Pool Problems / Troubleshooting

Are you having problems with your pool?

Have a look below at some of the most common Pool Problems which people experience on a day to day basis.


pool problems


Now before I begin with our guide to the most common swimming pool problems and how to troubleshoot your swimming pool, lets get something clear. You are not alone and having a swimming pool is hard work, it means things do break, pool pumps do seize, leaks occur and always expect the unexpected.

No ! this does not mean go close your pool and build a patio over it, it simply means that nothing lasts forever.

There is good news for you and all you need is the right pool company onboard like North Side Pool Services and your swimming pool problems will almost never happen. But enough of the small talk, below we list some of the most common problems which individuals experience on a day to day basis with there pools. I hope this helps you in some way.



Wiring up a timer for the rookie 

Excuse the drawings here I did try however …


How to wire a Tonesto TS18 Timer 

tonesto ts18 timer wiring


How to wire an Aqua pro timer 

aqua pro timer wiring



This really depends on where about you located and what type of setup you have. In South Africa we are limited to brands and do not have the leading brand such as HaywardWe have 3 categories here in SA they are as follows: High class which is Quality, EarthCo and Speck then your average brands which can be purchased at the big hardware stores like Leeroy Merlin these are Pro Pumps and Hurricane then your lower ranges found at builders warehouse which is Sun Command or Sunflo. My opinion is Speck Badu and the reason for the is it is manufactured in America, it is really quite in terms of noise and they honestly last longer than the average 2 year span. Now as I mentioned it also depends on your setup and the easiest way to explain this is if you have a 2 or 3 bag sand filter you can use up to a 0.75kw pool pump, if you have a 4 or 5 bag sand filter then you should run a 1.1kw pump not only that but should you be running solar panels or a heat pump then  1.1kw pump is a given in this instance.


This really depends on the size of the swimming pool really. We did a calculation last year and watched companies up there prices constantly and even with the new price hikes during the pandemic it worked out that on a small sized pool marbelite was the cheaper option and on a larger sized pool fiberglass worked out cheaper.


Gunite is “Aggregate conveyed through a hose and pneumatically projected at high velocity on to almost any surface”. Unlike conventional concrete that is first placed, and then vibrated in a second operation, Gunite undergoes placement and compaction at the same time due to the force with which it is projected from the nozzle. Because of this, it is more dense, homogeneous, strong and waterproof than any other process.Gunite is not constrained by needing forms. It can be impacted onto any shaped surface, including vertical or overhead surfaces. When properly applied, Gunite has excellent structural strength, high shear capability and outstanding durability. Testing has indicated that compressive strengths in excess of 30mpa and up to 75mpa are readily achievable.

You may save in the short term but in the long run the answer is no. I say this because by not running your swimming pool your water will be more prone to algae and turn green, this will cost more due to the amounts of chemicals required to get it blue again. Further more pvc pipes require water flowing through them, it is what they are designed for and by you trying to save on your electricity bill these pipes will become brittle and the day you decide to run your pool these pipes will burst because now you will have to spend more money hiring a professional to repair the damages.

Yet another great question here regarding the Dominator series pool cleaner, Why is your dominator running so slow instead of cruising at full speed around your pools surface?

The most common cause here is it is more than likely the plastic bearings which are located on the left side slot of the machine ( as picture below) you will find 2 in that slot and a 3rd one found on the right side of the machine in the gear block ( as picture below)

What causes them to go? Usually sand and small particles in the pool and because they are not stainless steel bearings which run on lubricants this does tend to happen quite often.


Is your Dominator Pro or Lite going in circles instead of moving forward and cleaning your pool? This can be a frustrating experience we hear you!

It never seems to amaze me that these auto cleaners hold such a high price but always give the most problems, yet people insist on purchasing them not actually knowing what issues they have and will it actually work in the buyers pool? No I am not here to run the cleaner down as it is a really great machine I am just saying if R3899.00 is the approximate cost price of the unit and that is very steep but then there is also additional costs involved which the buyer must be prepared to spend at least once or twice a year that is for the tune up kit which costs R950.00 and the tyres R480.00 its madness!

But anyhow back to the issue at hand …..

The problem lies within the main spindle rod (as picture below) found in the front of the unit. It is the black rod which is slotted through the machine and seen from outside the unit between the two wheels. Now what happens is over time the spindles grooves wear down and instead of it fitting exactly into the wheels grooves it starts missing them and finally there will be nothing to turn one of the wheels this will then cause the unit to do circles as only 1 wheel will be functional.

The solution for this is to purchase the Dominator tune up kit from us or any other retail store.


When you are still learning about your swimming pool it can be a nightmare looking at the multiport and thinking what is all these settings for? Relax we here to assist you.

So first things first always remember the 2 key things here

  1. Always remember to turn the pump off before changing the settings
  2.  Never ever turn the dial anti clockwise as this will damage the mpv wagon wheel seal

So looking at a multiport you will have the following settings depending on which way its been installed but most commonly:



12 o’clock Filter – This means the pools water get sucked from the weir through the multiport into the sand filter and gets clarified through the sand and back into the pool through the return

2 o’clock Waste – This setting is usually only used if your pool is sitting higher than the pumps level and you wanting to drain the pool, or if you have a lot of debris at the bottom of the pool and do not want it to pass through your sand then you would use a vacuum and vacuum it straight out the pools backwash line.

4 o’clock Closed – If your pool level is higher than the pumps level and you do not have a ball valve to shut off the water you would use closed. Please always remember never to run the pump on this setting as your pipes will literally suck in and explode

6 o’clock Backwash – The sand in a filter acts like a filter but in order to clean the sand you need to run a backwash

8 o’clock Bypass – This means water does not pass through the sand filter, it just circulates the same water in the pool. This is usually used when you have a problem on the sand filter and are waiting for parts or if you wanting to change the sand but do not have the budget to do so.

10 o’clock Rinse – Once all the debris has been passed through the sand one will need to run a rinse cycle in order for the water to be clear coming back in the pool

A good question here as many people think that the bubble side faces upwards, truth is it actually faces downwards.

This allows heat to penetrate through the top of the blanket ( flat side ) and the bubble side at the bottom retains the heat by not allowing it to escape due to the shape of it.



This is only common in marbelite pools and it is most likely black algae.

Cause of black algae: Usually caused from humid temperatures, Hot water from solar systems, blankets or heat pumps and salt.

Once your pool has black algae it is a menace to eliminate however we have found that draining the pool and acid washing it takes care of this terrible algae.

There are many different brands of auto cleaners on the market these days and each salesman is hungry to make the deal but be careful as you may purchase something which you will regret later on. Follow our guideline to buying one below.

Firstly determine the approximate size of your pool – Anything driven by tracks such as a dominator lite, zodiac mx6 or mx8 do not do well with large pools.

Secondly what shape is your pool and does it have straight edges, bumps, L-shapes or funny corners? Most auto cleaners cannot climb a dead straight wall or stairs let alone go around a corner of an L shaped pool.

And lastly is your swimming pool situated under trees? The dominator range and MX range is not suitable for a pool which has a lot of leaves in it, it will get stuck constantly


In our opinion we say small pool = Zodiac Mx6 or Dominator Lite / Pro

Medium sized pool = Dominator Pro / Mx8 / Kreepy Pro or Zodiac G2

Large sized pool = G2, Kreepy Combi, Kreepy Pro or Gemini Twinsweep

Probably the most common problem people face with the mx6 and mx8 is the fact that these auto cleaners are run by 1 or 2 plastic gears. Over time you will start facing problem such as reduced speed, circular motions or simply not moving at all, now this is caused from the gears been worn and damaged.

How do you fix it? Simple either let us do it for you or feel free to pop into your local pool store and have them fit new gears for you.

This is a huge problem especially on the smaller pools but the easiest way is to determine if your pipes length is to long or to short. How do you do this? its simple take the distance from your weir ( where the kreepy usually plugs into ) to the furthest corner of the pool. Your pipes should just reach there.

Alternatively the next thing you could do here is to add a hose weight to your pipes.

This is usually caused by the light, either there is a bad connection or a wire which is wet. Leave the light switch off and only switch on the pump switch. It could also be alot of other things like earth leakage switch, capacitor or bad grounding

If you turn your power on for the pump to run and nothing happens but you hear a humming or buzzing sound then chances are the pump has seized. This is caused from numerous things but the most common cause is to much corrosion built up on the shaft which causes the propeller to jam, the pump then continues to try turn but overheats due to this.

If you happen to see water dripping from under your pump between the housing the most common cause is the mechanical seal.

You will notice a significant loss in power on the pump, weir and kreepy

A solar blanket is always placed on a pool with the bubble facing the water and the flat side facing the sun.

The heat enters through the matt which then heats the water and because of the unique shape of the bubble the heat is not able to escape this reduces evaporation, keeps warm and also keeps leaves and dirt out.

Depending on the weather conditions and current condition of your pool, usually once a week is enough.

This question comes along so often and each person has there own answer to it, google will tell you between 6 and 8 hours but now understand something this is not America if you are in South Africa our weather is far less harsh so yes running your pool pump between 6 and 8 hours is great but seriously is not necessary. I own a 100,000l pool in winter I run it for 1 hour a day every second or 3rd day and in summer between 2 and 3 hours everyday, I have never had a green pool and all I have ever used is a month mate floater. The biggest trick here is really to find the time to brush your swimming pool while running the pump.

There are 2 types of algae which attract to swimming pools, mainly marbelite pools but its not uncommon in fiberglass either.

These are green algae and black algae. They both can be removed but once your pool gets the black curse its a headache to get rid of it.

What causes black algae? This is most common in pools which are heated, salt chlorinated or  the pool is in a environment where its humid.

Now one can remove black algae by using chemicals and scrubbing the pool for a few hours but sadly it will come back. The best solution is to acid wash your pool.


One of the biggest problems everyone has on a swimming pool is when it starts loosing water, now its a given there is the evaporation factor but if your pool is loosing 2cm a day or you having to fill your swimming pool more than once a week before running a backwash and rinse cycle then you may have a leak.We point out some of the obvious signs to look out for below.

  • The easiest way to determine this is to mark the level of your pool with tape and monitor just how much it is dropping, do it 2 days with the pool pump on and 2 days with it off, this will give you an understanding if its on your pipes or on the lining.
  • Look for wet patches on your lawn or paving
  • Observe the return outlet jets for any visible bubbles coming out constantly
  • Pressure loss on your kreepy crawley
  • Pool pump not priming (water not hitting the pumps lid)
  • Cracks which run vertical on the pools lining 
  • Holes behind the mosaic tiles
  • Wet patches in and around the pump housing and sand filter

If any of these signs are spotted it is best to call us to come sort it out as this will save you on high water bills

Depending on how often you use the pool or what sort of weather conditions you may have, pool filter sand should be changed at least once a year.

The answer to this is very simple and I am sure there could be many other answers to this question but so far the 2 most effective ways to stop leafs in your pool are as follows:

  1. Get a solar blanket or PVC cover installed by us
  2. Get a leaf skimmer supplied and fitted by us

The stains can occur just about anywhere on your pools lining and is caused from two things.

The 1st case is having a very high iron content in your soil which the pool is built on.

The 2nd cause all thou not as common as the 1st cause but is likely in many cases is metal rebar which could have gone through the pools lining. Be sure to feel if there are any sharp or blunt metal points protruding through the area which appears stained.

The most common cause here is a leak on your weir.

This is caused from chemicals in your water like chlorine. Can it be removed? Well depending on how long it has been there usually no but there is a possibility when doing an acid wash

The answer is simple you have air coming into your system either from a leak on your return line, solar system or a damaged O-ring on your pump.

This is caused from damaged laterals in your sand filter otherwise known as sand filter fingers.



Epoxy coating, Yes Or No?

Back in the day epoxy coating  was the way to go but since then times have changed.The way we see it is epoxy coating is a cheap solution to a long term disaster. The easiest way to describe this is buying a new car and fitting it with generic parts.It may look nice in the beginning but will it last? Hell No! and that is why your sellers such as Pool Solutions only offer the warranty on the product if you are certified and accredited, but the funny thing is the course is done through them and trust me any person with half a brain cell can paint epoxy that is why its sold as DIY packages. So we say a big NO to epoxy because It looks really nice when painted but not even a year later its almost guaranteed to start coming off. But hey if you looking for a cheap and nasty fix then by all means just head over to Pretoria’s pool solutions  and they will be happy to take your money.



5 Benefits of Using a Swimming Pool Cleaning Service


Pools are great for both relaxing and having fun, but they’re also a big commitment. Responsible pool owners must properly clean and maintain their pools to ensure user safety. This requires more than simply skimming the surface to remove debris and maintaining the proper chemical balance of the water. Neglecting your pool can cause big problems down the road, but regular maintenance doesn’t have to be a huge chore when you rely on local pool cleaning professionals. Here are 5 reasons why you should contact professionals for regular pool maintenance.

1. Peace of Mind

Hiring the professionals at North Side Pool Services provides peace of mind, because your pool is properly cared for and maintained by experts. Skilled maintenance technicians will do as much or as little of your pool cleaning and maintenance as you want them to do. Choose from a monthly, bi-weekly or weekly service, or keep your pool maintained 12 months a year with the popular year-round contract. When you’re using a professional swimming pool cleaning service, you can relax knowing it’s safe for everyone who uses it.

2. Timely Cleanings

A regular cleaning schedule helps you keep on track with the cleaning and upkeep of your pool and equipment. This ensures your swimming pool water is hygienic and stays sparkling. It also keeps your equipment in good repair, which can increase the lifetime of your pool and the equipment. Professionals do whatever it takes to keep your pool in pristine condition, including:

  • Brush automatic pool cover fabric
  • Brush pool walls and tile line
  • Clean pump and skimmer baskets
  • Skim the surface
  • Test and chemically treat the water
  • Vacuum
  • Verify filter pressure and backwash as needed

3. Equipment & Integrity Check

This is where professional pool cleaning benefits you most, because the pros know when and how to service your pump(s) and filter(s) to ensure motor(s) don’t burn out. They can also find and fix rips or any other damages before they become an issue, including leak location and repair. Pool professionals are trained to detect and correct problems that non-professionals wouldn’t easily notice without the correct pool cleaning equipment. So, you can enjoy your pool without stressing over keeping it clean, clear and working properly.

4. Proper Chemical Balance

Maintaining the proper balance of chemicals in your water isn’t always easy. Improperly balanced chemicals could harbor bacteria growth or cause algae to bloom, which could affect your health. The wrong pH or overly high chemical concentrations can irritate your eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin. The wrong chemical balance can also damage your pool materials and lead to leaks, premature wear and other issues. While you should test the water yourself regularly and add chemicals as needed, having it routinely checked by a professional ensures you’re doing it correctly.

5. Save Time & Money

Although you may prefer to perform most of your own pool care and maintenance, you can save time and money by hiring professional pool cleaners to lend you a hand. It’s obvious how they save time, but they can also save you money through early detection of potential problems and paying too much for commercial pool cleaning equipment. Professional pool cleaning services include cleaning, inspecting and repairing your pool’s pump, filter and other parts. This extends the life of your equipment by preventing premature wear that could be avoided when detected early. By detecting smaller problems before they become big issues, you can potentially save a bundle on major repairs and replacement costs.

The secret to a clean, inviting pool is regularly scheduled routine care from the professionals at North Side Pool Services. Plus, professional pool maintenance helps ensure you aren’t risking anyone’s health whenever they go for a swim. We make it easy for you to enjoy a clean, safe and relaxing pool experience from installation to upkeep throughout the life of your pool. Contact us today to learn more about the pool services we provide.




How To Clean Your Green & Cloudy Pool After A Rainstorm

Nothing beats a clear, cool pool on a sweltering summer day. However, many homeowners discover that their pool looks alot less appealing after a serious rainstorm, full of cloudy or even green water. Fortunately, with just a little extra maintenance you can quickly return your pool water to its proper state, or even prevent clouding problems before they start. Read on for tips on how to maintain and clean your pool after a rainstorm and keep the water swimmable all summer long.


Why Your Pool Turns Green and Cloudy

While the rain itself doesn’t generally harm your pool, it can dilute the carefully balanced chemistry in the water. This can alter your pH levels and dilute the chlorine or other sanitizes, allowing algae or other contaminants to gain a foothold. Once the algae spores have the proper conditions to grow, they multiply very quickly, which is why your clear pool can turn green overnight. A pool full of algae isn’t just unsightly – it presents potential health problems for bathers in the form of skin irritation, ear and eye infections, and gastrointestinal illness. It’s also possible for run-off from the storm to bring unwanted chemicals like nitrates and phosphates into the pool, further clouding the water.

Prevent Dilution Before it Occurs

The best way to keep your pool water clear is to prevent rainwater from diluting it in the first place. Keep an eye on the weather forecast during swimming season and pull the pool cover in place before any storms settle in over your region. A good quality pool cover is a worthy investment, as cheaper models made with lightweight plastic vinyl are more likely to tear over time and allow the rain to infiltrate the pool. If you don’t have a pool cover, you can get a head start on cleanup by adding algaecide to the water and sweeping away any debris in the vicinity of the pool before the rain arrives.

Clean the Debris from the Pool

If you missed your opportunity to cover the pool and are left with a cloudy green mess, all isn’t lost. With a small amount of remediation work you’ll be happily swimming again in no time. The first step is to remove any leaves, twigs or branches that found their way into the water. Also check the filters as well as the pump and skimmer baskets to make sure they aren’t clogged. In addition, you’ll want to brush off foreign objects that have lodged themselves on the ladder or steps, and then vacuum up any debris that has settled on the bottom of the pool.

Make Sure Your Water Level is Correct

Many pools automatically drain excess water on their own, but if yours does not you’ll need to remove some water to get back to the proper level before you start re balancing the chemicals. You can open the drain, backwash the sand filter, or follow whatever the proper procedure is for your installation to get the water back down to around the center of the skimmer float.


Test the Pool Water

Once you verify that you have the correct amount of water in your pool, it’s time to check on the pHtotal alkalinity, and calcium hardness levels so you know if the water itself is swimmable. Heavy rains dilute the chemicals and may carry particulate matter from the air, which can raise or lower your pool’s pH level. When it comes to free chlorine, it’s a good idea to add a little extra, especially if there were leaves or other organic debris in the water.

Typically, your pool should fall within the following ranges, but check your manual for specific instructions for your setup:

  • Total Alkalinity:  100-150 ppm. Works as a shock absorber to prevent against spiking pH levels.
  • pH:  7.2 – 7.6 Too low causes irritation. Too high causes calcium scaling.
  • Calcium Hardness:  180-220 ppm. A neutral level helps preserve concrete or plaster lined pools.

Run the Pump and Filter the Water

Verify that the water is able to properly complete its journey through all the circulatory equipment, and the filter pressure is at normal levels. Once you’ve achieved good circulation and filtration, let the system run before you give the pool a test swim. The amount of time the equipment will take to totally clear the water will vary depending on what type of filter you use – anywhere from a few hours if the filter uses diatomaceous earth, to several days for a sand filter. As a general principle, change out paper cartridge pump filters regularly. You can make these filters last longer by washing them out with a hose and soaking them overnight in a bucket of white vinegar or bleach. If you use a sand filter system, be sure to perform a back flush according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Give the Pool a Shock

If the pool is still very cloudy or green, you may need to shock it to make it safe to swim in again.

  1. First, make sure that the filter system is working properly and the chemicals are still at the proper levels.
  2. Next, mix up your chlorine shock (hyperchlorinate) treatment. Add 1 pound of your preferred shock treatment into a 5-gallon bucket of water about 3/4 full (the exact measurements may vary depending on the size of your pool and how contaminated the water is).
  3. Slowly pour this mixture directly into the pool water. Do NOT add shock directly to the skimmer, as undiluted,
  4. Full strength pool chemicals can damage filters, heaters and pumps.

Maintain the higher shock levels to kill off all the algae. This can take several days and involve multiple treatments to get combined Chloramines and FC levels to the right levels that clear the water. While performing the treatment, brush and clean the pool thoroughly every day to remove dead algae and other dirt.

More Pool Cleaning Tips

  • Chlorine comes stabilized or unstabilized. Stabilized chlorine is coated with Cyanuric acid to prevent Cl2 from evaporating. Unstabilized chlorine, such as sodium hypochlorite, is not treated with Cyanuric acid.
  • Sodium hypochlorite, also known as pool bleach, is available as a liquid and is highly concentrated compared to household bleach. Calcium hypochlorite is available as a granular powder or slow-release tablets. Both of these chemicals are used to shock the pool in order to raise the concentration of free chlorine (FC) in the water.
  • Calcium hypochlorite reacts vigorously with water to release free chlorine — but it dissolves slowly. To get the most free chlorine into the water, add it to your pool at night so it won’t evaporate as quickly. You’ll need to wait 8 hours to use the pool, anyway. The calcium acts as an alkaline buffer.

When in doubt, consult the instructions that came with your pool, or schedule an appointment with a professional to resolve any questions and ensure that your pool provides a clean, safe and relaxing environment for you and your family.


Have you ever wondered what the law is on pool nets, fences and covers?

These are the new safety standards for private swimming pools- and a fence is no longer good enough!

Every private swimming pool that can hold more than 30cm of water should be surrounded not only by a kid-proof fence, but should also be fitted with a safety net or a safety cover to prevent children drowning, according to a draft update from the SA Bureau of Standards (SABS).

  • The Standards Bureau is in the final stages of updating rules for private swimming pools, because kids are still drowning.
  • The latest standard says that a fence around a swimming pool is not enough; every pool should also have a safety net or cover.
  • That net must be child-proof, professionally installed, and must carry the weight of an adult safely.

Such a net or cover cannot be DIY installed but must be fitted by an “accredited responsible party”, according to the standard.

A cover is disqualified if it allows rainwater to pool for more than five minutes, or if a child can unfasten it. It must require keys, a combination lock or “special tools, devices, or inaccessible locations” to remove.

For larger swimming pools a net or cover must have a carrying weight of at least 220kg to “permit a rescue” operation while holding up one child and two adults. For smaller pools, less than 2.4m at its widest point, the weight requirement is 125kg, for one adult and child.

The requirements form part of SANS 10134, a SABS standard last updated in 2008.

Other changes include a requirement for self-closing gates in fences or walls around swimming pools, and a new obligation on renters or other non-owners to keep completely empty any unsafe pools.

It is the responsibility of the owner of a pool to ensure it has both a fence or wall and a net or cover, the standard holds – but any occupier of a property “shall not allow water in an unprotected swimming pool”.

Occupiers are also responsible for ensuring that some sort of pole, be it a brush or a leaf scoop, is available near any pool “to assist a distressed person in the water”, and to regularly inspect a pool enclosure for damage.

The standard requires walls or fences to be at least 1.2m tall, to be sunk into the ground at least 50cm deep, to be very hard for children to climb, and with gates difficult for children to open.

Now here is the funny thing sad but true. If you as a swimming pool owner get robbed in your own home and the bugler just so happens to fumble on his way out and falls into your swimming pool and drowns, you are held responsible should it be found that you did not have a net, cover or fence! 

Should you require assistance with a safety net, fence or cover, Our dedicated team of pool experts are ready to assist you from ordering to fitting it.


Did you know?

A really good well-kept entertainment area with a pool, decking and patio that is covered or has a retractable awning makes it easier to sell the property. Some agents believe that it can add as much as R100 000.00 in perceivable value to a property.




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