Cloudy Water Troubleshooting

We have seen it all and we know, no one wants to swim in a cloudy pool! The three things we are going to look at that are key in water clarity are…

  • Circulation

  • Filtration

  • Water Chemistry


  • Check to make sure the return jets are pointing down at a 45 degree angle and away from the skimmer. This will cause the water to go down and around.
  • Check the water level in the pool. It should be half way up the skimmer to draw water evenly from the surface of the pool.
  • Check for blockages, breakage, or air leaks in the plumbing. If you notice air bubbles coming though the return jet, there is a problem with the circulation.
  • Ensure the weir is present in the skimmer and is moving back and forth freely.
  • Check for debris in the skimmer and pump baskets.
  • Check the strength of the water flow through the return jet. If it is weak, follow instructions for troubleshooting the filtration. If that is all OK, but the flow is still weak, there is an issue with the circulation.



  • HOW OLD IS YOUR SAND OR CARTRIDGE? Filter sand should be changed every 5 – 7 years (sooner if not chemically cleaned annually). Cartridges should be replaced every 3 years.
  • Check the pressure gauge on your sand filter. If you turn off the pump and the gauge does not read zero, the gauge needs to be replaced.
  • Backwash and rinse the filter the ensure the filter sand is clear of debris. If you sand has not been chemically cleaned in the past year, use Filter Brite. This will strip the sand from all the built up oils and greases, rejuvenating the sand and helping it catch more particles in the water.
  • Check for the proper installation of the filter head. When properly installed, water should be coming out only of your return jet when set to the filter position. If there is sand coming into the pool through your jet returns there may be a broken lateral or standpipe in the bottom of your filter and it will need to be replaced.
  • Sometimes debris may be present in the pool that is too small for your filter to pick up. In this case a clarifer or filter aid such as Pool Tonic, Clarifying Tablets, Natural Clarifier, Power Floc, or Sparkle Up may be required.



  • An imbalance in pH, total alkalinity or calcium hardness can lead to cloudy water. A 1L sample should be brought in for testing when the pool is first started up for the summer, once a month throughout the pool season and before closing for the fall.
  • Check sanitizer level. The chlorine reading should be maintained at 3 – 5 ppm (bromine 2 – 4ppm) at all times to prevent build up of organics and kill bacteria.
  • Shock/oxidize the water. Pools should be shocked weekly to release free sanitizer into the water and oxidize summer wastes. Also shocking after a heavy rainfall or thunder storm is recommended.
  • A chlorine demand can lead to cloudy water. You may know you have a chlorine demand when there is an inability to maintain proper chlorine levels in the water regardless of how much chlorine is added. Your pool will use more sanitizer with extended heavy use of the high water temperature.
  • Test strips should be use regularly to monitor sanitizer levels throughout the summer.
  • Metals in water, like copper, and iron can cause the water to turn cloudy, green or even brown.


Keeping up with these three key factors in your pool will help your water stay sparkly and clear all summer long!





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