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Thread: High Chlorine level leading to cloudy water?

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    High Chlorine level leading to cloudy water?

    Hi, I'm new to this forum, so still getting the hang of things. I have a 15,000 gallon above ground pool that has been fairly clear throughout the summer. I went out of town for a week or so and left the pool in the hands of my fiance. It was storming a lot last week, so I expected it to be a little green. But since then, the chlorine levels have been really high (She may have shocked it too much and added too much chlorine), and I cannot get the pool to clear up. My levels are below:

    FC: 10
    TC: 10
    AK: 80
    PH: 7.2
    TH: 0-100

    I know that I need to get my hardness up, but are there any other suggestions on lowering the chlorine level? I am backwashing and cleaning everyday, all the while continuing to add more fresh water. I've read about floccing, is this something that I should consider? Any advice would be great!

    -Kevin

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: High Chlorine level leading to cloudy water?

    You need to know your CYA level to know if your FC level is sufficient for sanitation. See the Chlorine/CYA chart in my signature.

    What type of shock was used and how are you typically chlorinating the pool?

    Hardness is fairly meaningless in a vinyl-lined or AG pool. As long as it's above 50 ppm, it's fine.

    How are you testing your pool water? Pool store results are given little credence here as most of the time they use inaccurate electronic systems, especially for critical tests. Test strips are borderline useless as well. A drop-based home test kit is the most convenient and accurate. Check out Pool School - Test Kits Compared The TF-100 is best, the K-2006 is passable but doesn't have as many reagents.

    Welcome to TFP!
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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    Smile Re: High Chlorine level leading to cloudy water?

    Quote Originally Posted by JVTrain View Post
    You need to know your CYA level to know if your FC level is sufficient for sanitation. See the Chlorine/CYA chart in my signature.

    What type of shock was used and how are you typically chlorinating the pool?

    Hardness is fairly meaningless in a vinyl-lined or AG pool. As long as it's above 50 ppm, it's fine.

    How are you testing your pool water? Pool store results are given little credence here as most of the time they use inaccurate electronic systems, especially for critical tests. Test strips are borderline useless as well. A drop-based home test kit is the most convenient and accurate. Check out Pool School - Test Kits Compared The TF-100 is best, the K-2006 is passable but doesn't have as many reagents.

    Welcome to TFP!
    I have not tested the CYA, but I have a feeling that might be off based upon what I've read online. I have some Guardex Conditioner and PoolPerfect PhosFree left over from the previous owner, should I be using these products? This CYA stuff is new to me and confusing....

    We use GLB Stabilizing Chlorinating tablets in a floating dispenser, usually just add another one when it runs out. When we need to bump up our CH level (after rain, lots of swimming, etc.), I will add granular chlorine straight into the pool (GLB as well). Since I was out of town, I'm not sure how much my fiance was dumping in and she is also unsure. A few days ago, I added about 4 lbs. of Leslie's Pool Shock (Power Powder). So far, that has done absolutely nothing to clear it up. I've also added various clarifiers.

    I'm pretty sure that if I just keep backwashing and re-filling with clean water, it should get back to normal. But I was really just wondering about the floccing and when it's absolutely necessary. This also happened at the end of the summer last year, but we were closing the pool in a few weeks so I didn't really address the issue.

    Any thoughts? Anything I should try?

    Thanks!

    -Kevin

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: High Chlorine level leading to cloudy water?

    Welcome to TFP!

    CH is calcium hardness. Do you mean chlorine when you type CH? Chlorine is FC, free chlorine.

    No, we do not recommend phosfree, floc, clarifier or any other pool potions that waste your money and don't make your pool better.

    +1 to ordering a TF-100 from TFTestkits.net and being in charge of your own pool.

    Here are the chemicals we recommend,
    Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals

    Read this to start learning the pool lingo, ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry
    More here about Pool School - How to Chlorinate Your Pool

    And to answer your question, no, chlorine will never cloud your pool. Algae clouds pools, bacteria clouds pools, Cal-hypo "shock" can temporarily cloud your pool from the calcium
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    Re: High Chlorine level leading to cloudy water?

    OK, thank you. And yes, I was talking about Chlorine. I've seen recommendations to keep shocking the pool, even with my Free Chlorine levels being very very high, is that correct? I've found that the only way to clear it up is to keep backwashing and adding fresh water. I've noticed some algae, as the water is still cloudy, but much less green than it was a few days ago. So is my best option to lower the chlorine level to safer level is time (supposed to be sunny and hot the next few days), and adding fresh water?

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    Re: High Chlorine level leading to cloudy water?

    Quote Originally Posted by RaddestTad View Post
    OK, thank you. And yes, I was talking about Chlorine. I've seen recommendations to keep shocking the pool, even with my Free Chlorine levels being very very high, is that correct? I've found that the only way to clear it up is to keep backwashing and adding fresh water. I've noticed some algae, as the water is still cloudy, but much less green than it was a few days ago. So is my best option to lower the chlorine level to safer level is time (supposed to be sunny and hot the next few days), and adding fresh water?
    I'm also starting to wonder if this has to do with the CYA levels, or if it is just slowly removing the dead algae. Anyways, I know I should be patient, but only a few more days until the weekend. Any more suggestions?

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: High Chlorine level leading to cloudy water?

    Here is how we kill algae, SLAM

    What is your CYA?
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    Re: High Chlorine level leading to cloudy water?

    It likely does have to do with CYA levels if you've been chlorinating tablets (trichlor) and shocking with powder (either dichlor or cal-hypo). Trichlor adds CYA as well as chlorine. Dichlor does the same, but even faster. Cal-hypo will drive up your calcium hardness with each addition. You absolutely need to know your CYA level to determine how much FC is needed to clear the pool. Floc, clarifier, phosfree are all wastes of time and money.

    Understanding the relationship between CYA and FC is essential to maintaining a sanitized pool.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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    Re: High Chlorine level leading to cloudy water?

    Quote Originally Posted by JVTrain View Post
    It likely does have to do with CYA levels if you've been chlorinating tablets (trichlor) and shocking with powder (either dichlor or cal-hypo). Trichlor adds CYA as well as chlorine. Dichlor does the same, but even faster. Cal-hypo will drive up your calcium hardness with each addition. You absolutely need to know your CYA level to determine how much FC is needed to clear the pool. Floc, clarifier, phosfree are all wastes of time and money.

    Understanding the relationship between CYA and FC is essential to maintaining a sanitized pool.
    Ok, got it. I will get a kit to test for CYA and will post the results. I'll try to get to that today and hopefully I can get some more advice on next steps!

    -Thanks!

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    Re: High Chlorine level leading to cloudy water?

    So I just took a reading of the CYA, and it seems to be in the OK range...around 100. I've attached a few pictures as well to show the color and cloudiness. I've also noticed the water levels are decreasing faster than normal, so I'm not sure if that has anything to do with it. My chlorine is still high, and I might try to throw in some clarifier to see if that has any affect. But based on this pictures, is there anything further I should be checking for?

    Thanks!IMG_1858.jpgIMG_1859.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: High Chlorine level leading to cloudy water?

    Test strips are not acceptable results. They are ballpark at best, incorrect and misleading at worst. Your CYA is likely over 100. For example, if your CYA is 100, you need to bring your FC to 39 ppm to eliminate algae. Your CYA may indeed be higher.

    You need a proper test kit. It's the most important tool you will ever buy for your pool.

    The only way to deal with high CYA is to drain your pool. At least 50% of the water if the CYA is 100 ppm.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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    Re: High Chlorine level leading to cloudy water?

    OK, understood. I'm just surprised because the cloudiness pretty much happened over the course of a week or so (there were lots of storms as well and my fiance over-shocked the pool). It was basically crystal clear a few weeks ago, and now it won't clear up. So that's why I'm so surprised that this is a slow-building CYA level issue, or does something like that affect the water overnight? I will likely buy a better test kit, but I am trying to clear the water in the meantime. But it also sounds like adding new water would still be cheaper than bringing up my FC level to 40 or so. I don't even want to know how much shock that would take. I don't think that it's algae at this point, so not sure which way to go. I can definitely see to the bottom of the pool, it's just still pretty foggy and has a gross teal tint to it.

    I will also make sure to not use the chlorine tabs anymore. Any other thoughts are more than welcome as we're supposed to have people over to the pool this weekend!

    Thanks,

    Kevin

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: High Chlorine level leading to cloudy water?

    That is if FC of 40 is even the right number. You are at the top of the range for the test, it could really be 200 or 300. We've seen it many times. There are only a few things that cause cloudy water algae, bacteria and calcium. Calcium will cloud the water temporarily and it will clear up on its own. Algae and bacteria require chlorine to clear up.

    The primary job of chlorine is to sanitize the pool to make it safe for people to swim without getting sick. Killing algae is a fringe benefit. In order for a pool to be safe the chlorine level must be above minimum for your CYA, FC/CYA Chart, at ALL times. When FC drops below minimum the kill rate for bacteria, viruses and pathogens is not sufficient to ensure prevention of person to person disease transmission, especially in kids. Bacteria colonies double in size in one to several hours when there is not sufficient chlorine present to kill it. There are lots of sources of bacteria and pathogens in a pool, people, bird poop, bugs, animals.

    I would not swim in your pool this weekend, especially not with other people. It is bacteria soup.
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    Re: High Chlorine level leading to cloudy water?

    Quote Originally Posted by RaddestTad View Post
    OK, understood. I'm just surprised because the cloudiness pretty much happened over the course of a week or so (there were lots of storms as well and my fiance over-shocked the pool). It was basically crystal clear a few weeks ago, and now it won't clear up. So that's why I'm so surprised that this is a slow-building CYA level issue, or does something like that affect the water overnight? I will likely buy a better test kit, but I am trying to clear the water in the meantime. But it also sounds like adding new water would still be cheaper than bringing up my FC level to 40 or so. I don't even want to know how much shock that would take. I don't think that it's algae at this point, so not sure which way to go. I can definitely see to the bottom of the pool, it's just still pretty foggy and has a gross teal tint to it.

    I will also make sure to not use the chlorine tabs anymore. Any other thoughts are more than welcome as we're supposed to have people over to the pool this weekend!

    Thanks,

    Kevin
    Kevin, if you don't want to add chlorine to your pool which is in the middle of a bacteria/algae bloom, read pool school and buy a reliable kit, maybe the pool store can help you.
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    Re: High Chlorine level leading to cloudy water?

    So, the only thing to really do now is to drain/re-fill?

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    Re: High Chlorine level leading to cloudy water?

    Please read the ABC'S of Pool Water Chemistry in Pool School.

    I'm declaring this thread dead in the water... except the algae of course.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

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    Re: High Chlorine level leading to cloudy water?

    Quote Originally Posted by Casey View Post
    Please read the ABC'S of Pool Water Chemistry in Pool School.

    I'm declaring this thread dead in the water... except the algae of course.
    I've read them.

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    Re: High Chlorine level leading to cloudy water?

    What do you do if your CYA is 100 or more? What causes high CYA? What reduces high CYA?
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    Re: High Chlorine level leading to cloudy water?

    Even if you did drain your whole pool and refill, your water balance over the last few years have destroyed your liner. You drain it and you'll watch that liner pull away from the wall, shrink before your very eyes and once you try to fill it, you'll collapse the pool walls trying to get a shrunk liner to hang. And even if you are successful, you'll still have algae and bacteria in the pool and still need to SLAM.

    Your education here at TFP is just as important as us wanting you to have a pleasurable experience in a TFP pool. But until you dive into the information and start digesting it, you will have a huge road block that will not only frustrate the endless help and wealth of knowledgeable people here, it will frustrate YOU!

    You can not SLAM without a reliable test kit. Until you get one, you will waste your time, our time, your money and your summer.
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    Re: High Chlorine level leading to cloudy water?

    If you were already at the very lower limit of FC relative to CYA necessary to prevent algae growth, and your fiancÚ added even more CYA to your pool, then yes, an algae bloom could literally cloud your pool overnight.

    If your CYA is up around 300 ppm as it very well could be, you'd have to maintain an FC of at least 22 ppm to prevent algae from growing. And now that you have it, you're going to need something like 100 ppm to get rid of it.

    That's an impractical level of chlorine to try to maintain. So yes, you're going to have to drain. But without knowing your exact CYA number, it's impossible for us to tell you how much to drain or what your FC level needs to be after you do. You simply must have a test kit capable of measuring CYA accurately and FC up to 50 ppm. The two kits recommended over and again on this site, the K-2006 and the TF-100, will both do this. Test strips and OTO drops tests will not. Nor is "free" pool store testing considered reliable.

    Furthermore, any chlorine you add from this point on should only be in the form of bleach (aka liquid chlorine). The continued use of tablets or granulated chlorine will only add more CYA to your pool, making what chlorine you have even less effective.

    The bottom line is your chlorine level is not too high, it is too low for the CYA level in your water. That's why it is cloudy.
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