How To Fix Cloudy Pool Water

cloudy-pool-waterIt is easy to get frustrated with your swimming pool when you see dull or cloudy water or piles of debris building up on the floor of the pool. The frustration is made worse by the fact that you know how hard it can be to make pool water clear and how long it can take depending on the severity. Typically, the dull or cloudy pool water is caused by things like problems with the pool’s filtration system, imbalance of chemicals in the pool water and fine debris that is floating in your pool water. But the good news is that you CAN get your pool water clear again! Though it will take some time, following these guidelines will help you get back your backyard oasis and get your family swimming again.

Here are some of the things you can check and do to make that swimming pool water sparkle again:

leaves in pool from windstormDeal With the Debris

First and foremost, use a leaf net (like the Swimline 8040 Professional Heavy Duty Deep-Bag Pool Rake) to remove the floating debris in your pool. While doing this might make the pool look worse than it did before removal of the debris, this removal will help stir the smaller debris which will float on the pool water and eventually make it’s way to your filter. No vacuuming of the pool should be done at this point, regardless of the amount of debris you have at the bottom of the pool. Vacuuming will only clog your filter, skimmer, and pool water pipes in the underground if you have them.

Test the Pool Water

taylor-k2006You can use a pool water home test kit to do this. Your test will give you a picture of the chemical composition of the pool water. You will be testing for the water’s alkalinity, pH, chlorine levels and calcium hardness. We’re HUGE fans of the TAYLOR K-2006 TEST KIT and highly recommend picking one up as it will save you MANY trips to the pool store to test your water.

It is very likely that the calcium hardness and the water pH are the cause of the pool water becoming cloudy. The chlorine levels in your water could also be too low to keep the water clear. Without chlorine, contaminants and particles accumulate in your pool because the water is not undergoing any cleansing. Make adjustments to your pool’s chemical levels and run your filter system all day every day (24×7) until it’s clear. Take between 12 and 24 hours before re-testing the chemical levels.  The recommended levels are as follows:

  • The pool water pH should be between 7.2 and 7.6
  • Calcium hardness should be between 200 and 300 ppm.
  • Free Chlorine should be between 1 and 5 ppm depending on your pool size
  • Pool water Alkalinity should be between 90 and 120 ppm

When to Shock a Pool

Shock Your Pool

Shocking refers to super chlorination of the pool water. Done right, this will kill all algae and bacteria in the pool and get you on your way to sparkling water. Sometimes a pool may be so dirty that you may need to shock the pool several times before you see the water becoming clear again. You can start shocking the pool water by applying three or four pounds of chlorine for every ten thousand pool water gallons. After that is done, WAIT!…..for at least 12 hours before adding more chlorine. Keep doing this until you see a significant change in the color and clarity of your pool water.

Remember, shocking only kills the algae. For your pool water to clear, the algae must be removed from the water. This can be done by use of algaecides and/or simply allowing your filter to run continuously until it’s all gone from your pool. Remember to keep an eye on your filter pressure gauge so you know when the pressure is too high. This means your filter is jammed up with all of the debris it’s clearing out and needs a good backwashing.

Run the Pool Filter

Hayward Pro Series Sand Filter Model S180TRun the filter of your pool continuously for 24 hours or clean the filter a few times everyday as the pressure gauge dictates. Cloudy or green water quickly clogs a water filter thus it is important to clean the filter several times each day for quicker results. Don’t be afraid of over cleaning it. Every cleaning task that you do takes you a step closer to a clearer pool. Your pool should have cleared within a week of going through all these processes. If not, you could possibly be looking at a faulty filter.I had a similar situation when my Waterway filter sprung a leak and wasn’t clearing the pool correctly. You can read more about it here and find out how replacing my filter with the Hayward Pro Series sand filter saved the day.

Finally, you can also choose dilution to clear up your water. Just lower the pool water level with about three feet and then add fresh water to fill it again. That again could be a last resort as adding new water could cause your pool chemical levels to go crazy. It’s a ‘last resort’ type of deal.

>> Find the Hayward S180T on Amazon! <<

Use Super-Floc

Your pool might have become too cloudy to be cleared by a clarifier or by shocking it. If this is the case, you may want to use a SUPER FLOC. Carefully follow the Floc manufacturer’s instructions to apply it in your pool. Super-Floc application will cause the particles that were suspended on your pool water to sink to the pool’s floor where they can be vacuumed away. Super-Floc has an ability to form a mass with the fine particles making them large enough to sink which makes vacuuming the pool very easy and very efficient. I would personally only go the Super Floc route if none of the other methods above (#’s 1, 2, 3 and 4) didn’t work.

If you get to the point where you need to use Super Floc, watch the video below for the best method:

As you may have figured out by now, making your pool water clear can be quite an extensive process. But fear not….every pool owner will go through it at some point and it’s just the cost of owning a pool. But as the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” which in this situation means it’s best to keep a close eye on your pool to prevent it from getting too dull or cloudy. Routine pool maintenance is the best way of ensuring that your pool continuously stays clear and that is the best way to make sure your pool sparkles all season long!