Cloudy pool water is something every pool owner can almost be sure of dealing with before the end of every swimming season.
While swimming in cloudy water can still be safe, it can cause skin irritation and red eyes if the pool chemistry is also unbalanced.
The good news is that dealing with cloudy pool water is relatively easy. However, in many instances, it takes some trial and error to identify the source of the problem.
If you want to have an easy time dealing with the problem, you should first understand the main causes of the pool problem.
What Causes Cloudy Pool Water
In many instances, cloudy pool water will result from one of the following or a combination of a few of these factors.
1. Chlorine Issues
If you use chlorine as the primary sanitizer for your pool like most pool owners, it is probably the reason you have a cloudy pool. If you have too little or too much chlorine in the water, you are likely to end up with the water looking cloudy.
When you have little chlorine, it is ineffective at killing some of the contaminants in the pool, and as they accumulate in the pool, they make the water look cloudy.
Also, too much chlorine causes the water to turn opaque or murky as the excess amount will not dissolve well in the water. The CDC recommends you maintain chlorine levels at between 1 and 3 ppm.
2. Filtration Problems
The pool's filtration system should be able to trap all contaminants that often make the water cloudy. Therefore, if it is not working well, then you are more likely to get murky water.
Most of the time, cloudy water occurs due to filtration problems. They include the pump not circulating the water through the filters correctly or having a dirty and clogged filter, meaning they cannot trap contaminants effectively.
3. Environment Factors.
You can still get cloudy water even when your pool chemistry is in perfect balance, and the filtration system works well, as environmental factors also contribute to the problem.
Everything from the weather to the things around your swimming pool, like trees and animals, can make the pool cloudy.
For example, trees and other plants can add pollen, dust, or even algae to your pool, which clouds it when the level of these contaminants gets too high.
6 Easy Ways to Clear Cloudy Pool Water
1. Balance Pool Chemistry
One of the first fixes you should try is balancing the pool chemistry when you notice that you have cloudy water. Here, you first need to test essential factors like chlorine, pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness.
The tests should be easy to do if you have good quality test strips like the JNW Direct Pool and Spa Test Strips. However, if you are looking for something more straightforward to use that will give you more accurate results, you can go for a digital testing kit like the LaMotte 2056 ColorQ Pro 7.
You can refer to your pool's manual to check the recommended levels for these different elements. However, this pool chemistry fact sheet provides a good breakdown of the levels of these various compounds to aim for as you test and balance your pool.
2. Check the Filtration System
Whether your pool chemistry is in perfect balance or not, it is also a great idea to check your filtration system as you try to clear your water.
Remember that your filtration system is what should remove the contaminants that cause pool problems like cloudiness. Therefore, regardless of the source of the cloudy water, a filtration system that is working well should handle the problem.
Start by checking your pool's pump and ensure you are running it long enough every day. Most pools require you to run the pump for around 8 hours every day. However, you should calculate the specific run time by considering the pump capacity and pool size.
Next, you should check the condition of the filters. If you have a sand filter, simple backwashing and rinsing should be enough. For other types, you might need to spray them with a hose or replace the cartridge.
3. Vacuum and Skim Off Debris
If you think that your cloudy pool water results from environmental factors and can see the debris floating at the top and some are down on the pool floor, you need to remove them.
Here you will need a good skimmer, pool pump, and a good quality pool brush. Start by skimming and vacuuming off the large debris that you can see in the pool and try to remove as much of it as possible.
After removing what you can see, you need to give the pool walls, floor, and fixtures a good scrubbing with your pool brush to loosen any contaminants cling to them.
Once this is done, you should repeat the skimming and vacuuming before running your pump for the filters to capture what you will miss.
4. Add a Pool Clarifier
Sometimes the only solution for cloudy water is adding a clarifier. Pool clarifiers are products specifically meant to make the water clear.
These products provide a quick fix as they work by combining the tiny particles clouding the water to form a larger particle that will be easier to capture for your filtration system.
However, they do not work well for those with filtration systems that use the cartridge filters as they clog the paper pleats on these filters. The HTH 67023 Super Clarifier Swimming Pool Cleaner is an example of a good quality pool clarifier that does a fantastic job.
5. Use a Flocculant
If you are in a hurry to clear out your pool to be ready for use within the shortest time, a pool Flocculant or Floc, as many pool owners know it is a good solution.
Pool flocs also gather the tiny particles that cloud your water into larger clumps that will be easier to remove. However, unlike a clarifier, a pool floc will send the contaminants to the bottom of the pool, where your filter is not able to trap them.
Therefore, you will need to remove the cloud of contaminants from the bottom of your pool manually using a pool vacuum. Using a pool flock clear water fast, but it takes quite some work and will also not work well for cartridge filters.
6. Routine Pool Maintenance
Another easy fix for cloudy water is to observe a proper pool maintenance schedule. A good maintenance schedule should include testing and balancing your pool chemistry several times a week during the swimming season.
Also, you will need to skim, vacuum, and brush your pool as often as possible to remove debris and contaminants that can lead to cloudy water.
Make sure you run your pool pump long enough every day and shock the pool at least once a week to keep your water clean and clear.
Cloudy water is uninviting, and it can also cause problems like rashes, red eyes, and skin irritation for swimmers, as in most cases, the pool chemistry will also not be in balance.
By understanding what causes your pool water to get cloudy, then the problem should be easy to fix. In most instances, just observing proper pool maintenance habits should be enough to deal with the problem.
It helps if you also kept testing your pool chemistry to ensure everything is at an optimal level, and remember to cover the pool when not in use to keep put debris and other contaminants.