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Pool Maintenance FAQs
Genco Pools & Spas |1217 NE Main StSimpsonvilleSC29681 | (864) 967-7665

How to Keep Your Pool Healthy

A pool isn’t just a body of water: it’s a complicated system of filters, pumps, and more. Maintaining a pool means staying on top of water checks, chemicals, and other complex matters. Read our pool maintenance guide below to get educated on proper pool care.

How do I close and winterize my pool?


Pool winterization is key for preserving water quality, protecting equipment and surfaces, and making the spring pool opening an easier process. Proper closing also helps avoid issues like freeze-thaw damage or pipe damage. Whether your pool will be completely closed or put on reduced maintenance, it is important that you do not neglect your pool in the winter.

Pool Winterization Steps:

  1. Take care of any unresolved issues. Check for water quality problems, leaks, and other issues. Water problems are especially important—many of these problems can worsen in winter, making the spring opening harder.
  2. Balance the water. Not balancing the water’s pH can cause scaling or corrosive problems, even if the water circulation system is off. Water tries to self-balance itself by taking elements from the surrounding area, which can damage pool equipment and surfaces.
  3. Prevent algae. Even in the winter, algae can grow in your pool. Consider using a winter algaecide to shut down growth. After applying algaecide, circulate the pool water adequately so the chemicals are properly dispersed.
  4. Prevent stains. Stains and scale buildup are both ugly and damaging. If you wait until the end of winter to treat the stains, the process will take longer and be more expensive. Not to mention that stains can damage your equipment. When you’re winterizing your pool, consider adding a sequestering agent to the water to stop dissolved metals from staining the surface.
  5. Clean, clean, clean! You want your pool to be pristine before it closes for the winter. Remove all dirt, leaves, and other debris from your pool to prevent staining.
  6. Shut down equipment. Turn off all timers, pumps, lights, and other equipment. Keeping them on in the winter causes wear and tear and reduces their lifespan.
  7. Lower the water level and drain the lines and equipment. We do not recommend fully draining in-ground pools, but you should reduce the water level until it is below the skimmer. Because water expands as it freezes, you’ll want to make sure that the pipes are dry or that antifreeze is added. You may want to use a shop-vac to blow water from the lines, then plug lines so the pipes do not crack. Make sure your pumps, filters, and equipment are dry as well.
  8. Close access to the pool. You don’t want to risk children falling in or people wandering in. Close off access to your pool so that no one gets hurt.
  9. Cover the pool. A pool cover stops dirt, leaves, and other debris from entering your pool. It also makes spring opening easier, as there will be less debris to remove.
  10. Store chemicals properly. All pool chemicals should be stored somewhere cool, dry, and well-ventilated. Keep pool chemicals far from other chemical products like fertilizer, motor oil, and more. We recommend keeping pool products tightly sealed in their original container.
  11. Check on your pool. You should regularly check your pool to ensure it stays free from debris and trash. Rain or snow can also raise the water level, so ensure the water level is consistently low. Proper off-season care will lead to a much easier spring opening and a more enjoyable pool season.

How do I keep my pool clean?


Make sure your family can enjoy clean, healthy water all season long by following these steps:

  1. Clean off all leaves and debris from the pool cover before removing it.
  2. Empty your skimmer baskets frequently. This reduces the number of leaves on the bottom of your pool.
  3. When cleaning your pool with a leaf net, start at the sides and work your way around. Then clean from the middle to the sides.
  4. Make sure to empty your leaf net regularly when cleaning. Otherwise, you may accidentally dump the net’s contents back in the pool.
  5. Trim the trees and bushes around your pool to minimize the number of leaves that fall in.
  6. If you’re opening your pool, run the filter around the clock until the water is totally clear.
  7. If your pool water is green or smells bad, you likely have an algae problem. Balance your chlorine/sanitizer levels, and talk to a professional if you need more help.
  8. Ensure that your filter, pump, lint trap, and skimmer baskets are clean.
  9. Adjust your pool inlets so that the water moves in a circular direction.
  10. Check and empty your skimmer and pump baskets regularly.

How and when do I backwash my pool filter?


Backwashing is necessary when your pump pressure is 10-20 psi above the regular pressure rate. You will also have to backwash after vacuuming.

Backwashing steps:

  1. Turn off the pool pump
  2. Turn filter handle to “BACKWASH”
  3. Turn on the pool pump
  4. Run two to three minutes or until water runs clear
  5. Turn off the pool pump
  6. Turn filter handle to “RINSE”
  7. Turn on the pool pump
  8. Run for 10 seconds or until water runs clear
  9. Turn off the pool pump
  10. Turn filter handle to “FILTER”
  11. Turn on the pool pump
  12. Note lower pressure and resume normal use of pool

Don’t backwash too often, or your filter won’t reach its cleaning potential!

How and when do I clean my pool filter?


Make sure to deep clean your filter at least two to three times per season, along with regular backwashing.

To Deep Clean A Cartridge and DE Filter:

  1. Remove filter element(s) and rinse with water to wash away loose dirt
  2. Soak element(s) overnight in a cartridge cleaner
  3. Rinse element(s) thoroughly with clean water and replace

To Deep Clean A Sand Filter:

  1. Pour recommended amount of filter cleaner into pump strainer basket
  2. Turn pump on and backwash into the filter
  3. When you see water in the sight glass, turn the pump off and close all valves leading to and from the filter, isolating the cleaner in the filter overnight
  4. Next day, reopen valves and backwash until water is clear and no foam is visible
  5. Run the rinse cycle and then return filter to normal operation

What are phosphates, and what do they do to my pool?


Phosphates are a key factor in algae growth, and they can enter your pool water from dust, rain, leaves, runoff from the lawn, and more. They’re dangerous for your pool sanitization because they can destroy chlorine.

To avoid high levels of phosphates, follow these steps:

  • Eliminate lawn or landscaping runoff from entering the pool
  • Remove leaves from your pool regularly
  • Use a phosphate removal treatment
  • Use a lifelong algaecide year-round
  • Get your water tested professionally

What is the Langelier Saturation Index, and why is it important?


The Langelier Saturation Index (LSI) measures your water’s ability to scale or corrode your pool. You want to keep your LSI between +0.3 and -0.3.

Low LSI means that the water is corrosive. High LSI means your pool might suffer from scaling, calcium deposits, and mineral/metal precipitation.

What is calcium hardness, and how does it affect my pool?


Calcium hardness indicates that your water is prone to scaling. Pool owners must balance their calcium hardness to ensure that their pool runs well.

If your pool water is too hard, drain the water and add in water of a lower pH. If it’s too low, then add some calcium hardness increaser.

In addition, pool owners should test their water for metals. Red, green, or blue stains in your pool indicate metallic contamination in your water. Take a water sample to a pool professional, and they can prescribe a treatment for your water.

What is pH, and how does it affect my pool?


pH measures the acidity or basicity of your water. Maintaining the pH level is just as important as keeping your pool chlorinated. Without the proper pH levels, your pool chlorine will not work as well.

Your pool’s pH should be within 7.2 to 7.8. Lower pH is corrosive and will damage your vinyl liners, fiberglass finishes, plaster finishes, and more. When pH is too high, it will form calcium carbonate scale and damage your pool’s surfaces, plumbing, and heaters.

What is total alkalinity (TA), and how does it affect my pool?


Total alkalinity measures your pool’s ability to resist changes in pH. It helps regulate your pH level and keep it in the right range. If the TA is too low, the pH can "bounce" and negatively affect pool chemistry.

Your pool’s TA should be at 80-120 ppm. If your pool water is out of balance, you should adjust your TA first with an alkalinity increaser or pH decreaser, then adjust the pH. High TA can be hard to reduce, and you may have to add more decreaser over time.

Low TA can lead to:

  • pH bounce
  • Staining/etching of pool surfaces
  • Corrosion in your pool’s mechanical system
  • Liner wrinkles
  • High TA can lead to:
  • Cloudy water
  • Scale formation
  • pH resistance

How does chlorine work as a swimming pool sanitizer?


There are two kinds of chlorine: free chlorine and chloramine. Chlorine acts as a sanitizing agent by killing bacteria and oxidizing contaminants. Once chlorine combines with these contaminants, it turns into chloramines, which have no sanitizing ability. Chloramines are a waste product that needs to be removed. 

Pool owners should know the total chlorine in their pool. They can calculate the total chlorine value with this formula:

(total chlorine) = (free chlorine) + (combined chlorine)

If your total chlorine level is higher than the free chlorine level, you need to shock your pool. That involves adding an extra-large dose of free chlorine compound to your pool. This helps destroy the combined chlorine. Make sure to use an organic or stabilized chlorine stabilizer, as an inorganic/unstabilized chlorine stabilizer will cause your pH to spike.

How do I open my pool at the beginning of the season?

  1. Remove any plant debris and water from the deck and pool cover.
  2. Remove the pool cover, clean it, let it dry, and store it.
  3. Add water up to the middle of the skimmer or the normal operating level.
  4. Remove any freeze plugs or other items installed to protect against freezing.
  5. Clean your filter (if this was not done when you closed the pool).
  6. Start the system up, making sure to prime the pump before starting the motor and purge all air from the system.
  7. Check for any cracks, holes, and/or tears in the liner or surface of the pool and repair them.
  8. Remove large debris with a net and vacuum all small debris.
  9. DO NOT add any chemicals. First, bring a water sample to a water lab to check your water chemistry. In certain circumstances, adding chlorine and other chemicals can damage or stain your pool.

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