If your pool water is cloudy, it doesn’t exactly say “come on in!”. Even if you’re not going for a swim, you want your pool to look refreshing and sparkle in your back yard. Finding a fix isn’t too hard after you’ve covered all your bases.
To make your cloudy pool or hot tub (spa) look better we have to look at each factor involved in what makes water crystal clear in the first place. The three main areas involved are: 1) Filtration/circulation system, 2) Water treatments, 3) Environmental conditions. Usually the first two will be obvious checks, and the most complex being of course chemicals. Let’s look at all three and arm you with a solution or two.
Filtering out cloudy pools
Filters are usually the first area you want to investigate when your swimming pool isn’t looking clear. When was the last time you backwashed, and was it thorough enough? Depending on your filter type, it’s always a good idea to check the condition of the key parts.
For example, ensure you have enough D.E. powder on your D.E. filters, or clean cartridges installed, or sand that is in good condition (you may need to replace sand if it’s been in there for several years or more). Inspect the grids themselves and make sure they are seated tightly. If some have become torn, frayed or broken apart they may not be doing their job well. It’s like not running on all cylinders, and the effect could be why you have a cloudy looking pool.
While your filter may be in tip-top shape, you should also ensure the appropriate volume of water is running through it. You may need to increase your circulation time so that more if not all of your swimming pool’s water has a chance to circulate through the filter. In fact, pool water that’s cloudy can be remedied just by increasing pump run-time each day. Most pool cleaning equipment is sized to be able to run the entire pool’s water through in 5-7 hours.
Also see if there are any obstructions in your automatic pool cleaner causing decreased water flow. Not only is your pump working harder, less water is getting cleaned as everything moves at a slower pace.
How to clear cloudy pool water
It may seem obvious, but you should always test your water and make sure levels are all balanced if you have murky or cloudy water in your pool. Adjust these various levels to within ideal ranges. If calcium hardness, total alkalinity and water pH is too high, it can affect the clarity of the pool’s water.
If chlorine levels are low, it’s possible that algae combined with some bacteria can make for hazy or cloudy water. Shocking (super chlorination) usually is all you need. If, however, you still have cloudy pool water after shocking, you may need to add in a water clarifier.
A water clarifier does about what it sounds like. You add it to your cloudy pool water, and voila, your water is clear again.
One excellent choice is Kem-Tek’s Ulta Clarifier. It works for both pools and jacuzzis (spas) and with all filter types. Simply add it in and let it go to work. Run your filter or vacuum the bottom of your pool. Remember to start with an algae-free pool, so it can work best by adding just after you shock your water.
How does it work? It’s quite common that dirt, grime and other particles in your water are too small to get trapped in your filter or sink to the bottom. They are very small, negatively charged particles that move about freely and stay suspended in bodies of water. They aren’t able to bond together for the filter to catch and are unaffected by chlorine. Over time, if too many of these exist (we’re talking millions), they can cause the light hitting your pool to scatter and refract. The result is a cloudy looking pool.
A good clarifier will be a polymer type – long strands of molecules that are positive charged. This polarity will attract and neutralize the negatively charge dirt particles. As the dirt collects (coagulates) along the strand, it gets bigger and heavier. At some point, this bundle will begin to sink and/or get swept up by your filter. Bundles will start collecting on the bottom of your pool as your pool water clears up. These products are usually sold in concentrate and go a long way for one bottle.
Environment around your cloudy pool water
Some other factors to consider in fixing your water problem may have to do with physical conditions. If there has been an increase in swimming, there may be oils and other things like sunscreens and soap residue introduced to your pool. Other circumstances such as high winds, debris from lawn mowers and leaf blowers may also be adding more than you want to your swimming pool water. Pets using your pool (like your dog!) can be culprits too. Running the filter for extended hours can usually clear things up. Use the Kem-Tek product mentioned above or get a pool cover if you don’t mind the extra work.