We get many calls at Bay Area Pool Service from do it yourself pool owners about cloudy pool water. Clean, clear pool water should allow you to easily see a quarter at the bottom of the deep end of the pool. Cloudy or murky pool water is a sign that the water is not safe to swim in. So I thought we should share some free advice about how to correct cloudy pool water at your home.
If you pool water is cloudy, it means there is something or a combination of things wrong in the following aspects of a clean pool; cleanliness, chemistry, filtration or circulation. At the first sign of your pool water becoming murky, these four things must be checked to find where the issue lies.
Keep Your Pool Clean
The simplest reason that pool water gets cloudy is due to excess debris in the water. Leaves and other organic debris can begin to deteriorate and upset the chemical balance in your water. Make sure to skim out all debris, as well as clean baskets and filters. Once the pool is cleaned, you will need to check the chemistry.
Check The Chemistry
Improper chemistry is a common reason that pool water becomes cloudy. The first step to uncovering what the problem is should be to test your chemistry. You need to test your chlorine, both total and free. You also need to check your alkalinity and PH balance to see where the levels currently are in your pool. There are two main chemical issues that can cause cloudy water:
- Sanitizer. Too little sanitizer in your pool water can cause it to become cloudy. When you check your chlorine levels, your free chlorine should be above 3 PPM. Your total chlorine should be similar; if the total chlorine is more than 1 PPM above your free chlorine, you have a combined chlorine problem. The water is unsafe and will need to be shocked (use a bleach and acid shock) to get chlorine levels back within safe ranges.
- PH levels. Your PH levels in your pool should stay as close to 7.6 as possible, within the range of 7.4- 7.8. When your PH levels go above this range, your pool water can become cloudy due to dissolved solid that are separated from the solution. This commonly occurs in pools that use calcium hypochlorite or bleach without enough acid to keep PH in the correct balance.
If your chemistry is correct, the problem may be from a filtration issue. Your filter must be cleaned and be working properly to keep your pool water safe. Depending on the type of filter you use in your pool, this can mean backwashing, cleaning or replacement when necessary.
- Cartridge filters. You may get cloudy pool water due to your cartridge filter needing replacement. If your filter is looking worn with the ends bent or the retainer bands broken, it is probably time to replace it. Make sure your new filter has all the correct pieces including an air bleed tube so that it can filter your water properly.
- Sand filters. Sand filters commonly can cause murky pool water due to their inefficiency in filtering water. If you have a sand filter, make sure it is regularly backwashed and does not become impacted. After cleaning the pool and checking the chemistry and circulation, if your clarity is not where you need it to be, you may want to consider changing your sand filter to either a cartridge or DE filter.
- DE filter. Make sure your DE filter does not need backwashing and that the grids are clean, intact and not impacted. Torn grids can cause the DE to come back into the pool through the pool returns after it is added to the skimmer after backwashing. If this is the case, you will need to have the filter diagnosed, making sure to turn off your pool system and release the pressure before you take it apart.
Often times the pool may be clean with a great working filter, yet the chemistry is never quite right regardless of how much a pool owner tries to adjust it. This is often caused by a poorly working circulation system that is not distributing the chemicals properly, allowing the water to become cloudy with algae and other contaminants.
To get your water circulating, you need the return fittings to do their job. Check your return fittings to make sure they are pointed in a slightly downward position. This pushed the water and chemicals down through your pool, instead of upward where it does the least amount of good. To make this more effective, synchronize these pool returns or ?eyeball? fittings so that the water is pushed in a circular motion, ensuring that your chemicals are evenly distributed, and all your water is filtered.
These four factors are the most common reasons your pool water can become cloudy. If you have checked all these areas, yet still have cloudy or murky pool water, it is time to call in a professional. You may be dealing with a poor pool design that is causing circulatory issues or a wide range of problems with your water or chemistry that is difficult to resolve without the right training or experience. Our excellent technicians are ready to help to get your pool clarity back to the clear, safe level that it needs to be.
One way to avoid these types of issues altogether is to become one of the thousands of Bay Area Pool Service customers that have their pools maintained by us. We will make sure your pool is kept clean and safe for swimming all year round, relieving you of the stress and hassle of maintaining your pool.