Cleaning and Maintenance

7 Causes and Solutions for Cloudy Pool Water

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If you own a swimming pool, you might sometimes experience the problem of having cloudy water. This can indicate some issues with the quality of the water. Aside from potential safety concerns, swimming in a pool with cloudy water just doesn’t seem appealing. Finding a solution to restore the water clarity should be prioritized. Fixing this problem isn’t very difficult but the process can be time-consuming considering the necessary investigations to figure out what’s causing the unsightly cloudiness of the pool water.

Even if they have a pretty strict maintenance schedule, most pool owners will still occasionally have to deal with the issue of cloudy water. From poor filtration to environmental factors and chemical imbalances, there are lots of aspects to analyze before taking action. Let’s explore all the possible causes for this problem and what kind of solutions are needed to restore the clear qualities of the pool water. The swimming season won’t be compromised if you take action and determine the exact cause of the cloudiness.

1. Poor Filtration

The filter is the first element of the pool that needs to be checked when experiencing water cloudiness. Proper filtration is vital for the health of the pool because the water needs to stay clean to enjoy a pleasant swimming time. It’s also important in terms of water clarity because cloudiness appears frequently if the water doesn’t circulate and remains stagnant.

If you suspect that something’s wrong with your pool filtration system, here are some solutions worth trying:

  • Make sure that your cartridge filter is clean. If you don’t remember the last time you’ve cleaned it properly, it’s time to remove any accumulated dirt and debris. For a more thorough cleaning job, it’s recommended to use a dedicated pool cartridge filter cleaner such as this one from Amazon. Very old cartridges might require complete replacement depending on heavy usage.
  • Keep the filtration system running for the recommended time. It depends on usage factors, but it’s generally important to ensure that your pool’s filter runs for a correct amount of time to adequately clean the water. Around 10 hours of runtime represents the minimum for an optimal pool water clarity. If you want to have clean water all the time, the system needs to run non-stop.

  • Check the return fittings to make sure they’re correctly pointed towards the bottom of the pool. Your filter may work as expected but the jet fails to properly circulate the water at the bottom to clean it.
  • Inspect the pump and filtration system for signs of excessive wear or other mechanical issues. Parts of the filter can underperform and cause cloudy pool water by affecting the water pressure and overall cleaning effectiveness. You might need to replace the whole filtration system of the pool if that is the case.

2. Insufficient Chlorine

There are different kinds of chemical imbalances that can cause cloudiness in the pool water. A low level of chlorine is one of the most common problems to consider. This is an essential substance for maintaining the water free of algae spores, bacteria, and other contaminants that would otherwise thrive in an outdoor pool. Chlorine levels in the pool water can fluctuate depending on many factors such as heavy rainfall, UV light intensity, and the number of people using the pool.

What is your pool’s chlorine level? The answer to this question can be discovered with the help of a test kit such as this model from Amazon. This kind of testing tool allows you to see the chlorine level with good accuracy but also comes in handy for checking out the amounts of other important chemicals in the pool water.

If you find out that your pool water has insufficient levels of chlorine, the easiest solution is to shock the pool. This process refers to chlorinating a swimming pool and sanitizing it. It’s an important aspect of any pool maintenance routine. Keep in mind that pool shocking has to be done correctly to avoid unwanted side effects such as increasing calcium hardness or impacting the water’s pH. We recommend a liquid chlorinator based on sodium hypochlorite for a simple and effective chlorination boost.

3. Environmental Factors

The pool water’s cloudiness can be caused by many environmental factors such as trees, birds, and the weather. Small debris such as twigs, dust, and pollen can quickly accumulate in the pool. It can be tough shielding the pool water from all these possible contaminants. The filtration system takes care of most of the smaller particles but environmental debris can still have an impact on overall water clarity.

A solution for this problem is to use pool cleaners suitable for the specific type of swimming pool that you own. Telescope poles with skimmer nets such as this quality one on Amazon offer basic cleaning performance to collect debris. It’s important to get a model that includes a scrub brush to remove any appearing algae. When in the early growth stages, algae can cause murkiness of the water. Pool vacuums or robotic cleaners are also solid picks if you want to get more serious about pool maintenance without having to put in a lot of physical effort. Here’s a solid model on Amazon to consider.

4. Excessive Calcium

Some of the most persistent cloudy pool water problems can be caused by too much calcium. Excessive levels of this mineral create various issues for other elements of the pool such as the equipment and plumbing. A high amount of calcium can make the difference between crystal clear and murky water. Softening the water is a solution to reduce calcium levels but make sure not to overdo it because too little calcium can decrease the overall lifespan of the pool.

If you’re experiencing particularly elevated calcium hardness levels, water dilution could be the only fix. You will need to partially drain the pool and bring in fresh water. Be careful about other chemical imbalances that can be caused by this process. It could be necessary to test the pool with a kit to see whether water chemistry levels are balanced.

5. Imbalanced pH

Whether the water is too acidic or too basic, an imbalanced pH can cause some problems to the quality of the water in the pool. It’s not typically the cause of cloudy water but it can have an impact on clarity. Issues are more likely to appear when the pH is over 8.0 because chlorine effectiveness is reduced and bacteria or algae can make the water murky.

It’s important to note that low pH is also undesirable for pool water chemistry. In that case, it’s possible for chlorine to become too reactive and underperform at its job. Other chemicals in the pool water can also be affected by an imbalanced pH. Calcium buildup and scaling are also exacerbated so pH increaser/decreasers are recommended.

6. Particles From Swimmers

During busy swimming seasons, you can discover pool water cloudiness that comes from sunscreens and natural body oils. A large number of swimmers can contribute to a considerable water clarity problem when taking into account the way all these particles reflect the light.

Although foreign particles such as those coming from the sunscreen of swimmers aren’t a big cause for concern, you will need to implement some specific solutions to deal with the cloudiness. The small particles that can’t be removed with a leaf net or other basic cleaner will require a special treatment using a pool water clarifier or a pool flocculant. This kind of product is also recommended to use after undergoing a pool shocking treatment.

7. Rainwater Runoff

Rainwater isn’t normally something that affects pool water cloudiness. However, in some cases, chlorine levels can be severely impacted. Heavy storms may cause dilution of the pool water. Rainwater has various chemicals that can interfere with the normal composition of the pool water. The result is ineffective chlorine that quickly translates to murky water.

If you don’t regularly have cloudy pool water problems but spot them after heavy rainfall, this is probably the cause. The solution is to redo the chemical test to figure out what kind of adjustments have to be made to get your chlorine levels back to an optimal range.

Prevention Tips

Now that you finally managed to solve your cloudy pool water issues, there are some preventive steps you can take to avoid this issue in the future. It’s generally recommended to improve your pool maintenance on various levels. For example, try backwashing the pool more often such as once a week. Also, consider running the filtration system of the pool for as long as possible to keep the water clean.

Keeping a pool clarifier product close at hand could be helpful to tackle any future problems caused by environmental factors. It’s advised to test the pool a couple of times a week during the swimming season to check for potential imbalances in terms of pH, chlorine, calcium, and other chemicals. You might be able to spot chemistry imbalances before they start to become serious and cause murky pool water. Keep chlorine levels within 1 to 3 ppm and maintain a balanced pH, somewhere between 7.1 and 7.8 for best results.

By Stefan Bucur

Stefan is the founder and owner of Rhythm of the Home. He has 6 years of experience in home improvement, interior design, cleaning and organizing.

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