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Swimming Pool Water Chemistry

Troubleshooting Guide


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Troubleshooting Guide

Here's a quick troubleshooting guide to a variety of problems you may face with your pool and spa water. You can use this reference to help identify and solve common problems. But, as always, don't hesitate to check with your local pool/spa retailer, supplier or service technician for any help you need bringing your water back in line. The next section explains the pool and spa trouble shooting.

Pool

Problems Possible Causes Solutions
Algae growth Low sanitizer levels Shock the water. Brush the pool walls. Run the filter for a 24-hour period to increase distribution of sanitizer. Add an algaecide.
Cloudy water High calcium hardness levels
High total alkalinity levels
High pH levels
High TDS levels
Algae growth
Low sanitizer levels
Rain
High swimmer load
Pets
Test all chemical levels and make the appropriate adjustments.
Colored water For green or blue green|high pH levels
For brown to red|overall water imbalance
For green or blue green|Test the pH level and make the appropriate adjustments.
For brown to red|Test pH, total alkalinity and calcium hardness levels. If necessary, drain all or part of the water and refill with fresh water.
Corrosion Low pH levels
Low total alkalinity levels
Test pH and total alkalinity levels, make appropriate adjustments and consult a professional service technician or your pool supply store for more information.
Etched plaster Low pH levels
Low total alkalinity levels
Test pH and total alkalinity levels, appropriate adjustments and consult a professional service technician or your pool supply store for more information
pH bounce Low total alkalinity levels Test total alkalinity levels and make the appropriate adjustments.
pH resistance High total alkalinity levels Test total alkalinity levels and make the appropriate adjustments
Poor sanitizer efficiency High pH levels
High total alkalinity levels
Test pH and total alkalinity levels and make the appropriate adjustments.
Scale formation High pH levels
High total alkalinity levels
High TDS levels
High calcium hardness levels
Test pH and total alkalinity levels and make the appropriate adjustments. If necessary, have a pool professional drain the pool, scrub down the walls and refill with fresh water.
Skin and eye irritation Low or high pH levels
Low or high total alkalinity levels
Low sanitizer levels
Test pH and total alkalinity levels and make the appropriate adjustments. Sanitizer levels and, if extremely low, shock the pool water.
Stains Low pH levels
Low total alkalinity levels
High TDS levels
Test pH and total levels and make the appropriate adjustments. If necessary, have a professional drain the pool, scrub down the walls and refill with fresh water. Consult with a professional service technician or a pool retailer for more information.

Spa

Problems Possible Causes Solutions
Algae growth Low sanitizer levels Shock the water. Brush the spa walls.
Run the filter for a 24-hour period to increase distribution of sanitizer.
Add an algaecide
Cloudy water High calcium hardness levels
High total alkalinity levels
High pH levels
High TDS levels
Algae growth
Low sanitizer levels
Rain
High swimmer load
Pets
Test all chemical levels and make the appropriate adjustments.
Colored water For green or blue green|high pH levels
For brown to red|overall water imbalance
For green or blue green|test the pH level and make the appropriate adjustments.
For brown to red|Test pH, total alkalinity and calcium hardness levels. If necessary, drain all or part of the water and refill with fresh water.
Corrosion Low pH levels
Low total alkalinity levels
Test pH and total alkalinity levels, make appropriate adjustments and consult a professional service technician or your spa supply store for more information.
Etched plaster Low pH levels
Low total alkalinity levels
Test pH and total alkalinity levels, make appropriate adjustments and consult a professional service technician or your spa supply store for more information.
Foaming A buildup of organic dirt, soaps, shampoos and oils Drain and clean the spa and spa filter.
pH bounce Low total alkalinity levels Test total alkalinity levels and make the appropriate adjustments.
pH resistance High total alkalinity levels Test total alkalinity levels and make the appropriate adjustments.
Poor sanitizer efficiency High pH levels
High total alkalinity levels
Test pH and total alkalinity levels and make the appropriate adjustments.
Scale formation High pH levels
High total alkalinity levels
High TDS levels
High calcium hardness levels
Test pH and total alkalinity levels and make the appropriate adjustments. If necessary, drain the spa, scrub down the walls and refill with fresh water.
Skin and eye irritation Low or high pH levels
Low or high total alkalinity levels
Low sanitizer levels
Test pH and total alkalinity levels and make the appropriate adjustments. Test sanitizer levels and, if extremely low, shock the spa water.
Stains Low pH levels
Low total alkalinity levels
High TDS levels
Test pH and total alkalinity levels and make the appropriate adjustments. If necessary, drain the spa, scrub down the walls and refill with fresh water. Consult with a professional service technician or a spa retailer for more information.