Difference Between Pool Clarifier and Flocculant

A question that frequently confuses new pool owners is the distinction between flocculant vs. clarifier.

Flocculants are used to clear pool water quickly. However, not everybody is going to want to use these chemicals to clear their pool water. A pool clarifier might be preferred instead.

What is the difference between the two? Here we will elaborate on flocculants and standard pool clarifiers. That way, you’ll know which one is better to use for your particular pool.

Pool Clarifier

The pool filter should always be the main device which cleans your pool water. That doesn’t mean it should be the only device, though.

Pool clarifiers assist the filter by catching very small particles which contribute to the cloudiness of the water. As more tiny particles are gathered together, they become larger particles which can be caught by your filter. This is a process known as coagulation. Once the filter catches the particles, it’ll clear the water of your pool.

The pool clarifier depends on the pool filter, so make sure your filter stays on. Whenever you have a cloudy pool, keep your pool running for every hour of the day while using the clarifier. This should clear up your pool fast.

Remember that your filter still does most of the cleaning work. The clarifier is meant to assist the filter in clearing out the particles in the pool.

Below are a few tips on how to achieve the best results possible:
Activate the main drain if there is one on the bottom of your swimming pool. This will send a flow of water from the bottom toward your filter, where it will be cleaned.

If there is no main drain on the bottom, a manual vacuum will need to be used. Set up the vacuum by hooking it up and turning it upside down. Keep it at the bottom, so it can extract the water there.

When you swim in the water, you’ll physically be kicking the particles and debris from the bottom area toward the skimmer.

Use a filter enhancer if you have a sand filter. This turns the sand filter into a diatomaceous earth filter, which enables it to gather tiny particles. Bioguard has come out with a great filter enhancer product by the name of “Sparkle Up.” That is a product to look out for if you can find it. Otherwise, just pour 1 cup of plain Diatomaceous Earth into the skimmer. The Diatomaceous Earth adds a top layer to the sand bed which gathers tiny particles that might not get gathered by your sand filter.

Clorox Pool&Spa Super Water Clarifier 32 oz
  • Concentrated pool clarifier to clear dull, hazy or cloudy pool water
  • Creates crystal clear pool water
  • Combines Small particles into large ones for easy filter removal
  • Use weekly to maintain clear water
  • Great for before or after a pool party for crystal clear water

Pool Flocculant

Flocculant is popular because it works quickly and simply. You just add the flocculant right into your swimming pool water. If the water contains particles which are causing cloudiness, the flocculant sinks these particles all the way to the bottom of the pool. From there, you vacuum the particles on the bottom to clear them out of the pool completely.

Keep your pool running for approximately two hours after adding flocculant. If you’re using a sand filter and multi-port valve, then set it to recirculate. Once the two hours have gone by, the flocculant chemical should have mixed very well with the pool water. Now you can turn off the pool filtration system for up to 8 hours. Turn off the timer if you have one set. Overnight is the best time to leave the pool ideal like this.

After the 8 hours go by, check out your pool again. The bottom will likely have a big cloud there. You must clear away this cloud of particles by using a manual vacuum. Automatic cleaners won’t be able to do this. When using the manual vacuum, it’ll take away water from your pool. To combat this issue, leave a garden hose running in your pool to add more freshwater to it.
You may need to vacuum a few times. If you move the vacuum and the water clouds up some more, wait a little while so that the particles can settle on the bottom again. Then start up the vacuum and continue extracting them. Follow this process, and you’ll have clear pool water fast.

Should I Use Flocculant or a Clarifier?

Both pool clearing solutions work great. The main difference between them is the amount of time they take. Flocculant is better to use for clearing water quickly because it works faster. You can expect a lot of work to be done by you as well.

In cases where your pool water has a little bit of cloudiness, and there’s no rush to clear it away quickly, then try using the clarifier instead. Clarifiers are slower, but you won’t need to do much work yourself. In fact, you won’t even need to vacuum if you have a main drain on your pool. Then you’ll save money because you won’t need to purchase more sanitizing chemicals and pH balancing chemicals for the water.

So hopefully, you have enough knowledge now to make the best choice. Good luck.

Robarb R20154 Super Blue Clarifier 1-Quart Crystal Clear Pool Water Polisher
  • Concentrated Formula - Only 1 oz. treats 5,000 gallons
  • Clears cloudy water fast & prevents future hazy appearance
  • Effective at varying temperature levels & range of chemical levels
  • Use with all filter types - will not clog filters
  • Reduces sanitizer demand by removing dirt particles
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