The Ultimate Pool Maintenance Guide For Beginners

Good pool maintenance is crucial for crystal clear pool water. You save time, costs, and nerves with a proper pool cleaning. But which pool maintenance instructions can beginners orientate themselves on?

The pool must be cleaned daily with a net and a pool brush. The pool floor is vacuumed weekly with a pool vacuum. In addition, regular checks of the pH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness in the pool water are essential.

I will explain how your swimming pool stays permanently clean with these pool maintenance instructions and what products you need to clean the pool.

The 3 pillars of pool maintenance

The foundation of pool maintenance is based on 3 simple but essential pillars:

  1. Pool technology like the pool pump or filter system.
  2. Water balance with pool chemistry.
  3. Manual pool cleaning with a brush, pool net, etc.

1. The pool technology

Technical equipment is essential when you clean the pool.

That’s why you shouldn’t make any compromises when buying a pool pump.

Only buy quality pool equipment. Over time, the investment will pay off through longer running times and cost savings.

Damaged components must be replaced immediately as they harm the filter performance.

The water in the pool needs to circulate to keep it clean – moving water is living water.

A pool in which a powerful pool pump runs for several hours a day is less exposed to pool algae and has no problems with milky or cloudy pool water.

But how often and for how long should the water circulate in the pool?

Ideally, the pool pump runs 12 to 24 hours a day – regardless of whether the pool is used. But this is costly from an economic point of view and not possible for many pool owners.

If the pool maintenance happens regularly, the pool pump and the skimmer are sufficient to run for at least 6 to 8 hours a day.

In order to withstand such long running times, the pool pump must be of high quality. Otherwise, you will have constant problems with the pool technology and cloudiness in the pool water.

But a quality pool pump is not everything. You have to know how to use your pool equipment like a pro – I will explain this below in the text.

2. Optimize the water balance with pool chemistry

The use of pool chemistry can be complicated for beginners. The reason for this is poor explanations on the Internet or in other guides.

But for the proper pool maintenance, expertise on how to use pool chemicals is essential.

The pool chemistry eliminates algae, bacteria, and germs and prevents cloudy pool water through regular disinfectants such as chlorine.

For this reason, you will find structured and easy-to-understand articles in my where you can learn how to use pool chemicals.

The three most important parameters in the pool are:

  • Alkalinity: The alkalinity (acid capacity) describes the buffer capacity of the water and is related to the pH value. Ideally, the alkalinity in the pool is between 80 and 120 ppm.
  • pH value: The pH value is a parameter that describes how acidic, neutral, or basic (alkaline) the water in the pool is. In the pool, we aim for a neutral pH value between 7.2 and 7.6.
  • Calcium hardness: The calcium hardness determines how hard and how soft the water in the pool is. Exceeding this leads to cloudy pool water. A value between 200 – 400 ppm is optimal.

However, using chemical pool maintenance products requires regular checks of the water. That is why a suitable water tester belongs in every pool maintenance set.

I recommend using electronic measuring devices, as they avoid measurement errors.

After determining the exact parameters in the water, you know exactly what is missing in your swimming pool. Then the appropriate dose of pool chemistry is used in the pool water to correct the water balance.

Tip: There is a wide range of pool chemicals available in specialist shops. Test different means or follow my recommendations.

3. The manual pool cleaning

The pool maintenance can be automated to a large extent, but even the installed system has to be operated and controlled.

That is why your own workforce as a pool owner is the third pillar of pool maintenance.

As a pool owner, you are responsible for coordinating all pool cleaning processes. You regularly check the water values ​​and check whether there is any damage to the pool.

In short: You bring pool technology and pool chemistry under one roof and – where necessary – remove the dirt from the pool with a pool vacuum cleaner, net, and brush.

Mother nature and humans bring various organic pollution into your pool – from leaves, sand, insects, sunscreen, sweat, etc.

These are all substances that cloud the pool water.

But you alone are responsible if the pool water does not shine in a crystal clear state.

To keep it that way, a precise pool maintenance plan is necessary.

I’ll show you below in a step-by-step guide what my plan for pool maintenance looks like and how often you have to clean the pool.

Pool maintenance guide for beginners

This pool maintenance process is suitable for both beginners and experienced pool owners.

Of course, you need a certain amount of pool maintenance equipment to do this.

Here you will find a list of all the necessary equipment required for pool cleaning.

  • Telescopic rod for more reach
  • Pool brush and sponge against deposits
  • Pool net against floating dirt
  • Pool vacuum including hose for vacuuming
  • Water tester (strips, tablets, or e-tester)
  • Water bucket to dissolve the pool chemistry + a small shovel
  • Extra: Soft pad to protect your knees

Follow my instructions, and you will keep the water in your swimming pool permanently clean with little effort.

1. Check the water level in the pool

Check the current water level in the pool. If the water level is too low, start topping up the water.

To do this, simply lay the garden hose out to the pool’s edge and let the water run into the pool.

But don’t forget to turn off the tap after cleaning the pool – you will hear the water splashing.

Don’t worry about the water values ​​yet. The correction will be made later.

2. Scrub the pool

When cleaning the pool, your full muscle strength is required to scrub the floor and walls.

Take a pool brush, attach it to the telescopic rod and scrub the edge of the pool first. Then the rest of the pool is brushed properly.

Don’t forget to clean the stairs in the pool!

This should be scrubbed thoroughly with the pool brush, as it can later be difficult to clean certain corners with the pool vacuum.

3. Remove the dirt from the pool

Usually, a skimmer filters out most substances from the water surface, but there is always dirt left over – be it leaves, bark mulch, or insects that have fallen into the pool.

Especially after cleaning your pool with the brush, you will find a lot of dirt along the waterline.

If the dirt is not removed, it ends up on the pool floor after a certain period of time and provides bacteria with free food.

To get the dirt out of the pool, you have to clean the pool with a landing net.

Take a pool net and use it to remove any coarse dirt from the surface of the water as best you can.

It is best to net the pool once a day – preferably in the evening.

When you are done with the net, the sieve is removed from the skimmer and emptied. Then it goes to the cleaning of the pool with the pool vacuum.

Tip: It is best to buy a fine-meshed pool net with which you can also remove insects from the pool. The frame should be stabilized as nets break easily.

4. Vacuuming the pool bottom

Next, the swimming pool is cleaned with a pool vacuum.

For this purpose, the pool vacuum is connected to the existing filter system in your pool via a suction hose.

You can find out exactly how to do this in my instructions – Connect pool vacuum.

When using the pool vacuum, the air must escape from the hose. This prevents air from entering the pool system and helps to clean your pool more efficiently.

The manual mode is always used for vacuuming. Therefore, first set the operating switch in the technical room from automatic to manual.

Also, close the floor drain (often the lowest pipe). This directs the most suction to the skimmer – the bottom and skimmer are closed when you use the side connection for suction.

Make sure that the return pipe to the pool always remains open when using the pool vacuum – the return is the pipe that leads from the multivalve to the pool and has no sight glass.

You set the multivalve (MV) on the sand filter system to filtration, and vacuuming your pool can begin.

Drive the pool vacuum from one corner towards the center of the pool and first vacuum only one side of the pool. Then the other side of the pool is vacuumed using the same principle.

Tip: When using the pool vacuum, you should always vacuum with an overlap. This prevents lines on the pool floor.

Alternatively, a pool robot can make pool maintenance much easier. You can find recommended pool robots in my blog.

5. Cleaning the filter in the pool pump

After vacuuming, the sieve in the pool pump must be cleaned.

Before doing this, however, set the multivalve to close and close all pipes – skimmer, floor connection, and the return.

Then you can open the pump housing and remove the filter screen. Clean the sieve by rinsing it with clean water.

The cleaned sieve is reinserted into the pump housing, and the cover closed – just tighten the screw connection hand-tight so that it does not break.

The regular operation is set at the end. To do this, open all the necessary valves and set the multivalve to filtration again.

The pool pump can now be switched on again.

Tip: When inserting the sieve, ensure that all the seals on the pump housing are clean and positioned correctly in the groove. The pump has been appropriately closed if no leak can be found during the visual inspection.

6. Backwashing and rinsing of the pool filter system

The backwashing of the filter system is important for the pool maintenance, especially if the pressure is too high or even in the red area after switching on the pump.

  1. The operating switch of the pool pump is set to zero and the multivalve to flushing.
  2. Then turn on the pump and wait until the water in the sight glass becomes clear.
  3. Is the water in the sight glass clear? Well! Now the pump is switched off again, and the multivalve is set to rinse.

Detailed instructions on how to backwash the pool filter can be found in my blog post. Simply follow the link.

Rinsing must continue until the water in the sight glass becomes clear.

You might be wondering why a rinsing of the sand filter system is necessary now?

Remember: The system must be rinsed after every backwash. It does not matter why a backwash was initiated.

Rinsing is important so that no dirt ends up in the pool via the return flow.

If the rinsing is successful, the pump is switched off again and set back to filtration – done.

Don’t forget to set the pump’s operating switch back to automatic.

Tip: After using a flocculant, the system should not be flushed for 7 to 14 days. The pump must be flushed when the pressure reaches 1.3 kg per cm²!

7. Pack and store your pool accessories

All you have to do now is dismantle and stow the devices you are using. Please stick to the order listed – this is important!

  1. Disconnect the vacuum hose from the filter system in the pool. This avoids air in the pipes.
  2. Now the pool vacuum can be taken out of the pool and laid out to dry.

Store the pool vacuum in a dry place and never leave it in your swimming pool!

8. Check and optimize water parameters in the pool

At the end of the pool cleaning, essential parameters such as the pH value in the water must be checked.

You can use different water testers for this – with test strips, wrong measurement results are expected.

The table below shows which parameters are measured in the pool and which values ​​are considered optimal.

In addition, you can see how often you have to measure the individual parameters in your pool.

Parameters Level Frequency of the water test
Chlorine 0.6 – 1.5 ppm 1-2/week
Bromine 3.0 – 5.0 ppm 1-2/week
Cyanuric acid 30 – 50 ppm 1x/month
pH level 7.2 – 7.6 1-2/week
Alkalinity 80 – 120 ppm 1x/month
Calcium 200 – 400 ppm 1x/month
TDS Less than 2000 ppm Only if necessary

With the increasing use of the pool, the values ​​are measured more frequently.

If you notice deviations in the pH value, the values ​​must be corrected immediately after cleaning the pool.

In my blog, you will find detailed articles that describe how to optimize every single parameter in the swimming pool.

Tip: Finally, use an algaecide to prevent algae. It’s best to use a non-foaming algaecide.

Professional pool cleaning plan for beginners

When it comes to pool cleaning, a plan is key to clean water.

The precise processes save you time, and you can quickly get into a routine that makes your pool maintenance more manageable.

But what does such a manual for pool maintenance look like?

Daily cleaning work at the pool:

  • Remove the coarse dirt such as leaves and insects from the pool with a landing net.
  • Remove the skimmer basket and clean it with clear water.
  • Do a visual inspection of algae in the pool.
  • If the water level is too low, add some water.
  • Check the pH value in the pool 1-2 times a week and, if necessary, optimize the pH value.
  • Check the level of disinfectant and add a chlorine tablet if necessary.

Weekly pool maintenance:

  • Use a pool brush to clean the pool floor, walls, and stairs. Alternatively, you can use a pool robot for floors and walls.
  • The pool floor should be cleaned with a pool vacuum at least 1-2 times a week – then clean the pump basket!
  • If necessary, clean the waterline with a simple sponge.
  • I recommend pouring a non-foaming algaecide into the pool.

Monthly pool maintenance:

  • Check the alkalinity, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid with an electronic water tester.
  • Clean the cartridge filter in the pool or do a backwash and rinse.
  • I recommend using a flocculant in the pool – I will explain how it works under the link.

Annual pool maintenance:

  • When cleaning the pool after the winter, check the pool and pipe system for possible damage – remove the damage before filling.
  • Change the filter sand in the sand filter system – but no later than every 2 years.
  • If the value of the cyanuric acid in the pool is above 50 mg / l, 1/5 of the water – more if necessary – must be changed.

More pool maintenance tips

In this chapter, you will find additional tips for the pool maintenance, saving time, pool water problems, and additional costs.

These tips do not belong directly to pool cleaning but are essential for the operation of a pool and should be observed by every pool owner.

Refill the pool with water

Pool maintenance is not just cleaning the pool and using pool chemicals.

Due to the natural evaporation, as a pool owner, sometimes you have to refill the pool with water – the water level should always be in the upper third of the skimmer.

Refilling takes time, so installing a watering computer is convenient.

The quality of these devices is crucial. Inexpensive and poorly processed no-name timers tend to malfunction, and the risk of the pool overflowing is high.

So invest in a sensible watering computer for the garden right away.

Water exchange in the pool

The pool water must be changed from a certain point in time.

Some experts recommend changing the entire water once a year – preferably when you open the pool in spring. But there is still the possibility to exchange only 1/5 of the pool water.

That always depends on which chemical agents are used in your swimming pool.

In my experience, despite the complete water change, the pool water has to be replaced at some point due to high cyanuric acid values.

Some pool owners do this with a regular flush, but this isn’t as effective as swapping the water directly.

Submersible pumps are best suited for this.

Do not forget to test the pH value in the pool afterward and, if necessary, optimize it again.

Should I occasionally shock the pool?

Using pool shock is a beautiful method to clean cloudy and bad-smelling water in the pool.

But in practice, many pool owners use pool shock too often where none is necessary.

The occasional chlorine shock only adds additional pool maintenance costs.

The reason is that the water problem is not eliminated in the long term, so beginners do a pool shock after the other.

My article explains how to clean the pool without chlorine and when a pool shock is necessary. My step-by-step instructions will guide you through the process – just follow the link.

Use flocculants in the pool

The flocculants are an excellent way to keep the pool clean in the long term – the pH value must be in the ideal range between 7.2 to 7.6.

The flocculant in the pool binds colloidal substances that are too fine for the sand filter system and improves the water filtration.

So the filter gets rid of many small pollutants from the pool before they lead to cloudy pool water and thus become a significant problem.

Conclusion: If you don’t want to clean the pool so much, you can use a flocculant.

My instructions on using flocculants in the pool show you which types of flocculants are best for pool maintenance and how they are used.

Practical tips for cleaning a pool

I receive a lot of inquiries from readers who have general questions about pool accessories or ask for specific advice on pool maintenance.

I’ve rounded up the best questions and answered them in this part of the guide.

Which pool equipment do I need?

There are many different pool maintenance devices out there, and, to be honest, most of them are either poor quality or unnecessary.

My slogan is: Limit pool maintenance to tried and tested equipment and avoid frills.

The following pool equipment should not be missing in your set:

  • Telescopic rod: Guiding the landing net, brush, and pool vacuum.
  • Pool net: For coarse dirt on the water surface, such as leaves and insects.
  • Pool brush: To remove stubborn dirt, sand, and algae.
  • Pool vacuum: The pool vacuum sucks up the loosened dirt.
  • Water tester: For the common control of the pool water.
  • Disinfectants: Any pool chemistry to kill algae and germs.

These are roughly all equipment and resources necessary for pool maintenance.

This equipment should not be missing in any pool accessory!

I have not explicitly listed the pool filter here, as it should be available in every pool and should be taken for granted.

What is the best way to maintain a pool?

In addition to an optimal pH value and the running filter system, manual cleaning with a brush and removing dirt with a landing net are crucial for pool maintenance.

The pool maintenance should occur at least twice a week, preferably daily.

If that’s too much for you, you can use an automatic pool cleaning robot from Dolphine or another brand.

But be careful: Not all pool robots are suitable for above-ground pools such as an Intex pool. In my pool robot test, you will find out which pool robot suits you.

How do I keep pool water clear?

There are several ways to keep pool water clean, and it is not enough to just control the pH.

The most important thing is the daily water circulation of at least 6 hours, the use of disinfectants such as chlorine, biguanide, etc., and manual pool cleaning with a pool brush and net.

I also recommend pouring a flocculant into the swimming pool regularly to filter out fine turbidity for crystal clear pool water.

How do I use flocculants?

Flocculants are available as granules, tablets, flocculants, or as a liquid flocculant – each one must be applied differently.

How this works, I describe in detail in the blog article about flocculants – use the internal search function.

When using the flocculant, you must wait for about 10 days with the backwash; otherwise, the effect will wear off.

How do I use algaecide?

Algaecides are used incorrectly and too often by many beginners.

This leads to the pool water foaming and the pH value being disturbed.

The algaecide should not be seen as a remedy for green pool water. It is much more of a contraceptive that prevents the formation of algae.

Therefore, use the algaecide in the swimming pool that has already been cleaned to slow down algae growth and not only when the pool water has turned green.

How do you use chlorine granules?

The chlorine granulate is available from pool retailers as stabilized chlorine (di-chlorine and tri-chlorine) and non-stabilized chlorine.

An already stabilized chlorine granulate is only used for the permanent disinfection of the pool water.

To do this, the chlorine granulate is sprinkled directly into the pool with a small shovel.

You can dissolve the chlorine granulate beforehand in the water bucket and then pour it into the pool or sprinkle it over the entire area on the pool floor and build up a chlorine cushion.

The non-stabilized chlorine granulate, on the other hand, is used for shock chlorination.

Tip: Read more about the different chlorine types in my blog post.

If you have any questions about pool maintenance yourself, don’t hesitate to contact me at @contactswimfool on Twitter. I am happy to help you.

With this in mind, I wish you a successful bathing season!

I recommend my blog and the search function for more exciting articles about pool maintenance and whirlpool care.

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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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