I Took The Winter Cover Off And My Pool Water Was Cloudy..Pool Start Up..

by Luann Svitek
(Canonsburg, Pa. USA)

When I put the pool to bed last season the water was great, as usual. I took the winter cover off and the water was and still is cloudy. I have a cartridge filtration system. I shocked it, put 2 bags of stabilizer in. There isn't any algae that I can see.

I just don't understand why it's cloudy when it wasn't when I put it to bed at the end of the season last year. My pool is 27ft. about 20,000 gallons of water and it's round, if that matters.

I tested the water with the test strips and the levels were all good except there was no chlorine, but now I have a good reading for it.

I opened the pool May 11th 2011. My pool place told me to shut off the filter to let everything sink to the bottom, which is what I am doing now. But I tried to tell them that the water was like this before we started running the filter and putting in chemicals.

I just don't understand what happened to the water from when we covered it last season to taking off the cover 2 days ago. What made it cloudy as it was covered for winter? I am really confused about this and would appreciate your help.

We also put a leaf catcher over top the cover to catch the leaves, of course and left them there all winter. I didn't take it off until we took the cover off. I think I will just take the leaves off myself as I need to next fall because it was horrible taking all that off the top of the cover.

My cover is good, but maybe that's why my water is cloudy. What water that was on the cover that we took off before taking the cover off was real thick and black sludge.

Do you think that got in the water through the cover?

Thanks for the question Luann

After the pool sits all Winter long the chlorine, as you found out, will be minimal, or none at all. Many people have this issue at their pool start up. You did the right thing of shocking the pool. But we need to be sure you reached the shock, or super chlorination level of 10Xs. Here are some charts for you.

This will give you the information you need for a proper shocking of your pool:

Swimming Pool Chlorine

Pool Shock

If you have hard fill water, I would also recommend using liquid chlorine. Any kind of chlorine granules will normally have calcium as a binder. You don't want more hardness in the water.

Sodium Hypochlorite

You can either test the fill water yourself, or call your local water company. They'll know what it is. If the hardness is around 100 - 150ppm or higher, I'd use liquid chlorine shock. When you add the chlorine to shock the pool, you always need to wait for 1 full turnover of the water before it can be tested.

This is something that alot of people fail to do, most of the time because of impatience. And when you have a pool, patience is a virtue.

The water
ALWAYS needs to fully circulate throughout the system, then retested, REGARDLESS of what adjustments you're making. If you test it too soon you might, or more than likely, will get a wrong reading. You could hit a "hot spot" or a "low spot". A normal pool will fully circulate within about 10 - 12 hours. That's the patience part.

Your chlorine level may drop quickly, even after a good shock because the algae, if there is any, will consume the chlorine. You'll need to test and manually dose the pool each day, keeping the chlorine level up around 6.0 - 8.0ppm until the water is clear again. If the CYA is low, you can shock with Dichlor.

This is a fast acting and fast dissovling chlorine that will also add CYA to your pool. But be careful with this because the CYA can get high quickly. A high chlorine level will not cause cloudy pool water, perhaps with the exception of granular chlorine. But this is temporary because the calcium will sink to the bottom.

You need to know if you hit the shock level. I always recommend a Taylor FAS-DPD K-2006 pool test kit. This will give you a dead on accurate reading. There's no guessing.

Water Testing Kit

Pool Water Testing

This test kit will also give you a reading for your stabilizer, called cyanuric acid, or CYA. If you can't get an FAS-DPD right away, you can take a sample of pool water to your local pool store and have them run the test. Ask them what kind of kit they use to do all the chemical tests. It might be interesting.

For maintenance, your CYA needs to be between 30 - 50ppm. There are many reasons for a cloudy pool, but most of the time it's improper chlorination and circulation. You pool guy probably told you to turn off the pump and allow the particles to sink to the bottom so you can vacuum it up later.

You need to keep circulating the pool. Keep the filter running 24/7 and clean out the cartridges once per day. If you have extra cartridges, which I hope you do, simply take out the dirty ones and replace them with the clean ones. Rotate them out once per day. Be sure to clean the dirty cartridges properly.

Spay them off with a garden hose, not a pressure washer. A stiff brush or paint brush to get the large off the cartridges. Be sure to scoop as much debris out of the pool as you can with a large leaf rake, not a blue skimmer. You want as much chlorine to go to the cloudiness as possible.

Cloudy Pool Water

You can also use a clarifier to help clear up the pool, but only do this after you've done the above. While shocking the pool and dosing every day, or at least every other day, you can use a PolyQuat 60 algaecide.

This is a good backup to keep any algae down until your pool is clear once again. So shock, test, keep the chlorine level up, test and filter, filter, filter, and test again.

Hope this helps and good luck with your pool.


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