This page may contain affiliate links. If you buy a product or service through such a link we earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.
Algae in water is not an uncommon problem for whole house filters. While it’s not the most problematic contaminant, it still gives water a strange feel. Not to mention that it can be harmful with increased exposure.
If you are unsure how to deal with algae in your whole house water filter system, you’ve come to the right place.
This guide will teach why algae grow in whole house filter system, what to do about it, and how to prevent it from happening in the future.
In order to rid a whole house water filter of algae:
Algae is a naturally occurring phenomenon, and it grows in many forms. Generally, algae grow through photosynthesis, meaning they thrive in environments with sunlight and warm temperatures.
Ironically, most water filtering processes help algae grow rather than hinder them. Why? When you filter water, you remove chemicals and disinfectants that would normally eliminate algae, like chlorine. Also, the filtered water in your tank has the conditions algae want for growth, such as minimal turbidity.
One exception is UV water treatment systems. These kill any microorganisms that lead to algae, among others.
Algae is practically everywhere and only needs two things to grow: Sunlight and water. Algae can and will eventually grow if your water filter system is exposed to sunlight, even from a window.
This process will accelerate significantly if you draw water from a source that already has algae in it, such as well water or water from a lake.
If your main water line comes from the city, it’s probably already treated with chlorine. However, algae can still grow after your filtering process since it most likely eliminates said chlorine.
If you have algae in your whole house water filter, there’s no need to panic. All you have to do is clean it. However, this is most likely only a temporary measure as algae will eventually grow again. You should also consider a more permanent solution once your filter is clean (more below).
To clean a whole house filter from algae, follow these steps:
You have a few options to prevent algae from growing in the future. Remember: The most important factors for algae growth are warm temperature and sunlight. If possible, keep your filter system in a cool and dark place, away from windows and sunlight.
You could also cover your system or windows with a material that doesn’t let sunlight through or paint it with an opaque color like black or gold.
Cleaning your water tank every six months is also a good idea, though the exact timeframe will depend on how prevalent your algae problem is.
Alternatively, you could add UV treatment to your filtering process to kill algae.
Algae thrive in warm temperatures. The optimal temperature range for algae growth is between 68 °F and 86°F (20 °C to 30 °C). If possible, make sure your system is in a place with a lower temperature.
Well water is particularly prone to forming algae. The factors that affect algae growth are:
A few of these factors would already present a good environment for algae to grow, but it’s common to find a combination of several of these in well water.
The only way to keep algae from forming in well water the first place is by treating it – think shock chlorination.
Also, you can add a filter system that kills algae on its own, but it won’t prevent it from growing inside the well and only deal with it afterwards.
Lastly, if you have a way to tackle the factors that help algae grow in your well, as outlined above, you can help reduce its ability to grow.
There are a few ways you can remove algae from your well:
Alternatively, you can shock your well:
Some algae are harmful to people and animals, and some can produce toxins that can seriously ill you. Water affected by blue-green algae can cause skin irritation, mild respiratory issues, and hay fever-like symptoms.
Blue-green algae also produce harmful toxins, which can cause symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and headaches when ingested.
If you have any questions about algae in whole house water filters please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
Information provided on BOS is for educational purposes only. The products and services we review may not be right for your individual circumstances.
We adhere to strict editorial guidelines. Rest assured, the opinions expressed have not been provided, reviewed, or otherwise endorsed by our partners – they are unbiased, independent, and the author’s alone. Our licensed experts fact-check all content for accuracy. It is accurate as of the date posted and to the best of our knowledge.