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Using a clarifier to clear a cloudy pool. Flocculant vs. clarifier

Updated on February 24, 2018

vacuuming to waste with no waste valve

Notice I've taken the filter out while vacuuming pool. Click to view larger image
Notice I've taken the filter out while vacuuming pool. Click to view larger image

What is a clarifier?

If you've struggled with a cloudy or green pool and have tried everything, there is something that might be suitable to try. A type of clarifier known as a flocculant, commonly called "drop n' vac" or "Dropout" is a solution that when added to water will bind together larger particles like algae. When several bind together the particle becomes heavier and sinks. This will result in the water being clear. (But everything has sunk to the bottom of the pool)

Despite the clear water, you now have the bottom of the pool covered with sunken algae.The result is a very light "dust" that when attempting to brush would defeat the purpose of having added the flocculant to begin with. It will need to be vacuumed from pool to waste.

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What now?

After the flocculant has been added, the pool will sit usually for 24 hours with the pump off to allow the debris and algae to sink to the bottom. This will need vacuumed to waste. Waste vacuuming is simply pumping the vacuumed water out to the yard, street, etc.., Some filter systems are set up for this such as a valve to drain water out of the pool. Really you are trying to avoid any water that is being vacuumed to go back into the pool. The vacuum process will be slow since the particles on the bottom are very light and will stir up easily. The water level will drop some, so you will need to add more water to the pool when you are finished.

If pool does not have a waste valve

If you are using a DE filter, most of them will have a multi-port valve with a "waste" position on them. Some cartridge filter systems I've seen are plumbed for filtration and recirculation only with no way to drain or vacuum to waste. One solution would be to open the filter, take out the cartridge and vacuum with the water overflowing out of the cartridge. Unfortunately it will flood the area around the pump, but at least some of it is going out to waste. If you don't have a return line shut-off, some will still get back into the pool. I highly recommend having a waste line plumbed in. It's only a valve or two, some glue and some fittings, not difficult or expensive to install.


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