A pertinent question for most pool owners is the issue of phosphate levels and how they can affect their pools. Most people are concerned about how much phosphate remover they can put in their water and what effect it will have.
What happens if you add too much phosphate remover?
Phosphate removers, like any other substance, when done in excess, can cause problems. Below, I will be listing some of the issues that can arise from using too many phosphate removers.
- Toxicity: One of the major constituents of phosphate remover is the rare earth metal lanthanum. This metal, in high dosages, can be moderately toxic to living organisms. If your pool runoff is not properly monitored, it can get in contact with organisms outside your pool ecosystem and cause harm to them. Long thin metal has also been proven to be able to cause cancer upon frequent exposure to humans. This is why it is recommended to reduce the rate at which you use phosphate removers.
- It can cause a pH drop: When phosphate removers are used in excess, they can cause a drop in alkalinity and, as a result, a pH drop. This can cause issues with your pool’s chemical balance.
- Increased turbidity: Phosphate removers combine with phosphates to form insoluble phosphate compounds. This they do through coagulation. As these compounds come together, they become responsible for the cloudiness and turbidity in the pool. It might not be an issue health-wise, so much as to stop one from swimming. But it gives the pool water a non-aesthetic look.
- Filters get clogged up: As was said above, the phosphate removers cause compounds that aren’t soluble to form. Over time, these compounds can cause a buildup in your pool filter. This can lead to undue pressure and even damage the organ.
- Negates scale removers: Some scale and metal removers have phosphates as their major constituents. So, cleaners, using a phosphate remover when you want to use such cleaners, already negates their effect. The removers draw the phosphate from those cleaners, making them useless. You end up with your pool still unchanged.
Do phosphates make pools cloudy?
Phosphates in their chemical form won’t make your pool cloudy. Phosphates come from organic matter such as leaves, debris, and fertilizer. When they build up high enough in your pool, algae can feed on them.
When the algae does that, it causes an algae bloom. In this situation, various forms of algae grow in your pool water. This growth is what leads to the cloudiness and haziness in your pool water.
How often should I use phosphate remover in my pool?
Phosphate removers should be used extensively when the phosphate levels have reached a level of 900 parts per billion. It is not a chemical that should be used all the time as it has some side effects; pool turbidity and filter clogging being one of them.
Does phosphate remover get rid of algae?
The work of phosphate removers is to actually drive down the level of phosphates in the pool. When added to the pool, they draw free phosphate molecules to themselves and clump them up.
It doesn’t kill the algae, and for that you will need algaecide. The only effect is that it starves the algae of its food, which in this case is for a long time. Eventually, the phosphates When it does that, algae multiplication can be reduced.
The flip side is that most algae have coping mechanisms. They have phosphate reserves, which means they can go without food for a long time. Eventually, even if they die, the phosphate released from the dead algae acts as food for the surviving ones.
Is pH and phosphate the same thing?
No, they are not.
pH and phosphates should not be confused with each other.
pH, which chemically denotes “power of hydrogen” (or potential of hydrogen), refers to a scale used to determine the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. Mathematically, it is the negative logarithm to base 10 of the hydrogen ion concentration in any solution.
Phosphates, on the other hand, are anions and salts that are derived from phosphoric acid. Most of the time, it refers to orthophosphates that are derived from orthophosphoric acid. Phosphates, in their simplest form, are made up of phosphorus bound to oxygen molecules.
Can you swim with phosphate remover in the pool?
The chemicals that make up phosphate are usually non-harsh. It is possible for you to still swim even after adding them to your pool. The only thing that might greatly concern you is just how turbid the pool will be. However, this should not cause too much concern because it will clear up after a while. Just run your filter for one hour and you are good to go.
Does shocking the pool lower phosphates?
No, it doesn’t.
Most pool owners might decide to use chlorine-based shocks as a short-term algaecide. The chlorine in the shock creates unfavorable conditions for the algae to survive. But that’s just it. After destroying the algae, chlorine levels are sure to drop. The decomposing algae then releases more phosphates into the pool.
In actuality, chlorine doesn’t interact with phosphates. So when you add the chlorine shock to the pool, you inadvertently end up increasing the phosphate levels rather than reducing them.
Does pool clarifier remove phosphates?
First you must understand how pool clarifiers work.
Pool clarifiers contain polymers that clump together those tiny particles that cloud up your pool. These polymers include ammonium chloride and polyacrylamides. These molecules are also positively charged.
The working process of a pool clarifier is quite simple. You might remember that just like poles, opposite ions are attracted to each other. It is this same principle that applies here.
Almost all of the clouding particles in water are negatively charged or anionic. Then, these negatively charged molecules, called ions, are drawn to the positively charged molecules, called cations.
Like a magnet, the colloid particles are drawn to the chemical components of the pool clarifier and it begins to coagulate them. From a size of 1 micron, the size of the coagulants can reach between 39 and 45 microns.
Pool clarifiers, though, won’t remove phosphates if used alone. This is because phosphates are quite soluble in water. As a result, the clarifier won’t work effectively. It works on suspended particles, not dissolved particles.
To get the best results, pool clarifiers should be used in conjunction with phosphate removers. Remember that the phosphate removers form insoluble particles. In essence, it then becomes easier for the pool clarifier to coagulate them.
Can high phosphates cause chlorine lock?
It is important to know what chlorine lock is. This is a situation whereby the chlorine in a pool is rendered useless. And no matter the amount of chlorine that is added, the chlorine levels do not increase. The major cause of this is too much chlorine stabilizer in the pool. In this case, cyanuric acid.
What high phosphates do is increase the chlorine demand in the pool. This they do by feeding the algae and causing more chlorine to be used up.
Is phosphate remover a flocculant?
Let’s understand the difference between a flocculant and a coagulant. These two terms can be easily confused.
Coagulation is a chemical process. It involves the work of destabilizing the colloid particles. Coagulants work by neutralizing the negative charges on the colloid particles. Naturally, the colloid particles tend to repel each other due to the fact that they all have negative charges.
What the coagulants do is that they neutralize these charges and enable these particles to begin to stick together. These particles can be referred to as “micro flocs”. The individual particles are quite tiny and cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Only with a microscope can they be observed with clarity. When the coagulation is happening, cloud-like formations are observed. These particles are still suspended in the water. Coagulants include metallic salts such as aluminum sulfate, ferric chloride, and ferric sulfate.
On the other hand, flocculation is a physical process. Flocculants help these micro flocs formed by coagulation to clump together and form larger particles called “macro flocs.” These particles are denser and they tend to sink in the water.
Flocculants convert the cloud-like particles formed by the coagulation process into precipitates. These precipitates are quite heavy. Now it is more visible to the naked eye. Flocculants are made from organic polymers.
Phosphate removers will now be better understood with this explanation of coagulants. Phosphate removers are coagulants, not flocculants. This is because the compounds they form are still quite small and invisible to the naked eye.
Also, these compounds are still in suspension. They are responsible for the cloudiness you see after adding phosphate removers. If these removers were flocculants, the particles would have clumped together and gone to the pool’s bottom.
Does phosphate increase pH in water?
This depends on the types of phosphate ions present in the pool. Acidic phosphate salts will naturally decrease the pH of the pool. On the other hand, alkaline phosphate salts will increase the pH level.