Phosphate Question

Jun 29, 2011
20
0
#1
So, to clarify, it does not help to try to reduce the phosphates in the water. The pool store told me that mine were too high, and that I needed to get them down.
 

JasonLion

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May 7, 2007
37,879
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Silver Spring, MD
#3
I wouldn't go all the way to "does not help", but something close to that. If you could wave a magic wand and eliminate the phosphates then you should do it. But given the cost and effort required to remove phosphates there really isn't any point.
 
Aug 24, 2008
8
0
Flower Mound, TX
#4
A pool store guy told me the same thing, "300 is too high. It is food for algae. Buy this $60 bottle and add it weekly so your phosphates always stay down."

Just like a drug dealer wants you to keep coming back for more, I understand why the pool store guy wants to sell me a $60 bottle that I am dipping into weekly. But unlike a drug dealer, the "phosphate remover" seeming actually works and has a real purpose. It does remove phosphates and phosphates do help algae grow (assuming the absence of chlorine -- which ain't gonna happen in my pool).

So here are my 3 chemistry-based questions:
(1) How do "phosphates" get into my pool in the first place?
(2) If I have to keep adding their product weekly to keep the phosphates down, then why haven't I accumulated a boatload of phosphates over the last 3 years that I have NOT been using their wonder-product?
(3) What is the chemical process where introducing a new chemical to my pool will "remove" phosphates? Is it "locking up" those phosphates or somehow neutralizing them into something [hopefully] benign that I presume will end up in my cartridge filter?

I am just curious about the new-fangled phosphates I keep hearing about these days. Thanks.
 

JasonLion

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Platinum Supporter
TFP Expert
May 7, 2007
37,879
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Silver Spring, MD
#5
Essentially everything organic has phosphates in it. A few pool chemicals have phosphates, mostly some sequestrants. Plus in many areas tap water has phosphates in it.

Your phosphate level will tend to settle to a bit above your tap water phosphate level (due to continuing organics entering the pool balanced out by water replacement), unless you use a lot of sequestrant, or have a very high evaporation rate.

The chemical binds to the phosphates forming particles that cloud the water, and eventually get removed by the filter.

One thing they don't mention is that phosphate remover only removes some kinds of phosphate. There are other kinds, rarer, that can allow algae to grow regardless of phosphate remover. Having enough to these kinds of phosphate isn't all that common, but phosphate remover doesn't always work, even if you do spend the money. Plus if your tap water has a lot of phosphate, your chemical costs to keep phosphate down will be astronomical, not to mention lots of cloudy water.