10 Tips How to Keep a Pool Clean Without a Pump

If you want to keep a pool clean without a pump, you have to expect more effort for pool maintenance. But how does pool maintenance work without an installed pump and a filter system?

First of all, after the initial filling, the pH value, the acid capacity, and the calcium hardness in the pool must be measured and, if necessary, optimized. Then the water is disinfected with chlorine, and an algaecide is used against the algae growth. After that, it is important to minimize the amount of dirt entering the pool.

Running a pool without a pump is unusual but not impossible. In this article, you will find practical tips to help prevent cloudiness.

#1 Test and optimize water balance in the pool

The fact that you don’t use a pump in the pool is by no means a reason to neglect the water balance.

After all, the individual parameters in the pool water are crucial for keeping the pool crystal clear.

That is why I recommend testing the pool water with an electronic water tester immediately after filling the pool first and optimizing the water balance.

The reason for evaluating the pool water with an E-Tester is the precision of the measurement results.

Alternatively, you can use test strips or cuvettes with tablets to test the water. However, measurement errors are always expected here, and I only recommend the measurement method for periodic tests.

The water balance must be optimized according to the following values:

  • pH value: Should be between 7.2 to 7.6.
  • Alkalinity: Interacts with the pH value and is ideally between 80 – 120 ppm.
  • Calcium hardness: the optimum is reached when the value is between 200 and 400 ppm.

These 3 basic parameters are important if you want to keep a pool clean without a pump.

You can read how to optimize the parameters in my detailed guide about pool chemistry. Simply click on the link to access the article.

#2 Use chlorine in the pool as a disinfectant

With the optimization of the pH value, the acid capacity, and the calcium hardness, the water should stay clean longer. Still, without a disinfectant, the pool water will sooner or later turn green.

Therefore you have to use chlorine in the pool or an alternative disinfectant.

The following values ​​should be observed when using chlorine – the electronic water tester is helpful here.

  • Free chlorine: The free chlorine is responsible for the actual disinfection and should be 0.4 ppm.
  • Bound chlorine: Chlorine has already reacted that it must not exceed 0.2 ppm.
  • Total chlorine content: Ideally between 0.3 – 1.5 ppm.

Here I have to mention that the use of chlorine is associated with certain health risks, such as allergies or chlorine acne, and that it must be used in a controlled manner.

You could also run your pool without chlorine – I explain how to do this in the blog article.

But what happens if there is no chlorine in the pool, and how long can a pool stand without chlorine?

In midsummer (over 85 °F), the pool will turn green and cloudy after 2 to 3 days. Over time, the algae growth and the green color in the pool would continue to increase.

Perhaps the following question is now buzzing through your head: What can you use instead of chlorine?

The best alternative to chlorine would be active oxygen, although the agent is significantly more expensive and rarely used for pool maintenance.

Another option would be to install a salt electrolysis system.

Tip: If the chlorine is used correctly and continuously monitored, it can be used in the pool without any problems. You can find more about how to use chlorine in your pool under the following link.

#3 Scrub the pool floor with a brush daily

Okay, you have created the water balance and are using chlorine to disinfect the pool water.

In the next step, your manpower is required to keep the water clean in the pool without a pump.

The pool’s surface must be cleaned daily with a pool brush to loosen deposits caused by algae.

It is important to scrub the pool daily with the brush to inhibit the growth of algae – the dissolved algae are then better removed by the chlorine.

Make it a habit to scrub the pool daily and don’t miss any spots.

Especially the shady spots in the corners and the area around the pool stairs are ideal nesting places for algae.

Tip: When the pool water has turned green, only a pool shock will help. How to do this, I explain in my other post under the link.

#4 Cover the pool in the evening

If you do not use a pool pump or a filter system, it is important to minimize the amount of dirt carried in as far as possible.

The best way to do this is to secure the pool with a long cover in the evening.

You should always set the cover during the day when the swimming pool is not in use – a solar pool cover even heat the water during this time.

The cover keeps the dirt away from leaves and needles and minimizes heat loss in the pool.

That is why a pool cover belongs in every basic equipment – regardless of whether you use a pump or not.

Tip: The cover can be pulled up over the basin more easily with a roll-up system.

#5 Clean the water surface with the pool net

The cover for the pool is helpful to reduce the amount of dirt entering the pool, but when using the pool, dirt always ends up in the water.

In this case, you have to clean the water surface in the pool with a landing net every day.

The landing net collects floating debris from the water’s surface and prevents it from sinking to the pool floor.

The dirt on the pool floor would lead to cloudiness and increase the consumption of pool chemicals. That is why a landing net is a fundamental tool for pool maintenance.

The landing net is required, especially if you have a problem with water beetles and other insects in the pool.

The mesh of the pool net must be fine enough to also pick up small black bugs and needles.

Tip: Use the net on a solid telescopic rod. Inexpensive rods break easily with daily use.

#6 Use a skimmer against floating dirt in the pool

Another method to remove the floating dirt from the water surface is the skimmer.

The surface skimmer is usually connected to the pool pump, but an edge skimmer is an alternative since you do not use a pump.

The skimmers with integrated pumps are even more practical – they suck in the water and the dirt on it much better.

A skimmer doesn’t cost a lot but will help against the dirt.

If you use a skimmer, the basket will need to be emptied daily.

If your pool is near trees and bushes, it will likely need to be emptied more frequently.

Tip: Although water beetles are sucked in by the skimmer, they can quickly free themselves from the basket. That is why skimmers with a flap are always preferable.

#7 Put a foot bath in front of the pool

It is easy to underestimate the effect of a footbath in front of the pool. 

Still, this simple gadget helps to reduce the amount of dirt entering the pool.

Grass, sand, and many other fine particles are washed off before entering the pool. This helps to prevent cloudy-green pool water and the effort involved in cleaning the pool.

As a rule, wash your feet in a foot bath before jumping into the pool.

Of course, you can also rinse your feet with the garden hose, but a foot bath is also much more practical and environmentally friendly than a garden hose.

Tip: Alternatively, you can put a bucket of water in front of the pool to wash your feet in, but the footbath is a better choice.

#8 Use a battery garden pump

If you are looking for a way to keep the pool clean without a pump, you probably have no power connection nearby – maybe the power connection is missing?

That’s bad because the pool water turns green if the water in the pool is not circulated.

The solution for this is a battery garden pump that can be used for the pool.

The earlier tips help to keep the pool water clean, but nothing can really replace a working pool pump.

The garden pump shown here isn’t specifically designed for pool maintenance – I believe that will change soon.

But with the battery garden pump, you can circulate the water and probably operate a venturi pool vacuum.

However, the filtration of the pool water is not possible. This would require a filter system.

If you are looking for a pool pump without electricity, you have found an alternative here. However, the battery pump does not replace real pool technology.

Tip: The flow rate per hour at the pump is decisive for the water circulation. With the battery garden pump, you can also use rain, well, or cistern water in the garden.

#9 Alternative water circulation with solar energy

The pool pump is not the only way to circulate the water in the pool.

Have you ever thought of using a solar fountain?

This method might seem strange, but hey, we’re trying to keep a pool clean without a pump.

With the solar fountain, you will not achieve the same effect as with a pool pump, but it can help to circulate the standing water.

The problem is that the system only works when the sun is shining, and the pool water should ideally be circulated daily.

Tip: You can try to use several solar fountains and thus boost the water circulation.

#10 Inhibit algae growth with an algaecide

The algicide is controversial in the pool community.

Some don’t use it, and others pour too much algaecide in the pool.

But when does it make sense to use algaecide?

In my opinion, the algaecide should always be added to the pool water to inhibit algae growth. The algaecide is particularly helpful if you do not use a pump in the pool.

It is wrongly assumed by beginners that the algae are killed with the algaecide, and it is not uncommon to use too much of the chemical.

This is bad for pool maintenance.

Incorrect use of the algicide results in foaming pool water and further cloudiness – you can learn how to do it correctly under the link.

Tip: I only recommend using a slightly foaming algaecide.

#11 Use flocculants in the pool

We have now discussed the best tips for operating a pool without a pool pump, but the best part of the cake is still missing.

One of my favorite remedies for pool maintenance is the flocculant.

Have you ever wondered how to get crystal clear water in the pool? The solution is to use the flocculant.

The flocculant binds fine particles in the pool to form large flakes.

Algae, pollen in the pool, and other fine particles – which are too small for the landing net and skimmer – are filterable with a flocculant.

After all, the dissolved algae have to get out of the pool at some point.

For this reason, I would always use a flocculant and chlorine.

Tip: I recommend using flock pillows and placing them in a floater or skimmer. Liquid flocculants tend to settle on the bottom and form white dirt.

How do you get the white flakes out of the pool?

Since you don’t have a pool pump, you have no choice but to try to remove the flakes with a pool net.

A much better method is to use a battery vacuum cleaner.

Reading tip: You can find more information about the battery pool vacuum in the blog.

Does it make sense to run a pool without a pump?

Interestingly, the question of how to keep pool water clean without a pump comes up quite often.

Often they are users of a paddling pool for adults or interested readers who want to set up a pool in the garden without a power connection.

But how useful is it to operate a swimming pool without a pump?

First of all, we must state that the water in the pool should be circulated at least once a day within 6 to 8 hours. Depending on the output rate, the pool pump running time must be adjusted.

This is important so that there is no cloudiness in the pool and the chemicals used are better distributed.

Accordingly, somebody could claim that a pool operation without a pump is, in fact, not possible.

That is partly true!

It is not possible to operate a large pool without adequate water filtration.

But cleaning small Intex pools without a pump is possible to a certain extent from my practical experience and with the tips mentioned.

If you have problems or difficulties with the tips, contact me.

The best way to do this is via Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest at @contactswimfool.

I hope you enjoy swimming!

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Hi. I'm Max Berg. I've been in the pool industry since 2015 and have always felt drawn to water. I'm the author behind swimfool.com, where I share my years of experience in pool maintenance and give helpful tips on keeping a swimming pool or hot tub clean. My tips reduce the costs of water treatment and protect the environment.

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