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Why is My Swimming Pool Water Cloudy?

There are MANY reasons for cloudy pool water: early algae growth; environmental issues such as frequent, heavy rains; lack of sunlight on the pool (UV sunlight is an excellent natural oxidizer); poor circulation, lack of pool use; too little filtration time, pool filter should run 8 to 12 hours each day that the pool is open; improper pool vacuuming & pool surface brushing; neglecting to shock the pool on a regular weekly or bi-weekly basis (shocking helps to eliminate build-ups of things that won’t be processed by the filter, such as body oils & lotions, plus kills early outbreaks of algae). Be sure your swimming pool has been thoroughly vacuumed with a good pool vaccum! Eliminate these issues first before using water clarifying products.

Steps for Pool Water Clarification Treatments:

1.) Test swimming pool water for Combined Chlorine, pH, Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness. The two areas that are most likely to cause cloudy pool water (from a basic water chemistry standpoint) are the pH and the Calcium Hardness.

2.) If the pool chemical levels are not within the following suggested ranges, adjust the chemicals and run the pool filter system for 12-24 hours before re-testing. Free Chlorine: 1-3 ppm (the pool owner should be aware that the Total Chlorine level must be the same as the Free Chlorine, if the Total is higher, there exists Combined Chlorines or Chloramines. Combined Chlorine should be ZERO), pH: 7.2 – 7.6, Total Alkalinity: 90 – 120 ppm (certain products require a TA of 80 ppm) and Calcium Hardness: 200 – 350 ppm.

3.) If you are unable to maintain a solid chlorine or bromine level for at least 3 consecutive days without shocking, you may have a chlorine demand problem which will require special treatment & needs to be addressed before the problem worsens.

4.) If all the pool chemical levels test in range, the cloudy pool water is caused by fine debris suspended in the pool water. You should backwash or clean your pool filter following the manufacturer’s instructions, and run the pool filter system continuously for 24 to 48 hours. Too Frequent back washing, especially with a sand filter, will cause the filter to not filter out fine particulate. As the sand bed of the filter accumulates debris, it actually helps to tighten the filter media resulting in the ability for better filtration. A good rule of thumb is to backwash only when the pressure of the water returning to the pool is noticeably diminished.

5.) If the water conditions have not significantly improved you should add a clarifier pool chemical to the pool water to help your pool filter remove the fine debris from the water. Continue filtering for without interruption until the water clears.

6.) If the water conditions have not significantly improved you should add a second dose of clarifier, or a stronger clarifier chemical and continue to run your filtration system. Keep in mind that TOO MUCH clarifier will actually work against the clarifying process; particles will repel one another rather attract. Follow label instructions to the letter. Do not repeat more often than 2 additional times over the course of one week.

7.) Sometimes a pool can be too cloudy for a clarifier. If this is the case you will have to move up to a floc. This will drop any suspended particles to the floor so you can vacuum it to waste.

We hope this helps and please let us know if we can be of any further help. Have a great summer in your pool!


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