Return to site

Dealing With Unsightly Pool Water?

A Troubleshooting Guide

· Pool Water,Pool’s maintenance,Chemicals

Your swimming pool can bring a lot of joy – or pain if you can’t figure out what’s wrong with the water. The presence of algae, green water, and other problems can be a challenge, especially if you can’t figure out what’s wrong.

This pool water troubleshooting guide will simplify it for you.

Milky or cloudy water

If your water looks milky white, discolored from its normal clear, blue color, there could be a number of causes.

  • High pH or high alkalinity happens when dissolved minerals become small solid particles. To correct this problem, you’ll need to add dry acid.

  • A buildup of pollutants or dirt can happen when there’s too little chlorine or a problem with the filtration. Try adding a clarifier or backwash the filter.

  • There’s a problem with the filter. You’ll need to either apply a cleanser to the filter or replace the sand or cartridge.

Green or cloudy water

This unsightly problem is usually caused by ineffective chlorine or low chlorine levels. Here’s how to remedy the issue:

  • Shock the pool with chlorine.

  • Brush away the algae, paying close attention to colonies that are lurking in corners and crevices.

  • Backwash the filter.

  • Clarify the water.

pool green water

Red, rusty water

This problem is usually caused by metal or steel components becoming corroded when the pH is low, or from adding source water that contains metals combined with chlorine can create staining and water discoloration. Shocking the pool with chlorine usually oxidizes particles, which then creates rust. This problem often happens when you reopen your pool. Here’s what to do:

  • Work with your pool professional to determine if you need to replace all the water at once or if you can dilute the water progressively.

  • Do not shock your pool until metals are tested for.

  • Replace metal and steel components that have rusted.

  • Maintain a balanced pH and alkalinity in the water.

Discomfort while swimming

Problems with the water can lead to a sore throat, stinging eyes or skin irritation, as well as discoloration of the hair or allergies. Here’s how to fix these problems.

Eyes, throat skin issues
  • Water that’s too acidic or too alkaline can lead to these problems. To correct the water’s pH, add dry acid to lower it, or use soda ash to raise it.

  • A high chloramine level can also cause these issues, as well as an unpleasant chlorine smell. Resolve it by super chlorinating the water, and ensuring that the water maintains no more than one-third combined chlorine.

  • Using a detergent that’s incompatible with the chlorine causes irritation, too. Fix the problem by super chlorinating the water or using a different cleaner.

Hair problems

If the copper levels in the water are too high, it can lead to hair turning green. You’ll need to correct the pH level, and purchase a shampoo for your hair that will remove the pigment from the water.


If you’re suffering from allergies, first determine if your symptoms aren’t due to seasonal allergies. Also, check that the water’s pH level isn’t too high or too low, and the combined chlorine level is correct. Test the water and make corrections as necessary.

It’s important to rinse off before you get in the pool, too, as cosmetics and perspiration can negatively interact with the chemicals in the pool and cause allergy-like reactions.

If these solutions don’t work, you can change your pool’s chemical system to a non-chlorine sanitizer.

Don’t deal with pool problems alone. Get expert advice if your pool water is acting up so you can implement a targeted solution that will quickly remedy the issue.

What’s been your biggest struggle with troubleshooting pool water problems?

A Simple Guide to Buying and Caring for a Pool ebook