I don’t know how many times I have fielded calls from customers regarding some life hack that they saw on TikTok regarding their swimming pool. Some are interesting, and workable. Most are not. The latest one is regarding a hack to prevent algae from forming in swimming pools.
Supposedly, if you put a 3” piece of copper pipe in your swimming pool skimmer basket, the pipe will prevent algae from forming.
The myth may have started here. While some algaecides have a form of copper in their ingredients, it is far different from a piece of copper pipe. Pool Time Algicide and Clarifier is such a product. It contains copper sulfite. Copper sulfate is a result of the reaction of copper oxide to sulphuric acid. I’m no chemist, but that doesn’t sound like a copper pipe to me. Copper sulfate is water soluble and works by inhibiting photosynthesis in the algae, thus killing it.
Many water pipes are copper because copper is antimicrobial making it impossible for bacteria and viruses to grow inside the pipe. This has made copper pipes ideal for home water systems, where there will be long periods of standing water int he pipes. So, while a 3” piece of copper pipe placed in your swimming pool filter basket will not grow algae inside the pipe, it will not prevent the growth of algae elsewhere in the pool.
I’m not a swimming pool chemist. However, I do have a swimming pool. And I did have an algae problem this summer. I treated it the tried and trusted way. Test and balance the water. Add a pool shock. Use a pool brush to vigorously scrub the surfaces. Vacuum the pool. Apply a mustard algaecide (for green algae) following label instructions. I used Pool Time Algicide and Clarifier. Stay out of the pool and allow water to circulate for 24 hours. Clean filters. Vacuum and brush again. Test and balance pool chemicals again. Algae gone. Problem solved.
To avoid an algae outbreak in the future, keep the pool chemistry balanced. Make sure your filters are clean. Consider a new variable speed pool pump which can circulate more water and will be more energy efficient at the same time, saving money. Or, add a Bioshield swimming pool EV sanitizer.