Swimming Pool Problems

Understand Swimming Pool Problems & Easy Ways To Take Care Of Your Pool Water Chemistry.

This is a general troubleshooting guide for the pool owner who has a limited amount of time to fix his pool and get on with swimming.

However, if you need immediate assistance and would like to have personal phone consult, please to the Consultation Page.

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Swimming Pool Problems Troubleshooting

Here's a good run-down of some issues you may encounter through your pool life. They're fairly easy to troubleshoot and fix.

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Problem: Loss of pool chlorine level 


  • Too low level of pool chlorine 
  • Too high or low Cyanuric Acid (CYA/pool stabilizer)
  • Heavy rains or large bather load
  • Bad/old/wrong drops 


  • Your CYA level should be kept between 30 - 50 ppm. Anything over 70 - 80 ppm or lower, below 20 ppm and your swimming pool will be less effective.
  • The only way to reduce your CYA is to drain 1/3 - 1/2 water from the pool, refill, FILTER for 24 hours, and re-test your swimming pool chemistry. Make the proper adjustments.
  • Tri-Chlor chlorine tablets will increase the CYA. For every 10ppm of chlorine added with Trichlor tabs you'll raise the CYA by 6ppm.

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Problem: Algae In Pool 


  • Too low level of pool chlorine and/or improper pool maintenance & chemistry
  • Poor filtration


  • Maintain FC of 2 - 4ppm, total alkalinity 80 - 120 ppm, pH 7.2 - 7.8, CYA 30 - 50ppm, and hardness 150 - 250 ppm

Don't simply shock your pool without taking a complete chemical reading. 

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Problem: Cloudy Pool Water


  • Early stage of pool algae
  • Chlorine is low
  • Bad, clogged, or improperly working filter
  • High pH and/or alkalinity
  • Cyanuric acid too high or low (CYA)
  • Hardness level too high (CH). Using too much calcium chloride


There could be dozens of reasons why a pool goes cloudy. Go here for your specific reason.

  • Be sure the chemicals are in line as stated above. Maintain proper pool water maintenance, chemistry, and chemicals 
  • Check to see if your DE pool filters, pool cartridge filters, or pool sand filter is properly working. Watch and maintain your swimming pool filters.
  • As a last resort drain and refill 1/3 - 1/2 of your pool water
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Problem: Chlorine smell

The biggest complaint I hear about indoor pools is that "nasty chlorine smell".

It's not using too much chlorine, but it's not using enough, which causes swimming pool problems.

This happens when swimmer waste (sweat, urine, etc...) is present in the pool. When the pool chlorine combines with this waste the end result are "chloramines". It's these chloramines (combined chlorine/CC) that cause the bad smell and burning eyes and noses.


  • Wrong pH level
  • Not enough chlorine or too much free chlorine
  • Not shocking often enough. Shock it when the CC gets 0.6 ppm or above for 3 consecutive days.
  • Improper fresh air and ventilation/exhaust system 


  • Super-chlorinate/shock the swimming pool
  • Maintain the pH level between 7.2 - 7.8
  • Improve the fresh air intake and exhaust
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Problem: Pool Stains

These normally fall within 2 categories; metal and organic.


  • Low chlorine, pH and/or alkalinity level
  • Metal pipe corrosion
  • Improper pool water maintenance
  • Use of cheap algaecides with copper fillers
  • High metal fill water


  • For organic stains you'll need to shock the pool
  • Metal stains require an ascorbic acid treatment 
  • Stop using algaecides with copper. Only use PolyQuat 60.
  • Use a metal sequestrants based on HEDP, phosphonic acid and/or its derivatives. Jack's Magic line is good. 
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Problem: Irritated or burning eyes and/or throat or irritated skin

Many times, it is observed that the swimmers complain about the above symptoms after swimming.


  • High or low pH level
  • Low alkalinity (TA) level
  • Chloramines


  • Maintain between 7.2 - 7.8. Raise pH level using soda ash, 20 Mule Team Borax, or Arm & Hammer Washing Soda.
  • Maintain total alkalinity 80 - 120 ppm
  • Shock the pool and maintain chlorine level  2 - 4ppm
  • Shower before and after swimming

If you've found any fixes or solutions to your specific swimming pool problems, I'd like to hear about it. You can also go to the next pool problem page.

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What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Hot Tub Murky Water 
New hot tub owner: my water is getting cloudier by the day. FC 3.6 but won't hold for more than a few hours TC 4.8 CC 1.2 Ph 7.5 TH 126 Alk 80 CYA 66 Phosphorous …

Chlorine Build Up Clogging Underground Skimmer Line? 
I have used 3" tri-chlor tabs placed in the skimmer basket for ten years. pool pump is on a timer and runs for 12 hrs/day. late last summer I noticed …

Pentair 3-way Diverter Operation 
Wonder if someone could give me some information. I had a Pentair 3-way diverter installed on my pool filter set-up while I was away at work today, …

Why Does My Kreepy Krauly Have No Suction? 
The line that I hook my Creepy Crawler to has very little suction. How would I clean the underground line, to see if there is something in the line? …

Air Through The Returns On Recirculate Not rated yet
I have my pool on recirculation and have noticed a pulsing or air / water coming out of the closest jet to the pool house. Does this mean there is air …

Draining A Swimming Pool Not rated yet
The rains in San Diego have necessitated the need for me to take some water out of the pool. My filter does not have a "waste" position that I know of. …

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