What Pool Repairs Should Your do DIY, And Which Repairs Need an Expert?

Troubleshooting Pool Issues: When to Call Professional Help

Having a swimming pool in your backyard is a luxury that many homeowners cherish. It provides a perfect oasis for relaxation, entertainment, and exercise. However, like any other part of your home, pools require regular maintenance to ensure they stay in top condition. Despite your best efforts, issues can arise, and knowing when to tackle problems yourself or call in professional help is crucial.

In this article, we will explore common pool issues, trouble, and problems, how to troubleshoot them, and when it’s time to seek the expertise of a professional pool service.

1. Cloudy Water

Cloudy water is a common problem that can be caused by various factors, including poor filtration, imbalanced chemicals, or debris buildup. Before calling in the professionals, you can take several steps to troubleshoot and resolve this issue:

  • Check the Filtration System: Ensure that your pool’s filter is clean and working properly. Clean or replace the filter if necessary.
  • Test and Balance Chemicals: Use a pool testing kit to check the chemical balance of your water. Imbalances in pH, alkalinity, or chlorine levels can contribute to cloudy water. Adjust the chemicals as needed.
  • Remove Debris: Skim the pool surface and vacuum the bottom to remove any debris that may be clouding the water.

If these steps do not clear up the issue within a day or two, it may be time to consult with a professional pool service. They can perform a more in-depth analysis of your water chemistry and provide targeted solutions.

2. Green Algae Infestation

The sight of green algae in your pool can be alarming, but it’s a common problem that can be tackled with the right approach. Algae growth is often a result of poor water circulation, insufficient chlorine, or unbalanced chemicals. Here’s what you can do before deciding to call for professional assistance:

  • Shock the Pool: Use a pool shock treatment to raise the chlorine levels significantly. This can help kill existing algae and prevent further growth.
  • Brush and Vacuum: Brush the pool walls and floor to remove algae, and then vacuum the pool thoroughly. Make sure to clean the filter afterward.
  • Check Circulation: Ensure that your pool’s circulation system is functioning properly. Poor circulation can lead to localized algae growth. Run the pump for an extended period to enhance water circulation.

If the algae problem persists despite your efforts, it might be time to seek professional help. Pool experts can conduct a thorough assessment and recommend targeted treatments to eliminate the algae and prevent future outbreaks.

3. Leak Detection

A leaking pool can be a serious issue that requires prompt attention. If you notice a significant drop in water level or find wet spots around the pool area, it’s crucial to address the problem promptly. Before calling in a professional, perform the following checks:

  • Evaporation Test: Rule out natural evaporation by conducting a simple bucket test. Fill a bucket with pool water and place it on the pool steps. Mark the water level in the bucket and the pool, and then compare them after 24 hours. If the pool water level has dropped more than the bucket’s, you likely have a leak.
  • Inspect Visible Pool Components: Examine the pool equipment, including the pump, filter, and pipes, for any visible leaks. Also, check the pool walls and floor for cracks or damage.
  • Dye Test: Use food coloring to perform a dye test. Squeeze a few drops near suspected leak areas, and if the dye is drawn into a crack or gap, it indicates a leak.

If you cannot identify the source of the leak or if it appears to be a complex issue, it’s time to call in a professional pool leak detection service. They have specialized equipment, such as leak detection cameras and pressure testing devices, to pinpoint the exact location of the leak.

4. Malfunctioning Pump and Filter

The pump and filter are the heart of your pool’s circulation system. If they are not functioning correctly, water circulation is compromised, leading to various issues. Before seeking professional help, perform the following checks:

  • Check for Blockages: Inspect the pump and filter for any debris or blockages. Clean or replace the filter if necessary.
  • Inspect Motor: Check the pump motor for any unusual noises, vibrations, or signs of wear. Lubricate moving parts as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Verify Timer Settings: Ensure that the pump timer is set correctly, allowing for adequate filtration and circulation.

If your pump and filter issues persist after these checks, it may be time to consult with a professional pool technician. They can conduct a comprehensive inspection, identify the root cause of the problem, and recommend repairs or replacements as needed.

5. Cracks in the Pool Structure

Cracks in the pool structure can be a serious concern, as they may lead to water leakage, structural damage, and further deterioration. While small hairline cracks may result from normal settling, larger cracks or those that seem to be expanding require professional attention. Before calling in the experts, consider the following:

  • Inspect for Surface Cracks: Examine the pool’s surface for any visible cracks. Small surface cracks can often be repaired with pool patching materials.
  • Evaluate Structural Cracks: If you suspect structural issues, such as cracks in the pool shell, coping, or deck, it’s crucial to consult with a professional pool contractor. They can perform a comprehensive structural assessment to determine the extent of the damage.
  • Monitor Changes: Keep an eye on any changes in the size or appearance of existing cracks. If you notice significant growth or new cracks, it’s a sign that the problem is worsening.

Professional pool contractors have the expertise and tools to assess structural issues accurately. Depending on the severity of the cracks, they can recommend appropriate repairs or, in extreme cases, suggest pool reconstruction.

6. Heating System Problems

If your pool heating system is not functioning correctly, it can affect the comfort and usability of your pool. Before calling for professional assistance, try the following troubleshooting steps:

  • Check Thermostat Settings: Ensure that the thermostat is set to the desired temperature and is functioning correctly.
  • Inspect Pilot Light: If you have a gas heater, check the pilot light. If it’s not lit, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to relight it.
  • Clean Filters: Dirty or clogged filters can affect the efficiency of your heating system. Clean or replace filters as needed.

If your pool heating system issues persist, it’s time to seek professional help. Pool heating systems involve complex components, and a professional technician can diagnose the problem accurately, whether it’s related to electrical issues, faulty components, or other technical malfunctions.

7. Tile and Grout Maintenance

The tiles and grout in and around your pool not only contribute to its aesthetic appeal but also serve a functional purpose. Cracked or damaged tiles and deteriorating grout can lead to water leakage and other issues. Before calling in the professionals, consider these steps:

  • Inspect Tiles: Regularly check the tiles for any signs of cracking or damage. Replace damaged tiles promptly to prevent further issues.
  • Address Grout Issues: If you notice deteriorating grout, remove the old grout and reapply a new layer. This helps maintain the integrity of the pool structure.
  • Prevent Algae Growth: Clean tiles regularly to prevent algae growth, especially in the grout lines. Algae can contribute to deterioration and make maintenance more challenging.

If your pool tiles and grout require extensive repairs or if you’re dealing with persistent issues, it’s advisable to consult with a professional pool maintenance service. They can assess the condition of your tiles, provide expert repairs, and offer guidance on long-term maintenance.

8. Electrical Problems with Pool Equipment

Many pool components, such as lights, pumps, and heaters, rely on electricity to function. If you encounter electrical issues with your pool equipment, it’s essential to proceed with caution. Before seeking professional help, consider the following safety measures and checks:

  • Check Circuit Breakers: Ensure that the circuit breakers for pool equipment are not tripped. Reset any tripped breakers and monitor for recurring issues.
  • Inspect Wiring: Examine the wiring for signs of damage or wear. If you are uncomfortable doing this, it’s best to leave it to a qualified electrician.
  • Test GFCI Outlets: If your pool equipment is connected to ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets, test and reset them as needed.

When dealing with electrical issues, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. If you are uncertain about handling electrical components or if the problem persists, contact a professional electrician or a pool service with expertise in electrical systems.

9. Persistent Water Chemistry Issues

Maintaining proper water chemistry is fundamental to a healthy and safe swimming pool. If you consistently struggle with imbalanced chemicals or other water chemistry issues, it’s time to take action. Before calling in professional help, consider the following steps:

  • Regular Testing: Invest in a reliable pool testing kit and regularly monitor the chemical levels in your pool. This includes pH, alkalinity, chlorine, and other relevant parameters.
  • Follow Guidelines: Adhere to the guidelines provided by the pool chemical manufacturer and adjust chemical levels accordingly.
  • Clean Filters: Clean or replace pool filters regularly to ensure efficient filtration, which contributes to maintaining proper water chemistry.

If your efforts to balance water chemistry prove challenging or if you are unsure about the appropriate corrective measures, consult with a professional pool service. They can conduct a detailed water analysis, identify underlying issues, and recommend a tailored approach to maintain optimal water chemistry.

10. Unusual or Persistent Noises

Unusual noises coming from your pool equipment can be a sign of underlying issues. Before calling for professional help, try the following troubleshooting steps:

  • Inspect Moving Parts: Examine the pump, motor, and other moving parts for any signs of wear, damage, or obstruction.
  • Check for Air Leaks: Air leaks in the pool plumbing system can cause unusual noises. Inspect the pipes, valves, and fittings for any visible signs of leaks.
  • Lubricate Moving Parts: Proper lubrication can reduce friction and noise. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for lubricating moving parts.

If the unusual noises persist or if you are unable to identify the source, it’s advisable to contact a professional pool technician. They can perform a comprehensive inspection to pinpoint the issue and recommend the necessary repairs.

When to Call Professional Help

While many pool issues can be addressed through DIY troubleshooting, there are instances where professional intervention is necessary. Here are some indicators that it’s time to call in the experts:

  • Safety Concerns: If you encounter electrical or structural issues that pose safety risks, it’s crucial to seek professional assistance promptly.
  • Complex Repairs: For complex issues such as extensive leaks, major equipment malfunctions, or structural damage, professional expertise is essential.
  • Persistent Problems: If you’ve tried troubleshooting on your own, but the problem persists or worsens, it’s time to consult with a professional pool service.
  • Specialized Equipment: Some issues, such as leak detection or complex electrical problems, require specialized equipment and knowledge that only professionals possess.
  • Lack of Time or Expertise: If you lack the time, expertise, or confidence to address a specific pool issue, hiring professionals ensures a thorough and effective resolution.

Remember that regular maintenance and proactive care can significantly reduce the likelihood of encountering major pool issues. Investing in professional pool services for routine maintenance can also help identify and address potential problems before they escalate.


Owning a pool comes with the responsibility of proper maintenance and timely troubleshooting. While some issues can be resolved with DIY efforts, knowing when to call in professional help is crucial to the longevity and safety of your pool. Whether it’s cloudy water, a leaking pool, malfunctioning equipment, or structural concerns, a proactive and informed approach to troubleshooting will help you enjoy your pool to the fullest. Regular maintenance, prompt attention to issues, and collaboration with professional pool services ensure that your pool remains a refreshing and enjoyable retreat for years to come.

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