Pool Basics 101–A Basic Guide For A Healthy And Clean Pool

There are many benefits to keeping a simple pool maintenance routine. It isn’t just keeping your pool clean, but it also has a significant impact on owning a healthy, clean, and safe pool. Needless to say, if your pool is not maintained, it will wreak havoc on the pool surface and pool equipment.

Maintaining your pool requires less work than you think. And, our goal for all our pool clients is to enjoy the benefits of pool ownership.

In This Article


Consistent Water Level Is Key

Maintain your pool water level halfway up the skimmer box opening…especially after an active day in the pool, after a dry spell, or after a rainstorm. If the water is too high, the skimmers won’t skim. And, if the water is too low, the skimmers will suck air.

✓ If you suspect your pool is losing more water, monitor closely.
✓ Check for loose tiles, cracks, gaps, water-saturated areas around the pool plumbing and equipment.


The Skimmer Basket Role: Add Life To The Pump

Skimming your pool and cleaning out skimmer baskets will keep your pool clean, and your pump last longer.

The skimmer basket is the first line of defense for removing undesired material from your pool. If you let your skimmer basket build up, you are greatly adding to the pump’s labor and shortening its life.

Skimming your pool will keep your pool clean and healthy especially if you have a lot of vegetation around your pool.

  1. Turn off the power on your pump
  2. Remove skimmer lid, and skimmer basket
  3. Empty skimmer basket of all debris and gunk
  4. Rinse the skimmer basket with a garden hose
  5. Place skimmer basket in, skimmer lid back on
  6. Turn on the power on your pump


The Pump Basket Role: Keeping It Clean

A pump basket full of debris greatly reduces water flow, adds strain to the pump, and hinders adequate filtration.

A dirty pump basket may damage the pump over time. And, cause algae growth due to poor flow. It’s so important to clean your pump basket.

  1. Turn the power off the heater, and wait approximate 15 minutes
  2. Turn the power off the pool pump
  3. Close the main drain valve and skimmer valve
  4. Ensure the filter valve is in a closed position
  5. Remove pump lid, and pull pump basket out
  6. Empty pump basket from any debris and gunk
  7. Rinse the pump basket with a garden hose
  8. Inspect pump basket
  9. Place pump basket back with lid
  10. Ensure the filter valve is in an open position
  11. Open the main drain valve and skimmer valve
  12. Turn the power on the pool pump
  13. Turn the power on the heater


Brushing: An Excellent Way To Prevent “Algae Blooms”

Simply put, your swimming pool gets dirty.

  • Start at the top of the walls on the tile line, and work your way down to the bottom of your pool using steady, firm strokes.
  • Always brush the dirt toward the main drain, overlapping your brush strokes.


Vacuuming–Check The Filter Each Time You Vacuum, And Clean, If Necessary

Your pool should be vacuumed every week to keep water clear.

Automatic Pool Cleaner

If you are fortunate enough to have an automatic pool cleaner, let your pool cleaner do its job. If you would like to learn more about automatic pool cleaners, then give us a call for a free no-obligation estimate.

Manual Vacuum

If you are working on a manual vacuum, work it back and forth all over the surface of the pool as if you were vacuuming carpet.


The Balancing Act: Maintaining Your Pool Chemical Levels

First things first:

✓ Do not use old testing reagents even “if you bought them last year.” They expired, and you will get incorrect testing levels.
✓ Owning and using a good test kit is imperative to measure the pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness.
✓ If you haven’t already done so, pick up fresh testing reagents and a good test kit at our Service and Supply location. Feel free to bring a water sample, and get your water tested complimentary.
✓ Test free chlorine concentration and pH when the pool is being used often, or after it rains.


Water Chemistry Balance Levels

The following details the proper water chemistry levels for optimal swimming pool functionality and comfort:

pH: 7.4 – 7.6
Chlorine: 1.0 – 3.0 ppm
Bromine: 2.0 – 4.0 ppm
Salt: 3200 – 3700 ppm
Total Alkalinity: 100 – 150 ppm
Calcium Hardness: 200 – 400
Cyanuric Acid: 25 – 50 ppm
Total Dissolved Solids: 500 – 5000 ppm
Metals: None
Phosphates: .125ppm MAX

Monitor the chlorine level daily using the test kit.
To keep bacterial, pathogens, and algae from growing in your water, the chlorine (sanitizer) level needs to be at a safe level for swimming. A chlorine test reading between 1.0 and 3.0 ppm is optimal.


If you use bromine tablets instead of chlorine as the sanitizer, then the reading should be between 2.0 and 4.0 ppm.


Monitor the pH daily using test kit.
The pH balance of your water impacts the effectiveness of the chlorine in your water. The idea test reading for pH is between 7.4 and 7.6. If the test reading is below 7.2 then the water is more on the acidic side. A test reading above 7.8 indicates the water is more on the alkalinity side. Monitor the pH daily using test kit.

Total Alkalinity

The alkalinity reading should be between 100 and 150 ppm. Typically goes hand in hand with pH. If the alkalinity reading is low, then most likely the pH reading is low and vice versa. Typically chlorine shock contains alkaline which will help raise the alkaline level. On the flip side of that, chlorine tablets containing cyanuric acid tend to lower the alkalinity.

Cyanuric Acid

The cyanuric acid (chlorine stabilizer) reading should be between 25 and 50 ppm. This component is usually a product of chlorine tablets. It slows the escape/evaporation of chlorine which, in turn, helps to maintain a more consistent chlorine level. However, since chlorine tablets contain this component which is an acid, it tends to lower the alkalinity and the pH.


The ideal range for salt should be 3200-3700 ppm.


Your Pool Filter—Cleanliness And Overall Maintenance

How often and how you clean your pool filter depends on the type of pool filter you own.

✓ If your filter pressure gauge indicates that pressure has dropped below the normal reading for a clean filter, check if you have a clogged pump or skimmer basket.

Three Types Of Swimming Pool Filters:

Sand Filters, Cartridge Filter, and Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Filters

Sand Filters:

These type of filters use special filter sand. Sand filters require periodic backwashing to remove debris from the filter. Water is directed through the pool filter by a valve. Once the water runs through the filter, the water flows to the pool heater or back into the pool.

✓ If your sand filter is 3-5 years old, call Colony Pool Service to replace the sand.
✓ Clean your sand filter when you close your pool for the season.
✓ Schedule during your pool closing with Colony Pool Service.

Cartridge Filters:

These type of filters pass water through a fibrous element. Cartridge filters require disassembly and cleaning of the cartridge periodically to remove debris from the filter.

✓ To clean cartridge filters: Soak them in a cleaning solution for 24 hours, hose off before reinstalling.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Filters:

These types of filters pass water through a thin layer of diatomaceous earth that is coated onto a grid. DE filters require periodic backwashing to remove debris from the filter. Water is directed through the pool filter by a valve. Once the water runs through the filter, the water flows to the pool heater or back into the pool.

✓ D.E. filters should be disassembled and cleaned at least once per season when you close your pool for the season.
✓ Schedule during your pool closing with Colony Pool Service.


To backwash, the valve is manipulated to reverse flow and direct debris-filled water to waste.

A pressure gauge located on the filter or valve is advantageous to own so that you can measure the back pressure or resistance in your filter system.

Older filters may need more frequent cleaning. Expect to check more frequently.

Heaters—Maintain Comfort

Like any other piece of pool equipment, you should follow a regular program of preventive maintenance with your pool heater – including annual inspection and de-liming of the heat exchanger, when necessary. Check your manufacturer for your specific heater. And, as always, give Colony Pool Service a call if you have any questions.


Now, Reap The Benefits

Colony Pool Service values your loyalty and wants to continue providing the support you need to succeed in enjoying pool ownership.

If you have a question, give us a call, or drop by one of our retail stores. Colony Pool Service is here to service your pool, and also provide advice to all of our pool clients.

And, remember…regular routine maintenance can make a huge difference. With a clean and healthy pool, you can enjoy your friends and family poolside because that is what it’s all about.

Happy Swimming!