How to easily fix cloudy spa water

23rd Jan 2013

Cloudy spa water is one of the most common problems in Spa maintenance.
Spas and swim spas can be perfectly clear one day and cloudy the next and this becomes a spiraling problem if not addressed correctly.

As with anything in life that isn’t going to plan, it is necessary to follow a check list to determine the cause and then treat the cause and not the symptoms.

The top ten causes of cloudy spa water and how to fix them:

1.    Poorly balanced water
a.    Test water

2.    Under dosing Sanitiser
a.    Increase to the spa sanitiser to the correct level with a shock dose

3.    Extraordinary use – eg. Party Time!
a.    Shock treat, clean filters, use spa clarifier

4.    Unclean filter cartridges
a.    Clean filter cartridges with a filter cartridge cleaner in hot water and rinse thoroughly. See filter maintenance tips here.

5.    Insufficient filtering –
a.    Check suction, step up filtering to 4 hours/per day

6.    Water that has high Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) levels
a.    Dump and refill after using Spa World Pipe Degreaser

7.    Overdosing with calcium hardness
a.    Empty 1/3 of water and refill

8.    Lack of calcium in water –
a.    Add Spa Calcium increase in 3 equal amounts and leave a day between each

9.    Contamination from activity surrounding the spa – eg: building, gardening, plant overhang etc
a.    Use Spa World clarifier

10.    Cover left on and when removed smells like wet socks
a.      Clean the underside of cover with Spa pipe degreaser, rinse and dry in sun.

These causes of cloudy spa water can be in isolation or there may be a combination of symptoms occurring simultaneously.

Key things to look for:
If hard water – lower pH to 7 and Alkalinity to 80 ppm..
If tank water – check calcium and phosphate levels.

Follow the decision tree on the following page to clear your spa and swim spa water:

how to fix cloudy spa water infograph

Spa chemical troubleshooting chart:

 Cause Solution
Cloudy Water Water is more than 12 weeks old Dump the Spa water
Excessive organic contaminates Ensure everyone bathes before entering the spa
Ozonator or UV sanitiser fault If installed check the ozonator and or UV sanatisers
Lack of water sanitizer Use a quality spa shock
Build up of particles Use spa water clarifier to coagulate particles so they can be removed by the filter
Spa water is out-of-balance: ph, alkalinity, or total hardness Test water and adjust as necessary
 Filter needs cleaning or replacement Clean or replace your filter at least every 2 weeks with normal use
White scale deposits Low sanitiser level

Use of low quality sanitiser

High mineral content
Test water and balance as needed

Keep spa chlorine at .5 PPM or spa bromine at 1 PPM

Use a descaling product
Cloudy greenish water Algae Use and Algacide
Brown water High mineral count

Low alkalinity level

Low sanitizer level
Add a stain/scale preventer product

Test and add Ph increase and Alkalinity product as needed
Excessive foaming Soft water (calcium hardness is too low)

Build up of body oils, lotions, detergents, cosmetics, etc. from people who use the spa
High total dissolved solids level (TDS)

It might be time to change the water in your spa pool.

Use an anti-foam product.

Require individuals to shower before going in the spa pool.
Yellow water Low PH level Test the PH level and adjust as necessary. Use a PH increase.
Scum ring at water line Inadequate filtration

Build up of oils
 Check filter – clean or replace

Clean scum line with appropriate cleaner.
Eye or Skin irritation Excessive organic compounds

Unbalanced Ph or total alkalinity levels
Use shock treatment, if needed

Test Ph and alkalinity levels and adjust as necessary

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