Algae prevention and solar cover

Aquamar555

Active member
Jun 12, 2016
38
Augusta, GA
For the past few years we have really been pleased with TFP guidance and have been successfully maintaining our pool. We started using a solar cover a few years ago to warm it up (no heater) and prevent water evaporation during summer if we were traveling. No problems; replaced every 1.5 yrs or so when bubbles would disintegrate.

Last fall we got a cover reel that made our lives so much easier and our pool deck safer (no cover folded on it). However, this spring we have had the most massive issue with opening (we maintain pool over winter, no draining, just covered). Usually bc we maintain over winter we don't need a huge SLAM, we just add borates for our summer balancing. This year, required SLAM process bc it started to have lots of loss in FC despite cell at 100% and adding bleach. No visible green. It always was clear, just losing FC all the time, even when covered all day and SWG at 100%.

I think we almost have it under control, ended up raising to mustard algae level (FC 24) bc pollen season is over and still had spots on one side that always reappeared, and what else was eating our chlorine?! Cover off for 2 nights and days. Last night @8pm FC= 27.5 pH 7.6 CYA 40 TA 60, This AM @6am, FC 26, CC 0.5. Will continue to maintain for full 24 hrs until later this AM. No cover.

My question: is it possible that our cover is harboring algae? That each time we would get the pool balanced and cover it back up, it would create a new problem? And, our old method of folding (no reel) let it dry out (mostly), but the new reel rolls it on itself, meaning water is rolled into it and not exposed to sun...so perhaps we need to trash the existing cover and maybe ditch the reel idea? How to prevent algae or mildew on a solar cover rolled up?

I really want a solar cover bc our recent nights in GA have been in 50s and I had gotten pool up to 77 degrees.... Advice welcome on cover issue. I'm good on my SLAM. Will keep at it until no more than 1ppm loss ... But want to heat this thing back up!
 

CrystalRiver

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2020
648
Massachusetts
If the cover is on the water most of the time, it's chlorinated and can't grow anything. If you leave it on the reel for a week, then yeah it's going to grow if it's wet.

Usually SLAM procedure is to leave the cover off (at least a lot of the time) so that CCs can burn off. If you suspect your cover is algae-d, then you need it on the water so it can get treated. You may have to go back and forth, covering overnight and part of the day for chlorination, and letting the pool breathe for a couple of daylight hours if CCs start to climb. CCs burn off really quickly.
 

Aquamar555

Active member
Jun 12, 2016
38
Augusta, GA
Thanks CrystalRiver, our CCs were never high or a problem, the highest was 1. It's just when covered in early spring it had a hard time maintaining FC, so we started doing the SLAM. Mostly with cover off during day but would cover at night. Then couldn't get handle on it so have left cover off now fully. Appears to be doing better.

At issue is that in spring the cover is alternately on and then off (eg if we are getting a few days of lots of rain). And, unlike folding, when it rolls on itself the chlorinated water part is in contact with top of cover (not clean).

And eventually cover will be fully rolled up on reel for summer when nighttime temps are higher. So yes, if kept rolled then people get algae and then get a new one each season? And for right now I hear that once tonight we get no overnight loss, than put the cover back on and it should kill any algae?
 

Prickly

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2020
127
Kelowna
Pool Size
31000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-9)
If algae is on the underside of your cover you might need to give it a good brush. You could roll it out so the bubbles face up and dunk it under the water a bit to get some chlorinated water on top and then brush
 

IceShadow

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 8, 2019
2,612
Milwaukee, WI
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Thank you Prickly. The cover on top is gross due to pollen from spring ...I may need to untill on the lawn and give it a good scrub and dry. Many thanks to all for help!
Careful with it on the lawn, we left it on for only an hour or so and our grass turned brown after a couple of days. We now scrub it down on the driveway.
 
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