HELP! Hazy, turned Cloudy, turned Milky

JohnathanStein

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
59
NW Ohio
We've had one of those round Intex pools for 5 years (10' for 3 yrs, got an 18' last year), and never did anything but use chlorine tabs in floaters and occasional testing and shocking every 2-3 weeks as a precaution -- never had any real problems. I think the first year we got some brown color after initial shocking, but the filter took it out in a day or so (I might have used some softened water, that first fill).

The past few weeks, we had a some very hard rains -- the last was 2" in less than an hour! -- and some hot days (90+). A few days ago, the water became a bit hazy, so I shocked it (1 lb). The water got so cloudy you couldn't see bottom, and the pH went from 7.8 to 6.4, so I added a 5 lb container of "pH Plus" (sodium carbonate) -- whereupon the water turned a solid, glaring, milky white! pH when to 7.5.

I've been filtering constantly for two days, and get white residue when I rinse the changed filters, every 4-5 hours. The water is a bit less white, but not by much. Definitely cannot see bottom, or even the sides! It otherwise seems clean, there is no smell, it feels OK.

Last year's test results were:

TH 400
FC 0-1
pH 7.5 - 7.8
TA 180
CYA 0-30

pH was 6.8 - 7.2 this morning. Also, FWIW, we have a shallow well, which is hard enough that we use a softener for house water. The pool was filled with raw well water (over a 2-week period), as in the past.

I don't know what to do from here...


--Johnathan
 

JohnT

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Apr 4, 2007
9,476
SW Indiana
Welcome to TFP.

I'd advise you to avoid any powdered chemicals in your pool, and if you have too, add them a little at a time over several days. The filter just can't handle the cleanup.

You posted that your hardness was 400 last year. That could contribute to your cloudiness as well.

You probably want to avoid pH changes while your chlorine level is higher than normal. It causes inaccurate readings, and can cause you to chase your tail trying to get the pH adjusted. It's normally best to adjust pH before shocking, then assume it will stay close during the shock process. Large pH changes are very difficult to make, since the quantity of chemical can vary quite a bit with your TA.

If you aren't already, brush the pool frequently to keep any sediment stirred so the filter can try to clear it.

Many folks find that purchasing a small AG pump and filter for their seasonal pool results in better water.
 

JohnathanStein

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
59
NW Ohio
Hi JohnT,

Any idea what turned the water cloudy?

Why did it get "milky"?

Will filtering solve this?

Why this problem, "all of a sudden"? Never had any problems the past 4 years -- water was always crystal clear!


--Johnathan
 

frustratedpoolmom

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
May 20, 2007
12,179
SWSuburban Chicago, IL
The first instance of cloudiness was likely caused by not enough chlorine. It happens.

Can you post a full set of current test results?

Then the sodium carbonate combined with your hardness level caused the glaring white color you are now trying to clear.

It sounds like you are testing with strips (they are terribly inaccurate for most levels except PH. They are worthless for CYA.) What product are you shocking with? (the active ingredient)

As John said with this type of filter, it takes a LONG time to clear up cloudy water when a problem occurs. Keep hosing off the filter daily and replace it every 3-4 days until the water is clear. The disposable filters with the pool are meant to be tossed after 1-2 weeks... that's with normal use. When there is a problem you'll have to replace them more frequently.

Why all of a sudden? you were just lucky :lol: who knows....

I suspect your problem is two fold. Not enough chlorine and then the clouding from adding chems compounded things. We can help you get this clear. :wink:
 

JohnathanStein

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
59
NW Ohio
Frustrated -- Thanks for the reply. Guess I didn't make it clear, but the results have been pretty constant the past 4 years. The only change has been the pH drop after shocking; it remains on the low side this morning:

TEST RESULTS: DIP-STRIP
--------------------------
TH 400
FC 0-1
pH 6.8 - 7.2
TA 180
CYA 0-30

SHOCK: For 7,000g, I used 1 lb "hth Super shock 'n swim". The box says Active Ingredient is Calcium Hypochlorite, 52%, Available Chlorine is 49%.

I did read the "BBB" page -- sounds like if I had used plain bleach, the additional cloudiness would NOT have happened. Also, increasing pH may have been a mistake, or at least premature.

It's NOT clear what the chlorine SHOULD test at, nor how to "shock" with bleach. FWIW, we have always gotten by with the dip-strip in the 0-1 range, with a shock every 2nd or 3rd week, just-in-case.

Bottom-line: It sounds like a whole lot of filtering needs doing.

Can go get a fancy kit if needed, although we're in the country, so there's only WalMart and one pool store in town.
 

frustratedpoolmom

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
May 20, 2007
12,179
SWSuburban Chicago, IL
You can certainly manage the rest of the summer season with the HTH drop-based test kit 6-way which Walmart sells for about $20. Consider the TF100 or the Taylor K-2006 for the future, tho your pool is just on the edge for justifying the big kits.

Yes, filtering should take care of the issue caused by the addition of the chems all at once, but I'm not convinced the organic issue from the lack of chlorine that caused the initial clouding is resolved.

Something is not clear to me, for daily chlorine what did you use?

I recommend for the future you follow the guidelines in this article when you start up your pool at the beginning of the season:

http://www.troublefreepool.com/pool-school/temporary_pool_guide
I recommend you get the 6-way from walmart so we can get an accurate reading on your CYA, it's probably a good idea for you to also add enough bleach to raise your FC up to 10 so we can ensure anything organic is dead. I'm suggesting 10 for now since we don't know your CYA level.
 

JohnathanStein

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
59
NW Ohio
Will get the kit & test ASAP. Will post results.

>>Something is not clear to me, for daily chlorine what did you use?

3" Tablets in floaters. Ingredients says Trichloro-s-Triazinetrione 93.5%, Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate 1.5%, Available Chlorine 84%.


IMPORTANT QUESTION: Is it OK to add bleach with these tablets/floaters in the pool?
 

frustratedpoolmom

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
May 20, 2007
12,179
SWSuburban Chicago, IL
Ok, now we're getting some where. If you have tabs in floaters, and your Chlorine is still that low, something is consuming the chorine as it's added.

2 things consume chlorine: organics and sunlight. Since you have been using tablets, you have CYA in your pool. It may be low, which is why you lose chlorine to sunlight. Now the clouding came, likely caused by insufficient chlorine. You shocked once with cal-hypo... this may not have been enough.

So yes, its' okay to add bleach - pour it in front of the return and leave the pump running for a few hours and allow it to circulate.

Once we know your CYA level we'll know if 10 is the correct shock level for you.

Keep in mind the tablets raise CYA and lower Ph and TA, so you need to monitor these numers. Once you get your kit, post the PH and TA so we can decide how to proceed. Using tablets mean the Ph probably won't creep up like it normally would. So you may need to add Borax to raise it. But first lets see what your numbers are with the drop kit so we can decide the best route for you to take. :)
 

JohnathanStein

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
59
NW Ohio
Tests results from 6-way kit:

TC: 0
pH: 8.0
TA: 190
TH: 200
CYA: <30

NOTES:
1. The "TA" test turned clear at 18 drops, slight pink at 19 and full red at 20.
2. The "CYA" test doesn't go any lower than 30. Solution was not very cloudy.

Have added 145 oz of fresh 6% bleach -- per PoolCalculator.com -- to raise FC from 0 to 10, for 7000 g). Will retest "TC" this evening & report results.
 

frustratedpoolmom

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
May 20, 2007
12,179
SWSuburban Chicago, IL
Ok, get the PH down to 7.4 with muratic acid or "ph down" (dry acid). use the pool calc to figure out how much that is. Adjust the PH down before you shock again (if you need to shock again.)

Your shock level is 10 at least till your CYA goes up (which it will if you continue to use tabs, and that's fine if you want to.) It sounds like you have a little in there if it was somewhat cloudy? No CYA the solution would have been completely clear.

Keep us posted :)
 

JohnathanStein

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
59
NW Ohio
Could not find muriatic acid; got "pH Minus", which is 92% "sodium bisulfate". Directions called for 12 oz, broadcast. Will let things sit & circulate 'til sundown, then test pH and FC & report back.

The "white" is mostly gone, though it keeps coming out when I rinse the filter. The water seems mostly "cloudy".

FWIW, I noticed there were at least three kinds of "clarifier" at Walmart -- regular, super and natural. Would that help?

(The peasants are getting unruly -- the 4 and 6-year-olds chant "We want to go in the POOL!" -- I may have an uprising to deal with, soon! Plus, SHE-WHO-MUST-BE-OBEYED is not entirely pleased, either!)
 

JohnT

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Apr 4, 2007
9,476
SW Indiana
JohnathanStein said:
Could not find muriatic acid; got "pH Minus", which is 92% "sodium bisulfate". Directions called for 12 oz, broadcast. Will let things sit & circulate 'til sundown, then test pH and FC & report back.
The pH minus will contribute to cloudiness. You can get muriatic acid at Lowe's or Home Depot. Paint department.
 

JohnathanStein

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
59
NW Ohio
Water now looks CLEAR!!! I can see bottom!!!

HOWEVER, there seems to be a "powder" on the floor, which is partially cleared away below the path of the return jet -- the blue squares on the white floor are clearly visible.

It's morning, and the readings are now:

TC: 3
pH: 7.4

Is it now SAFE to let the kids in? Should I just let them splash around and stir up the bottom, and let the filter get the "powder" out?
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
I would vacuum up the powder, but you could stir it up and let the filter get it if you aren't in a hurry.

Swimming should be fine (if I have been following along correctly).

Keep the PH down between 7.2 and 7.5 until your TA level comes down below 130.
 

JohnathanStein

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
59
NW Ohio
OK, I let the kids in for about an hour yesterday; boy did they cloud things up! I keep rinsing filter -- it seems all the powdered chemicals turned my pool into a giant tub of "TUMS"...

This mornings test results are:

TC: 2
pH: 7.7
TA: 180

I'm going to bring down pH to 7.2 with 27 oz of 31% Muriatic Acid.
 

JohnathanStein

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
59
NW Ohio
Try and keep that TC between 3 and 7 ppm.
Will add bleach tonight.

QUESTION:
It is now 1 1/2 hours after adding the Muriatic Acid and changing the filter; also, it is rather sunny out. The water WAS very cloudy, but NOW is crystal clear, and it looks like all the cloudy-particles -- which I assume are calcium from the powdered chems I used, prior to finding this site -- have dropped to the bottom.

What caused this?
1. The Muriatic Acid/lowering of pH?
2. Filter change?
3. Sunlight?


--Johnathan
 

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