Troubleshooting

Your local pool builder or pool chemical authorized dealer is the best resource for keeping your pool in prime working condition. But often, many water and surface problems can be handled by the individual pool owner. The chart below provides some solutions to common pool problems. Always make sure the water is properly balanced prior to any addition of corrective chemicals.

PROBLEM
DESCRIPTION
POSSIBLE CAUSE
SOLUTION
ALGAE AND OTHER GROWTHS

Green Algae

Murky, green water Possibly some growth

  • Low sanitizer
  • Poor maintenance
  • Improper Water Balance
  • Poor circulation
  • Shock Treatment.
  • Algaecide
  • Clean the Filter
  • Check the System

Black Algae

Rough, black spots on the bottom of the pool that brushes off with effort

  • Low sanitizer
  • Poor maintenance
  • Improper Water Balance
  • Poor circulation
  • Algaecide
  • Brushing
  • Clean the filter
  • Check the system

Mustard Algae

  • Yellowish-gold growth that easily brushes away
  • Yellowish-green water
  • Low sanitizer
  • Poor maintenance
  • Improper Water Balance
  • Poor circulation
  • Brush
  • Algaecide

Pink Slime

Pink, slimy bacterial growth that brushes off easily

  • Low sanitizer
  • Poor maintenance
  • Improper Water Balance
  • Poor circulation
  • Brushing
  • Algaecide
  • Clean the filter
  • Check the system

Water Mold

White mucous or tissue paper-like substance

  • Low sanitizer
  • Poor maintenance
  • Improper Water Balance
  • Poor circulation
  • Shock Treatment and Algaecide
  • Clean the filter
  • Check the system

Animals and Insects

Water bugs, ducks, dogs, frogs, etc. taking a dip in the pool

Environmental

  • Shock treatment to kill the organic elements
  • Algaecide

Chlorine Demand

Unable to maintain the free chlorine level or cannot break the high combined chlorine

  • Foreign environmental contaminants
  • Poor maintenance

Shock Treatment

Cloudy Water

  • Hazy or extremely cloudy water
  • Difficulty seeing the pool bottom
  • Poor filtration and circulation
  • Chloramines or low sanitizer
  • Poor water balance
  • Particulate matter
  • Check the pump and filter
  • Clean and run the pump continuously
  • Shock treatment.
  • Balance the water
DISCOLORED WATER

Gray, clear green or turquoise water

Copper

  • Equipment corrosion.
  • Outside contamination.
  • Fill water
  • Use of copper algaecide
  • Stain or metal reducer
  • Algaecide

Coffee brown or purple water

Manganese

  • Equipment corrosion.
  • Outside contamination
  • Fill water
  • Vacuum out waste
  • Stain or metal reducer

Reddish-brown or rust

Iron

  • Outside contamination
  • Fill water
  • Vacuum out waster
  • Stain or metal reducer

Filtration problems

Clogging filter or short filter runs

  • Dirty filter
  • Media not cleaned.
  • Improper amount of filter media
  • Water Balance
  • Replace filter media
  • Clean filter

Odor and eye irritation

Pool has a sharp, irritating odor

  • Chloramines
  • Swimmer waste, oils and organic waste

Shock Treatment

SURFACE PROBLEMS

Scale build up

  • Sandpaper-like buildup on the surface
  • Grayish or tan coloration that is difficult to brush away

Improper water balance – high TA (total alkalinity)pH and/or CH (calcium hardness)

  • Stain or metal reducer
  • Balance water
  • Acid wash

Etching

Pitting of plaster surfaces

Improper water balance – low TA (total alkalinity)pH and/or CH (calcium hardness)

  • Balance water
  • Replace the plaster surface

Liner wrinkling

Wrinkles in a vinyl liner

Improper water balance – low TA (total alkalinity)pH and/or CH (calcium hardness)

  • Balance water
  • Replace the liner if necessary

Bleaching

Pale to white, spotty discoloration on the surface

Improper chemical addition

  • Replace the liner if necessary
  • Repaint the surface
  • Predissolve dry substances before addition

Staining

Black, green, turquoise or brown spots on the bottom that do not brush up

  • Metal stains
  • Fungus under the liner.
  • Tannic acid
  • Stains (leaves and debris)
  • Stain or metal reducer
  • Pull up the liner and clean from the underside
  • Shock the pool
TESTING PROBLEMS

Reagent Bleaching

Color of test fades to clear

High chlorine or bromine levels

Add up to 5 drops of a chlorine neutralizer

Reagent Discoloration

Reagent color is different than it should be – for example, the pH test turns purple or the DPD turns brown.

  • High chlorine or bromine levels
  • Old reagents
  • Let the chlorine levels come down, then retest
  • Replace reagents
OTHER PROBLEMS

Foaming

Bubbles on the pool surface

  • Excessive algaecide
  • Foreign substance
  • Defoamer
  • Determine the source and partially drain if necessary
  • Use Algaecide

Green Hair

Blonde hair turns green after swimming

Copper

  • Stain or metal reducer
  • Lemon juice or vinegar in the hair to remove the color

Rain

Rain washes debris into the pool and raises the water level, increasing the sanitizer demand

Environmental

  • Rebalance the water after circulating for 24 hours
  • Shock the pool

Water Loss

Noticeable difference in water level

  • Less than1/2” daily – evaporation.
  • 1/2” to 1” daily – active bather load
  • Over 1” daily – possible leak.
  • Solar cover for the first two levels of water loss
  • Professional assistance for anything over 1” daily