A Pool Owner’s Quick Guide to Pool Maintenance: The Three C’s

Do you own a pool? If so, then you need to know about the three C’s of pool maintenance. This is a basic guide on how to keep your pool clean and in good shape.

Many people know the pleasure of having a refreshing swim in a pool. Even if you have a pool, you need to do the work to maintain it for yourself and others who enjoy swimming. To ensure safety, cleanliness, and enjoyment from your pool, there are several things you will need to do.

In this article, we will take a dive at some of the basic maintenance tasks that you must do regularly to keep your swimming pool looking its best.

Why Pool Maintenance Matters?

Pool Maintenance Worker Holding Tools

Swimming pools are a lot of fun. They’re a great place to enjoy some exercise, socialize with friends and relax. However, they do require upkeep and maintenance if you want your pool to be a place that looks great and is also safe for swimming.

You’ll find that water can deteriorate the chemical levels in your pool or even damage the liner if it isn’t properly maintained. If you don’t take care of your pool, it may not function correctly and can pose a risk to both you and those around you who use the pool.

Pool maintenance is essential for many reasons. The first is that a well-maintained pool will be safe and enjoyable to use, eliminating visible debris and addressing algae growth. In addition, a clean pool will provide less opportunity for the development of bacteria, which can lead to a skin infection.

Finally, a clear pool with little chemical residue left behind will feel inviting and refreshing from the beginning of summer until winter’s end.

Circulation, Cleaning, and Chemistry

To keep your pool looking great, pay attention to the three “C’s” of pool maintenance: circulation, cleaning, and chemistry.


Water Pump Fixed by Technician near Pool

The first step in maintaining your pool clean is proper circulation. Circulation moves water through your filter and back into your pool, removing waste and contaminants that may otherwise build up. 

If you don’t circulate the water properly, you’re likely to end up with a lot of waste and debris sitting at the bottom. This will impede circulation and make it harder for the filters to keep the pool clean. 

Circulation is arguably one of the most important factors in effective pool maintenance; if done right, it will give you a clean swimming pool without wasting electricity on unnecessary filter cleaning.

Run the Pool Pump for at Least 8-12 Hours Per Day

The more you run your filtration system daily, the cleaner your pool will be. Therefore, it’s best to run your pump for a full day or longer. The good news is that even a low-powered, inexpensive swimming pool pump will work well for this task.

In addition to pumping during daylight hours, you should also ensure that the timer allows your filter to run for at least 8-12 hours per day. It may seem like a lot, but to keep your pool healthy and clean, you need to have your filter constantly running for it to circulate water correctly.

Backwash the Filter When the Filter Gauge Reaches About 10 Psi Higher Than Normal

If the pressure on your pump gauge is 10 pounds or above the normal reading (generally 10-15 psi for a clean filter), it may be time to backwash your filter. If your pool is using a cartridge filter, you will need to clean the cartridge regularly to keep it operating properly.

Clean the Skimmer Basket at Least 1-2 Times per Week

Woman Cleaning Skimmer Basket Full of Autumn Leaves

Cleaning the skimmer and pump baskets on a daily basis is important to the overall maintenance of your swimming pool. It removes any large debris, which can obstruct the built-up of bacteria on your equipment if not removed promptly.

Water in a swimming pool needs to be able to flow freely for it to circulate correctly. Therefore, if leaves and other items accumulate in the skimmer or pump basket, you will need to clean them before they become a problem. 

Cleaning the skimmer can be as simple as removing the dirty water with a net or vacuum and replacing it with fresh water from your hose. In addition, you should check your pump baskets for any items that have been collected in them and make sure to remove them.

To ensure effective filtering from your filtration equipment, you will need to clean it regularly. To clean it, you will need to backwash your filter. Backwashing is where the water is forced back through the filter, removing dirt and other debris. You can generally do this by simply opening a valve at the bottom of your pump and forcing water through the front of your filter. 

Be careful not to force too much water back through at a time as that could damage your equipment or cause leaks.

Adjust the Jets

Another simple modification is to make sure that your pool jets are facing away from your skimmer, allowing your water to cycle circles as it should. This will move the water in your pool to spin, making it simpler for your skimmer to remove debris. Having the jets angled downward also helps ensure that the pool’s bottom gets a good circulation. 

If any regions of your pool struggle to obtain enough water, most frequently the area surrounding the stairs, ladders, cracks, and corners, you may also angle the jets toward these places for proper pool maintenance.


Cleaning Pool Using Net to Skim

There is nothing like a completely clean swimming pool. If you want your pool to be as clean as possible, you will need to spend the time and effort to keep your swimming pool clean regularly. Here are some simple steps you can take to help keep things looking nice and clean:


Brushing the pool walls, surfaces, and floors with a brush helps prevent algae growth, staining, and scaling, especially in “dead spots” such as around stairs, ladders, cracks, and below the skimmer. 


You can remove large debris by skimming the water’s surface with a net or leaf rake. In addition to being unsightly to swimmers, this debris can also cause stains on the bottom of your pool.


Vacuuming your swimming pool is necessary to remove debris that can reduce circulation and hurt your pool. We suggest using a vacuum head, hose, and a pole that’s connected to your skimmer via a vacuum plate.


Pool Chemistry Testing Kits

The chemistry of pool water is one of the most important factors to consider for proper pool maintenance. When you properly balance your pool, you’ll be less likely to encounter problems such as murky water, green water, or a buildup of dangerous bacteria in your plumbing. That is why having a decent testing kit in your pool care toolkit is vital for proper pool maintenance.

Check Your Water Chemistry Balance Weekly

Choose a pool test kit that will tell you whether or not you need to add pool chemicals to keep the water balanced. Many easy-to-use test kits or test strips are available at most pool supply stores and suppliers. Here are the optimal ranges to bear in mind for proper pool maintenance :

  • pH: Your pool water should have a pH of around 7.5. In addition, pH levels that are too high or low can create a range of pool care concerns, from pool equipment corrosion to increased green algae growth.
  • Calcium hardness: The optimal calcium hardness is around 200-400 ppm in a pool. When the calcium hardness levels in your pool are too low, you run the danger of damaging the plaster finish or vinyl liner. However, if the calcium hardness of your pool is too high, your pool is prone to high levels of calcium deposits.
  • Alkalinity: Total alkalinity should be between 120 and 150 parts per million (ppm). Alkalinity can impact your pool’s pH if it falls below this range and is more prone to staining. If the range is on the higher side, you’ll notice your pool water becoming hazier.
  • Chlorine: Chlorine is available in various forms, including sticks, granules, and pills.  Any type of this chlorine can break down harmful bacteria causing algae and diseases in your pool water. If you want to maintain your pool clean, you’ll want to ensure that the chlorine levels remain on the optimal levels.
  • Phosphates: Having a green and murky pool water indicates that the phosphate levels in your pool are likely to be too high. Having an excessive amount of phosphates in your pool can increase the likelihood of algae development while also making it more challenging to maintain pool chemistry.

Shocking the Pool

Pool Shocking

Shocking your pool can help to remove a wide variety of contaminants from your pool water. This process helps remove the buildup of bacteria, algae, and other contaminants from your pool water. The result is a clean and clear swimming pool. “Shocking” means you overload your pool with sanitizer to eliminate any germs, pollutants, and organic debris.

In general, the more frequently you use your pool, the more regularly you should shock it with chlorine for proper pool maintenance. Here are some instances where you may want to shock your pool:

  • After a heavy storm
  • After unexpected contamination (feces)
  • After an algae bloom

“If you shock during the day, the sun’s UV rays will eat away at the chlorine, preventing it from doing its function. After adding the shock to the water, operate the pump for at least eight hours to keep it circulating throughout your pool.”

Matt Giovanisci, founder of Swim University®

If you follow these few steps, then your pool will remain clean and inviting all year long. The key is establishing a regular maintenance schedule and maintaining a proper balance of pool chemistry.

Bottom Line

The more you clean and maintain your pool, the less often you see discoloration, murky water, scaling, and other signs of trouble. We hope this post has given you some additional tips for making your pool care a lot easier.

For more great pool articles, check out our website. Swimming pools are not as difficult to maintain as you might think. Here are a few tips to help you. Keep your pool clean and safe. 

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About the author

Brian Anderson

The rather dry pool world out there is in need of some passion to make it shine. With the help of my son Ruben and his wife Maria our mission is to help you create the favorite spot of your house - your pool.

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