Can You Swim in a Pool with Algae? (Important Info!)

Picture this: You are excited to take a well-deserved dip in your pool when you notice something green in the water. To your surprise, algae have crept their way into your pool, and you are unsure if it is still safe to swim in it. There is no need to panic, pool algae are very common, and there are many ways you can get rid of them. 

Regardless of the severity, it is never a good idea to swim in a pool with algae. Swimming pool algae is a sign that your pool has unwanted and potentially harmful bacteria in it. Exposure to pool algae can give a swimmer a rash, a bacterial infection, or a fever. 

Common types of algae found in pools

There are many types of algae found in pools. Here are a few of the most common: 

Black algae

Black algae are one of the most common types of algae, and it is usually found in large bodies of water like lakes or ponds. If your pool is neglected enough, black algae can occur. Black algae form in colonies on your pool’s surface and thrive in porous surfaces in your pool. 

Black algae are the worst type of algae you can have in your pool. The algae work by infesting itself deep into the porous surfaces of your pool’s plaster or calcium buildup and creating roots. These roots are formed even before the algae begins to become visible.

The worst part about having black algae in your pool is how difficult it is to remove. The roots are deep, and it is nearly impossible to know if you have cleaned out all the algae.

Yellow algae

Yellow algae are recognizable by their distinct yellow color. Yellow algae are also commonly known as “mustard algae.” Yellow algae are technically categorized as green algae. This type of algae grows in shady areas of your pool and will exist near the surface.

The worst part about having yellow algae is that it is especially difficult to get off of your pool. Yellow algae have a thick and slimy texture. Even extremely rigorous scrubbing may leave remnants of these algae around. 

Yellow algae do not grow as fast as green algae, so you have more time to deal with your infestation. It is important to do a thorough cleaning so you can be sure you didn’t leave any remnants behind. 

Green algae

Green algae are the most common type of algae to be found in your pool. Green algae can exist in most places of your pool, including the surface, the bottom of your pool, and the stairs. It can also be mixed with water to make it turn green and cloudy. 

Green algae are slimy and look like a stain. The severity of the algae infestation will affect the color and the location of the algae. It is fast-moving and can be difficult to get rid of if the infestation is left for too long. 

The worst part about having green algae is how fast an infestation can spread. Green algae can take over your pool without warming in as little as 24 hours. It is particularly common in the summer months or in hot tubs or saunas. 

Dangers of algae in the pool

There are a lot of dangers that can come with swimming in a pool with algae. The most concerning danger is the risk of bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

Green algae, the most common type of pool algae, can carry dangerous bacteria. This bacteria feeds on the algae in the pool, and the longer the algae is present, the more bacteria there will be in your pool. 

When you swim in an infected pool, this bacteria can cause painful skin rashes. If you have any open wounds, this bacteria can create severe infections. If algae bacteria are ingested, it can give you a horrible fever and diarrhea. 

Ingesting dangerous bacteria can have serious health risks and is not something to be taken lightly. Algae bacteria can also lead to eye infections. If your pool has bacteria, it might also have parasites or other microscopic creatures as well. 

Another issue is that algae are slimy and slippery, which makes them dangerous to walk on. Slipping on algae can result in serious physical injury. These injuries include broken bones, concussions, dislocated joints, and more. Neck, back, and head injuries that can result from slipping on algae are especially serious and can be potentially life-threatening. 

Algae can affect the clarity of your pool which can greatly alter your depth perception. A lack of clarity can result in you miscalculating the depth of your pool and accidentally hitting your head in shallow water. Lack of clarity can also lead to drowning underwater for swimmers who are less experienced. 

Not being able to see the bottom of your pool can also hide potentially dangerous objects or animals. In states like Florida, it is important to be able to tell if an alligator is lying at the bottom of your pool. It is also important to be able to see if you have any rocks, sticks, or other foreign objects in your pool that could be potentially dangerous.

Causes of algae

There are many reasons that your pool could have algae. Algae grow through spores, and these spores can be brought into your pool by external factors like dirty swimwear or even wind-blowing spores into your pool. Spores can also exist on pool toys and beach accessories that have not been properly cleaned. 

At any given time, algae spores are likely to be present in your pool, so it is important to keep your pool’s conditions in a healthy place to prevent a breakout. It is very hard to prevent spores from getting in your pool, but it is much easier to prevent a breakout of algae. 

The most probable reason for algae growth is a lack of water circulation. Algae thrive in stagnant water, so if your filter is not working correctly, algae will grow. A properly circulated pool will be continuously funneling water through the filtration system, and if algae are growing, it likely means that your filtration system is not working to its full capability. 

Filters need to be the correct size for your pool, and they should be checked regularly. If your filter has been running in a pool with algae, it is most likely broken and will probably need to be replaced. 

Another reason for algae growth could be a pH imbalance in your pool water. It is important to check your pool’s alkalinity, calcium, and cyanuric levels often. A pool with a high pH but a low amount of chlorine can quickly become a breeding ground for algae. 

A key part of maintaining a healthy pool is keeping your water sanitized. Low levels of chlorine in a pool mean that algae will be able to survive much easier. Chlorine kills bacteria in your pool and can significantly lower the risk of infection from algae. 

It is always important to remember to shock your pool and maintain a healthy level of chlorine. Checking your pH and maintaining a good amount of chlorine is a great defense against algae.

How you can prevent algae buildup

The best way to make sure that you don’t have an algae buildup is to prevent it from happening. An algae outbreak is preventable, and preparation can save you a lot of time and money down the line. It is important that every pool owner has a plan to prevent algae growth in their pool.

A good place to start is by making sure that all equipment is functioning as it should. This includes any filters, vacuums, and pumps your pool has. Your filtration system should be running constantly and cleaned often to avoid stagnant and dirty water. 

Another great way to keep your pool algae-free is by swimming in it often. Algae thrive in stagnant water, and swimming in your pool naturally circulates the water and helps the filter do its job. 

When you aren’t using your pool, a good way to protect it from algae is to invest in a pool cover. Pool covers prevent dirt, debris, and unwanted chemicals from entering your pool while you aren’t using it. 

The last way you can prevent algae in your pool is by checking your pool’s pH often. Make sure to check the alkalinity, calcium, and cyanuric levels. Perform pool shocks on a regular basis and consider using a shock that has an algaecide.

4 Reasons Why You Should Call A Professional To Take Care of Your Algae 

Algae in your pool can be concerning. When dealing with this type of problem, it’s recommended you reach out to a professional to mitigate the issue. Here are some reasons you may consider seeking professional assistance: 

You need education on algae

Determining the type of algae you have can be confusing and stressful. A professional will be able to let you know what type of algae is occurring in your pool, and they will be able to get rid of it for you. Each type of algae requires a slightly different treatment, and a professional will know how to handle them.

New pool owner

If you are new to owning a pool and have an algae problem, it could be a great idea to have a professional come look at the problem. 

A professional will be able to assess your filtration system and check your pH balances to give you a proper diagnosis. Owning a pool can be confusing at first, and it is always better to check with a professional if you are not sure what to do.  

Stubborn algae

Sometimes algae like to stick around longer than we would like it to. Algae can hide in spores and small hidden places making it extremely difficult to remove. Black algae and yellow algae are particularly difficult to remove. 

If your algae infestation is continuing to come back, you are probably missing something. A professional can offer up a fresh set of eyes and help you stop the spread once and for all.

Lack of time

Removing algae can sometimes be extremely time-consuming. If you are busy and don’t have the time to spare to remove algae yourself, hiring a professional is a great option. 

Leave a Comment