Too Much Clarifier in Pool – How to Remove the Excess

too much clarifier in pool

If you’re a relatively new pool owner, you may still be struggling with managing all of the chemicals needed to balance the water chemistry.

When there is something wrong with the pool’s pH or chlorine levels, a common result is that the water will get cloudy. To clear it up, you need to add some flocculant or clarifier.

However, the initial problem occurred because you had trouble with managing the chemicals, so now you’re worried about adding yet another chemical into the pool.

Can you accidentally add too much clarifier into the pool? What happens if you do?

If you put too much clarifier in the pool, clumps may start to form in your pool which you should remove using a vacuum or skimmer net. Smaller clumps will make their way to the pool filter and clog it up, so make sure to clean your filter out.

Keep reading on to learn detailed step-by-step instructions on what you should do if you accidentally added too much clarifier in the pool.

What happens when you put too much clarifier in the pool

To answer this question, you should first understand how clarifiers work in the first place.

Pool clarifiers can remove the cloudiness from your pool water because they are coagulants, meaning they can change a liquid to a solid or semisolid state.

The clarifier will bond with the floating particles in your pool and make them too large to pass through the filter, where they can be cleaned out and removed circulation.

Depending on the brand of clarifier, the size and stickiness of these clumps will vary. As the clarifier is working, it can make your pool appear murkier and cloudier than before.

When you add too much clarifier, the pool will look even cloudier than anticipated. Furthermore, much larger clumps will form that sink to the bottom. They will not be picked up by your filter so you need to remove them manually.

Sometimes, excess amounts of clarifiers will result in clumps forming that contain no debris or no clumps may form at all. In other words, it may be ineffective if an improper amount is added.

How to clean up your pool after adding too much clarifier

Keep the filter running

So you’ve added too much clarifier. What can you do about it?

In most cases, you don’t really need to do anything. Just keep the filter running and it can filter out most of the clumps on its own.

To speed this process up, you can also manually use a net to remove the larger clumps from the pool. When the clumps get too large, they will sink to the bottom and these have to be removed manually.

As the filter is removing the coagulated debris and excess clarifier from the water, keep a close eye on it so that it does not become too clogged up. Monitor the pressure drop and clean or backwash as needed.

If your pool uses a cartridge filter, rinse the cartridge with a garden hose to dislodge the debris it collected. For sand filters, run the backwash setting on your pump to clean out the filter sand.

Partially drain and refill the pool

If you are finding that the filter is getting clogged up too often or taking too long to filter the excess clarifier out, then you may consider partially draining and refilling the pool.

I recommend replacing 10% of your pool’s total volume with freshwater. If your pool holds 10,000 gallons, then exchange 1,000 gallons of it with fresh water. If your clarifier problem is severe, you might consider exchanging even more water.

Draining and refilling the pool can fix many problems where you accidentally add too much of a chemical because you are directly removing some of the excess and then diluting what remains.

In this particular case, the fresh water you add may contain some trace amounts of debris which the clarifier will attach to, using it up faster.

Test the water and balance as needed

Whenever you partially drain and refill the pool, you will need to use a water testing kit to determine the water chemistry.

No doubt they have been altered drastically, so make sure the pH, chlorine, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness are not too far off the mark.

Anticipate seeing low chlorine and alkalinity, but the pH should be relatively the same. Make the necessary adjustments once the pool starts showing signs of improvement from the excess amount of clarifier.

How much clarifier should you add?

To prevent this problem from occurring again in the future, you need to know how much clarifier you should have added in the first place.

The right amount depends on the total volume of your pool, how cloudy it is, the water hardness, and what brand of clarifier you’re using.

I highly recommend following the instructions on the label exactly because the amounts can differ from product to product. It may tell you to add anywhere from 4 oz to 32 oz of clarifier per 1,000 gallons of pool water.

At the very least, if you accidentally add too much clarifier in the pool again, you know what to do to remedy the problem.

Photo Credit: Modified a photo taken by Jeremy Noble (CC BY 2.0)