Algae/Pollen Issues - Pump Too Small?

bjenson

New member
Jul 16, 2021
4
Minneapolis, MN
Pool Size
4400
Surface
Vinyl
Hey all!
I'm at a loss right now with my pool so any suggestions would be appreciated.
I've had a 15' Intex pool (4400 gallons) for the last few years. Last year I had an algae issue late summer that I couldn't manage with my filter and constant shocking/scrubbing. I didn't want to skimp on a pool vacuum but the only good ones I found were too expensive for us at the time. I made a makeshift vacuum using my shop vac and tried to siphon out the algae and it worked but didn't help enough. I ended up draining the pool completely and refilled it but the algae came back immediately and I again couldn't manage it. After some research I assumed it was possibly mustard algae that my nephews likely brought over from the lake they swim in. So I scrubbed the pool liner and cleaned all our pool toys/floaties before this year. Note: I also had a lot of little holes in the liner before the summer that I had to patch up and was hoping there was no algae stuck in that.
This summer I was leary of the mustard algae coming back but we were fine for almost 3 months. Then the mustard algae came back but after MORE research it turns out it's very likely pollen, not mustard algae. We have lots of trees near our pool (no way to avoid them) and then algae started coming up too and I couldn't do maintenance on the pool for a couple days due to a family matter and it got really bad. I had gotten the Intex Pool Cleaner (the one that looks like a tank) and although it works I just couldn't manage the algae again. I'm now thinking that my pump (the standard 1000 gal/hr version) is just not enough power to manage the pollen and whatever else our pool collects. So I'm thinking my only solution is to get a more powerful sand filter pump. Thoughts?
 

Woodstock1234

Gold Supporter
Aug 4, 2020
236
Illinois
I don't think it's the pump. My opinion is that algae problems are due to imbalanced water rather than filter issues. Now, if you let a lot of debris sit in the pool, of course your water will become unbalanced. I run the pump very little and have not had algae. I skim and vacuum manually.
If your water is unbalanced, a more powerful pump will not fix it.
 

bjenson

New member
Jul 16, 2021
4
Minneapolis, MN
Pool Size
4400
Surface
Vinyl
I don't think it's the pump. My opinion is that algae problems are due to imbalanced water rather than filter issues. Now, if you let a lot of debris sit in the pool, of course your water will become unbalanced. I run the pump very little and have not had algae. I skim and vacuum manually.
If your water is unbalanced, a more powerful pump will not fix it.
I went to a local family owned pool company last year to get new chemicals (I had been vigilant when I first got the pool with alkalinity, calcium, etc) and he said with how small my pool is I just need to worry about pH and chlorine.
 

Woodstock1234

Gold Supporter
Aug 4, 2020
236
Illinois
I went to a local family owned pool company last year to get new chemicals (I had been vigilant when I first got the pool with alkalinity, calcium, etc) and he said with how small my pool is I just need to worry about pH and chlorine.
@mknauss is the water expert. I am pretty sure he is going to say you need to test your own water and that CYA and chlorine are important.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
44,320
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
With your size pool, you have a choice. You still need to manage FC, pH, and CYA, but you can do it with a simple kit. BUT - you must be prepared to drain the entire pool volume, clean the pool with dilute bleach, refill, and start over when any sign of cloudy water or algae or inability to hold FC. Such as you have now. So you need to let us know which way you want to go.
Read Guide for Seasonal/Temporary Pools - Trouble Free Pool
 
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Panzer

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2009
92
South Chicago burbs
Pool Size
9000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Small pools (like small aquariums) tend to be easier to maintain than their larger counterparts. They do however tend be less forgiving, (things tend to get bad quicker) if proper maintenance is not adhered to.
Just a function of the volumes. Something to keep in mind when selecting which pool is right for you.
Respectfully,
 

Panzer

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2009
92
South Chicago burbs
Pool Size
9000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
The OP stated " I couldn't do maintenance on the pool for a couple days due to ..."

I said... " if proper maintenance is not adhered to."
What I was trying to get at with respect to pool size, is that smaller pools don't necessarily equate to no maintenance. (it takes fewer contaminants to make an impact). Larger pools (on average) tend to be a bit more stable. Some folks don't consider that. I thought Marty answered it well.

Respectfully,
 

bjenson

New member
Jul 16, 2021
4
Minneapolis, MN
Pool Size
4400
Surface
Vinyl
Ok, that makes sense that smaller pools will get bad faster. I am definitely going to drain and clean it. I stopped worrying about CYA at the advice of that local pool guy so I’m sure that and the lack of maintenance for a couple days were the main reasons.
Anything I should do about the pollen? Also, should I always be using my solar cover and pool cover to help prevent debris from falling in? I didn’t use them much this year because I was worried about them having mustard algae from last year (which turns out I likely didn’t have) and the rising cost of pool items recently.
 

Panzer

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2009
92
South Chicago burbs
Pool Size
9000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
As Marty said, in order to maintain it properly you'll still need to know your FC, CYA, & pH levels. For approx $60 you can purchase those individual tests from TFTeskits or for a few dollars more get a TF-100. (costs is a lot less than a new pump/filter)
Pool store testing can be spotty at best.
Once you can reliably get the FC, CYA, & pH numbers... you can easily keep enough FC in your pool to manage any potential algae issue.

If you don't have a good skimmer to collect pollen/leaves/bugs from the pool surface before they get a chance to settle; then I would advice covering your pool whenever not in use. (especially since you say it's near a lot of trees) If your FC is in the proper range, you shouldn't have to worry about algae. Use your pool cleaner to remove any settled solids on a regular basis.

Best of luck... here's hoping you get a lot more enjoyment & less worries from your pool.
Respectfully,
 

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bjenson

New member
Jul 16, 2021
4
Minneapolis, MN
Pool Size
4400
Surface
Vinyl
Ok, appreciate it! I have a skimmer but it didn’t seem to be too effective so I didn’t have that on this year either. Seems like I just got too lax with some maintenance points this year.
I have the Intex Deluxe Wall Mounted Skimmer. If anyone has thoughts on that item let me know.
 

Pv2

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 14, 2013
1,082
south east Arizona
those wall mount skimmers work fine if nobody is splashing around in the pool. they take a little more finagling than a through-the-wall type but they work a lot better than no skimmer. if you are itchy to spend money on equipment get one of the test kits recommended here. it will save enough to pay for itself and some other toys pretty darn fast!
 
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