Q. As a
pool owner, I have a general idea of how to keep my pool water
clean. But frankly, I’m not sure I’m doing it right. How can you
Surprisingly, most pool owners don’t really feel confident about
the way they maintain their pools. That’s why we wrote this FAQ
Q. Well I’m
afraid some of my questions are pretty dumb…
common, is more like it! Look, a swimming pool is a sophisticated
piece of equipment. Nobody expects you to know everything about it
without asking questions or you'll find yourself with a messed-up
then. Let me ask you this: exactly what is a ‘properly maintained’
properly maintained pool is one that is visually and biologically
Q. I can
tell if it’s visually clean just by looking at it. But how do I
tell if it’s ‘biologically clean’?
using a test kit, and measuring your pool’s chlorine, Alkalinity
and pH levels. (This is a very easy procedure and your pool supply
dealer will be happy to show you how it’s done.) So, if you
maintain the proper chlorine and PH levels, bacteria and algae will
be killed, and your pool will be "biologically" safe.
heard of chlorine before, but I’m still not really sure what pH
"pH" refers to the acidity/basicity level of your pool
water. The reason it’s important is that unless your pool is
within a certain pH range, your chlorine can’t chemically interact
with the bacteria and algae it’s supposed to kill.
other words, unless my pH range is properly adjusted, chlorine won’t
help keep my pool as clean as it should be?
Exactly. Most pool owners don’t realize how important the pH level
is. The proper range is 7.2-7.8, ideally 7.6.
it is so important, how do I maintain it?
easy. All you have to do is: 1: Measure your pool’s current pH
level 2: If the level is too high (your test kit tells you how to
determine that), add "pH MINUS" 3: If the level is too
low, add "pH PLUS."
do I get this ‘pH minus’ & 'pH plus’?
pool chemical dealer has it. It’s not expensive, but it is
now that my pool’s pH is balanced what do I do?
A. You add
chlorine. The idea is to maintain a Free Residual Chlorine level of
a new one for me. Just what does ‘Free Residual Chlorine’
Residual Chlorine’ is the amount of chlorine that remains
available to kill bacteria and algae as they occur in your water.
how can I be sure I always have enough ‘Free Chlorine’ in my
Just ask your pool chemical dealer for a test kit that measures the
‘Free Chlorine’ level. It’s easy to use and you should use it
sounds easy enough
A. It is.
aren’t there different types of chlorine?
but basically we recommend just one type.
chlorine ( either granular or in tablet form ) that is what they
call a "Stabilized Tri-chlor" type.
it’s very effective in fighting bacteria and algae, it’s very
easy to use, and it lasts up to 4 times longer than liquid bleach,
shock or calcium hypochlorite.
Is there really a difference?
A. Yes. A
Stabilized Chlorine may cost a little more initially, but will save
you money in the long run. It protects the chlorine from the sun's
Q. I guess
I can see the advantages of Stabilized Chlorine - tell me more.
A. The sun
will cause liquid bleach or shock and calcium hypochlorite to lose
their effectiveness after 4 hours. But if you use a chlorine with a
built-in-stabilizer, it will keep working for over 24 hours. More
chlorine is left in the water to do the job of sanitizing, and less
is wasted - being burned off by the sun. A smaller amount of
Stabilized Chlorine will last you longer than 2-3 times as much
Q. O.K. I’m
convinced that Stabilized Chlorine is better than the others. Now
what do I do?
have a choice of either Stabilized granular chlorine or Stabilized
tablets. For most applications, we usually recommend using the
3" slow dissolving "hockey puck" style tabs.
Q. OK, but
say I did select the granular. How do I use it?
Once your pH is balanced, simply add 2 ½ ounces of most brand's
granules for every 10,000 gallons of water. However, be sure to
check the label of the brand you choose.
A. You do
have to add it every day unless otherwise indicated by your test
kit. This is this disadvantage of a granular product.
Q. Do I
just sprinkle it right into the water?
A. No. You
should mix it with water in a bucket first. This will ensure that
you don't stain your pool bottom. Remember, always add chemicals TO
water, not water TO chemicals.
easy, but I think the tablets would be easier. Am I right ?
Simply place the tablets either into your skimmer basket or, if you
have one, your chlorine feeder. Usually only once per week !
same as with the granules: 2 ½ ounces per 10,000 gallons is
typical, however be sure to check the label of the brand you choose.
Q. How can
I tell how many gallons my pool holds?
is a chart on our Web Site, go back one page to the main Pool &
Spa Tips Information Directory and you'll see it.
make it out to sound pretty simple. Basically, it seems like all I
have to do is keep my pH balanced and my chlorine level up.
got it! The only other bit of routine maintenance you need to know
about is vacuuming, super-chlorinating, and maintaining total
Vacuuming I know about: once a week I vacuum the bottom and sides
and then backwash my filter. But what’s super-chlorinating, and
how often do I do it?
Super-chlorinating is just what it sounds like: Instead of putting
in 2 ½ ounces of chlorine per 10,000 gallons, you put in 5-10 times
That’s a lot!
but you do it only when needed, usually after a heavy rain, a very
hot weekend or when the pool’s been heavily used. Before swimming,
you must wait until the free residual chlorine has returned to below
Q. Got it.
Now what’s total alkalinity, and why do I have to test for it?
A. This is
the water’s ability to resist changes in pH. The same conditions
that produce the need to Super-chlorinate may also affect your water’s
total alkalinity. A simple test kit will help you keep total
alkalinity at the proper level of 80-120ppm. Your pool chemical
dealer can supply the test kit and the chemicals you need.
you’ve told me is really helpful. For the first time I think I
really understand how to maintain my pool, and I feel confident
about it. But I’m sure that during the summer I’ll have
of all, you can always return to our Web Site right here, and email
us a question, or call us at
. Also, we’d like to remind you that your local pool supply dealer
is an expert and is always ready to help answer your questions as
Information on this
page was adapted from "The Basic Guide To Pool
Maintenance" - FMC Corporation - and is intended as a basic
guideline only. Consult the instructions on your specific brand of
chemicals for proper use and safety instructions.