My Pool Water is Green. What Should I Do? - My Pool Keeps Turning Green. What Should I Do - My Pool Water is Cloudy. What Should I Do? - How Do I Get My Pool Water Clear?

Green or Cloudy Water -  (The Solutions / Problems are the same for both symptoms)




        If the Water Itself is Cloudy, Green, Yellow, Murky ... then this is the selection you want.


        For living Algae or Dirt on the Walls, Floor, Steps ... Click HERE!


        For Dead Algae (Powdered or Clumped on the Pool Floor) : 



                            If you have a Dial Backwash Valve:


                                    1.) Get the Water Level Up High (You are going to be removing a fair amount in this process.)


                                    2.) Shut off the Equipment


                                    3.) Turn the Dial Backwash Valve to "Vacuum / Filter to Waste"


                                    4.) Turn on the Equipment     


                                    5.)  Vacuum the Pool


                                    6.) Shut off the Equipment, Put the Valve Back to the "Filter" position, Turn the Equipment back on.



                        If you have a Push Pull Valve or a Cartridge Filter


                                    1.) Vacuum the pool until


                                            a.) Dirt, Debris or algae starts to blow back into the pool. OR


                                            b.) The Vacuum Pressure Drops OR


                                            c.) The Filter Pressure rises above 30 lbs.


                                    2.) Backwash or clean the filter


                                    3.) Repeat the Process






 Note: Any ONE of the problems listed in the subcategories under this topic "CAN" cause green, or cloudy, water all on its own, IF the problem is severe enough and the conditions are right. If you constantly have problems, eliminate the problems you can "Afford" to eliminate first, and gradually work towards eliminating all of them as finances allow.


The following sub-categories should be examined to help you diagnose, and solve your problem with Green or Cloudy Water:




     1.) Filter Type or Filter Problem (Cartridge Filter System or Sand)


     2.) Improper Water Circulation (Note: This has to do with adjusting the suction and the returns, not low water flow through the equipment.)


     3.) Having a Suction Side or Floor Head Cleaning System (Yes, just having a suction side or Floor Head cleaning system can cause this problem.)


     4.) Equipment Operation Times too low or wrong time of day


     5.) High Dirt, Debris, Palm Trees Blooming, High Bather Loads, Dogs or Ducks in the pool, ...    


     6.) Water Chemistry out of whack    


Less Likely Problems:


     1.) Back Wash Valve Problems

     2.) Blockages in the Suction Line

     3.) Pump or Impeller Problems

     4.) Suction Side Leaks



            1.) Has the pool been COMPLETELY drained, refilled and restabilized in the last year (Cartridge Filters) or in the last 2 years for Sand or D.E.


        If not, and the weather is cool enough (Under 85 Degrees for a Plaster/Marcite Pool, Under 90 Degrees for Pebble Tech Surfaces), drain the pool and do a chlorine rinse (Click HERE!) you need to completely drain and refill the pool anyway.


        Note: Yes, we all know someone who supposedly never drained their pool for 6 or 7 years with supposedly no ill effects. I knew a guy who "Supposedly" never did an oil change for 60,000 miles with 'supposedly' no ill effects also. He just replaced his engine. You cannot do regular maintenance if you want. Trust me, you are going to pay triple, or more for ignoring the schedule EVERY POOL MANUFACTURER IN THE VALLEY SUPPORTS. You have been warned by them, and by me. If you aren't going to drain and refill your pool, you should cut back on those oil changes, dental and medical checkups, ... as I know people who have avoided those for 10 years or more as well. Just look at the money you will save. Yes, I am being sarcastic.

2.) Has your pool Filter been properly and regularly backwashed or cleaned?


3.) Make sure your Chlorine Stabilizer Reading (Isocyanuric/cyanuric Acid Reading) is at 100 PPM.

        CHLORINE STABILIZER CALCULATIONS: From zero a 23,000 gallon 'Diving' pool will require about 15 lbs., a Play Pool (About 15,000 Gallons) will require about 10 lbs. 30,000 gallons 20 lbs. Do the math for your pool. Add it per the instructions on the bottle.


4.) Filtration Problems:


              A.) Cartridge Filter: Given when you completely Drained and Refilled your pool, replace all cartridge elements if they are older than time indicated :


                    i.) Pool Drained Completely within 12 Months: Replace all elements if they are older than 2 Years


                    ii.) "                                                    " 2 Years: "                                                                " 1 1/2 Years


                    iii.) "                                                   " 3 Years: "                                                                " 1 Year


                    iv.) "                                                   " 5 Years: "                                                                " 6 Months


Note: Cartridge filters are the number one money maker for people in the pool business, making us between $800 and $1300 PER YEAR, EVERY YEAR in labor, parts, cleaning, problems in other areas,... 
Click HERE to see all the reasons why none of my friends, family, friends that own pool businesses (And know which end is up in the pool industry) will EVER own a pool with a Cartridge filter, and why, if we bought a home that had one, we would replace it BEFORE we moved in.

Note2: Cartridge filters only filter down to 14-18 micron particles without help, and most algae is in the 6-12 micron range. Plus, algae tends to permanently plug the pores in cartridge filters, resulting in premature failure, and a need for replacement elements. Since algae may pass through cartridge filters, please read instructions for Alum under sand filters below, and follow those instructions.


            B.) Sand: Sand Filters only filter down to 30-40 Micron Particle sizes. Again, most algae is in the 6-12 micron ranges. This means that unless the particle size is increased, or the space between sand grains is filled in with something that will stop the smaller particles, all the algae that goes into your sand filter will come right back out again. If you have “blow by”, dirt and debris blowing back in through the return lines while vacuuming or after back washing your filter. If you have this symptom, you need to do a sand change first. For more information on Sand Filters Click HERE!


                        i.) The best product, for the price, to clump the algae together into larger particles, is Alum. It is a granular product that you cast around your pool s surface (About 1/8 of a cup per application (Double (1/4 cup) for 1st application)) repeating this process about every 12 hours until the pool is completely clear.


            C.) Diatomaceous Earth Filter or D.E. Filter


                    i.) Has the filter been backwashed and recharged properly

                    ii.) Has the Filter been completely pulled apart, cleaned and inspected within the last 12 months? If not, do it now. (Note: if your pool has green water right now, no matter when you did it last.)

                    iii.) Is the filter set to operate the right times (4 hours on, 2 off, 4 hours on, 2 off, ...)


    For more information on D.E. Filters Click HERE!


5.) Is your Free Available Chlorine reading at 5.0 - 10.0? If not, add enough Granular Chlorine "Shock" to get it to this point, and keep it at this high level until your water is clear. (Normally a Free Chlorine between 3.0 and 5.0 is perfect for a pool without any algae or other issues.  Look at the labels on the available shocking products. Look at the % of Active ingredients. You can add 100 lbs. of a product with 10% chlorine, 50 lbs. of a product with 20% Chlorine, 25 lbs. at 40% Chlorine, or 12.5 lbs. of a product with 80% Chlorine. Same with tabs, same with algaecides. Compare the % of active ingredients and get the best bang for your buck. As a guideline, I just turned a 23,000 Gallon diving pool around from pea soup to clear and we used 15 lbs. of 68% Chlorine to get the reading up the first day, and needed another 5 lbs. because the free available chlorine dropped again the next day before the water was clear. THAT'S 20 lbs. OF CHLORINATING COMPOUND. Get that free available chlorine above 5.0, AND KEEP IT THERE, or don't bother starting. Check your readings every day for a week. And yes, that much "Shock" is expensive.


6.)  Get a Floating Chlorinator with adjustable 2" or longer, side slits, on 3 or more sides, with an adjustable sleeve that can cover up those side slits. FILL THE CHLORINATOR TO THE TOP WITH TABS! Adjust the slits as recommended in "Proper Water Chemistry". Tiny slits, or small holes, often do not work, likewise, non-adjustable chlorinators don’t work either. NO TABS IN SKIMMERS. Click HERE, and go through the sub-menus as well, to see the details and reasons why.


 7.) pH get it "To" 7.6 if you are going to add metallic algaecides. Otherwise, get your pH to 7.8-8.2 and keep it there. Note: Without adding anything most pools in the Phoenix area will stay at 7.8 without adding anything at all to the pool water. Algae HATES high pH. Algae LOVES low pH. Since you will never be able to prevent scale build up at the hardness levels coming out of the tap, and algae with a low pH and alkalinity will laugh at the 10% increase in free available chlorine you get at the lower pH's, don't bother lowering it. That said, metallic algaecides will sometimes come out of solution, leaving stains at very high pH levels, so you have my 7.6 pH concession listed at the beginning of this paragraph.


7.) Get your water flow adjusted: If you can "Displace" your dirty water with filtered water, and not "Mix" your filtered water with your dirty water, the time to completely filter your water is 1,400% less (That's 14 times less) than when you mix it. That experiment has been done in a number of laboratories with consistent results. This is one of the many reasons why I hate floor heads, and are not much on suction side cleaners. For more detail on this process, including points "i" & "ii" directly below, Click HERE.


            i.) Get 100% main drain suction. (You will have to know your pools configuration. Is there a dedicated valve for the drain? Is there a valve that either goes to a suction side cleaner or a skimmer / drain combination, that requires the use of a float valve under the skimmer basket with the flap completely closed?... Figure it out and get it this way.


            ii.) Get your return lines (Eyeballs in the wall of your pool) all turned in the same direction, causing a ripple on the surface 3' further along the wall than where each eyeball is located, moving the water in the same direction. (Note: Look to see where they all located first, try not to have one blowing too close to your skimmer or it will blow all debris past it. You might need to reverse the direction the eyeballs return the water in to prevent this. MAKE SURE THAT THE RIPPLES FROM EACH EYEBALL ARE AS CLOSE TO THE WALL AS IS POSSIBLE. You might need to order some side slit eyeballs to fine tune this. (Note: When I take over a pool service this is ALWAYS one of the first things I do, and yes, I replace eyeballs the first day, if necessary.) Everything being the same, with no real differences in pool design, recessed steps, eyeball location, … set it up counterclockwise for the Northern Hemisphere, and clockwise for the southern. Keep in mind that the difference is negligible, so it is more up to your pools layout.


8.) Keep the filter running 24 hours a day until the water is clear (Sand and Cartridge Filters) (4 hours on, 2 off, 4 hours on, 2 off, 4 hours on, 2 off, 4 hours on, 2 off, for all Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) Filters) (Click HERE for more)


9.) Backwash or Clean the elements when the pressure rises 5 - 7 lbs. (Non-floor head systems) or every day whichever comes first, until water is clear. (Note: Sand filter users need to add a small scoop of alum after each backwash.)  Yes, this means that you need to write down the filter pressure right after you clean the filter. Also, if you have floor heads, you need to put them to return lines instead (If you have them), or, if you don’t, just keep an eye on the dips in pressure between zones. Backwash when you see ANY significant increase in the pressures in these dips, or any loss of water flow.