How do I beat summer's biggest pool problems?

Keeping a pool working properly is hard work, but there is no reason to spend the summer drowning in pool-related problems.
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
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 fashion 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 a pool 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 much 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 are also shampoos designed specifically to remove heavy metals from hair, which will take away that lovely greenish hue.

Cleaning the pool filter
After a party, a day with lots of swimming or a sudden rainstorm, it is always important to check the pool filter. Once it gets clogged and begins to back up, it can lead to some of the problems already outlined and many more. Cleaning it is a fairly simple procedure: Rinse off the loose dirt gently, soak overnight in an alkaline cleaning solution then rinse again before reinstalling.

Keep it pumping
A pump is the most important element of any pool. Unfortunately, they are the most problematic of all pool mechanicals and must be maintained year round. For instance, if they're ignored during the winter, frozen water can cause them to burst. When in heavy use, some of the most common problems include water leaks, loud noises, burned out motors and much 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 that have cracked concrete walls or tears in the liner can experience water loss. Cracks in a concrete-lined pool can develop naturally and are often 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.

Owning and maintaining a pool can practically be a full-time job. There are many books that offer help for the do-it-yourselfers, but to be sure to get the job done right, professional pool maintenance companies are the best bet.

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