Each time when you go to the pool store to get chemicals — or floaties for the kids’ arms — one of the men or women at the counter probably suggests that you add some sort of pool water clarifier (sometimes called a pool water polisher) to give it that perfectly clear appearance… but do they ever take the time to explain what the contents of that magical bottle actually DO?
If not, then today’s your lucky day because we will now tell you, in really simple terms, what that mystery stuff does: It makes suspended solids in the pool water stick to one another so that the filter can more easily catch them.
Each brand of pool clarifier has a slightly different method of accomplishing that goal, but in the end they all pretty much do the same thing.
OK, well what is a pool FLOCCULANT, then?
The term flocculant refers to chemical compounds that cause smaller suspended particles to stick together for the purpose of making it easier for a filter to catch them or to cause them to precipitate out of the water and fall to the bottom where a pool vacuum then removes them from the water.
More or less all clarifiers and water polishers qualify as flocculants but, according to recent pool chemical marketing trends, the ones that actually CALL themselves flocculants get recommended for more serious pool water clarity problems.
Any problem with using clarifiers on a regular basis?
With chlorine based sanitizer systems (powders, tablets, liquid, sticks, etc.) we have not heard of any real reason to not use clarifiers on a regular basis. As always, though, we suggest reading and following the directions on the bottle. Not all clarifiers have the same directions for use!
Pressure building in filter after adding clarifiers?
Do not panic! Roughly 9 times out of 10 this means the clarifier has made it easier for your filter to catch dissolved solids previously too small for the filter to catch. Simply backwash the filter each time this happens — or ‘bump’ your DE filter if you have that option — and let your filter get back to doing its job.
Filters that use DE (Diatomaceous Earth) to coat their filter elements will tend to clog and require ‘bumping’ or backwashing more quickly than sand filters due to the efficiency of their filtering mechanisms. In extreme cases the filter elements (fingers, grids, etc.) may need a good cleaning and possibly acid washing soon after you clear up your water problem.
Read the label on the clarifier you select and make sure to heed any warnings regarding the use of that product with certain types of filters.
Can clarifiers take the place of chlorine, bromine, etc.?
Absolutely NOT! Chlorine, bromine and other pool water sanitizer systems serve a completely different purpose and you should not decrease the amount them used because you start adding a clarifier product to your water.
Pool sanitizers help to keep the water in a pool safe from bacteria, germs, etc. Pool clarifiers help get unwanted dissolved solids out of the water.