It is entirely reasonable for your pool to get cloudy occasionally, but how do you clear it up? There is a simple process to clarifying your pool, and you will find many useful products to choose from. The two primary solutions are pool clarifier and flocculant.
Not sure which one to use? In this article, I provide a detailed comparison between pool clarifier vs. flocculant, including my final recommendation.
What is Pool Clarifier?
When your pool is cloudy, many tiny particles are too small to get picked up by the filter. Pool clarifier is a concentrated chemical mixture that condenses the little bacteria and particles in your pool into the more massive matter that can be swallowed up by the pool filter.
So, what qualifies as a pool clarifier? These products are packed with polymers that get utilized as coagulants on the foreign debris in your pool water. Because a pool clarifier brings a negative charge, they magnetically bind to the foreign particles with a negative charge. When they collect into bigger clumps, the filter goes to work, and your swimming pool will soon be clear again!
Benefits and Drawbacks of Pool Clarifier
When you decide on the right solution for your cloudy pool, you need to understand the positives and negatives of each product. The first benefit of pool clarifiers is that it involves a simple and straightforward process that creates minimal work for you. All you need to do is pour the clarifier into the water and be patient for it to work for you.
Pool clarifier is also an ideal solution for a pool that is slightly cloudy. When you are on the fence about whether it needs to be cleared, the clarifier usually provides you the optimal amount of solution to help get it back to normal. Pool clarifier also helps your filter operate much more efficiently, so you can save on water and not have to remove it. Clarifiers can also get used any time when you want a boost for the pool.
There are a couple of downsides to pool clarifiers, however. First, the process is somewhat slow and takes up to two or three days before you see 100% clarity in your swimming pool. The other drawback is that you will need to clean the pool filter thoroughly afterward. After the clumps are formed from the clarifier’s duties, the filter will be gunky after doing its job.
How to Use Pool Clarifier
Although using pool clarifier is as easy as pouring it into the pool, there are a few preliminary steps that you must address before you begin.
Step one is to make sure that your pool water is balanced. When your water has high pH levels, it will allow dissolved solids to break away from its solution. When your water chemistry is weak, it will also limit chlorine from performing its regular duties of oxidizing dirty particles and contaminants.
The next step is to ensure that you fully understand the directions for your pool clarifier. There are different products with different instructions and processes, so this step is crucial. Different products have different dosage amounts, so you need to read the label to figure out how much to use.
The last step before dumping the clarifier is to run your pool filter continuously. If you want to perform the most efficient pool clarifying process, you should keep it going 24/7. Once you have diluted the clarifier into a container of water, you can pour it into the swimming pool’s outer edges. As the days go on, be sure to monitor the water’s chemical balance to ensure optimal clarification.
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What is Pool Flocculant?
Flocculant, also known as pool floc, is another chemical to add to your pool when the other clarifier options are not working effectively.
First, let’s lay out the similarities and differences between flocculant and pool clarifier because they both have the same end goal: to clear up your pool. Each of these options works to bind the floating oils, debris, and particles that are floating in the water.
The main difference between the flocculant and pool clarifier is where the clumped particles go. Clarifier keeps the bounded matter at the top of the pool to be grabbed by the pool filter. Meanwhile, pool floc snags the particles, assembles them, and then sinks them to the bottom of the surface. You can also leave the pool filter off overnight while the pool floc goes to work, which is one less thing to do.
Flocculant also works much faster than the pool clarifier. If you do not want to wait a couple of days for the pool to become clear, pool floc will be ideal for you. Need a quick turnaround? Pool floc is the way to go.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Flocculant
Besides the effectiveness and speed of the solution, there are a couple of benefits of pool flocculant. The first is the effectiveness of the pool floc process. The solution clumps the particles together and then keeps them grouped until you extract them from the pool. You will not need to worry about any leftover chemicals making your pool cloudy.
Flocculant also works with other diverse pool filters, such as diatomaceous earth (DE) and sand filters. These products have multiport valves with a waste option, making it simple to bypass when removing the flocculant and grouped particles.
There are a few drawbacks of pool floc that you need to know though. Even though the overall process is much quicker, it does require more work for you. The clumps fall to the bottom of the pool within a couple of hours, but you will need to manually remove them with a pool vacuum, which takes some patience.
You will also waste some pool water in the process. When you perform the vacuuming duties, you will need to waste to bypass your filter. By the time you are finished, the water level will be lower, which will need to be replaced. Unless you have specific plumbing established, you also cannot utilize pool floc with a cartridge pool filter.
How to Use Pool Flocculant
You may have extra labor to floc the pool, but the step-by-step process is straightforward. First, you should raise the water level a little extra since you will be losing pool water when the process gets completed. Next, you should ensure that the pH level is balanced to 7. Flocculants can alter the pH level, so you need to keep this consistent so that it can work effectively.
After diluting the flocculant and following the instructions, you can then add the product to the pool. Much like the pool clarifier, you can pour it around the edges of the swimming pool. To spread the flocculant solution evenly around the pool, go ahead and run the pool filter for a couple of hours. Then, you can shut the filter off overnight so that the flocculant can officially perform the job.
After letting the water settle for about 6-8 hours, you should set the filter setting to “waste.” If you see sediment towards the bottom of the swimming pool, you can also turn the pump back on briefly to ensure that this gets filtered out. You can then do the toughest part and vacuum the bottom of the pool to get the final clumps out.
After replacing the lost water immediately, you can complete the process by backwashing your pool filter. You can also clean out any straggling chemicals or sediment that have been collected here.
Which is Better?
So, which of these options is better? It all depends on your timeframe and goals. If you need a quick solution that clears up your pool for a party, you should choose the flocculant. It gets the job done in less than a day, even though it is more work. If you have more time and are clearing up a semi-cloudy pool, then you can choose the pool clarifier.
That’s it! Questions? Shoot me a message and I’ll be happy to help.