What To Do When You Put Too Much Phosphate Remover In Your Pool

Written by Michael Dean
August 4, 2023

pouring too much phosphate remover into a pool

If you are battling with an algae infestation in your pool, one method you may use to help remove the algae and stop it from reappearing in your pool is to add phosphate remover. But, as with most other pool chemicals, you must ensure that you do not accidentally overdose on phosphate remover. That said, there is no need to panic if you put too much in your pool!

In this article, I will explain what happens if you add too much phosphate remover, what to do, and more.

Main Takeaways

  • Overdoing phosphate remover in the pool can cause cloudy water, uneven chlorine demand, and fluctuating pH levels.
  • Water can become cloudy because of phosphate remover, often because of precipitation caused by the calcium carbonate in the remover or due to suspended particles of aluminum hydroxide.
  • Phosphate remover is effective in certain situations but may not always be necessary—please weigh the potential risks and benefits before using it in your pool.

What Happens If You Put Too Much Phosphate Remover In Your Pool?

If you have put too much phosphate remover in your pool, it can lead to a host of issues in your water.

Cloudy Water

Adding too much phosphate remover to your pool can turn the water cloudy or hazy, making it difficult to see the bottom of the pool. While this is normal, and the cloudy water clears up after a few hours, adding too much phosphate remover may lead to persistent cloudiness in the water.

Uneven Chlorine Demand

Phosphate removers can react with chlorine in the water, increasing the demand for chlorine. In other words, you will need to add more chlorine to your pool to maintain adequate levels, which is troublesome for your wallet and your pool’s health.

Imbalanced pH

Using too much phosphate remover can also affect the pH balance of your pool. This can lead to skin, eye, or respiratory hazards or even damage the pool’s infrastructure.

What To Do When You Put Too Much Phosphate Remover In Your Pool

If you have accidentally added too much phosphate remover to your pool, here is my step-by-step guide for mitigating the situation.

Supplies Checklist

  • Testing kit
  • Chemicals to adjust your levels
  • Flocculant

Step One: Test the Water

Grab your pool testing kit and check the chemical levels in your pool, including pH, total alkalinity, and chlorine. Getting an idea of your pool chemistry will help you determine the extent of the problem and what steps you need to take next.

Here’s my go-to testing kit if you don’t have one already or need to replace yours.

Taylor High Range Swimming Pool Test Kit

This expansive test kit includes nine tests for most pool chemical measurements you need.

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I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at zero additional cost to you. This in no way impacts my research process or opinions.

Step Two: Readjust Pool Chemistry

If your test shows that the pH, chlorine, alkalinity, or other chemical levels are out of whack, work quickly to get them back into the correct range before taking any further steps. After readjustment, run your pool pump and filter for a few hours.

Step Three: Run The Filter

Most importantly, ensure you are running your filter. The filter can help remove excess chemicals and particles from the water, which can help restore proper chemical balance and clarity.

Step Four: Dilute the Water

One way to address an overdose of phosphate remover is to dilute the water by adding fresh water to the pool. To do this, partially drain your pool and add fresh water. This will help reduce the concentration of chemicals and bring the pool’s chemical balance back to a safe level.

Step Five: Use Flocculant

A flocculant can be used to help clear up cloudy water caused by too much phosphate remover. Flocculants bind small particles together, making them easier to filter out. This can help clear up the water and restore clarity.

Step Six: Seek Professional Help If Needed

If using too much phosphate remover has caused significant damage to the pool’s infrastructure, it may be necessary to seek professional help. A pool technician can assess the damage and recommend appropriate repairs or replacements.

Why Does Phosphate Remover Make A Pool Cloudy?

Phosphate remover can make a pool cloudy due to the chemical reaction when it comes in contact with phosphates and other compounds in the water. Phosphates are in the water as negatively charged ions looking for a positive charge, like a phosphate remover.

Phosphate removers can also make a pool cloudy because it changes the pH levels of the water. This is why it is important to balance the pH after using a phosphate remover, as it can wreak havoc on your pool if this is not remedied.

How To Clear A Cloudy Pool After Adding Phosphate Remover

If your pool has become cloudy after adding phosphate remover, here are the steps to clear it up.

Run Your Pump

The single most important step when clearing a cloudy pool caused by phosphate remover is to simply run your filter and pump. Run it continuously for 16 to 24 hours.

Adjust Chemical Levels

If the chemical levels are out of range, adjust them immediately, and pay particular attention to your pH. As a quick reminder, the ideal levels for pool chemistry for essential chemicals are:

  • pH: 7.2 to 7.6
  • Chlorine: 1 to 3 ppm
  • Total Alkalinity: 80 to 120 ppm
  • Calcium Hardness: 200 to 400 ppm
  • Cyanuric Acid: 30 to 50 ppm

Use a Clarifier

A pool clarifier can help coagulate the tiny particles in the water, making them easier to filter. After using a clarifier, run the pool filter for several hours and vacuum up any clumped matter to remove the cloudiness.

Clean the Filter

If the pool filter is clogged or dirty, it may contribute to the cloudiness of the water. Clean the filter and/or backwash the sand or DE filter to remove any debris that may be trapped.

Be Patient!

The cloudiness may take a few days to clear up completely, especially if the phosphate levels were very high. So be patient, continue monitoring the chemical levels, and filter the water until the pool is clear again.

Get My Free Pool Care Checklist

Download my free, printable pool maintenance checklist to help you accomplish regular pool care tasks for any type of swimming pool.

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Should You Avoid Using Phosphate Remover?

While phosphate remover can be effective in helping deal with algae growth in a pool, there are various reasons why you may want to avoid using it unless absolutely necessary. Here are those reasons.

Changes to the Chemical Balance

Phosphate remover can affect the delicate chemical balance of your pool, which can lead to problems like cloudy water, harmful pH levels, and increased demand for chlorine. This can be expensive and time-consuming to correct.

Harmful to the Environment

Lanthanum is one of the most popular active ingredients in phosphate removers, and unfortunately, it is quite toxic to the environment.

Toxic to Humans

Lanthanum is also toxic to human beings if ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin. So, when using a phosphate remover, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and all safety protocols.

Not Very Necessary

Phosphate remover is a last-resort solution in my opinion. Unless you have an advanced, persistent algae problem and lots of phosphates in your water that cannot be solved through any other means, using phosphate remover in your pool may not even be necessary. A combination of pool shock and algaecide followed by rebalancing water chemistry can often address algae growth without the need for additional treatments.

Bottom Line

Phosphate remover can be effective in certain situations, but weighing the potential risks and benefits before using it in your pool is important. If you do decide to use phosphate remover, err on the side of caution. Read packaging instructions and monitor your swimming pool closely to resolve any unwanted side effects of usage.

Questions? Let me know.

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