How To Maintain A Swimming Pool Part 1 (Chemicals)


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Swimming pool maintenance can seem like a daunting task but it's quite simple. Once you've educated yourself on the basics, you'll be able to maintain a crystal clear pool in no time. The first step is to familiarize yourself with the chemicals. There are quite a few so we'll stick to the basic ones.

Click Here for Part 2 - How To Maintain A Swimming Pool Part 2 (Testing)

Click Here for Part 3 - How To Maintain A Swimming Pool Part 3 (Adjusting Chemicals) 

Step by Step


Step 1

Chlorine - This is your primary sanitizer. It is stabilized and comes in either a tablet (1" or 3" tablet) or granular form. One dose will usually last anywhere from 3-7 days. It will kill algae and bacteria. For a chlorinated pool the chlorine level must be 3-5 ppm (parts per million. There are 2 chlorine levels that you will need to pay attention to, free chlorine and combined chlorine. Free chlorine is the chlorine that is in the water doing it's job and combined chlorine which is chlorine that has combined with contaminants rendering it useless as a sanitizer. The sum of these two is the total chlorine.

Click Here to View our Chlorine Tablets and Granules 

Step 2

Bromine - Bromine is an alternative to chlorine. Bromine also comes in tablet (1" tablet) and granular form. Bromine is more stable than chlorine at higher (hotter) water temperatures. This is why bromine is primarily used in spas. Bromine has two downsides. The first is that it is expensive. The second is that it is burnt off easily by sunlight. Cyanuric acid will not help protect the bromine therefore you use more of the product than you would chlorine. Use of bromine as a sanitizer limits you to using a non- chlorine shock. Bromine needs to be maintained within 2-4 ppm.

Step 3

pH - This is a measure of the water's total acid-alkalinity balance. The lower the pH, the higher the acid level. The pH level in a pool needs to be maintained anywhere from 7.2-7.8. If the pH is too low, it will corrode metal equipment, cause etching on the surface materials and cause skin irritation. If the pH is too high, it can cause scaling on the pool surface and plumbing equipment and can cloud the water.

Click Here to View our pH Balancing Chemicals

Step 4

Pool Shock - This is another type of chlorine. It is unstabilzed and will stay in the water only for a day or so. The pool needs to be shocked at least once a week. Adding a shock treatment will usually spike the chlorine level to 10 ppm. You will want to wait at least 12-24 hours before swimming can be resumed. Pool shock can either be liquid or a granular based product. Shock is also available in a non-chlorine for. This type of shock is an oxidizing shock and can be used as a "shock and swim" meaning you can swim 15 minutes after adding the shock to the pool.

Click Here to View our Swimming Pool Shock

Step 5

Alkalinity - Also referred to as total alkalinity is a measure of alkaline in the water. While alkalinity can affect the pH level, the two are not the same and are adjusted by two totally different chemicals. When the alkalinity is within range, it will help prevent the pH from bouncing in and out of range. Alkalinity needs to be within 80-120 ppm. Low alkalinity can cause skin and eye irritation, green water, etched or stained pool walls and floor. High alkalinity can cause cloudy water and causes the chlorine to lose efficiency as a sanitizer.

Click Here to View our Pool Alkalinity Increaser 

Step 6

Calcium Hardness - Pool water requires a certain amount of calcium. If the level of calcium is too low, the water is considered soft. Soft water is corrosive and it will dissolve calcium and other minerals from plaster pool surfaces and metal equipment (heaters, pumps, salt cells etc). If the calcium level is too high, the water is considered hard water. Hard water can cause scale on pool surfaces and equipment, particularly heat exchanging surfaces. The calcium hardness should be maintained between 200 and 400 ppm.

Click Here to View our Calcium Hardness

Step 7

Click Here for Part 3also known as conditioner- Simply put this is "sunscreen for your chlorine" because chlorine is very susceptible to the sun's ultraviolet rays. Slow dissolve chlorine tablets and granular chlorine contains cyanuric acid but there will be times when you will need to manually add the cyanuric acid to the water. The ideal range for cyanuric acid is anywhere between 30-80 ppm. Cyanuric acid (conditioner) comes in either a liquid or granular form.

Click Here to View our Cyanuric Acid

Step 8

Metal Remover - Tap and well water contain traces of iron and copper. Copper-based algaecides and improper water chemistry can add to this (corrosion of heat exchanger). The result can be either green (copper), brown (iron) or a purple/black color (manganese). Metals in the water, mixed with chlorine can cause green hair. A metal remover deactivates and removes trace metals from the pool water or water.

Click Here to View the Natural Chemistry Metal Free Product

Step 9

Algaecides - The main cause of algae in a swimming pool is improper sanitizer (chlorine) levels combined with hospitable conditions that allow algae to thrive. Algae is a plant and needs food, water and light to grow. An algaecide will help prevent algae, it will not kill algae.

Click Here to View our Pool Algaecides 


(1 to 11 of 11)

Anonymous  Posted: 12/31/2019 

Best way of eliminating blurry water in pool. I have run the pump all nite. The vacuum have been going for a while

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 1/2/2020 

The best way to clear a cloudy pool is to use Pool First Aid by Natural Chemistry.

 Posted: 11/1/2019 

I have massive amounts of algae in my pool. The PH and Chlorine are in range. I have added Algae Chemicals and Clarifying Chemicals and nothing has worked. I am going to empty, clean and refill the pool. This seems to be my only solution? If I start over again, what chemicals should I add first or do I add Alkaline and Chlorine at the same time. How do I know how much free chlorine and the other chlorine I have in the pool. Can this be the problem? I really need some help with this. Thanks, Giuseppe Giuseppe.

 Posted: 9/6/2020 

Refilled water what chemical should I use

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 9/8/2020 

Basically, all of them. If you refill your pool with fresh water, you have a blank slate in terms of pool chemistry. First, you need to test the pool water to find out where your levels are; then, you can go from there regarding how much of which chemical to add.

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 11/4/2019 

When filling a pool with new tap water the first chemicals to add are cyanuric acid a.k.a. stabilizer/conditioner, shock, and your chlorine tablets in order to set up a sanitizing level. Once that is completed we recommend getting the water tested in order to fine-tune the rest of the chemistry.  

 Posted: 3/14/2018 

Doesn't too much cyanuric acid cause the chlorine to "disappear". I have had to completely empty my pool and power wash it because it was GREEN and I couldn't get any chlorine in the pool. How do I keep this under control?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/26/2017 

Mimi - We recently put out a blog on "How to Clean a Green Pool". It is a proven to work procedure based on heavy shock treatments and persistence. It will work for you.

 Posted: 6/25/2017 

I have a 15×30 foot above the ground oval pool about 12000 gallons. Every thing is with in normal range and my pool is still light green. I have poured chemicals into to pool as advised by the local pool store. Still no clean pool. I just tried the green to clean it did lighten the green water. Please help it's getting . very frustrating

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/17/2017 

kalola - What chemicals to add to your pool depends on what is in your pool now. The best approach is to take a sample of your pool water to a local pool store and have them measure it usually for free. They will tell you what and how much to add. As far as your pressure gauge goes, 8-15 psi is the range that your system should operate in. It sounds like the red marking is the good range?

 Posted: 6/17/2017 

We just put up a new 18ft by 4ft AG pool. We are using a sand filter/pump system.
1. What is the initial chemicals and amounts to start off with?
2. The pump gauge is reading in the red(8-10psi)range. What should we check and adjust to relieve the pressure?

Thank you,