Cloudy pool water: What causes it and how to fix it

As a pool or hot tub owner, cloudy water is not something that you want to see. Chances are that you have probably dealt with cloudy pool water before. Even though this is a common problem, it’s important that you catch this immediately and begin to remediate the problem before it worsens. We will walk you through the common reasons why your pool might be cloudy along with the steps you can take to fix your cloudy pool water.

What causes cloudy pool water?

In order to fix your cloudy pool water, you first must get to the bottom of what’s causing the problem. There are a few causes that you should check for which include:

1. Poor filtration

Have you checked your filtration system or pump recently? It’s easy for the filter to get clogged up and not filter your water as it should. This can cause poor circulation in your pool leading to cloudy water.

2. Chemical imbalance

If your pool chemicals become imbalanced, this can also cause cloudy water. There are many common chemicals that can cause cloudy water if their proportions get out of balance. These chemicals include:

  • Chlorine
  • pH
  • Alkaline
  • Calcium hardness
  • Cyanuric acid

3. Environmental factors

The environment around your pool can also be the culprit of cloudy pool water. Dust, pollen, insects, yard waste and much more can enter your pool water and cause a clog in the filtration system. After a big storm, runoff rainwater can enter your pool and be the cause of cloudy water as it brings in outside minerals that can affect the clarity of your pool water.

4. Excessive use

If your pool has a stretch of extremely high traffic this can also cause cloudy pool water. Excessive swimmers in your pool can throw off the chemical balance which leads to cloudy water.

How to fix cloudy pool water

When it comes to fixing your cloudy pool water, many solutions have DIY fixes and don’t require extra assistance. However, there are a few essential items you will need to have in order to successfully fix your cloudy pool water problem. These items include:

  • Pool water test kit and strips
  • Water clarifier
  • Non-chlorine shock
  • Calcium hypochlorite shock

Most typically, cloudy pool water can be attributed to an imbalance of some kind when it comes to your pool chemicals. That’s why we suggest having the items above on hand to properly diagnose your pool water’s chemistry. Once you have these on hand you can begin testing and trying various methods for fixing your issue. Here are the things you should check first in order to fix your cloudy pool water problem.

1. Check the filtration system

Every pool has a filter keeps your water clean and filters out anything that shouldn’t be in your water. However, over time these filters can become clogged and not work how they should. There are a few things you should check on your pool’s filtration system if you have cloudy water:

  • Ensure that the filter has been properly installed
  • Empty any debris that is caught in the filter
  • Check filter for any broken parts
  • Wash the filter until a stream of clear water flows through
  • Clean your filter with appropriate chemicals to sanitize

2. Check the chlorine and pH levels

It is very common for your pool’s chlorine levels to get unbalanced. Once you ensure that your filter is clean and operating correctly, next you will want to use your pool water test kit to check the chlorine and pH levels. These kits are designed to read the chemical levels in your pool and identify which ones are off. The test strips will be able to tell you if any chemicals need to be balanced or not. Chlorine levels in particular should be between 1.0 and 3.0 parts per million (PPM). For pH levels, 7.6 is the ideal balance. If this isn’t the case, you should use a pH increaser or reducer to reach this level.

3. Clarify the pool water

After checking the filter and ensuring that chemical levels are all in check, your pool water should be clear. If this isn’t the case, you may need to clarify your pool water further. Clarifying tablets and mixtures are available that can rid any excess algae or debris that’s causing a cloudy look in your water.

Preventing cloudy pool water in the future

After you’ve been through all these steps and you’ve finally gotten rid of the cloudy pool water, it’s important to take preventative steps so this doesn’t happen again. Some things that pool professionals recommend include:

  • Running the pool pump for at least 8 hours throughout the day.
  • Maintaining proper chlorine levels and pH levels.
  • Shocking your pool water weekly, especially after heavy rainfall.
  • Ensuring jets are facing downward so that water is properly circulated.

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