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Pool maintenance might sound like a major downside to owning a pool, but the following pages will show you how to keep your pool water clear and balanced and equipment running smoothly all year round. Once you know the basics, it’s less complicated than you think and more rewarding knowing you know how everything works and interacts.

The heart of your circulation system is your pool motor or pool pump. It operates much the same as your heart. The pool motor is responsible for moving water from the pool via the weir and suction line through the sand filter for removal of any dust, dirt and debris before to sending it back to the pool via the return line and out of the aimflow nozzle.

How long should you run your pump? Piping size, pool size, swimmer load and the actual pump size all play a role in determining how long you should run your pump. For the proper time consult your pool professional. They can determine, based upon your specific pool, the proper amount of time required to keep your pool clear and clean. Making use of a pool timer to run your pool on a regular schedule is one of the best and most cost effective ways, especially in South Africa, of keeping your pool clean and your electricity bill down.

If your pump is straining and not running properly or not running at all, your water is not being circulated or filtered which leads to a host of problems. Check your pool motor, pool motor basket and weir basket regularly and ensure that it is running efficiently. Click here for more information on this essential pool maintenance task.

The job of the filtration system is to remove any undissolved dirt and debris from the pool water, just like your liver. While the weir basket and the pool motor basket in the pump all play a role in the filtering of the pool water, the primary element of the system is the sand in the sand filter itself. Dirt captured in the sand is removed from the sand filter by “backwashing” or reversing the water flow. The filter should be backwashed at least once a week under normal operating coniditions. Sand filters should be cleaned at least every season with a filter cleaner and having the sand replaced every two years. Click here for more information on maintaning the health of your sand filter.

Testing your pool 2-3 times a week during the summer and once a week during the winter is important in maintaining adequate water balance and sanitizer levels and ensuring swimmer comfort. Test strips and kits are a quick and convenient way to test the pool for adequate sanitizer levels as well as pH and total alkalinity. Proper testing using a comprehensive kit or taking a sample of your water to a pool shop also ensures that calcium levels are maintained and that there are no metals present in the pool water. These tests can be completed by you or your pool professional. In order to prevent scaling or corrosive action and to achieve maximum swimmer comfort. Click here for more information on this topic.

Your pool water should be balanced to the following optimal levels:



Total Alkalinity

80 - 200 ppm


7.2 - 7.6

Free Chlorine

1 - 3 ppm

Calcium Hardness

200 - 250 ppm

Free Bromine (if applicable)

3 - 5 ppm

Metals: Copper

0 ppm

Metals: Iron

0 ppm












To prevent the pH varying up and down, the proper amount of acid buffer, or total alkalinity, must be maintained in the pool. The pool should be tested weekly with a total alkalinity of 80-200ppm (parts per million) maintained. Low total alkalinity can not only result in pH bounce and fluctuations, but corrosiveness and the possibility of staining increase. High total alkalinity also can cause the pH to fluctuate as well as cause cloudy pools along with possible scaling. To lower total alkalinity, follow the directions from your pool professional. To raise total alkalinity, an alkalinity booster is recommended. Remember to get your total alkalinity levels right before attempting to adjust your pH which is probably in a state of fluctuation. Click here for a more in-depth explanation on total alkalinity.

pH is the measure of acid and alkaline in the pool water. The pH of the pool should be tested and adjusted, if necessary, on a weekly basis. If the pH of the pool water drifts to the acidic side of the scale, corrosion of pool surfaces and equipment can occur. If the pH of the pool water drifts to the alkaline side - scaling, deposits, and cloudy water can occur. Use a pH booster (like pool acid) to increase the pH of the pool. At 8.5, chlorine is only about 10% active. At 7.0, chlorine is about 73% active. If you maintain pH around 7.5, the chlorine will be 50-60% active. Keeping the pH in check will allow you to use the full potential of the chlorine that is already in the pool. To lower the pH of the pool, use a pH decreaser (like soda ash). Follow the label directions for the proper amount of the products to add based upon your test results and pool size. Take a sample of water to your pool dealer every 2-3 weeks for complete test and analysis. Click here for the ins and outs of this important level.

NOTE: Always follow label directions when adding any pool maintenance products to the pool. Never mix products together. If your are unsure how products should be used, contact your local pool professional.

Stabilised chlorine products sanitise your pool water and kill bacteria. Stabilised chlorine products are protected from sun light degradation and are an ideal means to keep your pool clear and clean. Most stabilized chlorine products are available in a variety of forms.Your pool professional can determine the best form and type of sanitization program for your particular needs. A free chlorine level of 1-3 ppm should be maintained in the pool at all times.

Note: You will get more out of your chemicals if you add them after the sun has set.

Shocking the pool on a regular basis is an important element in keeping the pool clear and clean. Swimmers and the environment add waste to the pool that must be eliminated on a regular basis in order to prevent problems such as algae and cloudy water.

Stabiliser helps retain your chlorine longer just as insulation helps retain heat or air conditioning. Stabiliser can be added to some chlorine compounds to protect them from the breakdown effects of sunlight. When your stabilizer level is low, you'll use a lot more chlorine as it is rendered inactive by the UV rays. When it's high, you may need to dilute your pool water to bring it back into the 40 to 100 ppm ideal range.

All water contains dissolved minerals. As pool water evaporates, minerals remain behind and become more concentrated. The more concentrated these minerals become, the harder it is for chemical additives to work and stains can form. If you have 3000 ppm or more of total dissolved solids or TDS, you may need to drain some water and add fresh water.

Calcium Hardness is the amount of dissolved calcium in the pool water. Low calcium hardness levels can cause marbelite finish etching and shorten the life of fibreglass liners. High calcium levels can result in calcium deposits on the pool surfaces as well as equipment. The proper range for calcium hardness in pool water is 200- 250 ppm (parts per million) for marbelite pools and 175-225 ppm for fibreglass pools. Your pool professional can advise you of the best method for treating your pool if you encounter high calcium hardness. If tests indicate that you have extremely high calcium levels in your pool, take a sample of your fill water (water used to fill the pool, borehole for example) to your pool professional for analysis as well.

There should not be any metals present in your swimming pool water. Metals can cause staining in the pool and cause the pool to turn colors. The most common types of metals that appear in pool water are copper, iron, and manganese. If metals are present in the pool, a stain and scale remover should be used on a regular basis to prevent staining. You should determine the source of the metals and remove if possible.

Preventing algae is the key to an enjoyable pool. Algaecides act as a backup to your normal sanitization program and prevent algae from starting and growing in the pool. Algaecide should be added after every shock treatment. Click here for a comprehensive guide to combating this familiar foe.





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