How to Diagnose and Clear Cloudy Swimming Pool Water  

by Pool Builders on 05-27-2013 in Articles

A swimming pool requires a large investment of time and money from a pool owner, who is usually trying to create his or her own relaxing backyard paradise. Water problems that take away from this lavish backyard getaway, such as cloudy water, can be very frustrating. Cloudy or dull pool water is caused by improper chemical balance or fine debris suspended in the pool water. Use the following five steps to 1quickly diagnose and resolve this problem when it occurs in your pool.
Start by test the 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. 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 the pool water. 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 exist combined chlorines or chloramines. Combined chlorine should be zero. The pH: 7.2 - 7.6, Total Alkalinity: 90 - 120 ppm, certain products such as Pristine Blue requires a TA of 80 ppm. Calcium hardness: 200 - 350 ppm.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 and needs to be addressed before the problem worsens. If the pool chemical levels test in a 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 backwashing, 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 the thumb is to backwash only when the pressure of the water returning to the pool is noticeably diminished. 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 without interruption until the water clears. The water clarifiers can help a lot on the fine debris on the pool water. If the water conditions have not significantly improved you should adds 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.
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. There are many reasons for cloudy 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 (filter should run 8 to 12 hours each day) that the pool is open, poor maintenance practices such as improper vacuuming and pool surface brushing, poor chemical maintenance practices such as neglecting to chock the pool on a regular weekly or bi weekly basis (shocking helps to eliminate buildups of un-filterables such as body oils and lotions plus kills early outbreaks of algae). Eliminate these issues first before using water clarifying product.

Leave a Comment

List YOUR Pool Business