By gosh, I think I’ve got it! The savage mustard algae that had taken to covering the pool walls with moss has about given up the ghost.
The trick turns out to be a lot easier than I imagined: sweep down the walls once a day.
When I first moved into the house, I was so tickled with the pool, I did that as a matter of course. It was great fun to once again, after many years, have a pool to keep clean.
But then I got involved in the job, which entailed a 40-minute commute to lovely downtown Tempe, filling up the early morning with breakfasting, dog feeding, and grooming tasks and leaving me tired and distracted by the time I got home. And experience showed that a pool will maintain its balance and its grace just fine if you refrain from dumping in vast quantities of chlorine every time you turn around — just keep the acid level right, hold your own against the flying debris, and drop in enough chlorine tabs.
Eventually the Year of the Six Surgeries came along. Even if I wanted to go out there and tend the pool, I couldn’t. I did hire a pool guy, but that was a joke. Cleaning and shock-treating once a week does not do the trick, especially in the summer when dirt and leaves blow into the drink every day. That was when the mustard algae took a firm hold.
However…apparently shock-treating once a week and cleaning once a day does do the trick.
Truth to tell, at the outset I was brushing the walls and floor twice a day, but after about three days, that was no longer necessary. Today there was hardly any algae in evidence, and because I was mighty busy yesterday, I missed sweeping it down at all.
At this time of year, the accursed palm trees blossom and dribble bushels of tiny, sharp-edged flowers into the drink, as well as BB-like seeds. Normally by now Gerardo would have sent his underlings over to trim all four trees and my bank account. However, his nibs has not been in evidence over the past month — I hope because he’s gone to visit his relatives in California, not because he’s trying to figure out how to get back across the Mexican border.
This stuff has, in the past, choked the pump by jamming the skimmer basket and the pump pot strainer so tight that even with that powerful little motor running, water can barely pass through them. But Algae Wars maneuvers yielded another discovery:
If you disconnect Harvey the Hayward Pool cleaner and run the pump for an hour or so, most of the blossoms that fall in over the course of the 16 hours a day that the pump is not running will get sucked into the skimmer basket. This is because they’re very lightweight and they float.
Eight hours is only 1/3 of 24 hours. So if you suck off 8 hours worth of floating blossoms, only about 1/3 of a day’s worth of palm-tree debris ends up in the pump pot. And…that ain’t very much!
Here, on the other hand, is how much ends up in the skimmer basket after 16 hours:
[WOW! Between the HORRID update of Apple’s already weak photo editing system and WordPress’s newest intransigencies, getting an image to upload and place it “centered” is damn near impossible!]
So the cool-of-the-early-morning routine is as follows:
a) Use the hose bonnet to schlep up any debris heavy enough to have fallen to the bottom. The pump will have pushed this stuff into a pile, making it easy to vacuum up.
b) Clean out the skimmer basket and the pump pot, depositing the collected plant debris into the composter.
c) Brush down the walls, whether or not they seem to need it.
d) Run the pump for about an hour to skim off the floating blossoms. The pump is set to run 8 hours.
e) Pull out the skimmer basket again and dump the collected floating blossoms into the composter.
f) Reconnect Harvey and let him run three or four hours, give or take.
If I remember, I go out a little later in the day and disconnect him. Otherwise, he gets disconnected in the evening, whenever I go swimming.
Swimming in the dark under a full moon is sublime!
Banner of the day: DepositPhotos, © Exsodus