Phosphates: What they are, what they do and what to look out for!

Are phosphates causing issues in your pool? Do you know what the signs of phosphates are? More importantly, does you swimming pool cleaning service understand how to treat the issue? If you said “NO” to any of those questions, please read on so you can learn a little bit about it!

What are phosphates?

Phosphates are food for algae and other micro organisms. When they get into your swimming pool water, even in trace amounts, can reek havoc on the quality of your pool water and water chemistry.

How do they get into your pool?

They are literally everywhere! Let’s think about this. What are the byproducts of thinks like soaps, shampoo’s, and even some pool chemicals? Yep, phosphates! Even some municipalities put phosphates in the water to help guard against pipe corrosion. If you have a lawn company that treats the grass with fertilizer… yep, you guessed it that has phosphates in it to. So you can see it’s not really a matter of “if” you get it in your swimming pool but “when”.

What are some issues you’ll see?

If you are having a hard time keeping a chlorine reading in your pool you very well could have phosphates. They consume the available sanitizer in the water so the more you have, generally speaking, the less chlorine you’ll be able to keep in the water. Another sign that you have phosphates is having algae growth in perfectly balanced water. Let’s remember that phosphates are algae food so if your phosphates are high enough I’ve seen first hand that algae will grow in balanced water! So if that’s the case grab your test kit and verify this and treat accordingly.

What is the recommended range?

You mean there’s an allowable amount? Yes there is and it’s 100ppb. Notice the “b” there. That means “parts per billion.” That’s such a small amount. Think about it! That is 1 drop of water in 1 billion drops of water. As the level increases it’s only going to get worse. In my experience, phosphates are manageable until around the 500ppb range. Then you’ll start seeing some algae growth beyond that. If your pool water has 1500-2000ppb of phosphates you’ll notice not only the algae but the water has lost its’ sheen that it’s used to exuberating. If you have 3000-4000ppb of phosphates it may take several treatments before the phosphates are manageable.

How do you treat them?

This is the easy part! If you don’t have a service company that knows how to treat it (call me then… haha) go to the pool store and purchase a phosphate remover and follow the instructions on the bottle. It always helps to start with a clean filter! After the treatment is done clean out the filter again because you may see the filter pressure increase during the treatment. I am a fan of the SeaKlear Commerical Phosphate Remover! It’s really concentrated stuff and it doesn’t take a lot to treat your pool. I’ve also noticed that it doesn’t clog the filter as quickly. So as a service professional I don’t have to come back 48 hours later to treat the filter.

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Below are both a podcast and YouTube video discussing the phosphates! As always please like and describe!

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