Pool Maintenance

It’s hard to find insights on the Internet, that really help the DIY pool owner. Having learned the hard way from some failures, here are some that I wish I had much earlier.

Sparkling Water

Water that literally sparkles in the sun requires 1) fairly clean filter, 2) properly shocked pool, and 3) sufficient filtration run-time.

Quality Equipment

Install quality, high-end equipment from brands that have been around for decades. The budget stuff breaks and causes stress and headaches. The water chemistry is brutal, as is the exposure to the elements; UV rays, rain and dust.

Use high-quality valves that you can disassemble when needed. Use pipe diameters of 2″ to 3″ as seen in high-end pools for efficiency.

Pool Chemistry

Various water chemistry options exist to disinfect and keep pool water sparkling. The least complicated and most widespread water chemistry is chlorine chemistry. Even considering the effects of swimming in it and consumption levels of toxic chemicals, alternatives are far from a golden bullet.

Next, some insights pertaining to chlorine chemistry.

Sequence of Adjusting Water Chemistry

Take your time and adjust your water balance slowly, step by step. It’s good to add less chemical at a time and wait and see first, if you have the time. Calculate the volume of water in your pool and use a calculator to calculate the amounts of chemical to add.

  1. Alkalinity
  2. pH
  3. Ca hardness
  4. Stabilizer

Pool Shock

Shocking the pool is not just dumping a lot of chemicals into your pool. Proper shocking of a pool needs to reduce the amount of combined chlorine relative to free chlorine. To decompose combined chlorine, we need a very high concentration of free chlorine. The amount of free chlorine needs to be substantial to be effective.

Raise the free chlorine level to about 10x the combined chlorine level to shock a pool.

Finally, algaecide chemicals are only a band-aid to control algae, not a solution. To clear the pool, you’ll need a chlorine shock. To kill an algae bloom it might take 30 ppm chlorination. In such cases, a chlorine accelerator such as Yellow-Out can be helpful to free up more chlorine faster.

Benefits of Balanced Water

Balanced water leads to stable water balance, and it minimizes the wear on equipment and plaster. As an example, ugly bare concrete patches may appear on plaster if the Alkalinity level is too low for too long.

Ideal water lacks combined chlorine and has a pH close to 7.5. This eliminates chlorine smell and matches the pH to that of the human eye.

Continuous Water Circulation

For sparkling water, run a pool pump 8-12 hours a day. Even better, if you invest in a variable flow pump, you can run the pump at a minimal speed 24/7. I run my IntelliFlo VSF continuously at a minimal 20 GPM flow rate, consuming only 190 Wh. Compared to this, at 60 GPM at full speed, consumption becomes 1.4 kWh with a clean filter. Continuous operation reduces wear and tear because of priming and other abrupt pressure changes, and because of a lower system operating pressure. The pump also runs extremely quietly, another plus.

Filter Cleaning

After perfectly cleaning a D.E. filter, set the pressure gauge marker to the level when the pump runs normally. Clean the filter when the pressure increases by 10-15 psi, or with a constant flow rate pump when the power consumption has increased significantly.

Instead of opening up the filter, backwash. The filter hardware will last longer, it’s far less messy, you save a lot of time, and it is sufficiently clean after.


Store pool chemicals separately, away from anything of value, especially metal parts and equipment. Rust appears really quickly on any metal near chlorine; moist conditions lead to HOCl, which is a very strong oxidiser.

updated: 20240300

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