Almost every day, someone here asks about Clarifiers and Flocs to solve problems, and often...why it didn't work. At TFP, we hardly if ever suggest using them because they can, and often do make things worse. I wanted to give my perspective on this and vent a little as well. To get that out of the way, it truly bothers me that Pool Stores send people home with these products having no idea whether they will work at all. From my perspective, we use these types products extensively in the water treatment industry for many, many, types of applications to clear cloudy, contaminated, and otherwise "dirty" water that is full of various suspended solids. These products work extremely well, and quite frankly these processes depend on the use of them to function. However, there are a couple of very critical and important reasons we have success with them.
Without being too technical, these products make particles join together so that they can be removed to clear the water. They may be removed in some way such as filtering, or the water may gently pour over some device and go elsewhere, now cleared of these particles. The first reason they work is because there are products that are targeted for very specific things and types of suspended solids. The second reason, and what I want to emphasize, is that we make certain a given product will work BEFORE we put it into any given system.
We NEVER, EVER, EVER, just dump something in hoping it will work, not ever. Should I repeat that? I won't, but that is exactly what the Pool Store or whomever is telling you to do. That is what upsets me about it. Well, mostly anyway...
So, to make this work...we take a given sample of water we want to treat and complete what is sometime very extensive experimentation on it, usually in a lab type environment. We do it with some unusual equipment as well. This work is done with extremely precise dosages of various products until we find one that works. Sometimes, the exact right product will ruin the situation if the dosage is wrong. Sure, we have a good guess on what will work and go from there, but there are still surprises to even the most seasoned Pro's at times. This testing can be long and sometimes very tedious, but it is the ONLY way to know if something really will work, and work properly.
I write this in hopes of shedding some light on this, particularly to someone new to Pool/Water chemistry. In my opinion it is just wrong and I think unethical to say: "Here, dump this in your pool and it should clear it right up". To me, that is irresponsible at best. We could never get away with that in our world, and treating water is how we put groceries on the table. Seeing someone get away with it really can test your patience, and I assure you that taking guesses like that will put us right out of business. I know, it's a swimming pool, but don't we all want a perfectly clear sparkly pool? I do, and based on my experience I do not, and would not put these things in mine without knowing they will work. And if you are curious, no, I would not take them and test them, because I have never had an issue that proper chemistry and good filtering didn't fix. That's my opinion, and my perspective, and hopefully it will be of value to some of you.