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Here is a handy guide to troubleshooting water clarity issues. Your pool/spa water should be crystal clear, not blue. Keep in mind that this is only a guide and the only way to know for sure is to have your water professionally tested. Come on in, we do it for free! We just need a small sample of your pool water, and it takes only a minute for us to test it!

Your sample should come from at least a foot below the water line and it's best if you get it to us within an hour of taking it. If you have to run errands before you can come in, do not leave it in the car. Exposure to heat degrades the sample significantly.

ProblemPossible CauseSolution
Algae                         Green, Black, Yellow (Mustard), or Pink AlgaeTreat with algaecide
Brush and vacuum
Backwash filter
Scale Buildup

Calcium hardness, total alkalinity, pH or TDS too high

Calcium hardness level too low

Metals present in high levels

Add fresh water to dilute

Increase hardness level

Add sequestering agent to reduce hardness level
Cloudy Water

High pH, alkalinity, calcium or TDS levels

Reduced filtration

Heavy bather load

Reduce levels or add fresh water to dilute

Check for blockages/Change filter element

Colored Water

Green: algae growth, low chlorine

Reddish-brown: high iron or manganese

Blue-green: high copper

Treat with algaecide and superchlorinate

Add sequestering agent

Add sequestering agent

Foam on the Water

Hardness too low

Some algaecides produce foam

Add calcium chloride

See manufacturer's directions

Unable to maintain free chlorine
(or other primary sanitizer)

High TDS or pH

High combined chlorine level

Sunlight dissipating chlorine

Heavy bather loads

High cyanuric acid level

Reduce levels or add fresh water to dilute


Add cyanuric acid (stabilizer)***

Increase sanitizer distribution

Dilute with fresh water

Low pH or hardness levels

High salt or TDS concentrations

High chlorine or bromine levels for an extended period of time

Increase levels to balance water

Add fresh water to dilute

Remove source of sanitizer and allow level to drop
Swimmer/Bather skin and eye irritation

High or low pH, alkalinity, or hardness levels

High free chlorine level

High chloramine (combined chlorine) level

Maintain pH, alkalinity, and hardness at ideal levels for optimum swimmer comfort

Remove source and allow level to drop

Recurring algae growth

High nitrate level

Insufficient free chlorine content

Leaves, pollen, or other organic waste in pool

High phosphate levels

Add fresh water to dilute

Maintain an ideal level of free chlorine

Keep covered when possible during peak levels of contamination

Remove phosphates
Foul Odor

Foul chlorine odor: chloramine level is too high

Rotten egg smell: excess metals present


Add sequestering agent to reduce metal level
Green Hair

Elevated copper in the water

Extremely high free chlorine level (around 50 ppm) can bleach hair

Cheap shampoo

Test copper level. Reduce copper with sequestering agent.

Keep bathers out of water until level drops

Find a new hairdresser

NOTE: Do NOT shock a salt-water pool. It will damage the polarity of the plates in the salt cell and void your warranty.

***Do not add cyanuric acid (stabilizer/UV Block) without having your water tested.