Cloudy pool water can happen overnight and when it does it can be difficult and time consuming to diagnose and remedy. There is nothing more disheartening than going for a swim or inviting friends and family over only to find that your pool has clouded up unexpectedly. The good news is that there is always an explanation and hopefully after reading this page you will have a better understanding about why murky water can occur and the best way to fix it fast.
It very important to figure out what caused the problem in the first place so you aren't adding a bunch of chemicals unnecessarily. If you have been down the path of using chemicals to fix problems caused by previously adding chemicals you know how frustrating and expensive it can be.
The goal should always be to first diagnose the problem and fix it with as little chemicals as possible if they are even necessary. As a general rule you should always start using less and never add any products based on a hunch unless you really know your pool. A lot of pool problems including cloudy water is simply caused by too many chemicals being added to the water over time.
If your pool sanitization includes a salt water chlorine generator you shouldn't have any different issues than regular chemical chlorine pools and you will likely experience less chemistry related problems in general.
Since pool water can become cloudy for so many reasons you may need to spend a bit of time up front figuring out what exactly is causing the problem. Keep in mind that every minute you spend learning about your pool will make it easier to maintain and diagnose in the future. Let's take a look at the most common problems causing unhealthy water.
Every pool is different and it would be impossible and impractical to go over every possible cause of cloudy pool water. We will however go over the most common problems for salt water pool owners and regular pool owners and then we'll go over how to fix and prevent some basic problems that can occur. The most common reasons your swimming pool water is cloudy can be categorized under these broad categories.
The number one cause of cloudy pool water is inconsistent chlorination or low free chlorine. If you don't maintain a steady level of free chlorine either by producing it through your chlorine generator or a chlorine dispenser you could run into all sorts of problems. It speaks to the importance of purchasing a quality pool test kit so you can keep an eye on your pool's chemistry. It means you won't have to rely on guesswork, inconsistent pool store analysis or low quality strips.
The reasons you may be experiencing cloudy pool water related to chemistry and sanitization:
Aside from inconsistent chlorination the most common culprit causing cloudy pool water is pool algae which can be caused by pool sanitation and circulation. If your pool is green and cloudy you can almost be sure that you have an algae issue that needs to be dealt with. In addition to living algae you may end up with cloudy water from dead algae that can be very difficult to remove especially if you are using a sand or cartridge filter. It will appear as grey or white cloudiness usually after using an algaecide or shock.
It's isn't always easy to diagnose cloudy pool water but now that you know the most common culprits you can hopefully fix the problem without adding any sanitizer or chemicals. It's also possible that all you need is to increase chlorine production on your chlorine generator or increase the amount of time your system is running throughout the day. The following steps will take you through the next process if you believe your cloudy pool water is related to chemistry or filtration.
The very first thing you should do is test your water at home using a quality pool test kit or take it to a local pool store. It is very common for test strips and even local pool stores to give unreliable test results. If you are a salt water pool owner we recommend an all in one kit that includes a reliable saline test. The money you spend on a good drop test pool kit is going to be worth every penny.
It's time to look at the results of the test and adjust levels as needed. It's a good time to read through our pool maintenance information to make sure you are within the recommended ranges for things like; salinity, chlorine, pH, alkalinity and calcium. After you have everything balanced you can reassess your pool and continue with any of the following methods depending on your pools chemistry.
A lack of free available chlorine could be causing the cloudy water, if there is more than 0.3 ppm difference between total available chlorine and free available chlorine it means that you have high chloramines and shock will be beneficial. A good pool shock will kill chloramines and free up the chlorine in your pool but keep in mind that a shock may temporarily cloud your pool so be sure to keep your filtration running and clean until it has cleared up.
If you have determined that your pool chemistry is balanced including acceptable free chlorine levels your option should be to try a pool water clarifier. Pool clarifiers are a coagulant and work by clumping tiny particles together into bigger particles so they have a better chance of being filtered out. If you use a clarifier you need to keep your filter system running and clean at all times. Your filter may require a backwash or cleaning during the process because it will be taking on a lot of debris.
The final basic option for cloudy pool water is to use a flocculant or floc for short. It is a great product if you want to clear your pool fast but it will require some time and effort on your part. It's similar to how a clarifier works by collecting small particles together but instead of them being filtered out, they are so large and heavy that they sink to the bottom of the pool.
The particles that have collected at the bottom of your pool need to be vacuumed out with your pool vacuum set to "waste" or "backwash". The idea is to avoid passing the debris through your pool filter system where it can get clogged or even just send it back into your pool. You want to take it straight from the bottom of the pool and directly out. A manual vacuum is required and there will be a lot of water wasted so you will need to add water to your pool before, during or after the process.
As you decide which method to use to clear the cloudy pool water it's important to ensure that your filter system is working properly and stays clean throughout the process. A good working filter system is absolutely key to keeping a pool crystal clear so it's always good practice to keep the filter clean and your system running at least two cycles of 8 hours every day.
If you still aren't sure what is causing the cloudy pool water you can contact one of our experts that will get back to you within 2 -3 business days. Include as much information as possible including details about your pool chemistry, pool size, system, etc.
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