A cloudy swimming pool can very easily turn the most elegant and beautiful backyard attraction into an unusable eyesore.
From crystal clear water to milky cloudiness that tempts you to pour some cereal in, a clouded pool is a bane to every pool owner.
Swimming in the pool is rather fun and easy, but maintaining it is another story altogether. But when your pool water is cloudy, it can be a complicated and time-consuming process to get it clear again.
But we are not here to tell you that prevention is better than cure. Sure! A regular pool maintenance will keep the cloud away, but there are often moments when the pool gets cloudy overnight.
So, if you are out there complaining to your neighbors that, ‘My pool is cloudy!’ Then we have just the right guide for you.
We bring you a few tips on how to DIY the clouded pool problem along with discussing the reasons that lead to cloudy water in pool.
So, sit back and read along.
Why is my Pool Water Cloudy?
Well, your pool might have been the picture of crystal-clarity just a few days ago, but now you’re probably asking yourself, “Why is my pool cloudy all of a sudden?”
There are a lot of reasons that can lead to the water getting clouded, here are a few that we believe top the charts.
- Worn out pool filtration system.
The pool filtration system plays a pivotal role in maintaining a proper water circulation. The lack of which will lead to the pool water getting stagnant and form a breeding ground for a lot of bacteria that will turn your pool water cloudy.
For maintaining a pool with a minimal level of debris, it’s always better to run your filtration system at least 8 hours per day. But as time passes by, continuously using the filters will lead to them wearing out and its parts to decay.
Old and damaged filters fail at completely removing the water contaminants, and along with the stagnant water, makes the pool very cloudy very fast.
- Poor Water Chemical Balance.
You don’t need to be good in high-school chemistry to know what a proper pool chemical balance is, or how important it is to the overall health of your swimming pool.
A balanced pool chemistry has a significant impact on keeping your pool as clear and as cloud-less as possible. Certain factors like high ph, high alkalinity, high chlorine or other sanitizers, and high calcium hardness are important to look out for.
An excess of any of these features will lead the pool to get cloudy and murky and increasingly difficult to use as a result. At moments adding a pool shock to a perfectly clear and clean pool can cause temporary cloudiness, that can start the cloud forming process.
- Bad Sanitization.
For smaller debris particles, a sanitizer is an absolute must. Though it won’t be able to deal with the larger debris as well as your filtration system; the sanitizer acts instantly on the harmful microbes and fallen wastes like leaves.
Chlorine is one of the best sanitizers out there for pool water, but it gets depleted very fast. Certain by-products of human use, such as urine, sweat, sunscreen and beauty products are some of the major depleters of chlorine in the water.
The U.V rays of the sun, also play a significant role in depleting the chlorine from outdoor pools. Chlorine, when added to pool water, creates hypochlorite ions that sanitize the pool. The Ultra Violet rays overheat these ions causing them to evaporate and leaving your pool prone to microbes.
In some suburban homes, algae is also an important factor to look out for. Algae soaks up the chlorine and other sanitizers like bromine from your pool, and as a result, prompts you to re-apply your sanitizers over and over.
Too much of water contaminants will not let the chlorine work. And if your sanitizers are not working, then they are not going to be as effective at killing harmful pathogens such as E. Coli, making your pool water cloudy and unusable.
What can a Cloudy Pool Water lead to?
A lot of pool owners neglect the condition of their pools. And when it gets cloudy, they just wave it off as a trivial issue. But a cloudy pool is a dangerous backyard feature to have, as using it might lead to severe health complications and accidents.
Here are a few things cloudy pool water can lead to.
- Excess Microbes.
Cloudy pool water causes the bacteria levels in your pool to shoot up. The depletion of certain sanitizers such as chlorine and bromine increases the stress on the filters making them work harder which wear them out quicker, leading to stagnant water and germ infestation.
A low sanitizer level makes for a longer time for the harmful bacteria to grow and thrive in the water. This leads to infections like E.coli and Shigellosis to manifest in your pool water making it cloudy and unusable.
- Lousy water circulation and filtration.
A worn-out and old filtration system will make the pool water retain a lot of debris. The sanitizers will get used up quicker; as a result, allowing the microbes to stay longer, making the pool cloudy and a health hazard for anyone who will use it.
A bad filter will overwork your pool pump as well. It will have to strain itself to pump the water through the filters. And even then whatever amount of water flows through may not have enough pressure to distribute itself throughout the filters properly.
- Extreme Chemical Levels.
If your pool is cloudy, then the chances of it having an extreme pH level is very high. A cloudy swimming pool with a higher pH would mean that the water is not as acidic as it should be. A slightly acidic pool chemistry is essential to clean up the harmful bacteria.
Soft water, or water which is alkaline forms scales on the pool surface, and even inside the pumping mechanisms, making it very difficult for the sanitizers to get their work done. A very high pH and alkalinity may lead to metal pitting and wear and tear of the vinyl tiles.
This in turn may lead to filtration problems and bacterial growth thereby giving you a cloudy above ground pool.
On the other end of the spectrum, a high acidic property and chlorine can cause skin and lung irritation. The risk is greater for children, who suffer from asthma and skin allergies. Chlorine sanitization leaves behind chloramines as a byproduct. Excessive chloramine in the water can be quite irritating to the touch and even corrosive under extreme circumstances.
- Life Risk.
The cloudiness of your pool water can be a by-product of algae as well. The algae that might be growing in your pool may not be as poisonous to your health as their wilder variants. But it’s still a life risk when it comes to visibility, as suspended water particles don’t allow much light to pass through and you will not be able to see a drowning swimmer.
Due to the phenomenon called Instinctive Drowning Response, a drowning victim will hardly ever make much noise while they struggle to stay above water. An algae infestation reduces the visibility to such an extent that you may not be able to see the struggling swimmer let alone jump in to save him/her.
It’s also important to make sure that small children and pets don’t go swimming in the pool when it is cloudy.
How To Clear Up A Cloudy Pool?
Employing the help of professional pool cleaning agencies is the safest choice you can opt for. But more often than not, these agencies are very expensive, and they would swindle you into monthly packages, which you don’t even need.
So if you’re looking for old-fashioned ways on ‘how to clear cloudy pool into blue pool water,’ then we have just the right methods to help you out with.
- For Cartridge Filter Pools.
If your swimming pool has a cartridge filter in need of cleaning, then the most effective way of getting it up and running is to clean out the cartridges. By dipping it overnight in a tub of clean water mixed with detergent, the cartridges get thoroughly cleaned. Then when you switch the filtration system on, the cloudiness of the pool automatically diminishes.
Cartridge maintenance is essential as well, so avoid using chemicals such as flocculants and clarifiers as they will adversely affect your filtration system. It will clog out your cartridges, and you will not be able to clean them no matter how long you soak them in detergent or rinse them with a hose.
- For Sand Filter Pools.
Cleaning out your sand filtration system through backwashing is the best way to go if you’re looking to make your sand filter pool cloud-free. Backwashing the filters every fortnight for 2 minutes is a good habit to maintain, as prevention is always better than cure.
So, every time you backwash, look out for the water that comes out as a result, if it’s brown and dirty, it just means that you’ll need to backwash more often.
The sand media in the filter is not as durable or rather as re-usable as the cartridge filters, they only last about 8-10 years, and even less under certain circumstances.
If you still find dirty water coming out of backwashing even after repeatedly going through the process, then that might be one indicator of sand media replacement.
- Pool Shock Treatment
A shock treatment is perhaps the most extreme measure you can take to cleaning your pool. When there is too much algae deposition or excessive bacterial and organic contaminants, the cloudy pool water won’t clear up no matter how much you clean out the filters.
By shocking your pool with a high dosage of chlorine or other non-chemical products (for pools that use sanitizers), the cloudiness will instantly clear up leaving the water fresh and sparkling. But it’s important to keep in mind that, even though cloudy pool water clears up significantly, it’s still not ready for human use.
As a large amount of chlorine and sanitizers are added to the water, a cloudy pool after shocking has an extreme pH level with a very high acidic property. It may have a high chloramine content which will make the water irritating to the bare skin, and even corrosive to a certain degree.
Make sure that you balance out the pH before using it. And note that in case of an algae infestation it’s always better to shock your pool at least three times, to eliminate the risk of the algae returning from leftover pores.
- Pool Flocculant Treatment.
If you are running low on time, then an extensive pool cleaning option may not be the right choice for you. You might then be asking, ‘how to clear cloudy pool water fast without compromising on my pool quality?’ The answer to that is quite simple really, and the solution revolves around the use of a chemical called Floc or Flocculant.
Flocculants work by gathering all the suspended particulate matter that is clouding your pool and then sending them to the bottom of the pool to create a sizeable cloudy area there. But unlike your filtration systems, the Flocculant will not filter the particles out of the pool, which you will have to vacuum out using the pool pump manually.
Flocculant treatments only work for pools that don’t rely on any filtration systems especially cartridge filters. It is one of the fastest ways of cleaning up your pool, happens almost overnight, without compromising on efficiency. But it is instead demanding when it comes to vacuuming out the dirty water.
Cloudy pools are a hazard for any form of human use, and clearing them out is as difficult a process. But we hope that our guide today was able to simplify the whole cloudy pool treatment for you.
Happy swimming until we meet again!