Pool Spa Life
Pool Spa Life

Pool Water Problems - Troubleshooting

Pool water problems


Possible Cause


Low chlorine levels

Check PH level  

Adjust PH to 7.2 – 7.6

Keep Total Alkalinity at 80 to 120 ppm 

Low stabilizer (sunscreen) level

Add stabilizer (sunscreen)

If not a salt pool, not adding enough chlorine or floating enough once a week tablets

Add more daily chlorine or float more once a week tablets

High pH

Acid not being added weekly

Test and adjust pH weekly

Not enough acid being added

Acid demand test in 4 in 1 test kit will tell you how much acid to add

Low pH

Using once a week tablets

Keep Total Alkalinity at 120 ppm. If using once a week tablets you will need to add buffer weekly

Water Cloudy

High pH

Add acid

High bather load

Check chlorine level -Add a dose of clarifier- Check calcium hardness level

Algae present

Undertake algae treatment

Poor filtration

See pool & spa setup troubleshooting page

Green on steps and/or walls

High pH.

Add acid.

Poor water circulation 

See pool & spa setup troubleshooting page

High Phosphate level

Treat with Phosphate Remover

Algae infestation 

Undertake algae treatment

Black Spot in corners and/or on steps or black patches on floor

Black Spot algae growing 

Undertake Black Spot treatment

Yellow dust on floor

Mustard algae present

Treat mustard algae

Strong Chlorine odour

Chloramines present


Sore eyes or Itchy skin 

Chloramines present


Low pH or Total Alkalinity

Increase by adding Buffer

Unable to maintain Chlorine level

Stabilizer (sunscreen) level low 

 Add stabilizer

Low pH

Adjust pH to 7.2 to 7.6

Foamy water

Detergent type product added e.g., Algaecide, duck repellant, bug killer 

Should biodegrade in a week or 10 days in summer 

Salt chlorinator pool water problems


Possible Cause


No Chlorine in water

Salt chlorinator not working

Check power, check fuse, check water flow

Salt chlorinator not running long enough

Increase running time. Turn up Chlorine dial to max

Cell clogged with scale

Clean cell in proprietary brand Cell Cleaner

Cell not producing bubbles

Cell faulty. Take to your pool shop

Heavy bather load


Low salt level

Add salt.

Algae in the pool

Undertake algae treatment

No or low Chlorine 

(below 2.0 ppm) at eyeball. 

Cell past its use by date (+/-3 years)

Repair or replace. 

Salt chlorinator cell needs cleaning often (weekly, rather than monthly)

High Calcium level in water

Dilute water with fresh or use Calcium

Add Hardness Decreaser

Strong Chlorine odour

Chloramines present


Eye (red eyes) and/or skin irritation

pH too high or low

Adjust pH

Total Alkalinity too low

Increase Total Alkalinity

Chloramines present 


Air bubbles from cell

This is normal for a salt chlorinator


Pool problems


Possible Cause


Water Leak in pool.

Allow water level to drop to see if it stops at some level, indicating where the leak may be. 

Pipe connection at the bottom of the skimmer box has failed

Try proprietary brand Leak Sealer. Consult your local SPASA pool shop

Air leak, air bubbles entering pool in return water. Pump not filling with water. 

Pump lid “o” ring perished or not greased properly

Replace “o” ring or grease with silicone grease

Flexible connectors at pump perished


Pool cleaner sucking too hard

Loosen pool cleaner valve in skimmer box

Air leak in suction line

Get professional help

Tile line or water line dirty and greasy

Normal pool operation

Clean with proprietary brand tile and vinyl cleaner

White scale deposit above tile or water line 

Normal pool operation

Clean with citric acid stain remover. Use on damp cloth like a scourer. 

Brown stains on white pool fittings and pool surface

Iron/Manganese stains from impurities in the salt

If stain is less than 1 month old. Use proprietary brand Stain Remover. 

If 1 year old, use Nail the Scale. 

If older, undertake acid removal process, visit your pool shop to get advice. 

Original pool surface discoloured. Grey or sandy film in patches over the surface. Streaky appearance. 

Scale deposits

Use Nail the Scale

If scale is 1 year old, or if older, undertake acid treatment, see your pool shop. 

If pool is more than 5 years old, empty and acid wash. 

Small (10 cent piece) size white pimples on floor or dribbles on walls

Calcium intrusion from shell of the pool

Scrape off with paint scraper. Not curable; pool will have to be re-surfaced within 2 years.

Black stains 

Copper stains from copper-based algaecide and chlorine too high

Keep Chlorine level at 3.0 ppm if water temperature is above 26° or 1.5 ppm if below. Then adjust pH to 7.2 and add Nail the Scale and wait up to 3 weeks for a result. 

Metal fittings rusting

Water balance incorrect

Correct pH and Total Alkalinity. Add more Calcium if required. 

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