How To Make My Pool Not Cloudy
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So you have a fun swimming afternoon planned out for your family and you notice a need to know, ‘how to make my pool not cloudy’.
You notice the pool water has an uninviting milky appearance! What happened?
Here are the causes of a cloudy pool and what you can do to clear it to have your sparkling, crystal clear water back.
Let’s delve right in.
Levels of Pool Cloudiness
How would you describe the color of your cloudy pool water? Unfortunately, saying that the water is murky can be pretty vague. For this reason, you should familiarize yourself with the different stages of cloudy water in your pool.
Here are some categories of cloudy pool water.
This is the first stage of cloudy pool water. It is the least severe form. In this category, you will notice that the water still has its color but has lost its initial sparkle. A thorough pool cleaning could restore the original appearance of the water.
In this stage, your pool water has started to lose its color. As a result, it becomes difficult to see the small details on the bottom of your pool because the water has a hazy appearance.
This stage is the final and the most severe. The appearance of the water in your pool gets from bad to worse if not cleared out. When the water is milky, the bottom of the pool is no longer visible. It is dangerous to get into the pool during this stage as you may drown, not to mention that your pool could get damaged. This necessitates immediate measures to clear the cloudiness in the water.
What Causes Cloudy Pool Water?
So you have put a lot of effort into making sure that your pool remains clean. However, every once in a while, you observe that your pool water looks milky. Your first instinct tells you to start clearing the cloudy water to make it sparkling clean.
But to ensure that you come up with a suitable cleaning action, you must find out the reason behind the murky, unsightly appearance. Below are some of the causes of cloudy pool water;
1. Poor Circulation and Filtration
A filter system helps to keep your swimming pool clean by removing organic waste. Circulation helps to push pool water into the filter system so that it is cleared out.
So, when there is poor circulation, the filter systems will not keep a squeaky clean pool; therefore, it becomes cloudy.
So what causes poor filtration?
i. Unsuitable Pool Pump
Is your pool pump suited to your filter? Pool filters have similar rating systems to pool pumps as they are rated in gallons per minute, per square foot. Therefore, you should ensure that your pumps suit the filter unit.
When your pump is too powerful for your filter, it pushes more water than the filter can handle. This, therefore, prevents debris from being adequately cleared out, hence a cloudy pool. This could further result in damage to your filtration system.
So, ensure that you do not neglect your filter as you correctly size your pump.
ii. Weak Pool Pump
Is your pump powerful enough? Your pool pump should cycle its contents at least once per day. What’s more? A proper pump should complete a turnover in 8 hours.
Therefore if your pump is not powerful enough, it will not efficiently cycle water through the filter. This causes water to stagnate as debris is not removed, resulting in a cloudy pool.
iii. Dirt on The Filter
If the filter system is not cleaned, dirt particles and debris may clog the system preventing it from working correctly, therefore, cause cloudy water pools.
iv. Faulty Cartridge Filter
If a cartridge is torn, it will allow debris and other dirt particles to leak back into the return jets as milky water.
2. Imbalanced Chemicals
Pool chemicals are necessary to maintain a healthy and safe swimming pool. However, pool chemistry is the hardest part of pool maintenance. Adding an incorrect amount of the wrong chemicals is the primary cause of cloudy water and can even lead to algae.
The following are ways the various imbalanced chemicals cause cloudiness in water;
High Calcium Hardness
Calcium hardness refers to the measure of how much calcium is in the water. Sufficient levels of dissolved calcium tame the aggressive nature of the pool water, therefore preventing leaching out of certain substances in pool equipment. The proper calcium hardness levels should be between 200 and 400 ppm all the time.
High calcium hardness means an excessive amount of calcium in your pool and results in scaling and cloudy water in your pool. The high calcium levels can also result in pool filter and plumbing damage, thanks to the build-up of calcium deposits.
Improper pH Level
The standard pH level for your pool is between 7.2 to 7.8 on the pH scale. Although an imbalanced pH level does not directly explain why your pool water is cloudy, it prevents other chemicals, including chlorine, from working properly.
For instance, if, on the one hand, there is high pH, calcium will not dissolve properly, which will, in turn, make your pool water turn cloudy, and calcium scaling both in saltwater and non-salt water pools.
If, on the other hand, pH is low, chlorine becomes very reactive. As a result, it depletes very fast, forming lots of combined chlorine (chloramine), which turns the water cloudy and is ineffective in killing bacteria, algae, and other microorganisms in your water.
v. Improper Chlorine Levels
Chlorine is among the essential chemicals for your swimming pool. This is because it keeps the pool free from bacteria and microorganisms. Unfortunately, improper chlorine range, especially when other chemical levels are balanced, is a significant cause of cloudy pool water.
It is worth noting that there are different types of chlorine present in pool water, including free chlorine, combined chlorine, and total chlorine.
Free chlorine refers to the available chlorine that has not yet been combined with the pool water; therefore, it can effectively sanitize contaminants in your swimming pool.
The amount of chlorine that has already been used up to sanitize the water in your pool is known as combined chlorine. This means that the free chlorine has come into contact with organic material, ammonia, and nitrogen compounds in the pool water.
When combined and free chlorine mix, they form total chlorine. The ideal chlorine levels should always be; total chlorine 3 parts per million, 0.5 parts per million for combined chlorine, to avoid chloramine, which results in a cloudy pool.
vi. High Total Alkalinity
Total alkalinity keeps pH levels stable by absorbing changes in the water. However, when it is too high, it causes an imbalance in the pH levels and calcium scaling, which are all causes of water cloudiness in your pool. Therefore, it is essential to keep total alkalinity levels below 200 ppm.
vii. Other Chemical Imbalances
Some pool owners use phosphate, bromine, and other stabilizers such as cyanuric acid to maintain a healthy and clean pool. However, high levels of these pool chemicals can also result in a milky pool.
For instance, an excess amount of cyanuric acid (CYA) reduces free chlorine levels hence a cloudy pool. What’s more? Any bacteria in the water turns cyanuric acid into ammonia, resulting in cloudiness.
3. Environmental Debris
Sometimes the reason why your pool water could be cloudy is due to mother nature. For instance, your pool surrounding environment could be filled with dust, pollen, leaves, insects, and bird droppings which build up in your filter and impede the cleaning process, therefore, contributing to cloudiness in the swimming area water.
4. Rain Water
Rainwater causes nitrates, phosphates, silicates, sulfates, and other chemicals to run off into your pool, causing your water to be cloudy. So, if you have recently experienced a heavy storm and your pool water is milky, that’s likely to be the main cause.
Rainwater further dilutes your pool water chlorine levels rendering it less effective, and this, as earlier established, results in a cloudy swimming pool.
Algae are brought into the pools on bathing suits, airborne, dead leaves, and organic debris. It blooms as the sun rises and responds to light and heat for growth. If the algae bloom gets ahead of the chlorine inputted manually or by (salt-water) chlorine generators, algae’s growth and kill cycle will leave the water cloudy.
How To Test Pool Water
Before you get started on clearing the pool, it is essential that you first test the pool water. As earlier established, there are various causes of cloudy pool water. So testing the water allows you to establish the exact reason why the water is cloudy. This allows you to take the appropriate action to clear cloudy pool water.
Don’t know how to go about this? Here is a step-by-step guide on how to test cloudy pool water.
Step 1: Inspect The Color of The Pool Water.
Cloudy pool water can be hazy, dull, milky, or even green. So before you rush to buy expensive chemicals to treat your pool, first note the pool watercolor.
If, for instance, you realize that the water has turned green, this is an indication of the growth of algae, molds, or build-up of body waste from swimmers.
Step 2: Use a Pool Water Test Kit
A test kit allows you to measure the pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and chlorine levels of your pool water. There are two types of pool water test kits that you could use; the test strips or a test kit with reagents.
For test strips, you will need a sample of the pool water, then dip the strip. The test strips will then measure the chemical levels of your cloudy pool water, including the pH, cyanuric acid, calcium hardness, and chlorine levels.
You could opt for a test kit that includes reagents. Then, all you have to do is add the reagents into the pool water. The reagents will then cause the water to turn colors depending on the pH and chlorine levels present in the pool.
Step 3: Check Your Pool Filter
You should thoroughly inspect your pool’s filtration system to ascertain that everything is as it should be. Check the filter for buildups of sediments that interfere with the filtration of debris and dust particles which further affects your pool’s circulation system hence a milky pool.
Check for clogs by examining if the return pump in the pool has reduced pressure. Watch out also for tears or damage on the cartridge filter.
How to Clear Cloudy Pool Water
Now that you know the reasons for a milky pool, the next step is to clear it out. It is worth noting that the method you choose to clear cloudy pool water depends on why the pool is milky in the first place. You do not want to buy expensive chemicals to clean your pool when the reason for the milky water pool is a faulty filtration system, or do you?
Don’t know how to go about this? The following are ways you can fix cloudy pool water.
- Use of pool clarifiers
- Use of pool flocculant
- Fixing pool filters
- Use of algaecides
- Adjusting pH levels
- Shocking the pool
- Adjusting total alkalinity
- Adjusting calcium water hardness
- Hiring cleaning professionals
Let’s look at these methods in detail;
1. Use Pool Water Clarifier
If you test your pool water and realize that dirt particles and debris are the main cause of a cloudy pool, you should consider using a water clarifier. Water clarifiers will instantly clear cloudy water from your pool, leaving it sparkling clean.
To clear cloudy pool water using a water clarifier, follow the following steps;
Step 1: Turn on Your Filter System.
Turning on the filter unit helps to remove dirt particles suspended in the swimming pool.
Step 2: Clean the pool
You should use a brush to clean the walls, the bottom of the pool, the steps, and behind the ladders if there are any. This ensures that you remove all the dirt and debris that clings onto these surfaces, causing your pool to be cloudy.
Step 3: Add the pool clarifier
After you have successfully cleaned the pool, add an ounce of the pool clarifier. The pool clarifier works by clumping together the tiny particles and debris in the pool, making it easier for your pool filter to remove them; this leaves you with clean and clear pool water.
For the best results, ensure that your pool filter media runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
2. Use Pool Floc
Pool floc, also known as pool flocculant, is similar to the pool clarifier in that both products clump tiny particles and debris together. However, the only difference between these two substances is that the tiny particles have to be removed using a vacuum cleaner when using a pool flocculant. Water clarifiers rely on the pool’s filter unit.
To clear the pool using a pool floc, follow the following steps;
Step 1: Switch Off The Filter System
Step 2: Brush The Pool
Clean the pool using a brush to remove dirt particles that may be clinging onto the pool’s surfaces.
Step 3: Add Pool Floc
Pour pool floc powder into the water. The powder will attract tiny particles and debris to the bottom of the pool.
Step 4: Vacuum The Pool
Using a manual vacuum cleaner, remove the dirt particles on the floors of your pool.
It is worth noting that you may lose a lot of water as you vacuum your pool to remove the dirt particles; therefore, it is prudent to keep the hose running as you clean.
3. Fix the Pool Filter System
One of the leading causes of cloud particles in the water in your pool is a faulty filter. Therefore, once you test your water and ascertain that indeed there is poor filtration, you could;
i. Clean the Filter System
Dirt on your filter can clog your filter unit, making it difficult to remove dirt particles and debris from the pool. Therefore, if you realize that your filter unit is dirty, you could consider cleaning it.
You should turn off the filter, remove the cartridge, and use a garden pipe to clean it. This will help to ensure that the system works properly. However, keep the manufacturer’s instructions in mind to help you determine the standard pressure setting, so you know when to clean the cartridge. You do not want to cause further damage to your filter, or do you?
ii. Replace the Filter Unit
You may have damaged the pool filter while cleaning it, especially when using backwash cleaning methods, therefore causing it not to function correctly. If this is the case, the best thing to do is replace the entire filter unit or the parts that have been damaged.
4. Vacuum the Swimming Pool
The easiest way to get rid of dust particles, pollen, leaves, and bird droppings from your pool is simply through vacuuming for crystal clear water.
To effectively vacuum your pool, follow the following steps;
Step 1: Remove Large Debris from The Pool
You could use a skimming net to remove large particles such as leaves and tree twigs suspended in the pool.
Step 2: Gather The Appropriate Equipment.
To vacuum, you need a telescopic pole, a vacuum hose pipe, and a vacuum head.
Step 3: Assemble The Vacuum.
You should connect the vacuum head to the telescopic pole. Next, take one end of the hose and attach it to the top of the vacuum head. If the hose keeps slipping off, consider using a hose clamp.
Step 4: Place The Vacuum into The Pool
Once you are done assembling the vacuum, place it into the water so that the vacuum head rests on the pool floor, near the skimmer water return outlet. Remember to lean the pole against the walls to ensure that it does not fall into the water.
Step 5: Place The Other End of The Hose in The Skimmer Hole
Hold the free end of the vacuum hose in front of the skimmer return outlet to fill it with water. Next, insert the free end of the hose into the return outlet after ensuring that no bubbles are coming out from the vacuum head.
Step 6: Start Vacuuming
Start cleaning the pool. For the best results, start on the shallow end of your pool as you work your way towards the deep end. Ensure that you use long, slow strokes as you vacuum. The strokes should overlap each other to ensure that no stone is left unturned.
5. Use Algaecides
Algae blooms are a significant cause of milky pools. Therefore, when you inspect your pool water and ascertain that algae are the reason for your cloudy pool, you could invest in algaecides.
For instance, you could use C-Pool & Spa, a chemical that makes water inhabitable to algae so that it does not bloom in the first place. This helps to keep algae in check.
6. Adjust The pH
As earlier established, an improper pH level adversely affects other pool chemical levels, resulting in a milky pool. Therefore, if you test your pool water and realize an inappropriate pH level, that is, above or below the standard classes (pH: 7.2 – 7.8), you should adjust it.
You can do this by using a commercial acidifier or basify it with borax. However, ensure that you use eye and skin protectors and respirators as you mix strong acids and bases to avoid infections.
7. Shock the Pool
Pool shocking helps to adjust your pool’s chlorine levels and is an effective way to clear a cloudy pool. So if you test the pool water and realize that the combined chlorine levels exceed .3 parts per million, you should consider shocking the pool using calcium hypochlorite. Pool shock kits help to raise the chlorine to over 30ppm.
However, ensure that you shock your pool at night after everyone is done swimming. This is because shocking the pool raises chlorine levels to a range that may irritate both the skin and the eyes.
8. Adjust Total Alkalinity
If your pool water has high total alkalinity, you should consider using sodium bisulfate or muriatic acid. This will help keep the total alkalinity levels in check within six hours of treatment, ensuring a cloud-free pool.
Ensure that you follow the instructions on the sodium bisulfate or muriatic package to ensure that you add the right amount of chemicals according to the volume of your pool.
9. Adjust the Water Calcium Hardness
An excess amount of calcium in the water causes it to harden, hence the appearance of milky water. Therefore, in the case of water hardness, consider using a water softener.
Alternatively, you could consider diluting the hard water using softer water. This works best in slightly alkaline water, and it will only take a few days to observe the desired effect.
Ensure you consult pool cleaning professionals for recommendations on the strength and dilution of these products. This is because the hardness of local water resources varies from one location to another.
10. Hire a Cleaning Professional
Sometimes, even after several attempts to clean the pool and applying the above methods, the milky water will not clear out. This could indicate an undetected problem, which a cleaning expert can quickly diagnose. Therefore, you should consider hiring a professional.
Besides, a professional has the right equipment, knowledge, experience, and expertise to restore sparkling water in your pool within a short time. This will help you save time and your hard-earned money in the trial and error attempts to fix your pool. What’s more? Repeated cleaning can result in skin and mucous membrane irritation.
However, ensure that you are keen on the selection of the best cleaning service provider. You need to ensure that you get the total value of your money. So how do you choose the best pool cleaning services?
You could consider referrals and recommendations. Have friends, relatives, or colleagues who have sought pool cleaning services before referring you to an experienced professional.
Alternatively, you could look up various cleaning service providers online. Then, you could visit the professional’s websites, look up the reviews and testimonials from their existing customers. A professional with a lot of positive reviews and feedback is likely to offer you quality services. So you should go ahead and hire them.
How to Prevent a Cloudy Water Pool
Fixing a milky pool can be exhausting, time-consuming, and expensive too. In addition, you may not clear the pool successfully; therefore, you have to hire an expert, not to mention that the cloudy water can damage your swimming pool.
Wouldn’t you prefer preventing the occurrence of milky water in the first place? Not sure how to go about this? Here are tips to help you avoid a milky water pool;
1. Regularly Shocking the pool
You should commit to applying chlorine shock to your pool. This is because shocking the pool helps to destroy pathogenic bacteria in the water, reduces the build-up of micro-contaminants and organic matter, and kills algae. What’s more, it helps remove combined chlorine molecules, therefore preventing the occurrence of the milky water pool.
2. Regularly Testing the Pool’s Chemical Levels
You do not have to wait until your pool is milky to test the chemical levels. Instead, you can constantly test the pH, chlorine, and other chemical levels every once in a while. This way, you will catch imbalanced chemical levels in time and take the necessary action before they advance into a serious ground pool condition.
3. Maintaining a Clean Pool
Maintaining a clean pool is the easiest and most pocket-friendly way to prevent cloud particles from spreading into your pool. For example, you could use a vacuum cleaner to remove debris and dirt particles from the pool.
Alternatively, use a pool brush to clean the walls, floors, steps, and even the ladders of your pool to ensure that you remove all the dirt that may be clinging onto these surfaces. This will help to ensure a clean and cloud-free water pool.
4. Maintaining your Pool’s Filter
You should constantly check your pool’s filter unit to ascertain that it is not damaged and properly performs its intended function. You should also clean the filter unit regularly to remove dirt, sediments, and buildups that may get in the way of the filter functioning properly.
5. Invest in a Pool Cover
Leaves, dust particles, insect droppings, and pollen contribute to a milky pool. Now, these dirt particles are often carried into the pool by strong winds. Therefore, safeguarding the pool with a cover prevents these unwanted particles from getting into the pool hence a cloud-free pool. Consider purchasing a pool cover for your swimming area in case you do not already have one.
Why You Should Never Swim in a Cloudy Pool
Safety should be a priority for every pool owner. Therefore, if you notice that your pool water is cloudy, it is best to close it out until the water clears out. Here are reasons why you should avoid a pool with cloudy water;
1. It is Easier to Drown
The ability to see the bottom of your pool when taking that luxurious afternoon swim is vital. However, cloudy pools block visibility, making drowning easier. What’s worse? Drowning occurs in under two minutes, and the drowning person is difficult to spot in a cloudy pool.
Therefore, to reduce the chances of losing a life through drowning, ensure that you fix cloudy pool water as soon as you notice it.
2. Exposure to Urinary Tract Infections
Dirt, bacteria such as e.coli, and other contaminations often cause cloudy pool water. Swimming in a pool with the bacteria e.coli exposes you to the risk of contracting a urinary tract infection. This increases the bacterial contents in your urinary tract, leading you to a lifetime of unpleasant and recurring infections.
3. You May Get stomach Bugs
Bacteria such as E.coli are present in a cloudy swimming pool. Now E.coli causes stomach bugs among human beings. Therefore, when you swim in cloudy pool water, you may experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps, to mention a few.
4. Eye and Skin Irritation
Some swimmers often pee in the pool as they swim. This results in chloramine. Chloramine is a mixture of chlorine and nitrogen( from the urine), resulting in a cloudy pool.
So, when you come into contact with this cloudy water, you will experience irritation on your eyes and skin. You will therefore notice your eyes become red, and your skin starts to itch.
5. Exposure To Waterborne Diseases
A common characteristic of cloudy pool water is the presence of an awful stench. The stench is a result of chloramine. Contamination with sweat, blood, feces, urine, sunscreen, oil, dirt, and spit, to mention a few., often indicate high chloramine content. Now all these nasty contaminants put you at the risk of contracting a waterborne disease.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long should it take to clear a cloudy pool?
This depends on how cloudy your water is. For the most severe cases, it could take up to three days to clear a cloudy pool. An average cloudy pool will take at most two days to clear. For the best results, ensure that your filter runs 24/7, adjust the chemical levels, and add pool clarifiers or pool flocculant until the water is clear.
2. Will a cloudy pool clear on its own?
In most cases, a pool will appear cloudy after being shocked. However, the cloudiness clears its own within 24 hours after shocking. So for best results, ensure that the pool filter runs after shocking to achieve clear water within the shortest time possible.
3. Why is my pool clean but cloudy?
While pool chemicals are crucial in keeping your pool clean and healthy, an excessive amount of these chemicals could end up making your pool cloudy. Therefore, to know which chemicals have been overused, purchase a test kit. The test strip will show the exact range of the pH, alkalinity, chlorine, and calcium present in your pool.
4. How can I make my pool water clear naturally?
By using baking soda. Sodium bicarbonate, popularly known as baking soda, is naturally alkaline. Therefore when you add it to a cloudy pool, especially when the pool has imbalanced pH and alkalinity levels, it will keep these chemicals in check, improving your water’s stability and clarity.
5. Is it safe to swim in a cloudy pool?
No. If you notice cloudiness in your pool water, it is best to stay away from the pool until the problem has been fixed. This is because cloudy water blocks visibility, making it easy to drown. Besides, cloudy pools contain bacteria such as e.coli which cause stomach bugs and urinary tract infections.
6. Does pee in a pool make it cloudy?
Your childhood’s most common myth is that the water will change color if you urinate in a pool. While this is untrue, if pee mixes with combined chlorine, commonly known as chloramine, could result in a cloudy pool, you must shock the pool to clean it.
7. How do I make my pool water crystal clear?
You could consider shocking the pool by adding chlorine. Alternatively, you could use pool flocculant or pool clarifiers, or even hire an expert to help out if the water does not clear out even after shocking it.
8. When do you put the shock in the pool?
In the evening. Shocking brings chlorine levels up, and this could irritate the skin and eyes of anyone who gets into the pool, especially when the sun is boiling the chlorine out of your swimming area. Therefore, it is best to shock the pool in the evening when everyone is done swimming.
9. Will bleach clear up a cloudy pool?
Adding chlorine bleach to a cloudy pool will kill any organic contaminants giving you a clean pool. Often, a cloudy pool results from algae and bacteria, which bloom quickly, especially under direct sunlight.
10. Will chlorine tablets clear a cloudy pool?
Chlorine tablets work perfectly in eliminating milky water caused by bacteria, organic contaminants, and algae, to mention a few. Adding chlorine tablets to a pool is what is often referred to as shocking the pool.
11. Can too much shock make your pool cloudy?
Yes. The aftermath of using too much shock to clear your pool is cloudiness. The good thing is, the cloudiness is just temporary. Therefore, after shocking, dirt particles that cause cloudy water will clear out, leaving a sparkling clean pool behind when you run the filter unit.
12. How long does it take for cloudy water to clear after shocking?
Often, a pool is cloudy after shocking. However, the cloudiness is only temporary and will clear out within 24 hours. To quicken the clearing process father shocking the pool, you should keep filtering the pool and even add a little clarifier. Consider seeking professional help if your pool is not clear24 hours after shocking it.
Cloudiness in your pool water can result in drowning, skin and eye irritation, and exposure to stomach bugs, not to mention that a cloudy pool is not inviting to look at or swim in. For this reason, you need to fix it.
To employ the right fixing method, ensure that you know the exact cause of a cloudy pool by testing the water. A pool may be murky due to chemical imbalance, poor filtration, rainwater, and algae.
You can use pool clarifiers, pool floc, adjust pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and chlorine levels to clear milky pools. Alternatively, you can consider hiring a cleaning professional.
For thrilling swimming experiences, adapt the various measures to prevent cloudy water pools.