In Woodstock, GA, swimming is a must in the scorching summer months. It is the only effective way to relax in dangerous levels of heat without having to rely on dusty and stale indoor air. Unfortunately, your pool is not without its flaws. It is standing water, after all. If you have seen a dirty puddle by the curb of your street, then you know what can happen to standing water outdoors: fungi, insects, grime, and even animals can be attracted to it.
Then there is another danger, one that is particularly hard to spot: phosphates. Phosphates are known by most Americans as common food additives. But did you know that phosphates can naturally occur in your swimming pool? In fact, most pool companies in Woodstock, like us, know to keep an eye on phosphate levels. Read on to learn about these unwelcome chemicals, how much, if any, should occur in the pool, and what can be done to regulate them.
What Are Phosphates?
Phosphates are the name for a group of natural compounds consisting of some combination of sodium, phosphorus, and oxygen. They are completely natural and can be found just about anywhere you go in the world. Though pool contractors rarely include phosphates when they install or fill pools, phosphates will find their way into your water on their own.
Where Do They Come From?
Phosphates can be introduced to your pool via a number of substances, many of which involve no effort on your part. These include:
- Vegetation like leaves, sticks, and grass falling in your pool
- Tap water spilling into the pool via irrigation systems or in trace amounts via wet clothing
- Cosmetics, including lotion and sunscreen
- Pool cleaning chemicals
- Fertilizers in your yard
- Pets entering the pool
Clearly, phosphates will find their way into your pool, no matter what you do to try and stop them.
What Are the Risks of Excess Phosphates in Pools?
While trace amounts of phosphorus are acceptable and will go unnoticed, high levels can have a series of negative effects on your pool, such as:
- Discoloring your pool water
- Attracting algae that feeds on phosphorus, spiking their levels, which can make swimming unsafe
- Disrupting salt systems like Pentair Intellichlors, which use ordinary table salt to chlorinate your pool
- Harming other pool equipment and systems because of phosphates’ tendency to cling to metals
While your pool is usually safe from any of the above risks under ordinary circumstances, high levels of phosphates are clearly a danger to your pool and even to swimmers.
So What Should I Do about Phosphates?
First, you should know the difference between healthy and unhealthy phosphate levels. Researchers have determined that phosphates are safe for pools under levels of 100 ppb (parts per billion). Any more, and your swimming pool can be at risk of the complications in the previous category.
Secondly, have your pool water tested regularly. Pool companies in Woodstock can visit your pool on a regular basis—not for a gentle swim, but to test the phosphate levels in your pool. They can also provide you with testing strips, phosphate-free pool chemicals, helpful advice, and other tools for keeping your phosphate levels safely low. We recommend that you contact a pool company as soon as possible to keep your pool and its component parts running smoothly and to prevent phosphates from ruining your summer.