Keeping a pool working properly is hard work, but there is no reason to spend the summer drowning in pool-related problems.
Here are some of the most common issues pool owners encounter and ways to avoid or remedy the situation as quickly and effectively as possible.
Cloudy water is a big problem for any pool and is usually caused by microscopic debris or an improper chemical balance. If debris is the problem, backwashing or cleaning the filter for 24 to 48 hours is the answer, but be sure to check the manufacturer's instructions first. The remedy for an improper chemical balance can be a bit more complicated. Consulting with a professional to determine the appropriate treatment is the safest and easiest way to tackle the problem.
My eyes are burning!
If swimmers complain that the water makes their eyes burn, chances are it is a chemical imbalance caused by low alkalinity, extreme levels of pH or hard calcium. A water-testing kit will help identify the exact cause of the problem, and with the correct additives, the situation should quickly resolve itself.
Algae, Algae, everywhere!
Extreme heat and extended periods of rain can lead to an overgrowth of algae in a pool. Good old-fashioned scraping and scrubbing with the right tools is a great way to start removing it. A faster, more effective method is to "shock" the pool. Shocking dramatically increases the water's chlorine levels and oxidizes all organic material. While some opt to shock their pool twice a year in spring and fall, professionals agree that an overgrowth of algae may require more frequent shocking until the condition subsides.
Why is my hair green?
Most people think chlorine turns blond hair green, but it is actually the copper from algae that causes the discoloration. Using a conditioner to seal the hair before jumping in the water will help combat this problem. There also are shampoos designed specifically to remove heavy metals from hair, which will take away that lovely greenish hue.
Keep it pumping
A pump is the most important element of any pool. Unfortunately, they are the most problematic of all pool mechanisms and must be maintained year-round. Some of the most common problems include water leaks, loud noises, burned-out motors and more. Most problems with a pump should be addressed by a pool-service professional who can inspect the pump and make sure it is operating properly.
Concrete cracks and liner tears
Evaporation is not the only way pools lose water. Pools with cracked concrete walls or tears in the liner can experience water loss. Cracks in a concrete-lined pool can develop naturally and often are the result of settling or eroding soil. Some of these cracks can be repaired with simple patching, but consult a professional first to ensure a more drastic solution is not needed. Vinyl liners can be easily damaged by sudden impacts, pool tools and toys. If the liner has a tear close to the top, it is possible to patch it from the outside and not drain the pool completely. If the tear is lower, it is best to drain the pool and patch the hole on a dry surface from inside.
David Moore writes for www.kudzu.com, a site that helps homeowners plan projects, solve problems and find highly rated contractors.