Having cloudy pool water can be a serious issue that may be caused by multiple things. Possible contributors include things like a clogged filter, or improper levels for things like chlorine, ammonia, or alkalinity.
All of the above can cause your pool to go cloudy. Taking the steps outlined below can prevent the issue. They are also a part of a good maintenance routine for the pool.
You want to use a testing kit that can show the levels of the following chemicals:
- Calcium Hardness
- Cyanuric Acid (stabilizer)
These will give you a good indication for where the levels lie, and how to approach a cure for the cloudy water.
Learn more about How to Manage Pool Chemicals Effectively.
Chlorine, Part 1
The first thing you want to do is check your chlorine levels. If you have seriously cloudy pool water, it may be due to a high level of chloramines. Chloramines are released when chlorine interacts with the ammonia from swimmers’ saliva, perspiration, and other organic substances.
Excessive chloramine causes cloudy water, as well as the strong “chlorine” smell in some pools. It’s an indicator that your pool water doesn’t have enough free chlorine available, and may need to be shocked.
A low level of free chlorine is anything below 2.0ppm (parts per million), per the results of your test kit. The ideal range is between 2.0-4.0ppm. If you determine that your pool water needs to be shocked, this is the first step to take in addressing cloudy pool water.
Pool shock products come in a variety of strengths and mixtures. Some even include an algaecide. Be sure and read labels, so you use the type that is appropriate for your pool’s size and filtration system.
The next area to check is your filter. When was it last changed or cleaned? This is a quick area to fix. Cleaning the filter itself, along with a decent filter cleaning product, will quickly improve the filtration system’s ability to keep the water clean.
It is a good idea to replace your filter every couple of years. Depending on what they’re made of, each filter type will have slightly different maintenance instructions. Be sure to check before discarding the pamphlet or packaging.
Once the filtration system has been attended to, you need to focus on adding chemicals to the pool to bring the levels back under control. First, unless you use paper filters, you want to add a pool clarifier. These products gather tiny particles that make the water cloudy.
This process creates larger groups of particles that the filter can catch. That allows the filtration system to clean the pool water more effectively. However, paper filters are already able to “grab” extremely small particles, so using a clarifier creates a risk of clogging and blockage.
Next, you’ll want to use a pool flocculant. This will cause all of the particles to sink to the bottom of the pool. This way, using a pool vacuum will be that much more effective at cleaning the water and the pool floor.
Chlorine, Part 2
Finally, you want to balance out the chlorine level to set the pool for use. If you shocked it previously, you should be good to go. However, you need to make sure the chlorine has dissipated enough that it’s a safe level for swimmers.
As mentioned before, the ideal chlorine level is between 2.0-4.0 ppm. Anything more can damage your pool- and more importantly, your swimmers! There are chlorine neutralizers on the market in the event that you need a quick fix for excessive chlorine.
As an acid, chlorine directly affects the pH of your pool. The ideal range for your pool water’s pH is 7.4-7.6, per the test kit reading. This means the pool water is at a good balance to ward off microbes without becoming corrosive or cloudy.
It’s a good practice to test your pool levels once you have added the needed chemicals, before opening it up for use. Regular monitoring of all the levels will help prevent imbalances that lead to cloudy water.
As helpful as all of this information is, we understand that it’s often easier to leave the work to the professionals. Visit our Pool Maintenance service page to learn how Sun Valley Pool Service can help!