Lots of things can go wrong with swimming pools in Phoenix and the desert southwest, especially in the extreme heat and with our Monsoon storms. Here’s a list of potential problems and solutions.
Problem: Black Spots
Black spots are most likely caused by black algae. This algae grows inside the plaster of your pool. This strain of algae can bloom even if your pool is clean, properly filtered and has the appropriate amount of chemicals. Generally, black algae is a sign your pool is aging and could use a facelift (resurfacing).
Problem: Cloudy Water
Cloudy water can suggest inadequate filtration and be caused by dirt and swimmers. The solution is to backwash your filters, raise the free chlorine levels in the pool and add a clarifier. Warning, using too much clarifier can cause your pool to get worse not better, so follow directions.
Problem: It’s GREEN!
Green algae is one of the most common problems with swimming pools. It is likely that your chlorine levels have dropped too low to effectively combat the growth of algae. The solution is to use a good shock. Shock is a highly concentrated dose of chlorine. Beware though — many shock products these days have more filler than chlorine. Or you can use liquid chlorine which will last for about 12 to 24 hours in your pool but raise chlorine levels quickly. Then add a good algaecide. Run the pool pump constantly for a couple of days and keep the filters clean as it algae is filtered out.
Problem: Rusty Red Stains
The plumbing for swimming pools often contains steel or iron. The pipes can become corroded by highly acid water or by the pool chemicals. The oxidized particles then cause rust and the rusty red color, either on the plaster or staining the pool water. You’ll probably need to replace the offending pipes, drain the pool and refill, as well as scrub down the walls where stains have set into the plaster.
Problem: Physical Symptoms after Swimming
Sore throats, skin irritation and stinging eyes can indicate the pH level of the water is too high (too alkaline) or to low (acidic). Use dry acid to lower the pH or soda ash to raise the pH to around 7.4. Another unusual side effect can be that blonde hair turns green. This indicates the copper levels in the pool are too high or that the water is too acidic, or you might be over-using algaecides. A pharmacist can recommend to good shampoo to remove the green, while you stabilized the chemical levels in your pool.
Problem: Run Time
Even though the chemical levels in the swimming pool are spot on, if the pump and filtration system doesn’t run long enough, you’ll never get your pool truly clean. The rule is 1 hour for every 10 degrees of temperature. Here in Phoenix that means 12 hours during the hottest part of the summer.