Pool Maintenance FAQs

Pool Maintenance: Keeping your pool in top condition may seem overwhelming, so being well-informed is key. Proper circulation, filter care, hygiene, chemical balance, and other factors play a role. Explore this FAQ guide to familiarize yourself with essential do's and dont's for effective pool maintenance.

When it comes to closing your pool for the winter, the steps you take will directly impact its ease of reopening in the spring. The ultimate goals of winter pool closing are to maintain water quality, safeguard equipment and surfaces, and ensure a hassle-free reopening. A proper winterizing process helps prevent issues like freeze-thaw damage, equipment deterioration, and pipe damage. Neglecting proper closing procedures can result in a costly and frustrating spring opening. Whether fully closing or reducing maintenance, winter care is crucial.

Key Steps for Winterizing Your Pool:

  1. Resolve Outstanding Issues: Address any water quality problems before closing. Unresolved issues can worsen over winter, making spring opening challenging. For instance, unmet chlorine demand may increase during warmer periods.
  2. Balance Water: Even when circulation is off, water can cause scaling or corrosion. Balanced water protects surfaces and equipment during both off-season and peak season.
  3. Prevent Algae: Use a winter algaecide to curb algae growth. Ensure proper circulation before shutdown to distribute the algaecide effectively. In warmer climates, consider a mid-winter application.
  4. Prevent Stains: Apply a sequestering agent to prevent dissolved metals from staining pool surfaces. These agents also counteract scale formation, which can lead to costly repairs.
  5. Thorough Cleaning: Remove debris from the water to prevent long-term staining on surfaces. Neglected debris can become harder to remove over time.
  6. Equipment Shutdown: Turn off equipment, including timers. Pumps should not run without proper water flow. Lights should be switched off to prevent cracking due to temperature changes. Store equipment susceptible to weather damage.
  7. Water Level and Line Draining: Lower the water level below the skimmer and drain lines. Use non-toxic antifreeze or blow lines with a shop-vac. Avoid complete draining to prevent damage and potential cracking.
  8. Secure Access: Properly secure the pool against access, especially for children. Closed pools still pose a safety risk, and security is vital.
  9. Cover the Pool: A well-fitting cover limits debris entry. Solid covers need a siphon to remove accumulated water and debris. Mesh safety covers allow rainwater through while blocking debris.
  10. Chemical Storage: Store pool products separately, away from other chemicals. Keep them sealed and out of reach of children and pets. Discard test kits at the end of the season for accurate testing next year.

Throughout winter, regularly check the pool. Address any water level or cover issues promptly. Remove heavy debris from the pool or cover. A well-maintained off-season leads to a smoother spring opening and an enjoyable pool season.


Ensure your family enjoys a season of swimming in crystal-clear water with these essential steps:

  1. Cover Care: Before opening your pool, remove leaves and debris from the cover.
  2. Frequent Skimmer Basket Emptying: Minimize leaves on the pool bottom by regularly emptying skimmer baskets.
  3. Proper Leaf Net Technique: Clean the pool surface with a leaf net, starting from the sides and working toward the middle.
  4. Occasional Leaf Net Emptying: Empty the leaf net during surface cleaning to prevent debris from returning to the pool.
  5. Vegetation Management: Trim trees and shrubs near the pool to reduce leaves and debris entering the water.
  6. Filter Running: Open your pool by running the filter continuously until the water is crystal clear.
  7. Addressing Green Water: Green water or unpleasant odor may indicate algae. Test chlorine/sanitizer levels and seek professional advice if issues persist.
  8. Regular Equipment Maintenance: Maintain the filter, pump, lint trap, and skimmer baskets for sparkling clear water.
  9. Optimal Inlet Adjustment: Adjust pool inlets for circular surface water movement.
  10. Skimmer and Pump Basket Care: Develop a routine of checking and emptying skimmer and pump baskets.

To maintain your pool's optimal performance, follow these steps to backwash your filter:

  1. Turn Off Pump: Switch off the pool pump.
  2. Select "BACKWASH": Adjust the filter handle to the "BACKWASH" position.
  3. Turn On Pump: Start the pool pump.
  4. Run Backwash: Let water run for 2-3 minutes or until it runs clear.
  5. Turn Off Pump: Switch off the pool pump.
  6. Select "RINSE": Set the filter handle to the "RINSE" position.
  7. Turn On Pump: Start the pool pump.
  8. Run Rinse: Allow water to run for 10 seconds or until it runs clear.
  9. Turn Off Pump: Switch off the pool pump.
  10. Select "FILTER": Return the filter handle to the "FILTER" position.
  11. Turn On Pump: Start the pool pump.
  12. Resume Normal Use: Observe lower pressure and continue enjoying your pool as usual.

Remember, avoid excessive backwashing to ensure your filter maintains its cleaning effectiveness!


To maintain the efficiency of your pool filter, it's recommended to perform a deep cleaning 2-3 times per season. Follow these steps to deep clean your pool filter based on its type:

Cartridge and DE Filter:

  1. Remove and Rinse Filter Element(s): Take out the filter element(s) and rinse with water to remove loose dirt.
  2. Soak in Cartridge Cleaner: Soak the filter element(s) in a cartridge cleaner overnight.
  3. Rinse and Replace: Thoroughly rinse the element(s) with clean water and then replace them in the filter.

Sand Filter:

  1. Add Filter Cleaner: Pour the recommended amount of filter cleaner into the pump strainer basket.
  2. Backwash and Isolate: Turn the pump on and backwash into the filter. Once water appears in the sight glass, turn the pump off and close all valves leading to and from the filter, isolating the cleaner inside the filter overnight.
  3. Reopen Valves: The next day, reopen the valves.
  4. Backwash and Rinse: Backwash until the water is clear and no foam is visible. Run the rinse cycle afterward.
  5. Resume Normal Operation: Return the filter to its normal operating mode.

Phosphate can infiltrate your pool water from various sources, including dust, rain, garden runoff, fill water, certain pool chemicals, and leaves. This presence can pose a threat, especially during hot weather, as algae thrives in warm environments with nutrients like phosphate and sunlight. Rapid algae growth can quickly diminish chlorine's effectiveness and compromise pool sanitization.

To maintain a healthy pool environment and prevent excessive phosphate levels, consider the following measures:

  • Prevent Runoff: Prohibit runoff from lawns, gardens, and decks to enter the pool.
  • Regular Cleaning: Regularly remove leaves and debris from the pool.
  • Phosphate Removal Treatment: Use a phosphate removal treatment to reduce phosphate levels.
  • Year-Round Algaecide: Implement a long-lasting algaecide throughout the year.
  • Professional Testing: Schedule regular pool water testing by a pool professional to monitor phosphate levels.

Phosphate removal is crucial for maintaining an algae-free pool, ensuring water quality, and optimizing the effectiveness of other pool chemicals.

Langelier Saturation Index (LSI) and Pool Water Balance

Langelier Saturation Index (LSI) and Pool Water Balance

The Langelier Saturation Index (LSI), determined by pH, CH, TA, TDS, and temperature, gauges water's potential for scaling or corroding surfaces. Aim to maintain your LSI within the range of -0.3 to +0.3.

A Low (Negative) LSI indicates water is:

  • Corrosive
  • Aggressive

A High LSI can lead to:

  • Scaling on pool surfaces
  • Calcium deposits
  • Mineral and metal precipitation

While the LSI is significant, individual factors being within proper ranges are even more crucial. Once all other elements are balanced, your LSI should naturally fall within the desired range.


One crucial yet often overlooked aspect of water chemistry is Calcium Hardness (CH). Soft water can be corrosive or "aggressive," while hard water is prone to scaling. Water sourced from wells or deep aquifers tends to have higher dissolved calcium content (harder), which can lead to scaling issues.

If the CH level is too high (too "hard"), you can restore balance by draining a portion of the pool water and adding water with lower CH levels. On the other hand, if the CH level is too low, add the appropriate amount of Calcium Hardness increaser.

Metal Testing is crucial for pool maintenance:

  • Pools should always test zero for metals.
  • Unsightly stains in red, blue, or green could result from metallic contamination.
  • Over time, these stains can become difficult, if not impossible, to remove.

If you suspect metal contamination in your water, and you have stains or discoloration, take a water sample to your dealer for proper treatment based on the specific metal present.


The pH measures the acidity or basicity of your pool water. It's equally crucial to maintain an appropriate pH level as it is to have chlorine in your pool. Chlorine's sanitizing effectiveness increases by about 10 times when the pH is at 7.2 compared to a higher pH level like 8.2.

The ideal pH level for your pool is similar to that of human tears, around pH 7.2. An optimal pH range is between 7.2 and 7.8.

When the pH falls below 7.2, pool water becomes corrosive and can damage:

  • Plaster Finishes
  • Paint Finishes
  • Vinyl Liners
  • Fiberglass Finishes

If the pH climbs above 7.8, it may lead to the formation of calcium carbonate scale on:

  • The Pool's Surfaces
  • Interior Plumbing
  • Especially Inside Heaters

If your pH remains off even after adjusting total alkalinity, use pH+ to increase pH or muriatic acid to decrease pH.


Total Alkalinity (TA) measures your pool or spa water's ability to resist pH changes. TA serves as a buffer to maintain the pH within industry-recommended levels. Low TA can cause pH fluctuations and disrupt water chemistry balance, leading to potential pool issues.

The industry-recommended TA range is 80-120 ppm (parts per million). If your water chemistry is unbalanced, adjust TA first (using alkalinity increaser or pH decreaser), followed by pH adjustment if needed. Unbalanced TA can lead to serious consequences, potentially damaging your pool.

Low TA symptoms or problems:

  • pH bounce
  • Etching or staining of pool/spa surfaces
  • Corrosion of metal parts in your pool or mechanical system
  • Wrinkles in liner

High TA symptoms or problems:

  • Cloudy water
  • Scale formation
  • pH resistant to change/drifts upward

Reducing high TA may require adding a pH decreaser in small increments over a 3-5 day period and retesting after one week.


The recommended chlorine range for a swimming pool is 1 to 4 ppm (parts per million).

Chlorine in pool and spa water exists in two forms:

  • Free Chlorine: This form kills bacteria and oxidizes contaminants. Adding chlorine compounds like Cal-Hypo or trichlor introduces free chlorine. When free chlorine reacts with contaminants, it becomes combined chlorine or chloramines. In this form, chlorine loses sanitizing and oxidizing abilities, like a spent bullet.
  • Combined Chlorine: This is the sum of both combined and free chlorine. Mathematically, (total chlorine) = (free chlorine) + (combined chlorine). You can calculate combined chlorine by subtracting free chlorine from total chlorine. If total chlorine exceeds free chlorine, it indicates the presence of combined chlorine. In such cases, shock or superchlorinate the pool by adding a high dose of free chlorine. This excess chlorine oxidizes and eliminates combined chlorine.


  • Organic or stabilized chlorine sanitizers can affect pH neutrally or negatively.
  • Inorganic or unstabilized chlorine sanitizers cause pH to rise.

Follow these steps to successfully open your pool:

  1. Clear Deck and Cover: Remove plant debris and water from the deck and cover.
  2. Clean and Store Cover: Clean the cover, let it dry, and then store it.
  3. Adjust Water Level: Add water to the middle of the skimmer or to the normal operating level.
  4. Remove Freeze Plugs: Take out any freeze plugs or protective items installed to prevent freezing.
  5. Clean the Filter: If not done during pool closing, clean your filter.
  6. Start System: Start the system, ensuring you prime the pump before starting the motor and remove all air from the system.
  7. Inspect for Damage: Check for cracks, holes, or tears in the liner or pool surface, and perform repairs as needed.
  8. Remove Debris: Use a net to remove large debris, and vacuum small debris to waste.
  9. Water Chemistry Check: Do not add chemicals initially. Bring a water sample to the GENCO water lab to assess water chemistry first. Adding chemicals prematurely can damage or stain your pool.