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How to Handle Cloudy Pool Water

Cloudy water can have many causes, and many ways to fix. Read on for some help getting your water sparkling again!

Try as we might to keep our pools spotless and inviting, it sometimes seems that Mother Nature would like to turn our backyard oasis into The Black Lagoon! Cloudy water could be caused by algae, the sun, an improperly functioning filter, or a host of other reasons. The good news is that with little bit of know-how and a proper action plan, you can get your pool back in tip-top shape before you know it. Let’s get started!

1) Check to ensure your filter is operating properly

Make sure your filter is properly cleaned, at an optimum pressure, and running for at least 8 hours per day. If your pump isn’t running, your water will stagnate and eventually cloud. This is job #1 and should be performed before even thinking about water chemistry!

2) Test Your Water

Get yourself an accurate testing kit and see how things look. High alkalinity, high calcium, even high pH can all cause cloudiness in your pool. For help correcting an imbalance, please refer to the calculator below. For a proper order of operations, the following should be observed:

  1. If your pH and alkalinity are low, Alkalinity increaser should be used first. Afterwards, re-test your pH before adjusting.
  2. If your pH and alkalinity are high, use pH Minus for both.
  3. If your pH is low and alkalinity is high, raise the pH first, retest, then decrease alkalinity.
  4. If your pH is high and alkalinity is low, lower pH first, retest before adjusting alkalinity.

3) Address Any Chlorine Issues

After balancing your water, take a closer look at your chlorine levels. As the range increases between free chlorine and total chlorine, the greater your combined chlorine becomes. Combined chlorine, AKA chloramine, is essentially chlorine that has been “used up”; the sanitization properties have been depleted. Chloramines are known to cause cloudy water, as well as the bleach-like smell that people normally associate with chlorine.

4) Use a Clarifier

Pool water is made cloudy by many tiny particles gathered in your water, too small to be caught by your pool filter. A clarifier forces the particles together into larger “chunks” that cannot pass through your filter. You will not get instant results when using a clarifier, but should see a marked improvement within 1 turnover.


Water Correction Calculator

First, Enter Your Pool Size (in gallons)

Now locate the element you would like to change, enter your current value, and click calculate

Your Free Chlorine Level (0.1 – 10):

Your Salt Level (0-4200):


Your pH Level: (0.0 – 12)

Your Alkalinity Level (PPM) (0-300):

Your CYA Level (0-40):

Your Hardness (0-1000):

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