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5 Common Pool Opening Problems

Pool opening season is here! The time of year when millions of backyard pools awaken from their long winter nap. Pool opening is a fun, exciting time, but it can also carry trouble with it. That long winter's nap allowed plenty of time for issues to arise in your pool.

When opening the pool, look closely for these common spring pool problems - catch them early, and you will be set up for a great pool season! Here's a list of 5 pool opening problems to be aware of, and how to resolve them.

1. Water Leaks

Pool water leaks can take many forms, but let's start with the obvious one you can see – above ground leaks. Pumps can leak from the shaft seal or from the pipe that comes out of the top of the pump. In both cases, it seems to drip-drop right off the bottom of the pump where the motor connects. Pool filters can also have sneaky leaks. Look for leaks on the drain plug, clamp band or air bleeder. Additional areas that are prone to leaks are the multiport valves on the filter. Finally, check for leaks in the pool. Leaking around the skimmer opening, and through the pool light cord conduit, are good places to start.

How to Fix a Leaky Pool:

  1. Check backwash line for leaking from multiport valve.
  2. Dye test skimmer for leaks where the skimmer meets the wall.
  3. Seal a leaky pool light conduit with silicone or pool putty.
  4. Dye test suspected plaster cracks or vinyl tears.
  5. O-ring leaks? Remove and clean with rag, then lube.

2. Air Leaks

pool filter pump

Air leaks occur when your pump sucks in excessive amounts of air. The pump lid is usually the problem child. Verify your o-ring is clean, lubricated with Teflon lube, and tight. Next, check the pipe that comes into the front of the pump. An easy way to look for leaks is with shaving cream (really!). Put the shaving cream where the pipe threads meet the pump. If it gets sucked in, then you know you have a leak. You can check other pipe junctions that lead into the pump with shaving cream, too. Thankfully, many air leaks can be quickly fixed with a silicone patch.

How to Fix an Air Leak in Pump:

  1. Clean, lubricate, and tighten pump lid o-ring.
  2. Tighten pump drain plugs.
  3. Test pipe threads entering pump with shaving cream.
  4. Check the stem and lid o-rings on valves entering the pump.
  5. Check water level flow into skimmer.

TIP: Another way to check for air leaks is to shut off the pump and look for any squirting water around the pump.

3. Pool Algae

If you don't want your pool to look like the swampy alligator exhibit at your local zoo, you'll need an algae prevention system. The best way to handle algae is to prevent it in the first place! But don't panic if you find that your pool suddenly looks like a gator paradise. Follow these steps to cure your pool of this problem.

How to Treat Pool Algae:

  1. Clean out any debris from your pool.
  2. Balance the water chemistry (pH, Total Alkalinity, Calcium, CYA).
  3. Continuously run the filter.
  4. Shock the pool.
  5. Brush the pool thoroughly.
  6. Backwash as needed.
  7. Vacuum to waste to remove shock dust and dead algae.
  8. Brush pool again.

Using a clarifier can help restore clarity more quickly. Use an algaecide weekly to prevent an algae takeover again.

TIP: Use shock to kill algae, and an algaecide to prevent it. But make sure to stagger your treatments. Very high chlorine levels will deplete algaecides.

4. Cloudy Pool Water

Dealing with cloudy pool water? We've all been there! Under normal, everyday conditions, your pool filter should work like a champ. But debris build-up can cause your filter to choke, literally. If you are struggling with cloudy pool water for an extended period of time, follow these steps to resolve:

pool filter

  1. Clean out your pool filter.
  2. Skim, vacuum, and brush your pool thoroughly.
  3. Test and balance the water daily.
  4. Run the filter as much as possible.
  5. Backwash only when gauge rises 7-9 psi.
  6. Use Clarifier, Filter Aid or Flocculent to help.

TIP: Following clarifier dosing instructions carefully. Overusing some products may add to the murky mayhem.

5. Pool Stains

Stains on the steps, or around the main drain, are common pool problems when the pool cover first comes off. Months of being undercover has allowed debris to take up residence in your pool and stain its surfaces. But fear not! Most stains will disappear with chlorine and circulation. If you have pesky stains on the pool this spring, here's what to do:

  1. Skim, vacuum, and brush your pool thoroughly to remove debris.
  2. Balance the water chemistry (pH, Total Alkalinity, Calcium, CYA).
  3. Shock your pool to raise the chlorine level to 10 ppm.
  4. Add shock directly onto the stains if you have a plaster pool.
  5. Use Stain Away for any metal or mineral stains.

If you have other pool opening problems or solutions that we didn't address fully here, leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!

In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.