You walk out to your backyard, looking forward to a swim. Or maybe you’re setting up for a party, and you have friends coming over later. And then you see it… Cloudy swimming pool water. Yikes! What caused this, and how can you remedy it?
First, you will need to identify the source of the problem. Cloudy swimming pool water can be caused by…
- Improperly balanced chemicals – too much or too little chlorine, the water’s pH is “off”, or the calcium level is too high (hard water)
- Poor filtration – your filter isn’t running long enough, or the filter is dirty.
- Environmental factors and/or debris – run-off water has contributed phosphates, nitrates, or other chemicals into the pool. Or, debris such as leaves, dirt, bird droppings, dust, pollen, and insects have built up in the water (and within the filter).
Determine which of these problems is the culprit, causing your cloudy swimming pool water, by checking the filter and testing the water’s chemical and pH levels. Once you’ve identified the problem(s), you simply need to take one or more of the following steps (you might have multiple problems going on):
Clean the pool’s filtration system, check to be sure you’re using the right pump size for your pool, and set the system to filter about 8-10 hours per day. That’s typical for home use, although heavily used pools might need additional filtration time.
Balance your pool’s pH. Ideally, your pool water should test at a pH of 7.4 to 7.6, although slight variations at times are no big deal. Once the pH drops below 7.0, the water is too acidic and you need to increase the pH. If the pH has become too alkaline (higher than 7.6 or so), you need to lower it to the appropriate range.
Balance the pool’s chlorine level. Test the water’s chlorine levels, and take the appropriate steps to raise or lower chlorine levels. Often, an incorrect pH level will cause the free chlorine level to decrease, and form chloramine instead. This turns the water cloudy, and now the chlorine is ineffective at killing bacteria and algae.
If debris is the problem, removing it is the obvious solution. Vacuum the pool, clean your filters, and scrub surfaces to remove algae. If algae was the culprit, you might also need to shock your pool to kill it.
These are just general guidelines on dealing with cloudy swimming pool water. For a professional diagnosis of your exact problem, along with specific advice geared toward your exact situation, give us a call. We can test your pool water, diagnose the source of the cloudiness, and give you a precise recommendation to fix any issues that are causing the trouble.
As we all get ready for summer, you will be using your pool more frequently. And of course, that might mean more frequent cleanings. If you will be performing these tasks yourself, here are five absolute essentials that you must complete on a regular basis, to keep your pool healthy, clean, and attractive.
Basic cleaning. Clean out the filtration system baskets, and remove any plugs you might have installed during times you weren’t using the pool. Continue to scoop leaves and other debris daily, and vacuum the bottom of the pool as needed. Backwash the sand filter, if you have one.
Top it off. Any time your water level falls below normal, top it off.
Test your water’s pH level. Do-it-yourself test strips will indicate the pH level of the water, so that you can adjust it accordingly. Remember that balancing pH is an ongoing task. You will need to test regularly, especially after you’ve added water to the pool or it has rained. Use sodium bicarbonate to increase pH, and muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate to decrease it.
Check other chemicals. Calcium levels are important, too, because softer water will absorb calcium from its environment. That means taking it from the grout in the tiles, damaging your pool. This process even affects vinyl.
Chlorine should remain between 1 ppm and 3ppm. Cyanuric acid tablets inhibit the sun’s ability to burn off chlorine, essentially acting as a “sunscreen” for your pool. But don’t use these if your pool has metal filter system or heater. You will need to attach a plastic chlorinator to your filter system in that case.
Ideally, you will test chemical levels daily.
Don’t use the pool if the water isn’t clear, and you can’t see the bottom. This indicates that your cleaning or maintenance procedures aren’t doing the job, and you need professional help in order to get your pool safe and clean.
And remember: Don’t ever drain all of the water from your pool, unless doing so is absolutely necessary to perform work. Most people don’t know this, but the weight of the water keeps the pool in the ground. If you have a high water table in your yard, draining the pool completely could lead to the entire thing lifting out of the ground, requiring replacement!
You can certainly complete all of these tasks yourself, but many pool owners find that maintaining a pool is a cumbersome task. For about 25 dollars a week, you can contract a pool maintenance professional to take care of your pool – giving you more time to relax and enjoy it. Contact us for more details on pool maintenance, and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.