Common Swimming Pool Water Problems and Cures Part 2

Common Swimming Pool Water Problems and Cures Part 2

This article is a continuation to Common Swimming Pool Water Problems and Cures Part 1

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Corrosion of light fixtures, rails, and ladders

You might notice discoloration of the pool fixtures before you see deposits on the pool walls, so take advantage of the early warning. Corroding fixtures means the pH is too low (acidic), the total alkalinity is too low, or the calcium hardness is too low. In each case, the water is demanding neutralization by oxidizing the metals.
If you have perfectly balanced water and still find fixtures turning black or rusting, you might have a problem with electrolysis. Discussed in the chapter on advanced plumbing (automated controls), this is more likely to be a problem in the equipment are, but if you see no other solution, look for signs of electrolysis. Remember, for metals to dissolve through electrolysis you need two dissimilar metals, electrical current (perhaps a slight water leak in a light fixture or J-box), and water with enough minerals (salts) to conduct the weak current.


As described previously, scale is a buildup of calcium carbonate precipitated out water by evaporation or heat. Of course, excessive amounts of calcium need to be in the water in the first place for this formation to occur.
The solutions are simple. Check the hardness. If it is near or exceeds the standard of 200 to 400 ppm, drain and replace some or all of the pool water. If the hardness is within acceptable limits, the problem might be high pH or total alkalinity. Check both.
Scale can be a frequent problem in spas, where heat and high bather loads cause heavy use of chemicals and high rates of evaporation. The water quickly becomes hard, especially in commercial installations. Be prepared to change spa water completely on a regular basis.

Eye or skin irritation

Irritation of the eyes or skin can be caused by too much chlorine, although that is rare except perhaps if you are too heavy-handed with the trichlor in a spa. Most such problems can be traced to low pH and/or too many chloramines. When the free, available chlorine is insufficient to oxidize the chloramines, you will have the characteristic chlorine odor and eye or skin irritation complains. The solution is to adjust the pH and shock the pool or spa.

Colored hair, nails, or skin

Caused by the same problems as eye or skin irritation, discolored, hair, nails, or skin can be a real problem for the service technician. It is bad enough to find some discoloration on the plaster, but when it turns your hair green, watch out. The most susceptible are light-skinned, blond persons.

Part 3 coming soon…

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