Pool Troubleshooting: The 7 Common Pool Problems and Its Straightforward Solutions

Swimming pools are a wonderful addition to any house, but problems can occur. Here are the most common issues that people have with their swimming pools, and how to fix them. Read more here all about pool troubleshooting.

Swimming pools can be a lot of trouble. There’s always something when you have a swimming pool: pool surfacing, leaks, or algae. The list goes on and on!

That’s why we created this easy-to-use pool troubleshooting guide for your swimming pool to help you get back swimming in no time at all. 

Man Cleaning Skimmer for Pool Maintenance

This article features common pool problems and their solutions and offers quick solutions that are simple enough even for new pool owners to understand.

Whether you suspect a problem is the result of improper water balance or have managed to find something that has gone wrong with your equipment. Here is a little guide to pool troubleshooting – how you can fix some common pool problems in your pool together with chemical treatment guidelines. 

Common Pool Problems and How to Fix Them

Problem 1: Cloudy Green Water

Green Water Pool with Algae

Cloudy green water usually occurs because of algae bloom/growth. The chlorine in the pool isn’t powerful enough to kill the algae in time, or it isn’t performing properly. 

Solution: Shock the pool with a cleaning agent that is high in chlorine or bromine. This will kill off any algae that disturb the chemical balance resulting in water that is too chlorinated for humans to swim in. If you have an ultraviolet system, turn it on to help sanitize your water by killing any bacteria or algae causing your issue.

Problem 2: Dark and Slippery Spots

Slippery Pool

These are sometimes unnoticeable, but you can usually see them on the pool bottom or sidewalks. Algae growth causes these dark and slippery spots.

Solution: You can also treat them the same as problem #1. Occasionally, putting a few calcium hypochlorite granules directly on the spots can stop the development. However, this will also result in white spots on the bottom of a painted or colored liner.

You may also clean dark, slippery patches in puddles on the pool deck with calcium hypochlorite, but you should carefully wash the area before you permit guests to use the area.

Problem 3: Milky Cloudiness

Automatic Cleaner on the side of cloudy pool water

This is caused by a buildup of minerals (particularly excess dirt particles or calcium compounds) in the water when you are not using your pool. If this problem persists, it could result in algae growth.

Solution: You can eliminate the cloudiness with efficient filtration. If the main cause of the cloudiness is due to organic dirt, then super chlorination would prove beneficial.

Problem 4: Eye Irritation

Little Boy Swimming Underwater with Eyes Open

Eye irritation when swimming is common because of improper pH levels or chlorine buildup because of insufficient chlorination. 

Solution: To fix this common pool problem, chlorinate your pool and maintain the pH range at 7.8. Also, keep the free chlorine residual between 0.4 and 0.6 parts per million (ppm).

Problem 5: Green Pool Water

Swimming Pool with Green Water

Green pool water is usually due to dissolved iron, copper, iodine, and improper use of bromine or anthracite filters. Copper is commonly found in the plumbing of modern pool equipment and can cause green water if not treated immediately.

Solution: The best way to combat this common pool problem is to shock your pool with hypochlorite. Shocking the pool should lower the copper levels significantly. 

Problem 6: Chlorination or Superchlorination

Chlorinator Floating on Pool Water

Superchlorination converts dissolved iron to a red-brown particle which your vacuum can easily filter from the pool.

Solution: If you find that your pool is over-chlorinated or has the occasional green spot, it’s time to clean those filters. Also, maintaining the pH level prevents the water from dissolving the iron of the pool pipes and filters.

Problem 7: Major leaks

Leaks are usually due to cracks in the wall or underlying foundation or improperly installed equipment. 

Solution: If your pool is over ten years old, you may want to contact a professional for help fixing this common pool problem. If the leak is near your pool pump or filter, you should consult with a local pool service expert specializing in concrete repair.

Chemical Levels Guidelines

Holding Test Kit for Pool Chemical Levels

Pool owners have different opinions about proper chemical values to maintain, but the following guidelines will produce safe and comfortable pool water.

Corrosion control:pH 7.4 + 0.5
Total alkalinity:120 – 150 ppm
Non-carbonate hardness:low as possible
Free chlorine:Check for health department standards
Cyanuric acid:50 – 70 ppm. Don’t let it exceed 150 ppm
Calcium hardness:Above 200-500 ppm
pH:7.2 – 7.6
Free chlorine:1 – 3 ppm
Free bromine:3 – 5 ppm

Chemical Treatment

pH alkalinity level chart

Chemical Treatment for pH

  • Increases pH: Sodium carbonate (soda ash).
  • Decreases pH: Sodium bisulfate, Hydrochloric acid.

Chemical Treatment for Alkalinity

  • Increases alkalinity: Sodium bicarbonate.
  • Decreases alkalinity: Sodium bisulfate, Hydrochloric acid.

Chemical Treatment for Calcium Hardness

  • Increases calcium hardness: Calcium chloride.

Chemical Treatment for Cyanuric Acid

  • Chlorine lock: dilute with fresh water.

Chlorine and Chlorinating Products

  • Calcium hypochlorite raises the pH of the pool of 65% available chlorine.
  • Sodium hypochlorite raises the pH of the pool of 10-15% available chlorine.
  • Lithium hypochlorite raises the pH of the pool of 35% available chlorine.
  • Dichloro lowers the pH of the pool of 56-62% available chlorine.
  • Trichloro lowers the pH of the pool by 90% available chlorine.
  • Chlorine gas drastically lowers the pH of the pool of 100% available chlorine.

Bromine and Brominating Products

  • Decreases pH: Bromo-chloro tablets.
  • Pool shock: Sodium Bromide, peroxymonosulfate.

Iron, Copper, and Other Metals

  • Sequestering compound

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

  • Total Dissolved Solids: TDS is usually measured in mg/L, but they can also be measured in ppm.
  • Total Dissolved Solids should be kept under 100 ppm. 
  • Should rise over the use of pool chemicals through all the years. It cannot be lowered by any chemical treatment or conventional means.
  • Add fresh water to dilute.

“Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) is a measurement of substances that get dissolved in the swimming pool water.”

Jeff Manning


  • Algaecides control and prevent algae bloom and algae growth. Must be used according to the kind of algae identified.
  • Pools, spas, and water features require different algae bloom and algae growth control.
Note: Aquatic algae don't thrive in indoor pools that are not exposed to natural light or specific lighting.

Pool Clarifiers

  • Break down the cause of cloudy water
  • Can work like flocculants causing particles to bind together and straight to the filter.

Shocking or Superchlorinating

  • Oxidizes organic matter
  • Removes ammonia compounds
  • Removes large quantities of algae

Bottom Line on Pool Troubleshooting

The truth is, there’s no one checklist that we can follow, and nobody else’s pool maintenance strategy will work exactly the same as your own. Like snowflakes and fingerprints, no two pools are alike, and what works for one may not be the perfect solution for the next.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of pool maintenance tips from the pros, and that they helped you be better at maintaining your pool. Below are more pool articles that you will definitely find useful. Check them out! To view more articles, click here.

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