Home & Garden Swimming Pools & Water Fountains & Ponds

Answers to Pool Problems

    • Backyard pools must be properly maintained.Swimming pool and pool house image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com

      Backyard pools can be a lot of fun and provide for low-impact exercise. However, pools can generate problems that lead to unsafe or unsanitary conditions. Fortunately, many issues experienced by homeowners with chlorine-treated pools are relatively common and can be treated easily, such as black algae, cloudy or rust-colored water and wrong pH. The website Water Treatment Information, however, recommends homeowners confirm suspicions with test results and consult a professional when necessary or when unsure of the diagnosis.

    High pH

    • The pH of pool water affects every other chemical in that water, including disinfecting chemicals, according to North Carolina's Division of Environmental Health. If the water is too high on the pH scale--or is too basic, vs. too acidic-- chlorine activity can be inefficient, pool walls can become discolored or form scales, water can be cloudy, the filter can be overworked and swimmers may experience eye irritation. Test the water's pH; it should be 7.4 to 7.6. If it's too high, lower it with muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate according to package instructions.

    Low pH

    • If the pH is too low--below 7.4--it can cause chlorine residuals to dissipate too quickly, etching or stains on walls, corroding in metal parts (such as fittings, heater cores and pump impellers), and eye irritation. To combat this, raise the pH with soda ash or sodium bicarbonate according to package instructions.

    Cloudy or Milky Water

    • Filters may be inadequate, blocked or operating inefficiently if pool water appears cloudy or milky. Cloudy water can also be caused by too much stabilizer. Perform an extra-large backwash on the filter and use unstabilized chlorine to raise chlorine levels to around 10 ppm. Then top off water supplies with fresh water. Clarifiers can also be used to help clear the water's appearance.

    Rust-Colored Water

    • Rust-colored water, indeed, is probably caused by rust. Metal components can corrode, particularly in the circulation system, releasing tiny particles of rust. Low pH can contribute to this. The website Water Treatment Information recommends calling the dealer who installed the pool and asking if the water can be replaced all at once or if it must be a gradual process. Scrub rust stains with a good tile cleaner and replace the liner with a quality product if it's been affected.

    Black Spots

    • If black spots are occurring in the water or on any surfaces, it may be black algae. Buy a black algaecide (or algae killer) and persistently brush surfaces to clean them. Clean the filter. If the problem persists, pool owners may need to drain the pool and give it a chlorine wash.

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