What Causes High Phosphates In a Pool?

What Causes High Phosphates In a Pool?

For so many pool owners, having a phosphate test kit is very important to know the level of phosphate in and all the chemicals available in your pool water. Unfortunately, testing your pool for high phosphate levels will not give you the necessary knowledge of the term phosphates.

Like other organically derived chemicals, phosphate is a natural chemical derived from the phosphorous element. They can be found in almost every living organism on earth. Phosphates also play a great role in the development of organisms.

Now, the major issue with pool owners and phosphate is the problem of algae. Phosphate serves as a food for algae and helps it grow and spread. It is so bad that even if the algae dies, it ends up producing more phosphate that then serves as food for other algae.

With the knowledge that phosphates can be found in almost every organism, it means that phosphate is already present in water, with or without any help. So, what we’ll consider now is the possible cause of the high phosphate in the swimming pool.

  • Humans: Yes, any human who enters a pool is likely to raise the phosphate level due to sweat from the skin, hair products, and even the detergents used in bathing suits and towels, all of which affect and contribute to the phosphate level in the pool.
  • Water runoff: garden care products, fertilizers, and other products used around the pool area can contribute to the phosphate level of the pool too.
  • Through organic means, debris, leaves, twigs, algae, and other forms of microorganisms also contribute to the phosphate level in a pool.

What is the high phosphate level in my pool?

A high level of any chemical in your pool simply means an above-normal level of that chemical in your pool. This means that the chemical is over the limit and can pose a threat to pool water chemistry.

When phosphates are at a low level without any algae issues, phosphates barely pose any threat to the quality of the water in your pool.

However, phosphates over 1000 ppm, especially in pools with algae problems, can disrupt the quality and chemistry of the water.

Phosphates contribute highly to feeding algae and its growth, so phosphates in their high amount or level can cause serious problems for your pool.

You might wonder whether phosphates are a big problem for your pool, but the truth is, phosphates aren’t the problem; the problem is algae growth. This is why it is important to shock your pool to get rid of algae.

Can you swim in a pool with a high phosphate level?

Some chemicals are dangerous for humans, and no matter how low their effects might be, it is not advisable to get in contact with them.

This is the same for chemicals added to pools. Chemicals like chlorine and cyanuric acid require some time for them to subside before it is safe to use the pool.

Phosphate remover isn’t a dangerous or toxic chemical, so you can use the pool immediately after applying the chemical, but it is advisable to use it after one hour so that it can be diluted.

Also, a high phosphate level in your pool is harmless if there’s no algae problem in the pool. It only becomes an issue when algae grows in the pool.

So, yes. It is okay to swim in a pool with high phosphate as long as it does not have any algae problems.

What do high phosphates do to a pool?

Phosphates are natural materials gotten from the phosphorous element. Phosphates can be gotten from dead leaves, lawn fertilizers, and many other sources.

When the phosphate level is high, they feed the algae and enable them to grow and expand. This will eventually make your pool cloudy and green.

It is impossible that you will be able to remove all the phosphates in your pool. No matter how you shock or apply phosphate remover, your pool will not be completely phosphate free. Instead, what happens is that the phosphate level will be lowered to a bare minimum and it will be impossible for algae to thrive.

Can high phosphates cause chlorine lock?

When microorganisms in your pool grow beyond the rate or level of chlorine, they are likely to eventually turn into algae. Living things naturally need nitrogen and phosphorous as micronutrients.

With a high rate of micronutrients in your swimming pool, it becomes impossible for chlorine to kill them. Bacteria, algae, and other microorganisms can begin to grow faster in such a case.

This gives a quality explanation of why your pool is in more demand for chlorine when your phosphate levels are high. This does not mean that phosphates directly dictate the strength of chlorine; it only means that they help increase the demand for chlorine. The more chlorine attacks and kills the microorganisms, the more the chlorine level drops and decreases.

How do you treat high phosphate levels in pools?

Without pool treatment, contaminants will continue to grow and dominate until they stop you from using your pool. This is something every pool owner knows, and this is why it is important to treat your swimming pool from time to time.

Testing your water chemistry is necessary to identify different levels of each chemical. Most people test their pools for alkalinity, chlorine, calcium, cyanuric acid, and phosphates.

Now, why is it important to test for high levels of phosphorus? A high level of phosphorus serves as food for algae; it helps them grow and generate energy, which eventually turns your pool cloudy and green.

After confirming a high level of phosphate in your pool, you can treat it by applying a phosphate remover or chlorine. But note, chlorine is more effective because it does kill algae and other bacteria, while phosphate remover reduces the phosphate level and prevents algae only.

How do you put the phosphate remover?

Most of the time, pool owners mistake phosphate remover for algaecide. This is because phosphate helps algae grow by feeding them. Well, this is not true because the two chemicals are entirely different.

Let’s check out some differences between algaecide and phosphate remover.

Phosphate removers are only to help remove and reduce phosphate levels and do not kill algae. Algaecide focuses mainly on killing and reducing algae.

How to treat algae: Applying copper-based algaecides will help with the killing of algae faster and it will serve well for the long term.

How to treat phosphate: After applying algaecide, this is when you apply phosphate remover immediately to keep them at bay.

Phosphate treatments for your pool

  1. Vacuum debris before treating.
  2. Backwash your pool filter.
  3. Apply the specified phosphate remover per label dosage.
  4. Run the filter for 24 hours.
  5. Test again for phosphate after the process is done.

How long does phosphate remover take to work?

After applying phosphate remover, the pool can be good to be used again after an hour, so that the phosphate might have been diluted.

The surface of your pool turns cloudy immediately after applying, but will clear up within a week.

Is clarifier phosphate remover?

No, a clarifier is not a phosphate remover. It is an entirely different chemical.

Can you put too much phosphate remover in a pool?

Just as the saying goes, an excess of anything is bad. This applies to applying chemicals to your pool too.

An excessive load of phosphate remover can throw off the balance of your pool and leave it in shambles.

How often should I use phosphate remover in my pool?

Use phosphate remover only when you notice the presence of excess phosphate in your pool. So, use it as often as your test result shows excess phosphate. However, you need to do your best to ensure that a lot of phosphate is not introduced into the pool. You can use your pool throughout the season without adding phosphate remover. It all depends on how you manage the pool.

Will phosphate remover clear a cloudy pool?

Phosphate remover can not clear a cloudy pool. In fact, it helps in making the pool cloudy after adding it to your pool, although this clears in one week. If your pool is cloudy, do not attempt to use phosphate remover to clear it. There are chemicals for that purpose.

Why is my pool cloudy after adding phosphate remover?

Don’t panic when you notice a cloudy pool after adding phosphate remover to the pool. This is what normally happens. What normally happens when you add a phosphate remover to your pool? It makes it cloudy, but it clears back to normal after a week. 

A cloudy pool can also be caused by algae growth and chemical level imbalances. The high phosphate level serves as food for the algae, and it continues to grow and expand. This causes cloudiness and a greenish color in your pool over time. If you waited for about a week and it didn’t clear, you can then clear the pool with the right chemicals.

It is necessary to shock your pool with chlorine from time to time to ensure your chemical level is balanced. Only then will your pool be safe from algae and bacteria, which contribute to your pool looking cloudy and green.

Cleaning the pools of debris, leaves, and twigs is also very important in the bid to keep your pool clean and nice, because even debris and other contaminants can alter the chemical level and balance of your pool.

Every pool owner knows how important it is to also make sure the filter system is sound and is working on what it’s supposed to work on. Furthermore, this can be a danger to the pool too.

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