A common problem for pool owners: cloudy water or murky water that simply won’t go away.

Today’s inquiry came from ‘Gavinn’ in Texas who asked, “We tested for all the things our test kit could (ph, alkalinity, chlorine free, chlorine total, iron, copper, calcium, cyanuric stabilizer) and all the tests came back great. Even tested a second time and go the same great results but the pool is till cloudy a week later. What else can we test for to make the pool clear?

TDS Meter
Meter for Total Dissolved Solids

The only test that we think may help in case like this: TDS (total dissolved solids).

Definition of TDS — The amount of suspended inorganic and organic substances in a liquid.

Why test for TDS in this situation? If all the other critical water parameters have tested fine then the pool more than likely does not have an issue like algae that would cause cloudiness… and therefore a good chance exists that the water contains a higher than usual amount of dissolved solids.

Testing for TDS

Wee know of two reliable testing methods for TDS: 1) Take pool water to a pool store and have them test for TDS; or 2) Use an inexpensive portable TDS meter yourself at home.

Lowering TDS levels in pool water

Most times a persistent TDS problem will result from a filtration issue such as:

  • A pool filter (usually a sand filter) not having the ability to capture the ultra-small dissolved solids. Use of a pool water clarifier or pool water flocculant will make the smaller particles stick together and thus become easier for the filter to capture.

    Note of caution: Pool clarifiers and flocculants can cause DE (diatomaceous earth) filters to clog up at an unbelievably quick rate and need bumping, recharging, and in some cases acid washing so read the directions carefully before using them in pools that have DE filters.
     

  • If a pool has a DE filter, a hairline crack may exist somewhere in the filter and/or rips in the cloth covering the filer grids or ‘fingers’ (used in older Hayward filters) may exist. Both situations would result in a passing of diatomaceous earth into the pool water.
     
  • The owner of the pool does not run the pool filter long enough to properly ‘turn over’ the pool water and thus give the pool filter a full chance to do its job.

Hopefully, Gavinn, the above information will point you in the correct direction.

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