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How to Clear Cloudy Pool Water

June 7, 2024

Cloudy pool water is a common problem that can be caused by various things from a dirty filter to poor water chemistry.

In this post, we’ll be going over how to determine the root cause as well as how to fix it. Keep reading to learn more!

Common Causes of Cloudy Pool Water

Determining the root cause of the cloudiness is crucial when it comes to maintaining your pool’s water clarity. Here are some of the most common scenarios:

Chemical Imbalance

how to clear cloudy pool waterThe pH level of your pool is super important if you want to maintain clean, clear water. For optimal clarity, the pH range should be between 7 and 7.6.

Anything higher or lower can lead to murky water.

High total alkalinity can also cause carbonate materials to remain suspended in the pool water, and that can result in cloudiness.

Similarly, high calcium hardness levels can contribute to murky water.

Issues With the Filter

If your pool water is cloudy, it can be a sign of a blocked cartridge filter.

That’s why it’s so important to maintain the filter regularly.

That means cleaning it every few weeks according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using filter aids, and replacing them when necessary.

Environmental Elements

Rainstorms and heavy rainfall can dilute chlorine levels and introduce contaminants into your pool, leading to murkiness.

Debris, run-off water, and foreign contaminants can also enter the pool area, contributing to cloudiness.

The Five-Step Solution for Clear Pool Water

There are five steps you can take to fix cloudy pool water. These include:

  1. Balancing chemicals
  2. Optimizing filtration
  3. Tackling contaminants and debris
  4. Utilizing pool clarifiers and flocculants
  5. Monitoring and maintaining the pool water regularly

Balance Your Chemicals

Maintaining balanced pool chemicals (e.g. pH, free chlorine levels, combined chlorine levels) is crucial to preventing algae growth and ensuring the effectiveness of chlorine.

As mentioned earlier, high pH levels can cause cloudiness in the water.

As far as alkalinity goes, it should be kept within 80 to 120 ppm, and calcium hardness between 200 and 400 ppm.

Optimize Your Filtration System

optimize filtration systemA well-maintained filtration system, such as a sand filter, is essential.

That means scheduling regular inspections and deep cleaning the pool filter system once every year.

It’s also important to monitor the filter pressure gauge and clean the system when the pressure goes 8-10 psi above normal.

Contaminants and Debris

Regular skimming, vacuuming, and brushing will help remove debris and algae from the water. Using an automatic pool cleaner is another option.

You also want to keep skimmer and pump baskets clear of debris to allow for proper water circulation.

For challenging black algae, we recommend vigorous brushing – that will break through the protective layers, allowing chemicals to reach and destroy the roots.

Utilize Pool Clarifiers and Flocculants

Pool clarifiers and pool flocculant work by clumping together small, suspended particles so that they can be filtered out or vacuumed after settling to the bottom of the pool.

Just remember to follow the manufacturer’s dosing instructions as using too much can have the opposite effect.

Monitor and Maintain Regularly

We recommend using pool water test strips to monitor the quality of your water. If necessary, add chlorine or bromine to ensure that the pool sanitizer remains effective.

Monitoring your pool’s water chemistry regularly will also allow you to identify any imbalances early, allowing you to take corrective action before the problem escalates.

DIY Tips for Clearing Cloudy Water

diy tips for clearing cloudy waterSometimes, you can treat chemical imbalances with household products. For example, you can increase the pH with baking soda.

In terms of how much to add, it’ll depend on the size of your pool and the current pH levels. For example, if you have a 10,000 gallon pool, you’ll need to add between 3 and 4 pounds of baking soda to raise the alkalinity.

It’s also important to run the pool pump for at least 8 hours every day (ideally during the day). That will ensure proper circulation, which will help prevent pool algae and cloudy water.

Checking the chlorine levels is also important. Ideally it should be between 1 and 3ppm. Anything lower can lead to cloudiness. For example, rain and sunlight can cause the chlorine levels to drop, in which case, you’ll want to re-balance the levels.

And remember, it’s not uncommon for the water to turn cloudy temporarily after shocking the pool – it’s a common reaction when you use high doses of chlorine, so don’t panic. It’s a temporary situation and will clear up by itself eventually.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid using flocculants and clarifiers with cartridge filters.

That can clog the pool filter system, which will defeat the purpose of trying to clear the water in the first place.

Also, avoid entering the pool if the swimming pool water is noticeably cloudy. Even if it doesn’t seem harmful, it’s better to err on the side of caution. As a general rule, the pool water should be clear before you dive in.

Knowing How to Clear Cloudy Pool

Regular maintenance is key to maintaining a clear swimming pool. From poor water chemistry to tiny particles in the water, there are several things that can turn your pool cloudy. Fortunately, there are easy fixes to these problems.

Remember, you should only swim in a pool if the water is clear – avoid cloudy pool water as it may pose health risks.

Key Takeaways

  • Cloudy pool water can result from chemical imbalances, inadequate filtration, or environmental factors
  • Identifying the root cause is essential for effective treatment and maintenance
  • The five-step solution to clearing cloudy pool water includes balancing chemicals, optimizing the filtration system, tackling contaminants and debris, using clarifiers and flocculants, and regular monitoring and pool maintenance
  • Avoid common mistakes such as using flocculants with cartridge filters in swimming pools

Fixing a Cloudy Swimming Pool – FAQs

What causes cloudy pool water?

Cloudy pool water can be caused by poor water chemistry, poor filtration, or environmental factors like rainstorms and debris.

What’s the best way to clear up cloudy water quickly?

If your above ground pool is cloudy, use pool shock, also known as pool clarifier, to remove combined chlorine molecules and debris, bacteria, or algae.

Also, check that there’s proper filtration – there shouldn’t be any worn or broken parts.

How long should it take to clear a cloudy pool?

Depending on the cause and severity, it may take up to 2-3 days for a cloudy pool to clear. Using a pool clarifier and maintaining balanced water chemistry can help expedite the process.

Will shock clear a cloudy pool?

Yes, adding pool shock can help clear up a cloudy pool caused by chlorine issues or poor circulation/filtration.

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John Harrington

John Harrington, with over 20 years of experience in pool and spa maintenance, generously shares his expertise on the ACTIVE blog. His in-depth knowledge and practical advice provide invaluable guidance for maintaining pristine pools and hot tubs. John's insights help enthusiasts and homeowners ensure their aquatic havens are always in top condition.

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