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Care for a Pool in 4 Easy Steps

Care for a Pool in 4 Easy Steps

Pools were made for having fun and relaxing, not working. Pool maintenance shouldn't be a full-time job. You can simplify pool care with these four easy maintenance steps.

The Complete 4-Step Pool Maintenance System

1. Balance Your Pool

When we talk about properly balanced pool water, we mean it has just the right pH, total alkalinity and calcium hardness levels. Maintain correct levels and everything should run smoothly. Proper balancing keeps your metal equipment and accessories from corroding and plaster surfaces from etching. It also prevents scale formation that can damage pool equipment, stain surfaces and cloud your water. Best of all, it prevents eye and skin irritation. 

Total Alkalinity

This is the ability of your water to resist changes in the pH. If your total alkalinity is too low, the pH level will be very sensitive and could swing drastically. Also, if the total alkalinity is high, it can make the pH level too high and contribute to cloudy water and scaling. If your total alkalinity is too high, add an alkalinity increaser. If it's too low, add a pH decreaser.


pH is a basic measure of acidity or basicity in your water, and it's one of the most important factors in balancing your pool. On a scale of 0 to 14, 7 would be considered neutral with an ideal range falling between 7.2 and 7.6.

Calcium Hardness

Hard water contains excess calcium and magnesium, and those levels can vary throughout the country. No matter where you live, calcium and magnesium are left behind as your pool water evaporates, and that increases water hardness. If the calcium hardness level is too low, add a calcium hardness increaser. If it's above 250 parts per million (ppm), add a scale and stain control product to prevent possible scaling. If it's above 500 ppm, drain off some of the water and dilute with fresh fill water to bring the level down.

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2. Chlorinate Your Pool

Bacteria and algae are unwanted guests at any pool party. Your continuous chlorine level should always fall between 1 and 4 ppm for proper sanitation and to prevent bacteria and algae. There are a variety of options available to help you keep your pool clean.

Basic Chlorinating Tabs

Slow-dissolving chlorinating tablets, found in both 1-inch and 3-inch sizes, keep your water clear. Most chlorinating tablets have a built-in stabilizer to protect your chlorine from sunlight burn-off. Chlorinating tablets can be used in your floating dispenser, skimmer or automatic chlorinator.

Liquid Chlorine

Liquid chlorine is similar to the bleach you use in your household, but is two to three times stronger when formulated for pools. Liquid chlorine is easy to apply and an effective sanitizer, but it has a short shelf life compared to other chlorine products. It can't be stored for more than a few weeks. 

Chlorinating Tabs

Many varieties of chlorine sanitizers offer a multifunctional approach to pool care. There are a variety of chlorinating tabs available to sanitize your pool and keep it in great shape for swimming, while shocking your pool to remove contaminants. Other varieties kill bacteria and control algae, while softening your water and protect pool equipment. 

Chlorinating Granules

Multifunctional granular chlorine products can help you perform several tasks at once by chlorinating, shocking and killing algae with a single, daily application.

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3. Shock Your Pool

Shocking should be done weekly, without fail. It can get rid of contaminants that cause cloudy water, chlorine odor and eye irritation, while also preventing future problems and reducing the need for other chemicals. There are a variety of shock products for use in any pool.

Basic Shock Products

Basic shock products help kill bacteria and break down cosmetics, suntan lotions, perspiration and other swimmer wastes that can't be filtered out of pool water. Shocking with basic shock products reduces chlorine odor and eye irritation, and it helps to keep your pool sparkling clear.

Multifunctional Shock Products  

Multifunctional shock products quickly restore water clarity by effectively destroying bacteria and swimmer wastes, while also balancing pH, enhancing filtration and adding additional algae protection. Many shock products get you back in the pool extra-fast, as soon as 15 minutes after treatment.

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4. Add Algaecide to Your Pool

Like an alien invasion, millions of tiny microscopic plants in the form of algae can march into your pool by rain, wind and fill water. Leave it unchecked and your water will quickly become unusable due to clogged filters, low water circulation and reduced effectiveness of pool chemicals. Algaecides prevent algae from taking over the pool, and they treat algae growth if gets started.

Looking for fast results? Some algaecides quickly kill all types of algae and prevent them from returning. Other algaecides focus specifically on preventing and removing green algae, which is the most common kind found in a pool. Prevention is the key to an algae-free pool. In the case of an algae outbreak, algaecides can quickly and efficiently eliminate the problem and restore your pool to sparkling clear.

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