More How do I do pool maintenance...

You've got questions, I've got MORE answers. Just ask me!

After almost 50 years in the Pool & Spa Industry, I've seen & experienced a LOT!

I've learned what works & what doesn't. I'm here to help you get the most out of your swimming pool, spa or hot tub.

When it comes to all the basics of pool & spa operation and best practices, tap into my expertise. Whether it's opening or closing the pool, learning how to vacuum or backwash a filter or even regular maintenance: ASK! You'll even find instructions that you can download

Below you'll find MORE How pools work... Such as how a pool works, vacuuming, back wash filters & more pool maintenance

Click here for information on this page mainly deals with pool chemicals

For Pool Opening or Pool Closing instructions, click here

And then there are links to our blog for even more information!

Ron Parrs, your PoolSpaGuru
Ron Parrs, your PoolSpaGuru

How a Pool System Works

Inground or Aboveground, they work the same way

With PoolSpaGuru pool expertise, swimming pool maintenance is easy to understand. Whether you have an inground pool or above ground pool, all pools essentially work the same:

  • There's a pool body with an interior surface of vinyl, plaster, tile, fiberglass or a combination of these materials.
  • Pool Water is drawn into the filter system (blue lines) from the skimmer & main drain (if equipped)
  • Water comes into the filter system thru the 3-way valve (if equipped) & into the pump / motor
  • Water travels into the filter (either Sand, DE or Cartridge) where fine dirt & debris are removed
  • After the filter, the clean or cleaner, filtered water goes thru the heater (if equipped)
  • Filtered & heated (not all pools) water returns to the pool (red lines) thru the return inlets

For more information on the workings of your pool, click on the 5 Keys to Pool Care


Vacuum my pool

It's not that difficult & sometimes relaxing...

Inground or Aboveground Pools:

  1. If your pool is equipped, be sure  that the valve on the suction line coming into the pump is selected for  the port (either skimmer or lower suction fitting) you will be using to  vacuum.
  2. Attach the vacuum hose to the vacuum  head (the piece with the brushes or wheels on it). The better quality  vac hoses come with a swivel end to prevent tangling of the hose.  Be  sure that this is the end that is attached to the vac head; if not the  system will draw air & not work properly.
  3. Make sure the hose is secure and the vac head is firmly attached to the pole.
  4. Place the vac head, hose & pole into the deep end of the pool (make sure one end of the pole is sticking out of the water!)
  5. Take the UN-attached end of the vac  hose & hold it in front of one of the water return fittings.  This  will fill the hose with water & prevent binding of the pump with  air.  You know you've got enough water in the hose when the vacuum head  bubbles up to the top.
  6. Put your hand over the end of the hose to keep the water IN.
  7. Place the skimmer basket adapter on  top of the skimmer basket.  Always use a basket to prevent the possible  suction of a large object from getting stuck in the skimmer or in the  underground line.
  8. If vacuuming through a lower suction without a basket, use a leaf trap.
  9. After you have placed the hose on the  adapter fitting you will probably notice a sudden drop in filter  activity.  This is normal.  The filter system is just readjusting itself  to the change in suction.  Let it operate for about 30 to 90 seconds.   It should automatically bleed any air out of its system and return to  normal operation.  You'll hear the sound becoming "normal" again.
  10. Vacuum away!

Troubleshooting - Click here

Pools need to be vacuumed about 1 time per week... or more often for those who enjoy vacuuming!
Pools need to be vacuumed about 1 time per week... or more often for those who enjoy vacuuming!

BACK-WASHING a sand filter

How to Backwash or Back-flush a Sand filter

Back wash Filter. Back-washing your swimming pool's sand filter is an important part of pool maintenance and should be done "regularly".

Why does a sand filter need to be back-washed? Sand filters need to be back-washed because you need to routinely get rid of the accumulations of dirt and debris that collect on and in the sand bed. As the sand inside the filter gets dirty, the flow of water through the filter gradually slows down until its unable to trap any further dirt or debris. 

When the pressure gauge measures approximately 10 psi HIGHER than initial start OR when you notice that the flow of water returning to the pool has dramatically slowed down, it is time to backwash the filter.

I'll provide a couple of extra hints at the end of this section.

Whether your sand filter has a top mounted valve as shown in the picture or a side mounted valve, the operation is the same.

  2. Turn the lever on the valve from "FILTER" to "BACKWASH"
  3. Turn the pump back on.
  4. Watch the waste water either out of the backwash hose or through the sight glass on the valve. The water will turn from dirty and gray to cloudy to clear. Depending on how dirty the filter sand is, this could take anywhere from 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. When the water becomes clear, TURN OFF THE PUMP.
  6. Turn the lever on the valve to "RINSE". RINSE will "rinse" any leftover dirt and debris out of the internal filter plumbing so that it doesn't go back into your nice clean pool.
  7. Turn the pump back on. Watch the water again go from dirty to clear. Rinsing should take about 20 to 30 SECONDS, no longer!
  9. Turn the lever to "FILTER" to resume normal operation.
  10. Turn the pump back ON.

Note 1:  It is very necessary to TURN OFF THE PUMP when changing valve positions. If you don't turn the pump off, you could and will damage the valve causing it to leak.

Note 2: Back-washing should only be done AS NECESSARY, typically no more than once every 7 to 10 days during the season. The "dirtier" a filter is allowed to become, the finer a particle it will be able to remove from the water. Even at spring pool opening, allow the filter to filter as long as possible before back-washing.

Note 3: Periodically CHEMICALLY CLEAN the sand. Sand media typically can last 5 to 7 YEARS when it is chemically cleaned twice per season.  Not chemically cleaning the filter sand cuts the life of the sand to 2 to 3 years. 


Chemically clean your pool filter

Yes, you need to CHEMCIALLY CLEAN your pool filter

It is incredibly important to CHEMICALLY CLEAN your swimming pool filter. Regardless of whether it is a Sand, Cartridge or DE (Diatomaceous Earth) filter, the media MUST be periodically chemically cleaned, then back wash filter. This is good pool maintenance.

Chemical cleaning your filter would be equivalent to properly washing your dishes or clothing. Rinsing alone does nothing to clean dishes, pots & pans or dirt clothes.  Detergents and the scrubbing action of the dishwasher, washing machine or hand wash, scrubs off the excess debris plus the detergents breakdown the accumulated greases and oils that foul the filter, shortening its life. 

Sand grains actually wear down (loose their sharp edges which trap dirt) & accumulate grease. The Cartridge fiber gets dirty like a pair of jeans or shirt. The DE septum which holds the DE, gets dirty like the Cartridge fabric. Here's how to take care of each of these filters...

Sand Filters: 

  • Follow the steps in BACK-WASHING above, EXCEPT before turning the filter ON in the SECOND step, add a bottle of BioGuard Kleen-It or Natural Chemistry Filter Perfect to the PUMP basket. Use one bottle per filter up to 300 lbs of sand. 
  • Back-wash the filter for no more than 25 SECONDS in order to get the filter cleaner mixed into the sand.
  • Allow the filter to soak or sit for at least 8 TO 12 HOURS.
  • Follow the remaining backwashing procedure.

Cartridge & DE Filters:

  1. Remove the Filter cartridge from the filter body.
  2. Hose or rinse off excess dirt & debris.
  3. Place the Filter Cartridge or DE Septum (grids, fingers, etc) into a clean, plastic garbage can & add the filter cleaner.
  4. Add only enough water to cover the cartridge or septum.
  5. Allow the filter to soak or sit for at least 8 TO 12 HOURS.
  6. THOROUGHLY rinse with clean water before putting the cartridge or DE filter back together. Ideally, Cartridge filters should be allowed to thoroughly DRY before returning to service. DE filters MUST be recharged with the appropriate amount of DE or DE substitute; NEVER run a DE filter without DE. EVER!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Be sure to DE-GREASE the filter FIRST.  Using acid to clean filters first before de-greasing will set the accumulated greases and oils into the filter media.