How do you Vacuum Algae from an Above Ground Pool: The Ultimate Guide

If you own a pool, it comes with several cleaning and maintenance responsibilities, which include vacuuming algae out of it. However, if you have an above-ground pool, you may wonder how to vacuum algae from an above-ground pool.

How do you Vacuum Algae from an Above Ground Pool

The best way to accomplish this is through manual vacuuming, which requires you to clean the waste directly. Continue reading the ultimate guide on how to vacuum algae from an above-ground pool for a more in-depth understanding.

In this post we will cover:

  1. What is Pool Algae?
  2. How do you Vacuum Algae from an Above Ground Pool
  3. How do I vacuum dead algae in my pool?
  4. What do the different colors of algae mean?
  5. Does vacuuming remove algae from a pool?
  6. How do you vacuum your pool manually?

What is Pool Algae?

Algae is a plant-like, small organism that grows in swimming pool water, and in such an environment, the organism is known as pool algae. Algae exist in three common forms, which are blue or green algae, black algae, mustard or yellow algae, and red algae.

The most common form of the three is green algae, which thrives in pools where proper sanitation and filtration are lacking, along with a high pH. The algae usually float in the swimming pool and can be found on the walls of the pool, potentially turning your whole pool green.

However, the green algae are easy to eliminate. It may appear in little spots with poor circulation, which can be removed by some hydrochloric acid, sanitizers such as chlorine, or algaecide.

The black algae appear as small dark spots on the wall of your swimming pool. It has strong roots and defensive mechanisms, which makes it hard to eliminate from your pool.

The algae’s strong roots can grow deep into the plaster of your pool wall, and the visible part has a protective layer. For you to eliminate the black algae from your pool, you need to have lots of shock in the form of acid and chlorine and a strong brush for the job.

Mustard or yellow algae tends to grow in areas that receive less sunlight on the walls of your pool. It is the second most common algae in swimming pools and may at times be mistaken for pollen or sand that may collect in the pool.

The algae is not easy to eliminate using normal doses of sanitizers such as algaecide or chlorine. Therefore, you will need to super shock your pool to get rid of the algae. That involves using high doses of acid and chlorine.

The red algae enter the water in the swimming pool through the bodies of swimmers, pool accessories, wind, and rain. When left untreated, the red algae will take over your pool, becoming a health hazard.

How do you Vacuum Algae from an Above Ground Pool: The Ultimate Guide


For you to vacuum your pool, you will need a vacuum head, a telescopic pole, a vacuum hose, and a skim vac. You will also have to set up your vacuum to work with it. To set the vacuum, first, attach the head of the vacuum to the pole’s end. Secondly, attach the hose to the vacuum.

Thirdly, attach the skim-vac to the other end of the hose, but you can skip the step if your pool is a doughty pool. Turn off the pump. Then push the pole, hose, and vacuum into the pool and release all the air from the hose.

If your pool is a doughty one, push the lid of the skimmer down into the skimmer. Lastly, open the lid of the skimmer and place the skim vac over the skimmer basket. Avoid putting the hose directly into the skimmer hole as it may damage the plumbing of your pool over time.

Vacuuming Algae

Step 1: First remove all debris from your pool, then add chemicals to the water and brush the walls and other surfaces of the pool. If you have algae in your pool, you will need to vacuum it up to waste. If you are vacuuming to waste and have a sand filter, set it to the “waste” option.

The option will enable you to vacuum up the algae and prevent it from getting into your sand filter as it will be sent out via the backwash line.

Do not allow your water line to fall below the skimmer, but you will have to vacuum faster since water will exit your pool quickly. You will have to put your garden hose into the pool to fill it up or add fresh water after vacuuming the pool.

Alternatively, you can leave the setting filter on and turn the pump on to start vacuuming. The method is beneficial as no water will be lost this way.

Step 2: Vacuum your pool in the same manner that you would your living room to pick up algae and other debris as you go. Give more attention to the areas of the pool worst affected by the algae.

Manually vacuum the pool by directly cleaning the waste, bypassing the filter, and avoiding the recirculation of the water that is contaminated. Push the head of the vacuum around the floor of the pool and the sides while holding the pole to eliminate the algae.

Step 3: When you are done vacuuming, disconnect the hose from the filter, turn the pump off, and then take your vacuuming equipment and store them.

Step 4: Empty all the baskets of the skimmer. If you vacuumed on waste, turn on your filter setting to “rinse.” Then turn the pump on and leave it to run for 30 seconds before turning it off again. After this, ensure the filter setting is turned back on.

Step 5: If you have a cartridge filter, use a garden hose to spray the cartridges out and put them back onto the filter.

Step 6: If not, restart the pump and you’re done.

The waste method: this is the safest and easiest method for equipment when it comes to vacuuming algae from an above-ground pool. The waste method works by bypassing the filter and vacuuming the pool to waste.

Having a multiport system that can vacuum to waste is a plus. Alternatively, you can have your pool installer plug in a waste line installer for you in your system in front of the cartridge filter.

Set up your waistline and vacuum the pool to waste to remove algae and other debris from your pool. During the vacuuming, do not allow the water level to get too low. Therefore, if you notice that it is more than six inches below the tile, stop the process.

In this case, turn the system off and have the pool refilled. Repeat the cleaning process until you are done vacuuming the pool.

The filter method: This method will come in handy if you have no other alternative. When using the filter, utilize an old cartridge that can be easily disposed of once the vacuuming is completed.

Begin vacuuming, and if you notice any dead algae or dirt bypassing the filter and blowing back into the pool, this indicates that the filter needs to be cleaned. Try cleaning the cartridge, and if the problem persists, the filter needs repair by a service professional.

After vacuuming the pool and replenishing the water to the required level, get the system started. If your pool has multiport valves, it is best to restart the system in stages to prevent pumping water filled with dirty algae back into the pool.

Remove the old filter and replace it with a new one. If the old filter element was not cleared by water, repeat the last steps with a new filter in place. Finally, add half a gallon of acid and a jug of bleach to the pool and leave it to circulate for 24 hours.

How do I vacuum dead algae in my pool?

Algae has fine particles, and some of them settle at the pool’s bottom instead of being filtered. When dead algae have settled, it may look like brown or grey dust. However, there are ways to efficiently eliminate dead algae from your pool.

The first one is by brushing down your pool, including brushing the walls of your pool to loosen and remove algae clinging to them. You may need a soft-bristled brush or a steel-bristled one depending on the finish of your pool.

The second is adding flocculant to your pool water to coagulate the algae so that it clumps up and sinks to the bottom of the pool.

That will make it easy for the vacuum to suck the algae up. The method is best applied when you are vacuuming to waste to avoid clogs and damage to the filter.

The third method is using a pool vacuum. The first is by using the suction side or pressure side of the vacuum if you have a multiport system. The system allows you to completely send the waste water out of the pool.

Set the system to “waste” setting so that the algae can be vacuumed up and sent out of the system, bypassing the filter. Keep your pump and skimmer baskets in place to catch large clumps.

Secondly, you can use your filter if you do not have a multiport system. An older filter that can be disposed of is better.


Algae is a nuisance that you do not want to see in your pool on a regular basis. Removing the algae is not a herculean task, and it is something that you can do without the assistance of a professional.

You can clean algae from your pool using the waste method or filter method, depending on whether or not you have a multiport system. Just follow the procedures outlined above and you are good to go.


What do the different colors of algae mean?

The different colors of algae mean different stages of growth, and algae have three stages of growth. The first is the light green stage, which if you notice it in your pool, means you will have to shock the pool to kill the algae.

Since algae feed off high pH levels, lower the pH level in your pool because chlorine will not be effective when the pH is high.

The second is dark green algae, and if you notice that your pool water has turned dark green, it means that the algae growth is in its second stage. You will have to shock the pool, but with slightly higher doses of chlorine and acid.

A second reason for dark green water in your pool could be stagnant debris at the pool’s bottom that needs cleaning before the pool is dosed. Scoop all the debris using a leaf shovel.

The third is black green algae, and black-green pool water usually has stagnant debris on the pool’s bottom, which should be cleaned out before dosing the pool. The dosage should be the same as that of cleaning light green algae, but three times the dosage.

Does vacuuming remove algae from a pool?

Algae can be difficult to eliminate from your pool, especially in crevices and corners. Vacuuming is a good way of eliminating algae from your pool, but vacuuming alone will not get rid of all the algae in your pool. However, it does help in the prevention of algae.

You will also have to remove debris such as leaves and other organic matter to discourage algae growth and keep the water in your pool clean. The vacuuming will keep your pool water balanced.

Therefore, you cannot completely remove algae from your pool by vacuuming unless all other debris has been removed using a net. After that, add chemicals to the water and brush the surfaces and walls of the pool.

How do you vacuum your pool manually?

Manual vacuuming of a pool is hard work, and it will take some time to do the job. First, prime your vacuum to remove any air in the vacuum hose that may hinder its suction capacity.

The priming is done by attaching the vac head to a telescopic pole and one end of the hose to a vacuum head. Lower the head to the pool’s floor, then take the other end of the vacuum hose and push it against the jet so that air can be pushed out.

When vacuuming, begin at the pool’s shallow end and move slowly toward the deep end of the pool. Use sweeping strokes that are long and slow, ensuring there is a slight overlap of the strokes to avoid leaving debris behind.

If you rush the cleaning process, it will kick up debris, which will take time to settle down and reduce visibility in your pool. If your pool has a lot of debris, there is a chance that you may kick some cloud of it even if you are careful in your cleaning.

If the water becomes cloudy, give it some hours to resettle. Then vacuum the pool as many times as required.

Monitor the pressure gauge of your pool as you vacuum, and if it rises above the manufacturer’s recommendation, take a break and backwash the filter. If the head of the vacuum gets stuck, switch the pump off to break the force of the vacuum and set the vac head free.

How frequently should a swimming pool be vacuumed and maintained?

Generally, a pool should be vacuumed once a week. However, the pool should also be vacuumed whenever you notice dirt, debris, or leaves on the pool floor in large amounts, for example, after a heavy storm.

If you want to maintain your pool at its best, it is advisable to carry out smaller tasks throughout the month to avoid having a lot of tasks and maintenance on the weekends. That means doing little bits of maintenance during the month to avoid them piling up.

One of the things to do on a regular basis is vacuuming your pool at least once or twice a week. Vacuuming controls your pool’s pH much more easily while keeping it safe and clean. Another thing is testing the pH level of the pool every week.

Generally, the pH level should be between 7.4 and 7.6. For you to maintain the correct numbers, ensure that you adjust your chemicals as required.

Also, skim your pool for debris and empty it regularly. Clean the tiles where water surfaces and brush pool walls. Lastly, shock the pool once a week.

How do you Vacuum Algae from an Above Ground Pool