Foam in a pool can be a scary thing to see but, believe it or not, foaming is not scary. It can be easily explained in a few ways and remedied with some patience.
Foam in a pool is due to the water being “thick.” This thickness creates bubbles. The bubbles are filled with air that can come from your pool circulation system that return the water back into the pool or even the wind outside.
Common causes of foam are:
Hair care products – shampoo, gel, hairspray, etc.
Personal care products – body wash, lotions, deodorant and makeup
Laundry detergents or soaps
Household cleaners used on the pool cover, liner etc. that are not designed for pool use.
The most common cause of foam in the spring is when a pool is opened and initial chemistry treatments are happening. Foam can be seen winter wastes are gassing off – you are witnessing the chemical reaction. As the 6-8 months of organics are oxidized away with shocking (high chlorine, blended and powered oxygen all work well) the foam disappears.
Another common cause of foam is when your water is well maintained and a pool opening kit is added. The algaecide in the kit can cause some foam if there is no algae in the pool to destroy – it lingers around with nothing to kill. Spring time algaecides use surfactants to work and these molecules can react with agitation to cause froth. The algaecide breaks down and uses itself up with time– patience is all you need to resolve this cause.
Foam can also occur when the pool has low calcium hardness. Make sure you get your water professionally tested and adjust it to the recommended parameters.
Mechanical causes are the second most common cause of foam – if there is a little crack in any O-rings, seals, lids, etc. the pool equipment can draw air in the system that can cause foamy bubbles. Take a close look at your return jets and if you see tiny microbubbles, or even bigger ones, take a critical look at how air may be entering the pool circulation system. Make sure your filter is clean.
The thing about foaming is that you really need active partnership between yourself and your pool professional to test the water, evaluate your pool equipment and get to the cause of the foam issue. The great news is that all foam issues get resolved – with time, water balance corrections, mechanical repairs or some anti-foam product