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Pool Care for Beginners | Step By Step How to Clean a Pool

Awesome Tallahassee Pool Home with Pool Robot
Clean Pool with Pool Robot

Hello, everyone, welcome to our helpful advise on how to clean a pool.

Today we're gonna discuss about the pool maintenance action plan.

To begin, I'd like to introduce myself as the company's founder, Rachel Lammey, so let me start there.

I had worked at my parents' pool company and matched with a literal scientist, now my husband Cole.

So we're talking 10-plus years of pool maintenance knowledge and a Health Science graduate.

We've built a great pool service department.

Pool Care is my core business and taking care of people has returned the favor 10x.

And it is totally run by Cole and me!

We're here to help you with anything related to pool maintenance, so please don't hesitate to contact us at any time.

We're entirely doing this on our own.

We're here to help you take better care of your pool and save money in the process.

Lil Duckies are here for you!

Me and a few other people make up the entire team.

In order to keep the lights on, we provide you with goods that teach you how to properly take care of your swimming pool.

It's like that, except that it's completely free.

Your swimming pool needs regular upkeep. That’s why it pays to obtain a decent fundamental grasp of pool maintenance essentials.

When you know how your pool works, the best ways to care for it, and how to plan for it, you’ll be equipped to manage just about any potential pool problem that floats your way.

Good Pool Maintenance Begins with Knowing Your Pool

Before you can completely enjoy or care for your pool, you might need to brush up on all the parts of your pool. You don’t need to take an extra course or go for your doctorate in swimology from Princeton. But knowing the fundamental elements of your pool, and their functions, helps you keep everything operating smoothly—and makes it easier to fix concerns when they emerge.

Pool Chemistry Testing is Easy with Test strips
Pool Chemistry Testing is Easy with Test strips

4 Main Pool Components

Every pool has four components that need periodic upkeep to keep your pool in good shape.

The pool water composition and level

The pool’s wall or liner

The filtration system for the swimming pool

The pool’s system of skimmers and returns

This is the basics of pool maintenance.

I'm gonna give you actionable strategies to keep your pool clean and clear all year long.

Pool Water

It might seem like a no-brainer but the water in your pool is crucial to sustainable pool happiness.

Keeping it clean, clear, and balanced protects you and your family against contaminants and pollutants. It also helps you prevent costly hardware repairs due to corrosion or mineral build-up, and helps your full pool last longer.

Pool Interior

Because your pool liner is always in contact with the water and whatever is in it, it is vulnerable to staining and other damage.

Keeping these surfaces in good repair, and clear of algae, mold, and debris, will help keep your pool clean and safe.

Pool Filtration System

Swimming pools have both a pounding heart and a liver. OK, that seems a little unusual.

But think about it: your pool pump sucks water keeps your water circulating, like your heart does with your blood. Your pool filter clears debris and other contaminants from your water precisely like your liver filters last night’s cheese fries from your blood.

Both safeguard you and your pool from harm. Without a functioning filter system, your pool will soon be a murky, unclean, and unswimmable mess.

Depending on your setup, you might have a cartridge filter, a sand filter, a diatomaceous earth (D.E.) filter. Or, if you have a salt water system, a salt water chlorinator.

Pool Skimmers and Returns

If your pool’s filter is its liver, then your skimmers and returns are its veins and arteries.

Your skimmers—not to be confused with a net skimmer, the cleaning equipment attached to a telescoping pole—pull water into the filter for cleaning, while the returns push the cleansed water back into your pool. And like your veins and arteries, they work best when they’re clean and clear of obstructions.

No two pools are alike, and you’ll no doubt have pool maintenance challenges particular to your pool as time goes on. But if you’ve got a decent grasp on these four pool components, you’ll be well ready to face off most upkeep challenges.

The three Cs of pool upkeep




1. First, there's circulation, the most crucial component of pool care.

Then we're gonna chat about cleaning your pool.

And then finally, pool chemistry, the water’s chemistry.

If you can master these three areas of pool maintenance you will have a crystal clear pool all the time.

And it's safe to swim in.

And everybody will be happy, including your friends and family.

So let's just dig in, pun intended.

We're gonna start with circulation.

So circulation is, like I mentioned, the most critical part of pool upkeep.

And there's a few things we're gonna go over.

So first, we're gonna start with running your pump and filter system.

Ideally, if everything were perfect and we all had a lot of money, I would advise that you run your filter 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all the time.

That's the best circulation.

That's like your body, your body's always circulating blood.

Your pool should be constantly circulating water, but that's just not realistic.

I thus suggest that you run it eight to twelve hours a day throughout the summer or hot weather.

Closer to 12 hours a day would be excellent.

That's highly recommended.

And if it's colder,if you leave your pool open all year long, you may run it for around four to six hours a day.

Professionally speaking, we compute the hours needed with this calculation.

Pool Volume in Gallons (Service Factor of Motor x 60)

A 15000-gallon pool with a 1-horsepower (45-gpm) motor will require 5.5 hours to complete a full water cycle, on average.

If you have a variable-speed pump, you may be able to drop it to a lower speed and keep it working all the time, and really save yourself some money, so that'd be fantastic.

Also, if you run your filter system at night, you might save a little bit of money because not everyone has their electricity on, and so you're actually saving some money there.

But on a hot summer day, 12 hours a day and during day light. Stuck water and the sun don't mix well.

And you can split that up, six hours here, six hours there.

And that's the recommendation there.

So, the most critical step is to keep your pump and filter system operational.

We're going to talk about how to get your jets to fly at an angle now.

This means that the water is pushed through the filter system and out the jets of your pool as it passes through the skimmer basket.

You might have step jets.

If you have an above-ground pool, you may only be able to have one jet.

If you have an in-ground pool, you might have a lot of jets.

And what you're seeing is, you wanna tilt some of the jets at roughly 8 o'clock.

So that water can be pushed all the way to the bottom of the pool, we do this.

The water will then rise once more.

Also, if you have more than one jet, make sure they're all rotating in the same direction.

The return jet should be faced away from the skimmer in order to generate a vortex and allow the water to flow back into the skimmer.

But I love to maintain my jets at around eight, 8 o'clock, 7:30, 7 o'clock, you know, right kind of diagonal in that way so that it's pointing down and you can get that.

Also, if your pool has any dead spots, this will help.

It's possible to have a spot in your landscape where water doesn't move around much.

It might assist with that.

And this is quite important.

Cleaning the skimmer and pump baskets will follow.

So your skimmer, or multiple skimmers if you have an in-ground pool is stuffed with junk.

If you check these every single day and just clear them out, that's gonna increase the flow of water run through your filter system.

And it will just worsen your blood circulation.

On top of that, you have a pump basket, you have a basket in your pump, and you wanna make sure that that's also cleaned out.

As the first line of defense, your skimmer baskets will be less full of rubbish than those.

And then it travels into your pump.

The water will move through your filtration system more easily if they are free and clear of particles.

However, even if you never attended a Scout meeting when you were younger, you must be aware that standing water is (to borrow a term from our own childhoods) grody to the extreme.

In your pool, as in the broad outdoors, flowing water is cleaner, clearer, and safer. Proper pool circulation is crucial to healthy and safe swimming.

A murky pool or an algal invasion are uncommon in a pool with good circulation. For optimal circulation, run your pump and filter system on a regular basis.

Backwashing your filter on a regular basis is another must-do for efficient pool circulation.

Use the Multi port to set to waste and backwash
Use the Multi port to set to waste and backwash

Forget thoughts of “floaties” in your drink. In this instance, backwashing refers to reversing the flow of water through your filter and shunting the dirty water and built-up contaminants to the waste port, transporting them out of your pool. If you’re not sure how to clean a pool filter, it’s crucial to learn and make it part of your daily pool care routine.

Filter cleaning and backwashing techniques vary by filter type, but the basic principles remain the same.

For pools with sand filters, try adding one cup of D.E. add some cocoa powder to make it better at filtering As the D.E. does its magic, murky water will become crystal clear. enables your sand filter to remove small particles with ease.

2. A Routine for Cleaning the Swimming Pool

If your pool's circulation is adequate, cleaning it will be a breeze. However, you'll still have to put in some effort. The following are a minimum set of tools:

Pool accessories include a net, skimmer, brush, and vacuum.

Leaves, fungi, and the occasional duck or frog, as well as residues from shampoos, perfumes, and hair products, are just a few of the oddities that your pool and the people who use it bring in.

Cleaning your pool is an absolute must if you're worried about bacterial infection.

Vacuum, brush, and skim your pool at least once every month.

Keep dirt and other impurities out of your water to avoid streaking.

When brushing, baking soda paste is an excellent basic scouring cleanser because it won't damage delicate tile or vinyl liners.

You can save a lot of time and effort by installing an automatic pool cleaner.

You'll still have to skim and brush frequently, but it will be easier to do so, allowing you to spend more time swimming instead of cleaning.

A few unconventional improvements to your pool may help make maintenance easier.

Toss a few tennis balls into your skimmer basket, or even right into the pool, and they’ll absorb surface oils left behind by suntan lotion, cosmetics, etc. Skimmer baskets can also be wrapped in pantyhose to create an extra-fine filter that will catch more contaminants than a skimmer alone.

When the tennis balls and pantyhose begin to show signs of wear, simply replace them.

Tip: The drains placed into the bottom of the deep end of an inground pool will help draw water into the filter and make it easier to eliminate particles generated during cleaning.

These drains are not available in above-ground pools, but a manual pool vacuum can provide the same water-clearing benefits.

Use a pool hose to vacuum your pool
Use a pool hose to vacuum your pool

Simply connect the vacuum to the filter system and position the vacuum in the center of your above-ground swimming pool with the hose on the upside down position. When you turn it on, it acts as a primary drain, speeding up the removal of murky water.

A flocculant can also be used to quickly clear cloudy pool water. But keep in mind that this simply addresses the symptom and not the underlying problem, so it is only a band-aid solution. Visit learn more about pool floc, go to this page.

Connect hose to skimmer and vacuum head and clean the surface of your pool each week
Connect hose to skimmer and vacuum head and clean the surface of your pool each week

3. How to Maintain a Proper Level of Water Chemistry

Remove yourself from the area where the Bunsen burner is located. Pool chemistry might sound intimidating and intricate, but you don’t have to worry.

While it is a key part of excellent pool management and water treatment, fundamental pool chemistry is surprisingly uncomplicated.

The most crucial tool in your bag of water care methods is your water testing kit.

You wouldn’t season your stew without tasting it.

So, before grabbing the chemicals, test the water in the pool. Understanding what’s in your water, and what isn’t, is the first step to balancing it.

Swimming pool water chemistry is mostly composed of three components:

pH levels: The measure of how acidic or basic your pool water is.

Low pH levels are acidic, while high levels are basic. The ideal pH for your pool is between 7.4 and 7.6.

Alkalinity: Works as a pH buffer and helps avoid major spikes in basicity or acidity. The ideal range is 100 to 150 parts per million (ppm) (ppm) (ppm). The alkalinity of your pool can be improved by adding baking soda.

Sanitizer levels: The amount of chlorine, bromine, etc. in your pool water. The correct concentrations depend on the sanitizer you use.

Once you know your pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels, you may start to add chemicals to adjust your water balance.

Take your time, follow all the recommendations, and make sure you know what each chemical does and how it’ll effect the water, and the folks that swim in it, before you add it.

Every once in a while, your sanitizer will need a little help, especially after a thunderstorm, or if a lot of people have been using the pool. To make sure your pool stays clean even after the sanitizer is maxed out, give pool shock on a regular basis.

Always Shock Your Pool at Night.

If you shock during the day, the sun’s UV rays will eat up the chlorine before it has a chance to perform its job. Add the shock to your water, then run the pump for at least eight hours to make sure it’s fully circulated.

Make a Plan for Upkeep

As you learn more about your pool and how to care for it, your to-do list could start to appear a little intimidating. Maintaining order and making certain that important tasks do not slip through the cracks are made simple by creating a schedule for pool care.

Not only will you be able to remain on top of simple upkeep, but you’ll be able to plan ahead for more sophisticated pool maintenance duties like closing your pool, caring for it during the off season, or having your swimming pool ready to roll when pool season starts.

Keep it Simple

Write up your pool care routine and put it on the wall, fridge, or simply anyplace near your swimming pool. If others in the home are available on specified days to perform some of the minor maintenance duties, put down a name below each assignment and spread the effort.

Now we're gonna talk about filter maintenance.

Due to the fact that a pool's filter is its beating heart.

In the event that it becomes clogged, well, you can guess what will happen.

So we're talk about a sand filter first.

So if you have a sand filter, wonderful.

Filter of choice for me.

They're pretty basic to apply.

And you wanna make sure that you backwash it every once in a while because when it builds up with pressure, then it's blocked and it has to be backwashed.

It needs all the dirt that the filter has been accumulating pushed out of the backwash port.

And the way we do this is, there's a pressure gauge on the top of your sand filter, or on the side, depending on which one you have.

And you want to make sure that soon after you backwash, you take notice on where your pressure lies.

Monitor your Pool Filter Pressure often
Monitor your Pool Filter Pressure often

And pressure is pounds per square inch, which is P-S-I.

And you wanna see how many pounds it's functioning at when it's clean.

You might see it between 10 and 15 psi.

That's pretty normal.

If it goes 10 pounds beyond that, well that implies your filter is clogged, and you need to backwash it.

So you wanna backwash your sand filter.

You won't do this very often since, unlike your heart, the more blocked it gets, the more it helps to filter out items.

So that's actually a good thing.

But too much is too much.

Then we're gonna move on to a cartridge filter.

There is no backwashing with a cartridge filter.

What you do here is, you actually take the cartridge out of the filter system, and you rinse it down with a hose or you soak it overnight in a cleaning solution.

Make sure your cartridge is always cleaned, even if you don't have to do it every week (that's my recommendation).

And again, the pressure gauge here is your signal on when you have to do that.

If you have a good clean cartridge filter, and you're running at approximately 10 to 15 pounds of pressure, excellent.

Once it gets 20 to 25 pounds pressure, it's important to shut off your filtration system, pull out the cartridge filter, and clean the cartridge inside or even replace it.

And ultimately we're talking about a D.E. filter.

There are only three distinct types of pool filtration available: mechanical, biological, and saltwater.

And a D.E. filter, highly strong at cleaning a pool.

But it does need to be backwashed every once in a while.

And when you backwash it, you need to replace the D.E. that you backwashed out of the pool.

And D.E. stands for diatomaceous earth, which is a fine white powder.

And you wanna be really careful when you utilize the product because it is a carcinogen.

So just wear a mask, wear some protective eye protection while you're dealing with this fine white powder.

And the pressure gauge, again, that's your signal if you need to backwash or not.

Like I said previously, 10 pounds of pressure, over normal operating pressure, it is time to backwash.

So there are the three filters and how to keep them clean.

Now we're gonna discuss about cleaning the actual pool itself.

First, we're gonna talk about skimming.

Skim the top of your pool with a net
"Oh Pool Boy! You missed a spot!" Netting leaves often is important.

Skimming is, you have a leaf net.

You may be holding it in your hand or it may be attached to a pole.

Every day, you'd like to skim the pool's surface.

I know that may not be practical, but try.

If you can do that every single day, wonderful.

And consider it a break from your day.

Take a walk in the fresh air.

You can just stand there in the sunshine if the weather permits.

Move the thing around.

It's like a, kind of think of it as you are relaxing or working out.

You're just moving it around and scooping up all the garbage and dumping it out.

And that is gonna help you so much.

Because the debris that builds up on the pool's surface eventually sinks to the bottom.

And then you have to vacuum it, which is substantially tougher than merely skimming the surface.

So if you can skim it every day, excellent.

If you can do it every other day, every three days, that's OK.

The more you do it, the healthier your pool is gonna be.

Then we're gonna chat about brushing.

Brushing is something a lot of people overlook, but you need brush your teeth, you should brush your pool.

You need to brush the whole surface of the pool each week so it doesn't get slimy
You need to brush the whole surface of the pool each week so it doesn't get slimy

So you take your brush.

You put it on the telescopic pole.

You brush the whole surface towards the main drain towards the deep end.

And you wanna brush the walls, the steps, the ladders.

And you desire do this every day (once a week is good) (once a week is fine).

Brushing is a no-brainer if you're going to skim.

If you have those hard-to-reach spots.

You know how they say with teeth, if you have those hard-to-reach spots in your pool where debris likes to collect, brush it out of there.

So that way, at least it gets circulating and hopefully your filter can take it up.

Or your vacuum will pick it up.

And you desire do this every day.

Again, if it's not realistic to do it every day, every other day, every three days, but try.

Again, the more often you do it, the cleaner your pool's gonna be in the long term.

It'll only help.

You know, you won't have murky pool problems and algae problems if you just maintain it clean.

And then, vacuuming.

Vacuuming, I say you can do once a week.

Or you can invest in an automatic pool cleaning that'll do it for you all the time.

So we have the traditional, manually vacuum your pool.

Fill the hose line with water and plug it into the skimmer suction hole under the skimmer basket. Make use of a suction head and hose to clean the pool's bottom.

If you can turn off the pool and set it to waste, that’s even better especially if there is algae.

Then rinse for 30 seconds until clear and return to filter mode.

You may not need to do this as often if you regularly skim and brush your teeth.

But weekly should be good.

I encourage that you invest in some form of automatic pool cleaner, whether it's a pressure-side, suction-side, or a robotic pool cleaner, which I highly recommend.

So that way, your pool's continuously being vacuumed by a robot instead of you.

It's completely worth the money, I assure.

Now we're gonna move on to chemistry.

Chemistry is the confusing one, but it doesn't have to be.

First thing we wanna do, test the water one to two times a week.

It's that simple.

You can use a home test kit, you can use test strips.

You can take it to your local pool store, wherever you get your water tested.

Make sure that your water is good to go.

Do this often.

The more often you do this, the better you'll remain on top of your water chemistry and you won't have troubles with your pool.

Those measurements that you want watch out for is, first we're going look at the pH and alkalinity.

No matter what sanitizer you use, salt, chlorine, bromine, BAQUACIL, minerals, whatever you use.

Everyone has to manage with pH and alkalinity.

And this is the balance.

You wanna keep your pH between 7.2 and 7.6.

And you desire keep your alkalinity between 100 and 150 parts per million.

If you keep your pool balanced at all times within these limitations, you are achieving 90 percent of the work here.

If you have well balanced water, all the other chemicals will just work much, much better.

And now it's time for the sanitizer.

We're gonna go over all of them, okay?

The first one we're gonna go through is chlorine.

If you have a salt system, this applies to you, too.

Because the chlorine in salt systems is what makes them work.

Yes, there are titanium rods inside the cell and it’s hooked up to 120V at your breaker box. It literally electrocutes the salt water and transforms Sodium Chloride into Chlorine.

Remember high school science classes? Well we don’t need to talk about electrons if you want to take our word for it.

And you wanna keep your chlorine between one and three parts per million, more towards three parts per million if you can.

Once that gets below three or one, your pool is not being cleansed.

You are open for bacteria and algae growth and muddy water.

So if you just keep your chlorine at three parts per million all the time, which is much easier to perform with a salt water pool.

But if you have a chlorine pool, and you have a chemical feeder like a chlorine puck dispenser, that's the way to go.

Keep your chlorine in check at all times with balanced water, man, you're gonna be extremely good to go.

If you have bromine, you desire keep that between three and five parts per million.

If you use biguanide, which is comparable, which is BAQUACIL, or Softswim.

They come in different brand names.

But biguanide should be between 30 and 50 parts per million.

And then if you're utilizing a mineral system, which employs chlorine as a back up.

So mineral systems, Nature 2, Frog.

These are mineral systems, which I love, but you have to keep your chlorine at 0.5 parts per million.

So there's less than one part per million, and that half a part per million that you maintain of chlorine in there, is a back up in case the minerals fail you, for some reason, or you didn't change the cartridge that you were supposed to change.

The chlorine will go in there and kill what it has to kill.

And that'll keep your pool safe.

If you keep all of these in check.

Well, not all of these, depending on which one you have, you are gonna be good to go.

And then lastly we're gonna speak about surprises.

So gorgeous, you have to do this with a chlorinated pool, salt or just pure chlorine.

A bromine pool can be used to do this.

Definitely a mineral pool.

This is your own brand of shock, Biguanide.

But basically, you wanna shock weekly.

People may also mention surprising on a weekly or biweekly basis.

The hotter the summer, the hotter the temperature out, shock weekly.

It's something of an insurance policy. I adore pool RX or a copper based algaecide for summer, they perform beautifully and lower the chemical bill substantially.

To save money, I put them to use on my company's pool route.

Shocking is simply taking whatever sanitizer that you use and just pouring a really concentrated amount in there, just wiping out everything.

Killing every object that's possibly in your pool.

That's what shock does.

You do it weekly, you're staying on top of it.

If you wanna do it bi-weekly, that's ok, too.

Just if you're having, you know, all the other chemicals are on track.

You look amazing, you're staying on top of it.

Sure, go bi-weekly.

Because that manner it'll save you a small bit of money.

But shocking your pool, super, super simple.

And it's an insurance policy to make sure that you're not gonna acquire bacteria and algae growth and cloudy water and all the difficulties that come with pool ownership.

So there are the three Cs of pool maintenance.

Again, it's circulation, the most critical component.

If you have great pool circulation, then that's the first line of protection for everything.

Because the filter system is there to filter the water, to keep it clean.

And then we're gonna talk about cleaning, or we already talked about it.

Cleaning is the second one.

You maintain your pool clean, you skim, you brush, you vacuum, you're not going have a lot of...

Your sanitizer is not gonna have to do that much, which is excellent.

That's gonna save you money in the long term.

And then finally, chemistry.

Chemistry does not have to be difficult.

It is very, very simple.

And that's it.

You’re ready to get out there and clean the pool!

About the Author

Rachel Lammey is the CEO of Lil Duckies Pool Company in Tallahassee FL. She loves her cats and husband Cole and enjoys making new friends, a good book and a warm herbal tea. In her free time she loves to blog and mountain bike.

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