5 Common Water Quality Issues with Florida Pools and How to Solve Them

Written By Kenneth Wilson  |  0 Comments

If it’s your first time owning a pool, you might be shocked when you see it looking greenish or when the water is too cloudy.

Don’t worry, it happens. There are some issues that you can prevent, while others, you just have to find a solution. It’s important to solve any water quality issue as soon as possible because it does not only affect the appearance. Some issues can also irritate the eyes and cause health problems for anyone swimming in it.

To help you out, here are common water quality problems in Florida and ways on how you can fix them.

1. Algae Buildup

A common problem that Florida pools will have more often than pools from other states is algae buildup.

Our high seasonal temperatures allow us to keep water in our pool the whole year, and sometimes this brings the sudden appearance of algae. When you see algae form on your pool, think back about the past few days. Did the weather change, did it rain more, or did the temperature increase - a ‘yes’ to any of these could be the reason there’s algae in your pool.

Algae can suddenly appear and it affects all pools, especially ones in homes with a lot of sunshine since it thrives in warm weather. Aside from appearance, algae can also make your pool water look cloudy or become smelly.

But having algae doesn’t always mean your pool is dirty. Some have swum in algae-infested pools since it’s not dangerous - but it is not advisable. Having algae means that something is wrong, such as the water is not balanced, wrong pool chemistry, or an issue with pool mechanicals. Algae can also appear due to lack of chlorine, damaged filters, or traces of phosphate in the water.

Solution

  • Before adding pool chemicals, brush the pool to remove the algae from the pool’s surface. 
  • Lower the pH level of the water to make it acidic and increase the effectiveness of chlorine. Add chlorine and an algaecide when the pH is at the right level.
  • Make sure you have high-quality filtration systems and pool pumps to remove and prevent algae buildup.
  • It usually starts to get hotter in Florida around April. Before your pool water temperature rises, add a high-quality algaecide to control algae buildup throughout the summer.
  • If algae continues to be a problem, this could mean you have a damaged pool pump, dirty filter, or wrong water balance. 
  • Phosphates can also cause algae, so do a phosphate test to see if you will need to use special chemicals.
  • Balance the water to maintain clean and healthy water.

2. Cloudy Pool Water

How to tell if your pool water is clear? You should be able to clearly see a coin at the bottom of the pool, even at the deep end. If you can’t, then your pool water is too cloudy or murky, which means it’s not clean and safe to swim in.

Aside from algae, there are various reasons why your pool water is cloudy. One of the simplest reasons homeowners get cloudy pool water is because of debris. Other reasons are unbalanced water chemistry, problems with the circulation or filtration system, too little sanitizer, and wrong pH level.


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Solution

  • Remove leaves and other debris on the surface as soon as possible. Once this organic material deteriorates, it will affect the balance of your water chemistry. 
  • Always clean the baskets and filters. 
  • Test your water chemistry for the chlorine level or alkalinity (pH balance). Your free chlorine and total chlorine level should be above 3 PPM. If the total chlorine is more than free chlorine, then you have a water problem. Shock the pool with bleach and acid shock to fix this. The pH level should be 7.6 or at least between 7.4 to 7.8. If it’s higher, this usually causes cloudy pool water. To avoid this, try not to use calcium hypochlorite and make sure not to bleach if there’s not enough acid to maintain the right pH level.

3. Pollen Infested Pool

This water quality issue is not as common as it only appears seasonally. During the cold weather, usually in February, comes pollen season.

Check your pools because it could probably be covered with yellow pine pollen. After some time, oak pollen will start appearing on the surface of your pool water.

If this is left for a long time, it will turn into organic waste and assist with algae buildup. This process becomes faster if the temperature starts rising during the start of spring.

Solution

  • Have a good filtration system to efficiently get rid of pollen.
  • Skim the water when you see pollen on the surface and use a vacuum for those you can’t remove.
  • Shock your pool or add aluminum sulfate for tiny particles.
  • If you have the budget, hire a contractor to build a screen enclosure around your pool area.

4. Pool Water that Irritates the Eye

This issue is common to all pools, not because of the chlorine (as we always hear) but for different reasons.

The most common reason for this is inadequate filtration. You should also avoid adding fresh water in the pool since it has organic material that can contribute to eye irritation.

Another reason - one which we will have a harder time to control - is the introduction of ammonia into the pool water. Simply, it means when a person urinates in the pool. You might think that it’s okay if it’s just a child, but a kid’s urine is enough to cause heavy eye irritation for a whole day.

Other than urine, people’s sweat, lotions, sunblocks, and hair care products is another culprit.

Solution

  • Do not add fresh water before swimming, you should only do it AFTER.
  • Check your filter for any damages and if so, get it repaired or replaced.
  • You and your guests should always take a shower or rinse yourselves before swimming.

5. Rainwater Mixing with Pool Water

This issue is not particularly dangerous as people can still swim in the pool after a day of heavy rain. It’s just water, but it will still affect the pool water.

The water from the rain is generally acidic and would affect the alkalinity or acidity (pH level) of your pool. Rainwater will cause the pH level of your pool to drop which means it will become more acidic.

This will cause skin irritation and corrosive water that may damage your pool’s finish, walls, and hardware - if it’s not treated. Even if rain is not acidic, increasing the water is enough to change the chemistry of the water.

Light showers in Florida doesn’t affect the pH level that much - it’s the heavy rain that you have to watch out for.

Solution

  • After heavy rain, clean up the debris such as bugs, leaves, tree seeds, and palm fronds with a pool skimmer.
  • Drain the pool if  the rain was so heavy that it significantly raised your water level.
  • Test the water with pH test strips and then use a pH or alkalinity increaser to reduce acidity if the pH level decreased.

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