Cloudy Pool? Pool Clarifiers Can Help
“Why is my pool water cloudy?”
This is a question that every pool owner asks sooner or later. At best, cloudy pool water is unattractive and can put a damper on your plans for a picture-perfect pool party. At worst, cloudy pool water can pose health risks and harbor harmful bacteria.
What causes cloudy pool water? In general, it’s one or more of the following factors:
- Low levels of pool sanitizer. Chemicals like chlorine and bromine help break down common pool water contaminants like dirt and debris, sunscreen, and sweat. These sanitizers break down over time, though. If you don’t have enough sanitizer in your pool, you could be looking at cloudy water.
- Poorly maintained pumps and filters. Your swimming pool equipment needs to be cleaned and maintained regularly. Clogged or dirty equipment will be less effective at removing contaminants from your pool water -- and your water could become cloudy over time.
- Not vacuuming or brushing your pool. Even the most meticulously maintained pump and filter systems can’t remove 100% the sediment that collects at the bottom of your pool. Do your party to prevent cloudy pool water by vacuuming the bottom of your pool and brushing your pool walls regularly.
- Stormy weather. Your swimming pool might seem especially cloudy after a thunderstorm. Heavy rain can easily introduce large amounts of contaminants and debris to your pool in a short amount of time.
- Chemical imbalance. Balanced chemistry is key to keeping your swimming pool water clear, clean, and healthy. If your pool’s pH, chlorine, and alkaline levels are too high or too low, your pool water could become cloudy. This is just one more reason that you should test your pool water regularly.
To keep your pool water clean, clear, and healthy, we recommend testing your water weekly. Choose a test kit that will tell you if you need to add pool chemicals to maintain your water balance. Most pool supply stores and big-box retailers sell easy-to-use test kits or strips.
The good news is that, regardless of the cause, cloudy pool water is easy to fix. With a solid swimming pool maintenance routine -- and the help of a good pool clarifier -- you’ll be able to get your pool sparkling clean, clear, and healthy in no time.
What is pool clarifier?
The tricky part about cloudy pool water is that the particles of dirt and debris that cause it are teeny-tiny -- too tiny for even the fanciest pool filters.
Pool clarifier is a specially formulated treatment that captures those tiny particles and acts like a magnet, attracting them and bundling them into floating particles that are large enough to be filtered out.
How to choose the best pool clarifier
If you’re shopping for a pool clarifier, a good place to start is by asking your local pool retailer or your pool manufacturer for a recommendation. There are several great brands on the market to choose from, and they’ll all get the job done.
Here are a few things to consider when making your purchasing decision:
- Your budget. In general, less-expensive clarifiers tend to be single-purpose formulas designed to do one thing: remove particles from your pool. As you go up in price, you’ll find clarifiers that offer all manner of additional benefits, like preventing algae and helping to maintain your pool chemistry.
- Your pool’s specific issues. Are you just dealing with cloudy water? Or are you also dealing with algae? You can buy specialty products like algae clarifiers that allow you to deal with two common pool water issues with one product.
- Your filter. Some types of clarifiers -- such as gels, pool clarifier tablets or cubes, or formulas that contain aluminum sulfate -- can potentially clog cartridge filters or diatomaceous earth (DE) filters.
- Your timeline. Most pool clarifiers take a few days to get the job done, so if you’ve got a limited amount of time to treat your cloudy pool water, you might want to consider a flocculant instead of a clarifier.
Clarifier vs. Flocculant: What’s the Difference?
If you’ve ever searched for products to fix cloudy pool water, you’ve probably noticed that there are two main recommendations: clarifier and flocculant. Both products bundle tiny particles into larger, more manageable clumps -- but from there they work differently: When you use clarifier, the bundles float near the top of your pool water, where they find their way through your filtration system. Flocculants, on the other hand, cause the bundles to sink to the bottom of the pool, where you’ll need remove them with a vacuum.
It’s also worth noting that flocculants work a little faster than clarifiers, so if you need to get your cloudy pool under control in a few hours, they’re worth considering -- just remember to leave time for vacuuming!
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