manufacturer will likely ask about your phosphates if you have issues keeping chlorine levels high enough.
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