How to Clear Cloudy Water in 48 Hours or Less

We all are looking for the same things in our swimming pool water.  We want it to be safe, first and foremost.  We want to reduce potential damage to our pool’s surface, plumbing and equipment from improperly balanced water chemistry.  And let’s face it.  We want our pool to sparkle clearly.  If you find yourself facing cloudy water, here are some causes and solutions.

Low or No Sanitizer

When our sanitizer gets too low or non-existent, it can cause the water to be cloudy.  Whether you traditionally chlorinate your swimming pool with liquid, granular or tablet forms of chlorine, we need to make sure we have enough to not only clear the water, but kill bacteria and algae.  Even if you have a salt pool, you still have a chlorine pool.  You are just making your own chlorine.  

The recommended range of chlorine needed is 2 ppm-5 ppm. (Parts per million).  Although a chlorine reserve of 1 ppm will still ward off unwanted contaminants. If you have low chlorine, the best thing to do is to shock your swimming pool.  This just means extra chlorine than a normal maintenance dose.  Although many products are labeled as “shock”.  This just means if you were to shock your pool, that is the product you would use. Shock is a method. By shocking your pool you break down contaminants and organic load and leave yourself with a chlorine reserve to keep things trucking.

Dead Algae

If you recently killed off an algae bloom, you may be surprised to find your water cloudy.  This is because dead algae is very small and oftentimes too small for your filter to grab.  Once the chlorine level gets back below a 5 ppm, using a clarifier is your best bet.  There are two types of clarifiers.  One will make the particles bigger so that your filter can catch it.  The other type actually eats away at the suspended particles, saving your filter from extra waste.  I am a big fan of the second one.  Natural Chemistry’s Pool First Aid is a great example of such a product.

Low Alkalinity

Another common cause of cloudy swimming pool water is unbalanced water chemistry.  Low alkalinity and pH can cause cloudy water.  If this is the case for your pool, test the water before adding any chemicals.  Then use sodium bicarbonate (Alkalinity Up) or sodium carbonate (pH up).  Always read and follow any chemicals directions to ensure proper dosing and safety precautions.

A Dirty Filter

This is one of the most common reasons to have cloudy water.  You may be due for a filter clean or at least a backwash.  You cannot backwash a cartridge filter.  Only sand and diatomaceous earth filters can be backwashed.  If there is no room in the filter to capture dirt and debris, the particles just go around and around without getting caught in the filter.  It is suggested to clean your filter when your PSI (pounds per square inch) gets to be 8-10 psi against YOUR clean starting pressure.  Everyone’s clean starting pressure is different.  Most gauges have a dial where you can set to let you know when it is time to clean it.  If yours doesn’t, take a piece of duct tape and mark it once your filter is cleaned.

Suspended Particles

Much like dead algae, some particles are just too fine for your filter to filter out.  If your filter is clean and your chemistry is good, use a clarifier.  As I mentioned above, they come in two types.  Using the one that clumps everything together and drops it to the bottom of the swimming pool so you can vacuum it out might make the most sense.  Clarifiers usually work within 24 hours.  Make sure your chlorine level isn’t too high, or it will cancel out the product.

So you can see the different ways and methods to clear up cloudy water.  It can be one of the above-mentioned reasons or a combination of the two.  Make sure to check your filter.  Make sure your water chemistry is right.  Use the appropriate product to clear up a cloudy pool in less than 48 hours!  See you poolside!