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How to Clear a Cloudy Pool

How to Clear a Cloudy Pool

You’re enjoying a hot day and can only think of the sparkling blue water in your pool. Just as you are about to jump in, you notice that the water is cloudy. Cloudy water in swimming pools can be unattractive and even dangerous to your health. It may contain harmful bacteria. 

Join Clear Tech Pools and explore the causes of cloudy pool water and offer some suggestions to clear it up.

How to Clear a Cloudy Pool

Understanding the Concerns of Cloudy Pool Water

Who wants to swim in THAT water? Cloudy pool water can cause serious problems. It can stain your pool and corrode certain components, such as the accessories. If bacteria are the culprit, it can also lead to health issues.

So, what causes cloudy water in a pool? Let’s look at the most common culprits.

Depleted Pool Sanitizer

By adding pool sanitizers like bromine or chlorine to your water, you increase its ability to destroy debris that is either floating or sinking at the bottom of the pool. Debris can include dirt, pollen, or falling leaves. It can also come from people using your pool, such as sunscreen, beauty products, and sweat.

Did You Know?

Bromine is stronger than chlorine in fighting bacteria. After chlorine combines with bacteria, the water is sanitized. Bromine, however, continues to sanitize the water in your pool even after it has been combined with bacteria. This makes bromine more effective in clearing cloudy pool water but also more expensive than chlorine.

Here’s the thing: Your pool sanitizer depletes over time as it breaks down all that organic matter and debris. This means it becomes less effective in breaking down dirt, debris, and bacteria. Sunlight also reduces the level of pool sanitizer. Ultraviolet rays break down hypochlorite, which is used to sanitize your pool water.

Algae can also impact the ability of your pool sanitizer to keep water clean. Algae not only make it hard to see what is in the water, but they also deplete pool sanitizers, making them less effective.

Bromine vs. Chlorine. What’s the Difference?

Bromine is just as effective at killing bacteria, even though chlorine may be more well-known. Bromine is less acidic than chlorine, which helps stabilize your water’s chemistry. It is also more effective in high temperatures. On the other hand, chlorine is more efficient and slightly cheaper than bromine.

Filters and Pumps Clogged with Dirt

Cloudy water can also be caused by a lack of filter maintenance in either an above-ground or inground pool. A clogged filter or a pump that isn’t working properly can lead to cloudy water. To keep your pool water crystal clear, run your filter system for at least 8 hours per day. Regularly cleaning and maintaining your filter will ensure it functions effectively and keeps your pool water clear.

Unbalanced Pool Chemicals

Cloudy water can occur if your pool’s chemicals are not balanced. High pH levels, for example, can indicate that your water is not acidic enough, which can cause cloudy water. A high pH can also lead to a build-up of scale on the plumbing and pool surfaces, as well as problems with filtration and bacterial growth.

If your pool’s alkaline level is too high, you may also experience cloudy water. High alkalinity can prevent pH stabilization, causing scaling and cloudy water. Additionally, high alkalinity can cause metal pitting and damage to vinyl surfaces.

Cloudy water can also be caused by low levels of free chlorine, which is the purest form of chlorine. Test strips showing low levels of free chlorine likely indicate the presence of chloramines or combined chlorine. This not only makes the water smell like chloramines but also causes it to turn cloudy.

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The 6-Step Process to Clear a Cloudy Pool Water 

After you’ve figured out the causes of cloudy pool water, let’s discuss how to get rid of it.

1. Keep It Clean!

The first thing you should do to clear cloudy water from your pool is give it a thorough cleaning. Start by removing all large debris using a heavy-duty skimmer or even your hands, if possible. Then, use a pool brush to clean the walls. After you’ve removed all the dirt and debris, use a pool vacuum to clean the bottom and sides of the pool thoroughly.

Choose a Pool Brush

What is the best pool brush for you? It depends on the surface of your pool. If it’s made from concrete or gunite, you may want to use a stainless steel brush. If you have a vinyl pool liner, a nylon or polypropylene brush is ideal, as it won’t damage the pool walls. 

2. Shock Your Pool

Pool shock, also called pool clarifier, is a high concentration of chlorine. It removes combined chlorine molecules and eliminates cloudiness caused by bacteria or algae.

After shocking your pool, you should wait at least 24 hours before swimming. A non-chlorine shock can have the same result if you do not use chlorine. If you want to remove algae from your pool, you might have to shock it two or three times, depending on the type of algae.

3. Use a Pool Clarifier

You should always read the instructions before using your pool clarifier. If you need help choosing the right clarifier for your swimming pool, you can find our pool clarifier buyers’ guide here. Generally, you’ll follow the same steps no matter what product you select:

  • Use the amount of clarifier specified on the package: the amount you need will depend on the size of your pool and its total gallons.
  • Sit back and wait: It takes several days for most pool clarifiers to work. Keep your filter running during this time!
  • Vacuum: You can skip this step if you are using a traditional clarifyer (clarifiers cause particles to float to the surface of the water and then find their way into your pool filter). If you use flocculant instead, the particles will settle on the bottom of the pool where you can vacuum it up.
  • Test the water your filter and clarifier have had time to do their job, you can test your pool’s water. Even if the water in your pool appears clear, it is important to test it to ensure that all of the chemicals are balanced.

4. Run Your Filter (And Keep It Clean)

You should run your filter for at least 8 hours per day after you have deep cleaned and shocked your pool. This is how long a pool filter takes to filter a backyard pool. Remember, a dirty or clogged filter will be less effective. Be sure to clean the filter before you turn it on. Deep clean the filter if it is not already clean. This should be a part of your pool maintenance routine. You may need to replenish or replace the filter media depending on the type of filter you have.

5. Let the Bottom Drains Do Some Work

Your skimmer is only as good as your ability to use it. Pool vacuums probably won’t remove all of your pool’s bottom sediment. By turning on your bottom drains, you can divert all the sediment into your filter.

If you do not have bottom drains in your pool, connect your vacuum cleaner to it and place it on the bottom in the middle of the pool. Flip it over. This will make your filter pull water up from the bottom. You can then release the water through the return jet.

6. Test It!

Test each chemical in your pool using a strip and adjust the levels until the water balance is achieved.

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