What To Do When Cloudy Water Strikes

Every aquatic facility manager needs to have crystal clear and inviting swimming pool water at their facility this summer. The reality however may be a pool that is hazy, cloudy and flat looking—especially as bather loads increase and temperatures rise. Here are some things to check when the pool goes cloudy this summer.


The first thing to check in a cloudy pool is the filter and circulation system. Make sure that everything is operating correctly. Check to see that the pressure reading on the filter gauge is not reading too high. When the pressure on the filter gauge reaches 10 psi over the normal setting the filter should be cleaned or backwashed. Also, check all skimmer suction baskets and the pump basket to make sure they are clean of debris such as leaves or pine needles. Make sure the pump is operating and there is a good strong flow of water coming back in through the pool return line. If circulation seems dull and the flow of water is not strong have a pool professional check the pump and filtration system.

Lack Of Sanitizer

During the summer increased heat and swimming can use chlorine up much faster. If water begins to look cloudy always do a test of the chlorine. Chlorine levels need be maintained at 1 to 3 ppm. Shock the pool weekly. This will help to clear out excess contaminates and keep the chlorine working properly. Make sure water is properly balanced. Check pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness and total dissolved solids. Calcium hardness builds up naturally from source water and certain chemicals. Calcium hardness should be kept at 200 to 400 ppm. Calcium hardness should be tested at least once a year. Total dissolved solids (TDS) is the build up of all chemicals and solids in the water. High evaporation leads to an increase in dissolved solids. Normal TDS levels are 1000 to 2000 ppm. When TDS is too high some of the pool water will need to be drained to dilute out the solids. Regular shocking and the use of a water clarifier can help reduce the build up of solids in pools. In high evaporation areas such as California or Arizona use a liquid solar cover. This product forms a micro-barrier at the pool surface that reduces the evaporation rate which saves heat, energy and chemicals.

Help The Filter

Pool filters are designed to remove very small particles from water. There is a limit however to what most filters can remove. For example when dust blows into the pool it can be of a micron size smaller than the filter can remove. As this builds up the water becomes more hazy. Water clarifiers are designed to grab tiny particles and cause them to bunch up together so they can be removed by the filter. The more small particles removed the clearer the water becomes. There are several clarity products to keep water sparkling clear in the marketplace—many of them are all natural and eco-friendly. For excessive cloudiness, look at some of the new products on the market designed specifically for this problem—there are even new ‘pod’ options (like dishwater pods) that offer a simple to use, dissolvable pod that can be placed in the skimmer basket—easy and safe for your staff to use. Run the pump for 24 hours and the pool returns to crystal clear. For pools with heavy oil build-up from sunscreens there are also products in the market that combine natural clarifier and an oil-eating enzyme in one—for a quick fix to cloudy water. If high phosphates are a problem in in your pool (be sure to test) either from source water, look for products that combine phosphate removal with a clarifier to simply your water treatment.

Clear water is as simple as 1-2-3:

  • Good equipment

  • Proper sanitizer and water balance

  • Helping the filter with an effective clarifier product

Keep these all in check and your pool will stay blue, clear and sparkling all summer long!

Information provided by Terry Arko, SeaKlear Pool & Spa Products

Bryan BuchkoComment