White Cloudy Pool For Over A Week

by Wayne
(North Augusta, SC)

I've had white, cloudy water for just over a week. This has never happened in 10 years of maintaining this pool.

I shocked Thursday and added 32 ounces of 60% algaecide 2 hours later. NO change, probably a bit more cloudy. Pump has run non-stop. Water test results from Mon June 27:

FC 6.3

alkalinity 44

PH 7.6

calcium hardness 23

CYA 26

saturation index -1.27

The pool store is recommending I had half a bottle of flocculent, run pump 2 hours then shut off and let sit overnight, vacuum several times next morning. I'm skeptical. Suggest solutions. Your help greatly appreciated.

I really enjoy your webpage, it is informative. I especially like your About Me page.

Thanks for the question and complement Wayne

Your chlorine and pH are fine, so don't touch those. Chlorine is a bit high but will come down because of the sun and heat. The question didn't mention the kind of pool you have, whether an inground or above ground, or if has a vinyl liner. The reason is for the calcium.

It seems a bit low, but if you do have a vinyl liner, don't worry about it too much. Plaster pools need the calcium to be between 150 - 250ppm or else you'll get pitting or scaling.

It's the alkalinity (TA/total alkalinity) and CYA we need to deal with. The TA could be part of the problem for your cloudy water. The TA needs to be 80 - 100ppm. 120ppm is fine, but not any higher, and the CYA between 30 - 50ppm.

You can use sodium bicarb. (baking soda) to bring the TA up. Do this with the pump motor off. You can go to these links to learn how to do that. They have charts for your size pool:

You can also go to the Q&A page in the alkalinity category for lots more information about other people having the same issues:

Swimming Pool Questions and Answers

You'll want to raise the TA in a few application, not all at once. Make the adjustment in the evening then test in
the morning. Allow for one full turnover of the water before test. This is where many pool owners fall short. They adjust, then test an hour or two later. The chemical, regardless of what it is, needs to go through the entire system.

If it doesn't you may hit a spot that hasn't gotten anything yet and you'll get a false reading. Then you'll make another adjustment.

You've just overdosed the pool and now have another problem. Floccs are really over stated. It doesn't address why the pool is cloudy in the first place. The next one is how to you save money and help balance your pool with items from the grocery store.

You can use a PolyQuat 60 algaecide, but if your chlorine is 6.3 you don't need it. The chlorine kills the algae. If you keep that level between 1.5 - 3.5ppm, you won't get any algae and an algaecide won't be necessary.

There are a couple of exceptions on when to use an algaecide, but that's for another time. The CYA is just a bit low so you can use granular Dichlor to raise it. For every 10ppm of chlorine with Dichlor, you'll raise the CYA by 9ppm.

Be careful with this because constant use of Dichlor will cause your CYA go keep going up and the only way to reduce it is to do a partial drain and refill. Use Trichlor tabs for weekly maintenance of CYA. For every 10ppm chlorine added with Trichlor, it will raise the CYA 6ppm. Using the saturation wheel from my DPD K-2006 kit, I estimated that your saturation index is about -1.5, which is right near what you have. That's assuming your water temp. is about 80 degrees.

If you get the alkalinity to 100ppm, calcium to 200ppm, and water temp. at 80 degrees, you should have an SI level of about -0.2. This is in line where you should be. Anywhere between -0.5 through + 0.5 is good. Keep filtering 24/7. If you have hard water be sure your using liquid chlorine, not granular.

Have a great Summer


Comments for White Cloudy Pool For Over A Week

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Jul 31, 2015
Cloudy Gray Pool Water
by: Felicia Wilson

I am so glad that someone has been able to solve t h e or problem of cloudy gray pool water. Mine has been on going for 2-3 weeks now. I have an above ground pool, 7500 gals., vinyl liner and sand filter pump. The water was crystal clear and blue before I had that overload if swimmers.I tested the water and the alkaline was high. I decreased the alkaline and added clarifier. Shocked after 24 hours...No change! All of the chemical levels are reading in perfect range and my pool is still cloudy and gray.

Thanks for the question Felicia. We need to define shock. It's a process of maintaining enough FC to kill the algae/bacteria in the pool. Regardless of what you may have heard, it's a process, not a product you buy. This can be accomplished using grocery store bleach. I need your complete chemical readings, the actual numbers:

Chlorine, CYA (cyanuric acid/stabilizer), pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, and Metals (iron and copper) and names of any algaecides you may have used along with clarifiers, phosphate removers, and/or flocs. It makes troubleshooting much easier and the process of clearing up your pool will go much faster. Cloudy water is a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. You also must be absolutely sure the sand filter is working perfectly. This includes checking the freeboard.

Get back to my with the chemical numbers and we can go from there.

If you feel your situation is more complex than this, I do phone and/or SKYPE consultations. It makes things go much faster and many people have found it extremely beneficial, saving them time and money in the long run. All your questions will be answered. I have nothing to sell you so you know I'm not bias. If you purchase a personal phone consult you'll get all 3 eBooks for free.

Pool Consultation

Clear Blue Pool eBook

How To Clear Up A Green Pool eBook

Swimming Pool Resources


Feb 02, 2015
Added Baking Soda
by: Wayne

Thank you for your fast response. I will begin with the baking soda this evening when the sun goes down. I really appreciate your advice on this!

Want to pick your brain one more time. I added 8 pounds of baking soda last night, pump off for 2 hours, then on all night. NO change in the cloudiness of the water this morning.

Again I have a vinyl pool, 16 x 32, 22,000 gallons, sand filter (new sand and multi-port valve June 5) and Uniclor chlorine generator.

Numbers for comparison:
Monday morning

Free Chlorine - 6.3
total chlorine - 6.3
total alkalinity - 44
pH - 7.6
calcium hardness - 23
CYA - 26
dissolved solids - 500
Saturation index - -1.27

Tuesday Morning

Free Chlorine - 3.3
total chlorine - 3.3
total alkalinity - 94
pH - 7.7
calcium hardness - 51
CYA - 48
dissolved solids - 600
Saturation index - -0.50

I have never been more lost than i am right now. This pool has been largely trouble free for many years. Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Thank you for the additional info. I have been considering a floc since it did not clear overnight, but I like to go slow

I used the donation button on your site and sent a $25 donation via paypal. I got a verification email. My hope was that the money would go directly to you. Please let me know.

Feb 02, 2015
Gave Up And Used A Floc
by: Wayne

I finally gave in and used a floc. Mixed with 2 gallons of water, poured as evenly around pool as possible, ran pump 2 hours on recirculate, powered down, let water sit for 24 full hours.

Quite a bit of sand colored sediment around the perimeter, especially in the corners and a fine layer across the entire bottom. Very tricky to vacuum, like dealing with a ghost. Let is sit an hour after vacuuming and decided to floc one more time.

Same process, sit 24 hours, vacuumed 4 times after this, with one hour between each. It is clear now, all numbers good on 2 consecutive tests. My only problem is I don't know where all that stuff came from or even what it was.

I'm hoping it does not come back. Thanks again for your help and enjoy a wonderful Independence weekend.

Thanks for the update Wayne

Be sure to keep an eye on the chlorine level. Your Tuesday morning readings seem to be right in line. Don't allow the CYA to get too high.

The CYA can go up, but you'll need to increase the chlorine in proportion to the CYA. If you still have cloudy or slightly green water, you can shock with liquid chlorine in the evening, keep the pump going, and retest in the morning.

Manually dose your pool with chlorine to keep the level up over 12ppm for a few days. This will kill the algae. Be sure to back wash once per day to get rid of the dead algae and keep the water level up 1/3 - 1/2 from the bottom of the skimmer. Keep me informed as you progress along.

Have a great, safe, and happy July 4th.

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