Copper Based Algaecides

A customer asks:
"I used an algaecide that contained copper and it really seemed to do the trick.  Why do you advise against them?"

Every so often, we encounter this question.  Seems that in response to a pool with algae growth, our customer with either add a copper-based algaecide or their pool service will treat their pool with it to solve the problem.  And indeed it does work.  But that's only part of the story.

Once you introduce copper or any other metals to your pool, the only way to get them out is to use a sequestrant agent to bind them, trap them in your filter and then backwash.  So why is this an issue?  Well, once you get too high a level of copper in your pool, the chlorine will begin to oxidize it and turn the water green, possibly stain your pool and this is actually the cause of green hair among swimmers.  It's not the chlorine.  It's the copper being oxidized by the chlorine.  Think "Statue of Liberty".  

That's why we avoid quick fix gimmicks like this in treating pools that are brought to us with algae problems.  Sure, it's a quick fix but it comes at a price.  The only real solution is to get the pool balanced properly and a sustained treatment with chlorine to get it back to a clear condition.