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Pool Owners Guide




Pool Safety - information you must know, action you must take

Diving - if you dive, diving warnings

Pool Water Chemistry (the 5 basic steps to water chemistry) - pH Balance, Total Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, Chlorination, Algae Prevention

Automatic Saltwater Pool Chlorine Generators - what type of salt to use, how to add salt, how to remove salt

Handling and Storing Pool Chemicals

Testing Swimming Pool Water - when to test

Proper Water Level

Care of the Liner and Coping

Vacuuming - tips on pool vacuuming

Backwashing - when to backwash, how to backwash

Changing Filter Sand

The D.E. Filter - cleaning a D.E. filter, starting the filter/pre-coating

Cleaning Mod-Media/Cartridge Filter

Cleaning the Skimmer and Pump Strainer Baskets

Decks, Walkways and Patios

Pump and Motor Care

Replacing Underwater Light Bulb

Electrical Connections

Safety Ladders and Gates

3-way Diverter/Flow Control Valves

Pool Opening Instructions - removing the winter cover, restoring water level, reconnect filter and motor, initial start up, clean up, chemical start-up kits

Pool Winterizing Instructions - installing the winter cover

Troubleshooting - pump and motor problems, motor won’t run, motor hums but will not run, noisy pump, low water flow returned to pool, vacuum not working, dirt or sand returning to the pool, air in the system, filter tank concerns, liner coming out of bead receiver track, pool leaks, locating a leak

How to Measure Your Pool’s Volume

Pool Water Problem Solver




On your new pool! Blue Wave Chemicals has helped thousands to enjoy their pools through our dedication to service and pool water care expertise.

A pool is a source of pleasure and relaxation for the entire family. It can provide health-building recreation and help promote a family-oriented lifestyle for all to enjoy, regardless of age or inclination. Now you have a pleasant spot for family fun, social gatherings and an architectural feature that enhances the attractiveness of your property.

Once acquainted, you will find that the care and maintenance of your pool and the pool water require little time and will result in sparkling clean water and trouble-free service for years. We strongly recommend that you use only the type of chemicals and care instructions we provide and the instructions provided by the manufacturer of your pool equipment.

This handbook contains basic facts that you must be aware of to protect your pool equipment and insure proper operation. Please read this pool care manual and bookmark this page for future reference. 

Our recommendations for pool care and water treatment will allow you more time for enjoyment while maintaining safe, clear water. Only pool water that is properly treated will assure safety and comfort for you and your whole family.

The two primary systems involved to maintain water purity are: 1) an adequate and properly functioning filtration system, 2) a balanced water chemistry system. These systems must work together to control bacteria and algae. They are co-dependent. One cannot be substituted or try to makeup for the other.

For some people, the care and maintenance of their swimming pool means only adding chemicals to the water when it visibly indicates the need for care; for others, they have a tendency to over-care for the pool when it is new, testing the water everyday resulting in more labor, time and cost than is necessary. Although both methods may work, there is a more economical and logical approach to pool care.

When your pool is filled initially, the water may appear cloudy or turbid (dirt in suspension). This is nothing to cause concern. In small amounts, most tap water will appear clear. In large amounts, that clarity often disappears. To remove turbidity, the filter must be operating efficiently and it must run long enough each day to maintain good water clarity. We recommend allowing your filtration system to operate a minimum of 12 hours each day, 7 days a week and preferably, during the daytime when algae spores are more likely to develop.



Information You Must Know:

  1. Any diving, both headfirst or otherwise, can be dangerous and may result in permanent paralysis or death. If a diver's head hits the bottom of the pool, a crippling injury to the neck or spinal cord can result.
  2. Diving from either the shallow end wall or sides of the pool is especially dangerous, even when employing a "shallow" or "racing" style dive.
  3. It is your responsibility to:
    1. Warn users of the hazards of diving and proper use of the pool.
    2. Enforce all safety rules.
    3. Properly maintain the pool, its safety equipment and warnings and to correct any dangerous conditions.


Action You Must Take:

  1. Affix the "Danger − No Diving" labels to your pool as provided by your equipment manufacturer. These labels are intended to clearly indicate to all pool users those areas where diving is unsafe. Failure to apply these labels could result in the permanent paralysis or death of a pool user.
  2. Post a Pool Safety Sign. Select the location where it will be most visible to all pool users before they enter the pool. Make sure the sign is not obscured with shrubbery or by the opening of a gate or door.
  3. Acquaint ALL pool users − especially first time visitors − with the bottom contours, slopes, depth, length, width and possible hazards BEFORE they enter the pool.
  4. Establish and enforce common sense rules for pool safety, such as:
    1. Never swim alone and never allow unsupervised swimming.
    2. Never leave a child alone, out of eyesight, in or near the pool − NOT even for a second.
    3. Even if your pool is classified as "Diving," never, never permit anyone to run and dive or make long, deep or fancy dives, as body velocity could carry them too far or too deep, resulting in injury.
    4. Do not dive off the side of the diving board − dive straight ahead.
    5. No horseplay. No roughhousing.
    6. Never swim when using alcohol or drugs − it's no safer than drinking and driving.
    7. Never use the pool without safe lighting in the pool and deck area.
    8. Do not put diving equipment on a pool that is not designed for it.
    9. Have a high fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate. Lock doors and gates that may give access to the pool.
    10. Swing up ladders should be raised and gates locked, even if you only leave the pool unprotected for a moment.
    11. Have recommended safety equipment at pool site − a ring buoy with an attached line and/or a long handled hook are recommended. Since we recommend that an adult supervise the pool at all times, we should point out that often the direct method of jumping into the water, which is waist high on most adults, may be more effective than using equipment. This equipment, however, be on hand in case an adult is not.
    12. If your children do not know how to swim, enroll them in a "Learn to Swim" program.
    13. All electrical equipment should be protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) at the power source and be installed by a licensed electrician.
    14. Be sure visitors to your pool know how to swim or are adequately supervised at all times.
    15. Glass should not be used around the pool.
  5. Your pool, like any other item of equipment, is subject to wear and deterioration. Certain types of excess deterioration can lead to failure of the pool structure, which might release large quantities of water that could cause bodily harm and property damage. In our experience, this almost never happens to a pool, but should you observe any problems, please correct the problem immediately, or, if possible, contact your local pool professional immediately for advice.
  6. This is an important safety document. Keep it in a safe place. Be sure to pass it on to any new owner.








If You Dive:

  1. THINK AHEAD. Once you've started a dive you don't have time to think. Know the depth of the water. Plan your dive path. Never dive where you do not know the water depth or where there may be hidden obstructions. Keep your dive shallow, near the top of the water.
  2. STEER UP. When you dive down, you must be ready to steer up. As you enter the water, your arms must be extended over your head, hands flat and aiming up. Hold your head up and arch your back. This way your whole body helps you to steer up away from the bottom.
  3. HEAD AND HANDS UP. Your extended arms and hands not only help you steer up to the surface, they also can protect your head. If a diver's head hits the bottom, a major injury to the neck or spine can result. So always remember, head and hands up!
  4. CONTROL YOUR DIVE. Sometimes divers lose control through improper use of hands and arms. Practice holding your arms extended hands flat and tipped up. Like learning to swim or ride a bicycle, you have to learn to make the right moves automatically. Carefully rehearse the proper diving techniques before you dive. 

Remember, most swimming pools are "NON-DIVING POOLS."

Diving Warnings:

Improper diving may result in serious injury to the neck or back or even in death. Three out of four diving accidents occur in lakes, rivers and commercial in-ground pools. Most diving accidents happen in water less than 10 feet deep. Therefore, we strongly urge you not to permit diving in your swimming pool or any other body of water. Many serious accidents occur to growing children as unsafe diving practices become far more dangerous with increasing height and weight. Even trained professionals suffer occasional injury or death from diving. READ AND HEED THESE WARNINGS. Then, if you still wish to permit you and/or your loved ones to dive... please heed all these Diving Safety Steps as recommended by the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP).

The owner of the pool should have been furnished with a permanent and tamper proof label saying "NO DIVING." It is your responsibility to affix this sign on your pool in a prominent location, where people will see it before entering the water. We recommend a position to either side of the deck ladder going onto the pool or on the liner between the waterline and the coping. Be sure these labels are not tampered with, defaced or removed. If they become defaced or lost, copies can be obtained at no charge by contacting your local pool professional.


Maintain a good water balance. When your water is properly balanced, meaning that all the following test readings are within their recommended ranges and a sanitizing agent such as chlorine is added to control bacteria and other contaminations, the result is ideal swimming pool water. Maintaining water balance may seem very complex at first, but with a thorough reading of the information provided, you will attain this goal. Total Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness levels, for instance, will vary from area to area depending on your local water supply. We have found the following water balance data to work well.


Recommended Range

Test Frequency


7.2 to 7.6

Daily, then once weekly

Total Alkalinity

80 to 120 ppm

Once Every Week

Calcium Hardness

200 to 400 ppm

Once Every Month

Free Chlorine

1.0 to 3.0 ppm

Daily, then once weekly

Cyanuric Acid

10 to 30 ppm

Once Every Week




Step 1: pH Balance

pH is measured on a scale of 1 to 14 with the midpoint, 7.0, being neutral. Below 7.0 is acidic and above 7.0 is alkaline, or basic. Pool water is to be maintained slightly alkaline and its measure is determined by your test kit.

Proper pH balance is extremely important as it is responsible for the correct bacterial action of the chlorine/sanitizer, swimmer comfort and prevents deterioration and scaling of the pool equipment. A proper pH reading is said to be between 7.2 and 7.8. Ideally, it should be maintained between 7.2 and 7.6, with 7.4 being your target. (see Figure 1 below)


Ideal pH 7.2 to 7.6



0    1    2    3    4    5    6    7             8     9     10    11    12    13    14


pH too low


rapid chlorine loss

eye irritation

Acceptable pH

7.2 to 7.6


Chlorine Efficiency

Comfort Zone


pH too high

scale forming

slow chlorine action

eye irritation



 After testing the water, if the pH is to high (above 7.6), chlorine efficiency begins to decline, so if your chlorine level reading checks good and the pH is too high, the chlorine sanitizing action may slow down or not function causing the water to become cloudy and the filter may run in shorter cycles requiring more frequent backwashing/regenerating. This situation is corrected by adding either "pH Reducer" or "Muriatic Acid" directly into and around the perimeter of the pool water. pH reducer is available in 2 forms acceptable for use in swimming pools: muriatic acid (liquid) and sodium bisulfate (granular). We recommend using only the granular form for safe handling. Never add more than 1 lb of sodium bisulfate or one quart of muriatic acid per 10,000 gallons of pool water in 6 to 8 hour period (please refer to pool size chart for your pool gallon capacity). This allows enough time for the pool water to react to treatment. This dosage is to be REPEATED until a proper pH reading is achieved. A high pH reading is most common if your water is from a well water source.

If the pH is too low (below 7.2), chlorine dissipates more rapidly due to its accelerated activity rate. You may experience difficulty keeping a chlorine reading if the pH is too LOW. You may smell chlorine (or chloromines). Many people believe that when this happens, there is too much chlorine in the water. Truly, the chlorine level is too low and a LOW pH is possibly contributing to the chlorine loss because the chlorine is so active.

Low pH water may be irritating to the eyes of swimmers. The eyes may sting and corrosion of equipment surfaces may occur. Maintaining a low pH often will shorten liner life and cause premature brittleness. Below 7.0, complex interactions occur and the liner actually "grows" and may develop wrinkles, which cannot be removed. To help correct this situation, add Sodium Carbonate (Soda Ash) "pH Increaser" also called "pH Plus" directly to the pool water. Never add more than 2lbs of pH Increaser per 10,000 gallons of pool water in 6 to 8 hours. Additional dosages may be required until a proper pH reading is achieved.

To test for proper pH, follow the instructions on your test kit. We recommend using Dip-and-Read Test Strips. However, if you are using a test block with liquid reagents; do not pour test reagents or test water back into the pool. Do not hold your finger over the top of the test vials while mixing as body acid can interact and cause a false reading. Take the pH reading and adjust the pH before adding chlorine to the pool. A high chlorine residual (amount of active chlorine present) can cause an incorrect pH test reading. If you are using test reagents, water test samples should be taken at least 12 to 18 inches below the water surface to assure a proper test reading.

Using dip and read water test stips: Dip the strip into the water surface and remove immediately. Do not shake the excess water from the strip. Hold the strip beside the color camparitor on the test strip container. Approximately 15 seconds after wetting the strip, you will receive the correct test reading. Reading the strip too soon or allowing more time to lapse will give inaccurate test results.

Step 2: Total Alkalinity

Total Alkalinity and pH are often confusing to many pool owners. Quite frankly it is because they have not been given the proper information for understanding the differences by the pool professionals giving them advice. Total Alkalinity represents the total amount (or quality) of all alkaline materials present in your pool water. This can also be refered to as the total "carbonate content" in the water. While pH is a measurement (or value) of how acidic or how alkaline the pool water is. In swimming pool water, the Total Alkalinity is a measurement of the "carbonate mineral bank present" in the water. A high quality of total carbonate "bank" means the pool water is stable and therefore has a strong ability to resist changes in the pH value. This is due to amount and quality of the total alkaline minerals present in the water. It stabilizes the pH.

Maintaining the Total Alkalinity in the recommended range of 80 to 120 ppm (parts per million), pH will be easier to control with minimal change. If alkalinity is not maintained, pool water may revert to a low pH reading (become acidic) frequently. You will lose chlorine from the water, greatly increasing consumption of both chlorine and pH Increaser, which increases the expensive maintaining your pool.

After testing your water, if your pH is too low, the Total Alkalinity (carbonate bank) is more than likly low too. We recommend first adding Total Alkalinity Increaser directly into the water around the pool. Add the required amount to the water and allow it to circulate for 6 to 8 hours or more. Then test again to insure you have achieved the proper level. Now elevate pH using pH Increase (soda ash) if needed to bring the pH into its proper test range. Now the pH can remain stable due to having a sufficient quality of carbonate mineral present in the water to hold the pH level for a long time. Although when the Total Alkalinity has been properly balanced, its test reading may not change for weeks, you should still check it once every week.

HOW MUCH TO ADD: 1½ lbs of Total Alkalinity Increaser will increase the Total Alkalinity (carbonates) by 10ppm (on your test strip) per 10,000 gallons of pool water.

Example: if your Total Alkalinity is low, say 70 ppm. You need to raise the Total Alkalinity level to the recommended range of 120ppm BEFORE you increase the pH. If the Total Alkalinity is at 70ppm and you need to achieve 120ppm (the high side of the okay range), you need to increase the Total Alkalinity by 50ppm. Formula: (10ppm x 5) = (1½ lbs of Alkalinity Increaser x 5). This yields the required amount of 7½ lbs of alkalinity increaser per 10,000 gallons of pool water.

We stated earlier, that many well water sources are high in pH. If your pH reading is too high, your Total Alkalinity level is most often too high. You shoult not ever need to add total alkalinity increaser to your pool. Your water already has too much coming straight from the water source. To get this water quality into the swimming comfort zone, it is necessary to destroy or erode away a portion of the Total Alkalinity (the stability) so the pH will be allowed to lower. This is achieved by using granular pH Reducer or Muriatic Acid. As you can see from our earlier discussion of pH, pH reducer will lower pH and it will ALSO LOWER the Total Alkalinity. To lower the Total Alkalinity without having much impact on the pH, the method of administering the chemical into the pool water is different. Pour the pH reducer into the deep end of the pool in one place instead of around the pool. This creates a different type of chemical interaction lowering the total alkalinity. 

Step 3: Calcium Hardness

Calcium Hardness, more commonly called hard water, is a major factor in adjusting your water to the proper alkalinity range. As you can see in Figure 3 the harder the water, the lower you should keep your Total Alkalinity and vice versa.

*Example: If 100ppm hardness, keep Total Alkalinity about 135ppm. If 450ppm hardness, keep Total Alkalinity about 80ppm.

Water can be corrosive to metal components and pool finishes if the Calcium Hardness is too low. If calcium hardness is too high it can cause scale to form on components and pool wall finishes. The proper range of 200 ppm to 400 ppm is recommended; 250 to 300 is ideal. Hardness can be raised to this level by the addition of Blue Wave Calcium Increaser.

Lowering hardness may be achieved by adding settling agents (flocculant) or Mineral Removers or by dilution, by partially draining the pool a adding new water having a lower hardness level. High Calcium Hardness levels are usually found in pools filled from a well water source.



Hardness Level in ppm





500     450     400     350     300     250     200     100     50

Scale Forming





Total Alkalinity in ppm





70           80         90         100         110         120        130




Step 4: Chlorination

Many types of bacteria and algae will be brought into the water by bathers, wind, rain, etc., so to ensure safe, clear water a chemical disinfectant must be maintained or a proper sanitizer residual to destroy them. The amount of sanitizer/disinfectant (chlorine) remaining is called "chlorine residual." This amount of residual is expressed as so many parts of chlorine per million parts (ppm) of water. This same quantitative measure is used to express the other amounts of chemicals contained or present in the water. When chlorine is used as a disinfectant; at least 1.0 ppm, preferably 2.0 to 3.0 ppm, of residual chlorine must be present at all times to insure that bacteria and algae are destroyed. The amount of residual needed to maintain water purity is truly a small amount, only 1.0 ppm. This is the same level establish for the safe drinking water standard. Less than 1 drop of chlorine in every 1 million drops of pool water is enough, providing the chemical is 100% active. Most chemical test kits and test strips do accurately show the accepted chlorine range of 1.0 to 3.0 ppm as the ideal range for safe pool water and up to 5.0 ppm for spas. These are the recommended ranges to use.


Here is a list of the most common factors affecting the in-pool longevity of chlorine:

  1. Bathing Load: The number of swimmers who use your pool. The greater the number of swimmers, the more disinfectant is used up.
  2. Sunlight: The greater the sun's intensity, the faster the chlorine residual may dissipate, unless the pool is stabilized with Cyanuric Acid, commonly called Chlorine Stabilizer.
  3. Water Temperature: The warmer the pool's water, the shorter the life of the chlorine. This process is greatly accelerated when the water temperature exceeds 65 degrees.
  4. Wind and Rain: Wind and rain both carry dust, bacteria, algae spores and other debris into the pool, overworking the chemical disinfectants and reducing their ability to sanitize. Heavy rains may drastically deplete the chlorine residual.
  5. pH Balance: As the pH of the pool water lowers, the chlorine's' activity and dissipation rate accelerates causing chlorine loss. More disinfectant is required to maintain the proper residual.


To maintain your pool's bacteria killing residual, disinfectant chemicals may be added to the skimmer or by chemical feeder. Feeders may be adjusted to increase or decrease the feed rates of disinfectants, depending on the chemical demand of your particular pool.


SUPER CHLORINATION or more commonly referred to as "shocking" the pool is a chemical treatment to burn up or eliminate non-filterable organic wastes from the pool water when stress is too great for normal chlorination to overcome. The following types of shock treatments and their application methods may be used for pools:

  1. Sodium Hypochlorite: Strong and effective liquid chlorine, which may be poured directly in front of the pool water return inlet with the pool pump running. This type of chlorine shock is commonly called pool bleach and does not contain cyanuric acid (chlorine stabilizer).
  2. Sodium Di-Chlor: a quick-dissolving, granular form of chlorine which may be broadcast directly across the surface of the pool water. This shock is commonly referred to as Vinyl Liner Safe Shock for its non-bleaching quality, it is pH neutral and it is 100% soluble. Di-chlor does contain cyanuric acid.  
  3. Oxygen Shock (or Safety Shock): a non-chlorine shock that requires only a 15 minute wait before swimming or bathing in the pool. All other shocking agents require a recommended waiting period until the chlorine level returns into the 1.0 to 3.0 test range before pool use.
  4. Calcium Hypochlorite: a very strong, type of chlorine pool shock that must be either pre-dissolved before use or poured through the skimmer only if no other chemicals are present. It is a very good shocking agent, but if misused by broadcasting it directly into the pool, it may bleach vinyl liners.

Note: Chlorine abuse is a major cause of premature pool liner degradation. A high concentration of chlorine for an extended period will attack the liner, bleach the color out, cause it to "alligator" in appearance and make the vinyl deteriorate rapidly. Therefore, you must never allow CHLORINE to come into contact with the liner before it has been fully dissolved and thoroughly dispersed in the water. Improper chemical usage will void the liner manufacturer warranty. Also, do not shock the pool water while a solar cover is on or the cover will be damaged and deteriorate.

We recommend that you shock your pool a minimum of once every 7 to 10 days. You should shock your pool more frequently once the air temperature is consistently above 80 degrees, if it rains heavily or for an extended period of time, or you have high bather loads. Shocking agents are readily available in 1lb, pre-measured packages. If you have a saltwater Chlorine Generator, shock only when the water begins to look dull or cloudy.


Step 5: Algae Prevention

Contaminants in the rain and wind can quickly deplete the chlorine supplies in the pool. A high-quality concentrated algaecide (Algae Inhibitor) acts as a chemical back up system in the event the chlorine becomes temporarily exhausted from the pool. Following a one-time initial algaecide treatment, smaller maintenance treatments should be added directly to the pool every week.

Those pool owners who adopt and use the instructions we have provided will have fewer problems. If inspite of your best efforts, the pool experiences water problems, professional assistance is available to help resolve these issues and get the pool looking great again. We are committed to more than supplying swimming pool owners with the highest quality chemicals. We are always ready to help pool owners see easier, more economical ways to maintain pool water.





Automatic Chlorine Generation Systems for pool or spa sanitation requires a low concentration of salt (sodium chloride) to be added directly into the pool water. These salt levels are low enough that it normally will be below the taste threshold. (It is the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of salt per gallon of water). The Chlorine Generator automatically sanitizes your pool by converting the salt into Chlorine, which kills bacteria and algae in the pool. Chlorine produced, that is not used or consummed in the process of killing contaminates will slowly revert back to a form of sodium chloride that can be used over and over again. These reactions will continuously recycle virtually eliminating the need to add any sanitizing chemicals to your pool. The only time you may need to add additional salt to the pool is when the salt test reading is low. This other factors that contribut to salt requirement is when the pool water is replenished due to backwashing, draining or splashing, not evaporation. Do not assume that you need to add salt to the water just because it is time to open your pool for the season. Do not rely on the "add salt" indicator light on some chlorine generator system controllers alone. ALWAYS test the water using salt test strips before adding more salt to the pool. Some units will occassionally illuminate the add salt light in error. If you add too much salt the unit may not function and not produce chlorine. You will then have to dilute, partially drain and refill your pool with new water.  

What Type of Salt to Use:

It is important to use only sodium chloride (NaCl) salt that is greater than 99% pure. This is common food quality granular without additives or pure evaporated salt. Water softener salt is usually acceptable but is labeled "Coarse Solar Salt." It is also acceptable to use small water conditioning salt pellets; however, it will take longer for them to dissolve, as you must brush them until they dissolve into solution. Do not use rock salt, salt with yellow prussiate of soda, salt with anti-caking additives or iodized salt.


How to Add the Salt:

Pour the salt into the shallow end of the pool water and brush back and forth using your pool brush until is all into solution. This takes only a few moments per bag if you use the granular or evaporated salt. The ideal salt level concentration on the water is between 2700 to 3400ppm (parts per million) with 3200ppm being optimal. If the level is low, determine the number of gallons in the pool and add salt in accordance with the manufacturer’s chart they provided. A low salt level will reduce the efficiency of the Chlorine Generator and result in low chlorine production. A high salt level can cause some Chlorine Generators to shutdown and may begin to give a salty taste to your pool (generally, the salt will begin to be tasted at a level of about 3500 to 4000ppm). The salt in your pool/spa is constantly recycled and the loss of salt throughout the swimming season should be small. This loss is due primarily to the addition of water because of splashing, backwashing or draining. Salt is not lost due to evaporation.

For new plaster pools, wait 10 to 14 days before adding salt to allow the plaster to cure. Turn the circulating pump on and add salt directly into the pool. Brush the salt around to speed up the dissolving processdo not allow salt to pile up on the bottom of the pool. Run the filter pump for 24 hours with the suction coming from the main drain, if you have one, to allow the salt to disperse throughout the pool. The salt display may take 24 hours to respond to the change in salt concentration.


How to Remove Salt

The only way to lower the salt concentration is to partially drain the pool and refill with fresh water. Always test the chlorine stabilizer (Cyanuric Acid) also when testing your salt level. These levels will most likely decline together.

Cyanuric Acid Level - Right or Wrong

The chlorine generator manufacturers recommend that the Cyanuric Acid (chlorine stabilzer) level should be maintained at a minimum of 60 ppm. The industry maximum level is 100 ppm then you are instructed to partially drain and refill the pool. We know that this 60 ppm level is extemely excessive and recommend that 10 ppm to a maximum of 30 ppm level be maintained. The higher the cyanuric acid level becomes, the active chlorine becomes less effective. Cyanuric acid is used to prolong the life of chlorine in water and help to protect it from being destroyed by ultra violet solar radiation for sunlight. While cyanuric acid does prolong chlorine life, however from a chemical perspective it reduces the oxidation effectiveness of chlorine's ability to destoy bacteria and algae. 




  1. Keep all chemicals out of the reach of children.
  2. Date all chemicals on the container. Most pool chemicals are stable, retaining their effectiveness and strength for normally 2 years when properly stored with exception of liquid chlorine, which has a maximum shelf life of 90 days.
  3. Keep the original lid on all chemical containers and make sure all the lids are tightly sealed. Store chemicals in a dry, cool place. Do not allow liquid chemicals to freeze.
  4. Chlorine chemicals are concentrated chemicals which can be dangerous if not handled properly. Do not mix them with anything but water. Always add chemicals to water − not water to the chemicals. Never allow 2 different types of chlorine to come into contact with one another.
  5. Measure and add pool chemicals separately according to directions. Do not mix one with another before adding them to pool.
  6. Use plastic, glass, china or enamelware scoops, measures and spoons and be sure they are clean and dry.
  7. Most pool chemicals are harmful to shrubs, grass and foliage ONLY in a concentrated form. As a precaution keep pool chemicals away from plant life near the pool.
  8. Hands should be clean and dry when dispensing pool chemicals. Wash hands thoroughly after treating the pool.
  9. Read all labels carefully before using pool chemicals and always follow directions exactly.




Proper testing procedures insure accurate chemical readings. First, we provide and recommend using only Dip-and-Read Test Strips because they are fast and accurate. Follow the directions for proper water testing on the test strip label. If you are not currently using test strips, please read on.

  1. Read and carefully follow testing instructions enclosed with your test kit.
  2. Rinse test kit tubes with pool water before filling the tubes for testing.
  3. Take water sample for testing 12 to 18 inches deep in the pool. Do not take water sample from the surface water in the pool. This will affect the accuracy of the test.
  4. Always read the test results against a white background.
  5. Always test the pH first; then test the chlorine.
  6. Keep your test kit in a cool, dry place.
  7. Replace test reagents (solutions) each year. The reagents lose their accuracy due to exposures to heat and sunlight.
  8. You need to take a pool water sample to the local pool dealer to have it tested at least once per month for the rest of the information you need to properly balance your water. 

When to Test

  1. Chlorine Residual: every other day; if no marked change, check once a week.
  2. pH Level: every other day; if no marked change, check once per week.
  3. Total Alkalinity: check each day until results are in the recommended range, then test once each week.
  4. Calcium Hardness: check once each month.
  5. Cyanuric Acid: check once each week
  6. Total dissolved solids (TDS): check once every season.


Dip-and-Read Test Strip water test kit enables you to test 4 important factors − Free Available Chlorine, pH Level, Total Alkalinity and Cyanuric Acid (chlorine stabilizer) level. A brief description of the test is as follows:

  1. Chlorine Level: This test indicates how much chlorine is available to disinfect and kill bacteria and to destroy algae. The ideal range is 1.0 to 3.0ppm.
  2. pH Level: A very important test which indicates the amount of acidity or alkalinity (basicity) of the water. The ideal range is 7.2 to 7.6 ppm.
  3. Total Alkalinity: The foundational element of your pool water chemistry. If it is not right, the rest of the water chemistry will not work correctly either. Ideal range is 80 to 120 ppm. 
  4. Cyanuric Acid (Chlorine stabilizer): Prevents sunlight from destroying the chlorine in the pool water. Ideal range 10 to 30 ppm.


We also offer other more complete testing kit options for the more discriminate pool owner. If you would like an easy way at home to receive step-by-step instructions on how to restore clear sparkling water and keep your water in perfect balance all summer long, you may purchase a copy of the Aqualator™ water test computer software program. Aqualator will tell you exactly which chemicals you need, how and when to add them to bring Your pool water into correct balance based on the results of your water test results.


Note: All swimmers carry some bacteria into the pool. Swimmers who urinate in the pool produce nitrogen in the water causing chloramines (rendering chlorine in effective) and lowering pH. Use only swimsuits when swimming. Wearing cut-offs, dungarees, etc., contaminates the water using up chlorine more quickly. Some pool experts estimate that 1 dog in the pool is equivalent to 50 swimmers in terms of bacteria count additons.



 For best operation, the water level of your pool should be maintained 1 to ½ inch below the inside top of the skimmer face plate opening. The skimmer operates best at this level. Too much water cuts down on the skimming action, while too little water allows air to enter the pump, which damages the pump seal or the pump to loses its prime.


[Note: Daily pool water losses through evaporation can amount to approximately an inch of water per week, so keep an eye on your level. Swimmers usually splash out measurable amounts of water as well.]





  1. Your vinyl liner pool is designed to remain full of water at all times. Under NO circumstances should the pool liner be drained below 6 inches in depth. If you have a hopper end, or a deep end pool, it is recommended that a minimum of 6 inches of water be kept in the SHALLOW end of the pool at all times. Draining the liner may cause the liner to shrink and/or the liner bead to come loose from the bead receiver. Lowering the water level of an in-ground pool may also cause the pool liner to float due to ground water accumulations and higher water tables underneath the liner. 
  2. When refilling empty pools, be prepared to smooth out any creases or wrinkles and watch for a sagging liner. Although it is always desirable to have a "wrinkle free" pool liner, it is not always possible to remove all wrinkles and package wrinkles from liners no matter who does the labor or how much time is spent. Generally, they will cause no harm and are of little concern. Our industry has a workmanship standard that states, pool liner wrinkles are permitted as long as they are not fold-over, do not interfere with vacuuming of the pool and are not discomforting to the feet. We would rather have a liner that has a full thickness of material with a slight wrinkle, rather than stretched, which thins the liner material making it prone to problems. If the liner should happen to pull out of the coping track because of change in water level or temperature, as vinyl is sensitive to temperature changes. Usually the liner can be pulled back up and placed back into the receiving track. We suggest that any liner work be done only on warm sunny days when the liner will be more flexible and pliable. If you feel it is necessary to drain your pool, first contact your authorized dealer for professional assistance. Damage that may occur to the liner or other pool structure because of draining the pool without professional assistance is the owner's responsibility.
  3. Liner pulling out of bead receiver/coping − see troubleshooting section.
  4. Leaks: If you should ever develop a leak in your liner, special patching glues are available that allows you to repair the liner without having to drain the water − see troubleshooting section. Liner manufacturers may authorize/recommend reverse patching or vulcanizing methods of repair, which are permanent.
  5. The bottom of my pool has divots! The sand bases of pools are prone to changes due to temperature changes in the surface of the earth’s crust, moving, expanding and contracting. These changes cause movement and changes appearing on the bottom of the pool and swimmers cause foot-indentations from pool activities. These do not present issues to longevity, function or maintenance. If you have further questions concerning these changes, ask your pool dealer for more information about it. 
  6. The surface of a vinyl liner pool is the easiest to maintain.
    1. Above the water line: Cleaning of the liner and coping is best accomplished with "Tile & Vinyl cleaner" and warm water. Other household detergents can produce cloudiness, persistent foam, a gritty feeling or even permanently damage your liner and coping. Approved vinyl cleaners safely and efficiently clean the "bath tub ring" and other dirt caused by body oils, suntan lotion and contaminants from the air. You may use a scrubber sponge or soft bristle brush to assist in removing stubborn stains.
    2. Below the water line: A large percentage of dirt, dust, soil, etc., that sinks to the bottom can be brushed down and through the main drain and will be caught in the filter. Heavy excesses after a storm, heavy rain, etc., should be vacuumed out. Use your dip net, leaf rake, or a special Leaf Bagger Vacuums, to remove leaves.





Vacuuming your pool removes all debris from the pool. The following steps are the recommended method of vacuuming. If you have more questions concerning this, contact your local pool dealer for help.

The vacuum for your swimming pool works very much like a household vacuum, but uses water instead of air. For this reason, care must be taken not to let air get in the system when vacuuming, as this would weaken or halt the suction and pump action.

  1. Clean/Backwash or regenerate filter.
  2. Assemble vacuum hose, head and vacuum pole apparatus and then place the vacuum head into the pool.
  3. Make sure that the water level is the proper height inside the skimmer.
  4. Remove weir door from inside of the open face of the skimmer.
  5. In order to obtain good suction, adjust the control valve or 3-way diverter valve until the skimmer is fully open and the BOTTOM DRAIN IS CLOSED.
  6. With the filter running in the normal filter position, take the free end of the hose and firmly hold it in place over the water return inlet. This clears all excess air from inside the vacuum hose and fills the vacuum hose with water. As the air in the hose is displaced, it will bubble out through the vacuum head. When no more bubbling occurs, you may assume the line is free of air.
  7. Keep the hose end (in hand) submerged under water, attach the hose end to a skim-vac adapter plate (if your pool is so equipped) and set adapter plate over the skimmer basket. If you do not have a skim-vac adapter or you do not want to use it (not recommended for vacuuming), remove the skimmer basket and insert the free hose end down into the suction opening inside the skimmer. Your vacuum should now be functioning.

 Tips on Vacuuming

  1. Do not force the vacuum head to turn. Always push or pull to prevent equipment breakage. Press down firmly as you vacuum and move the head slowly across the bottom. Although moving the vacuum at a fast pace may appear to be doing the job equally well, this actually creates waves, which sweep the debris up and suspends it in the water. This will cloud the water. It will eventually settle back down to the bottom. Since this occurs naturally to some extent, you may be wise to run the filter mainly through the bottom drain for a few hours after vacuuming.
  2. If suction seems to decrease after vacuuming for a while, it could be a sign that the filter needs backwashing − see backwashing/regenerating instructions. This is usually the case when vacuuming a very dirty pool. If backwashing does not improve suction to an acceptable level − see troubleshooting section.
  3. Please note that during initial clean up of the pool water, it may be necessary to clean/backwash or regenerate frequently due to the unusually heavy dirt load in the water.
  4. What you vacuum affects how you vacuum. We do not recommend that you vacuum leaves and twigs as they will clog the lines, fittings and valves. For this type of debris, we recommend that you obtain a leaf skimmer and/or leaf bagger, both of which are available through your local pool dealer. In cases of large quantities of sand, dirt, sludge, dead algae or anything, which may foul the filtering media, you should vacuum with the Sand Filter control handle set on the "waste" position. This bypasses the filtering media and discharges the debris from the pool directly out the waste port. Running a garden hose into the pool may be necessary to maintain proper water level due to wasting larger amounts of water than normal. 


 Essentially backwashing is the process of reversing the flow of water within the Sand Filter tank. This process pushes water up through the filter sand loosening and floating away the top layer of sediment in the filter media. This "dirty water" is then expelled through the waste port on the multi-port control. Running the filter in the "rinse" cycle immediately following backwash resets the sand bed and prevents loosened sand or dirt from reentering the pool when the selector is reset to the filter position.

When to Backwash

Sand Filters are cleaned by a procedure called backwashing. When the water flow coming through the return inlet into the pool reduces, it is time to backwash. In addition, your pressure gauge will indicate any increase in back pressure, which indicates the sand, is dirty causing resistance to flow. An increase in pressure of 4 to 7lbs above your normal "clean pressure" reading is indication of the need to backwash.

How to Backwash

  1. Stretch out your backwash/waste hose and make sure it has not kinked or restricted. Run it to the area where you want to discharge the wastewater.
  2. TURN OFF THE PUMP. Set the filter multi-port control selector to the "backwash" position (water will begin to gravity flow out waste hose immediately).
  3. Turn on pump and backwash until the sight glass on filter is clear (approx. 2 to 3 minutes).
  4. TURN OFF THE PUMP and set multi-port selector on "rinse" position. Start the pump and run 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. TURN OFF THE PUMP and return multi-port selector to "filter" position. Restart the pump.



 The sand in your filter should be changed every 4 or 5 years. Be sure the sand is replaced with only swimming pool filter grade silica sand to the specifications of your filter manufacturer. This is normally 45mm to 55mm size. You may extend the life of your sand by using Sand Filter Cleaners at the beginning or end of the season. If your pool water source contains a large amount of calcium hardness, metals or a typically high pH, we recommend changing the sand at least once every 3 years. 


 The D.E. Filter is an extended cycle filter. It does not require backwashing. When the pressure gauge reading rises 10 to 12-lbs. above your fresh pre-coat pressure (pressure gauge reading when first charged), TURN OFF the pump, move the bump handle or plunger handle (depending on filter make) down slowly, until it's moving freely, then up briskly 5 or 6 times. Turn on the pump. This process is called "regeneration" and is repeated each time filter backpressure rises 10 to 12-lbs. or the flow of water returning to the pool is diminished.

The vacuuming instructions with a D.E. Filter are identical to vacuuming with a Sand Filter with one exception. In place of backwashing, you must stop the pump, move the bump handle or plunger handle down slowly, then up briskly 5 or 6 times. Turn on the pump and proceed with vacuuming instructions. [CAUTION: Do not attempt to move handle position with motor running or internal filter damage may occur.]


Cleaning a D.E. Filter

We recommend cleaning the filter and changing the D.E. powder when the pressure gauge rises more than 12 psi in less than a 24-hour period since the last regeneration or when cloudy water returns to the pool through the water return inlet for more than 30 seconds after regeneration.

  1. To clean, stop the pump. Move the pump handle down slowly, until it moves freely, then up briskly 12 or more times.
  2. Open the filter drain on the lower side of tank and open the vent valve on the top of the filter.
  3. Close both the suction valves and/or the 3-way diverter valve. Note: If the filter is installed below the pool water level, opening the return line valve on the filter for a few seconds with the pump off will help to flush the unit. Using a D.E. cleaning wand attached to a garden hose is strongly recommended for a thorough cleaning.]
  4. Once filter is clean, close the filter drain. Open the suction valves and/or 3-way valve until the air has escaped through the filter vent valve on top of the filter tank. Now close vent valve.
  5. Start the pump for about 30 seconds and let the filter fill with water and then repeat the cleaning procedure once more. If this is not followed, you will have short cycles in your filter cleaning and clogged filtering.
  6. The filter is now ready for recharging. [CAUTION: Do not operate the filter without a charge for more than a couple moments or internal filter damage may occur.]


Starting the Filter/Pre-Coating

Turn on the pump and scoop the correct poundage of Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) into the system through the skimmer as fast as the plumbing will take it. Note and record the pressure gauge reading after the D.E. has been added. This is the pre-coat pressure. Filtration starts as soon as the filter has been pre-coated. It is better to be slightly under-charged than over-charged. D.E. powder measuring scoops are available at our store. If you desire, you may use a 1-lb. coffee can as an approximate measuring standard.



Cleaning a Mod-Media (cartridge) filter is quite easy. After turning off the pump, close all valves supplying water to the equipment. Open the air relief valve on top of the filter. Remove the drain plug from the filter base. Push in on the lock-ring release tab and spin the lock-ring in the direction that the open arrow indicates. Remove the cartridge and rinse well with water pressure from a garden hose. There are filter cleaning sprays and soaking agents to assist in this cleaning process. You can greatly reduce your cleaning of cartridge filters by adding Natural Enzymes to your pool chemical routine. These products do a nice job. When finished cleaning, reinstall cartridge and filter top. Re-install drain plug. Open flow valves. Turn pump on. Close the filter air vent once all the air has escaped from inside the filter. Filter cartridges should be replaced about once every 4 or 5 years. Do not subject the filter cartridge to high pressure cleaning like taking it to the car wash. The high pressure can damage the cartridge.  



Skimmer Basket:

The in-wall skimmer basket catches the larger surface debris as the water is drawn in to the supply pump. This basket should be cleaned on a regular basis and as necessary.

  1. Make sure the pump is off so that the skimmer basket can be easily removed.
  2. Remove the basket by gently pulling the skimmer weir door forward and lifting out the basket (for top access skimmer, remove through the top access lid), shake it clean, hose off if necessary and replace into skimmer.


Pump Strainer Basket:

The lint and hair strainer basket collects smaller debris and prevents it from entering the pump and filter. Clean as required − typically once per week. Before removing the lid to the strainer basket, be sure to turn the motor off and close off the water supply to the pump from both the filter multi-port control valve and the 3-way control valve are closed. If you have an above ground pool with a D.E. Filter, close the discharge valve on return side of the filter. If you have a Mod-Media filter, just close the 3-way control valve. The filter is equipped with an automatic foot valve inside stopping the water from gravity flowing backward from the filter to the pump. Open the pump strainer-housing lid and remove basket. After cleaning and replacing the strainer basket, fill to prime the pump if necessary and re-secure the lid. Do not over tighten. Be sure to RE-OPEN all the valves you closed, reset the sand filter multi-port control selector back to filter position and turn on the pump. If your filter is equipped with a manual air relief vent on top of the filter, D.E. and Mod-Media filters, open it to free the air trapped inside. [Note: Applying a silicon-based lubricant (Pool Lube or Jacks Formula) on the Lid O-ring will assure you a better seal.] Sponge or cloth can wipe out sandy dirt collected in the bottom of the pump strainer housing. 


 Keep all adjacent pool areas as clean as possible. All dirt, dust, debris, etc. on these areas are blown or tracked into your pool, increasing the chlorine demand. Hosing off these areas with water is the acceptable method of cleaning or a dry sweep. Keep wash water out of the pool as much as possible.

Pool chemicals in concentrate can stain your deck area. Be careful not to spill pool chemicals on these surfaces. If you should spill pool chemicals on these surfaces, rinse the area with large quantities of fresh water.

Occasionally in the summer months, you may encounter algae growing on the deck in the shady spots. Should this occur, wash the area with an algaecide solution (1 part algaecide to 8 parts water). Rinse thoroughly after cleaning. 


 Your pump is constructed of materials to provide you years of trouble-free service. These are some of the basic instructions to prevent pump failure.

1. DO NOT RUN YOUR PUMP DRY. The warranty on your pump and motor is invalid if the pump has run dry. If the pump strainer housing is drained of water during the cleaning of the strainer basket, it must be primed prior to starting the system again. Filling the pump strainer housing and then quickly sealing the lid will accomplish this. If your pump will not maintain prime, check for a leak in the plumbing line prior to the pump strainer basket or call us for instructions.

2. Prevent the motor from getting excessively wet. When hosing down your deck, keep water away from the motor vents. Rainfall should not damage the motor. However, when possible, constructing a cover over the motor will assure long life of the motor, if the cover allows adequate ventilation to prevent excessive motor heat.

3. The pump motor is equipped with an internal thermal protection switch. If you find that your pump runs for a period then cycles off and on again, the electrical supply wire size is not heavy enough. A 12-gauge wire size is the minimum required to supply the correct amperage to the pump. The excessive heat triggers the pump shut down until it is cool again. Failure to use the proper gauge wire can cause damage to the pump motor. 


 1. Be sure the light is turned off (disconnect power).

2. There is one screw which holds the light into place located at the top face of the light. Remove it.

3. Pull the light out of the niche (housing).

4. Un-coil the light cord from around the back of the light assembly.

5. Place the light on the deck or out of the water.

6. Open the light lens assembly, remove the light bulb and replace it with a new underwater light bulb only.

7. Reassemble, place the light back in the pool and re-secure it into the niche. CAUTION: Do not test the new light bulb until the light is replaced in the pool. The light bulb will explode and may cause the light fixture to be damaged.]


 A licensed electrician should do all electrical work. If the proper electrical lines and a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) have not yet been installed and it is necessary to temporarily use an extension cord just to test the system operation, be sure the wire used is at least a 12-gauge wire size. The use of extension cords is strongly discouraged and you should not swim in the pool with the power on. Failure to follow this instruction could cause electrocution to anyone in the pool and could damage your pool pump. 


 Be sure all fenced pools have locking or removed ladders and gates. Keep them locked when not in use. If the pool can be entered from the house, be sure those doors are locked and we recommend installing a door alarm. The following instructions for ladder assembly and use should also be observed:

A. Locate the ladder on a solid base.

B. Face the ladder when going up and down. 

C. One person on the ladder at a time. 

D. CAUTION: No diving, no jumping or horseplay on the ladders. 

E. To properly secure a lift-up locking ladder, do not stand in front of it. Stand clear to the right. Lift with 1 hand and secure locking bar or toggle latch with the other.  


 The flow control valves are located prior to the pump strainer-housing inlet. Their function is to control and regulate the intake (suction) of water between the bottom main drain (if so equipped) and the skimmer to the pump. The "diverter valve" (3-way ball valve) is labeled on top and indicates the various positions at which the valve may be set.

The "full-skim" position will operate only the in-wall skimmer. If you wish to vacuum the pool or clear a large amount of surface debris or leaves into the skimmer basket, operate the pool with the skimmer valve in the full open position.

The "full-drain" position operates only the bottom main drain. Use this position for subsurface cleaning or when lowering water level below the skimmer to avoid drawing air into the system.

Independent flow control valves are a little more user-friendly to regulate flow than 3-way ball valves in that you have a more precise control on separate valve handles. If a control valve handle is in alignment with the valve union and plumbing line, the valve is open. If it is bisecting or crossing the line, it's closed.

During normal operation, it is best to operate the pool on the half-and-half setting. In this manner, the skimmer and the bottom drain compliment each other. They draw in debris and floating dirt from the surface as well as subsurface dirt, keeping your pool sparkling clean. 


 Removing the Winter Cover

1. Prepare the cover for removal by clearing it of all debris and water using your leaf skimmer and water ejector or cover pump. 

2. If water tubes were used to weight the cover perimeter, they should be drained and removed. Remove any tie-down ropes. You may want to leave 1 end of the tie-down secured to the cover for use the following winter. 

3. Two people standing at each end of the pool should take a corner of the cover and hold it tightly between them. Fold the cover back on itself. This process should be repeated until the cover is small enough to fit it in the box. 

4. Prior to summer storage, it is recommended that the cover be spread out, scrubbed, hosed off, allowed to dry, and have a light coating of corn starch applied to prevent mildew or sticking to itself when folded. It may then be refolded and stored for the season. If this procedure is followed carefully, it will extend the life of the cover considerably. 

Restore Water Level

Begin refilling the pool. Reassemble and reconnect the 3-way valve/flow control valves using the hand tightened quick-connect unions. Inspect and lightly lubricate the valve O-rings only with a silicone-Teflon based lubricant prior to assembly. Never use Vaseline or Baby Oil as an O-ring lubricant, as the O-ring will absorb the petroleum and deform the O-ring. Use Tile and Vinyl cleaner to remove the "bath tub ring" around the liner as the pool fills. The use of other household cleaners is not recommended as they may damage the liner, remove the color or create heavy detergent foaming.

Reconnect Filter and Motor

Before reinstalling the pump and motor, plug it in for approximately 5 seconds. [CAUTION: Running the pump dry for a long period will harm the pump seal between pump housing and the motor. If it sounds noisy or loud, or does not run at all, consult the Troubleshooting section of this book or contact our service department.]

Next reinstall the pump and motor on the filter base; reconnect all hoses to the pump suction inlet. Connect the pump discharge hose/line to the pump and filter multi-port control selector (if you have a Sand Filters) or the filter inlet port (if you have a D.E. Filter). Reinstall the filter drain cap, pump drain plugs and pressure gauge on the filter. Do not over tighten pressure gauge, insert until it does not leak. Open all valves to full open position. For Sand Filters, place multiport control valve in filter position. Do not start motor. Remove winter plug from water return inlets. If you have an in-ground pool, remove the "Gizmos" (ice expansion protectors) from the skimmer.

Initial Start-Up

A. Once the proper water level in the pool is achieved, for Sand Filters, set the filter multi-port control selector on the "backwash" position; for D.E. Filters, open the air relief vent on top of your filter. Water should begin filling the pump and tank. In-ground pools must have the pump turned on to pull prime and purge the system of air. For above ground pools with Sand Filters, once the water flow is steady out of the waste line, start the pump and run it for at least 2 minutes. The initial backwashing of the Sand Filter is recommended to remove any impurities or fine sand particles in the sand media. D.E. Filters are now ready to charge with filter powder. The D.E. powder may be put into the system through the skimmer or the pump strainer basket housing. Once charged, your D.E. system is now running and operational. Check system for any leaks. 

B. If you have a Sand Filter, turn the pump off and set valve multi-port control selector to the rinse position. Start pump and operate until water in the sight glass located on the multiport control valve, is clear (about 1 minute). Turn pump off and set multiport control selector valve to the filter position. Now restart the pump. Your filter is now operating in the normal filter mode, filtering particles from the pool. Check the plumbing system for possible leaks.  

Clean Up

A. Remove all leaves with your leaf skimmer, dip net or leaf bagger. 

B. Vacuum the pool thoroughly following the "tips on vacuuming" instructions.  

Chemical Start-Up Kits

Test water and adjust as necessary. Remember to use fresh test reagents each year or replace your test strips when they expire.

1. Stabilize pH and adjust pH into recommended ranges. 

2. Add Shock as per start-up kit/label directions. However, we recommend in most cases that the shock treatment be pre-dissolved prior to administering to the pool water.

3. Note: Use the correct size of kit for your pool and use all kit contents. 

4. Add Start-up Algaecide. Use only a high concentrated algaecide. 

5. If you have a Saltwater Chlorine Generator, adding salt to the water may not be required. Always test the salt level in the water first, before adding salt. The Chlorine Generator produces enough chlorine to shock the pool, so just add the algaecide.  


Close only a clean pool with clear water. Winterize your pool as follows:

1. Vacuum the pool if necessary. 

2. Backwash your Sand Filter and use Filter Cleaner. D.E. Filters disassemble and thoroughly clean filter elements. 

3. Set 3-way diverter valve or flow control valves to the full bottom drain position and set filter multi-port control selector handle to "waste" position. 

4. Use a "Gizzmo" ice expansion protector, installed into the throat of your skimmer. Do not lower the water level in the pool. Lowering the water level shortens the live of the pool liner, wastes water and increases the time to open and close a pool.

5. Thoroughly dissolve the proper amount of chlorinating granules for your size pool in a bucket of water and pour around the pool surface. Then add winterizing algaecide to the pool water in the same manner. 

6. Set multi-port valve handle back to closed position. Remove return inlet jets from inside the wall fittings and thread winter plug (1022-C plug) into wall fitting. 

7. If you have an above ground pool, tie a rope around the end of the bottom drain line near quick connect union. Leave enough rope to tie up bottom drain line under deck or to the top side of the pool. The bottom drain line must be elevated higher than the water level remaining in the pool. Disconnect bottom drain line hand-tightened union and secure up above water level of pool. 

8. Remove pressure gauge, filter drain cap from filter base, and leave it off all winter. Remove pump drain plugs, if so equipped.

9. Disconnect the return hose and skimmer hose at hand tightened quick-connect unions and let both lines lay on the ground to drain. Any lines or hoses on an above ground pool must be left open and unobstructed through the winter. Any freezing that occurs in the heavy flex hoses will expand out the end of the hose. If your above ground pool has ribbed hoses, they must be removed and brought indoors for the winter. In-ground pool lines are required to either have the lines blown out with air and plugged and/or plenty of antifreeze must be poured into all the plumbing lines (use only approved RV type antifreeze). 

10. Disconnect pump pressure hose from multi-port valve and remove pump from base, drain, and store indoors in a warm dry place. Reset multi-port control selector to an open position, "waste." 

11. Remove in-pool ladder and any accessories and store away out of the weather. 

12. For all other equipment (i.e. Heaters, Heat Pumps, Chlorinators, ect.), please refer to manufacturer instructions on winterizing.  


Installing the Winter Cover

1. Remove the cover from box and open on the deck along the liner coping or on the ground.  

2. Using 2 people on opposite sides of the cover, take the leading edge of the cover in hand and pull it tightly between you. Walk the cover to the opposite side of the pool being careful not to dip the leading edge of cover in the after. 

3. Allow approximately 8" to 1 foot of pool cover to lay on deck or past the edge of the pool perimeter with the cover laying on top of the water surface. The cover should also have some slack and be up against the inside of the pool walls. (Above ground round & oval pool covers extend over the top support channel.) 

4. The cover may be secured by tying 1 end of rope to the grommets and tying the other end to the fence supports to anchor it in place. Depending on your pool type and whenever possible, it is always best to utilize water tubes to anchor the cover perimeter on the deck. Using water tubes minimizes stresses on the cover due to high winds, water, snow and ice accumulations on the cover. We strongly recommend using water tubes to protect your cover from damage. (Round and oval pool covers are secured by tightening the turnbuckle drawing the anchoring cable against the pool wall.) 

5. Fill water tubes ½ to ¾ full leaving room for expansion as the water freezes during the winter. 

6. Do not allow large quantities of water to accumulate on top of the winter cover surface during the winter; 6 to 8 inches deep is the maximum amount permissible. Allowing more than this may pull the cover down into the swimming pool, tear your cover, or displace the water remaining in the pool under the cover, allowing it to overflow through the skimmer suction hose. Failure to follow these directions may also cause ice damage to skimmer or the liner. [Note: Damage resulting from excessive water accumulation on top of the pool cover, improper installation or excessive wind is not covered by any winter cover or liner manufacturer's warranty.] 

7. Submersible cover pumps should be used to eject excess water as it accumulates on top of the cover. The water accumulation on the cover should be maintained at 6 inches or less.  


Pump and Motor Problems

Generally, pump problems are readily apparent. The pump may be noisy, sluggish, visibly leaking water, or audible: sucking air or "cavitate." Filter problems could include sand or dirt returned to the pool or pool water flow back into the water. 

Motor Won’t Run

A. Check the fuse or circuit breaker for an open circuit. If the circuit is equipped with a ground fault interrupter, check the reset switch and then inspect the wiring connections for any short circuits or loose contact wires. 

B. If an extension cord is being used, check to be sure it is at least a 12-gauge wire for 100 feet or less. A "Heavy Duty" cord is not always a sufficient wire size; rather, it refers to the quality of insulation. 

C. Your pump motor is equipped with Automatic Thermal Overload Protection. The motor will automatically shut-off before heat damage can occur, under normal conditions, due to an improper operating condition. The motor will restart when a safe level is reached. 

Motor Hums But Will Not Run

Obstruction between Impeller and Pump Housing

A. Stones may sometimes rest around the shelf of the hair and lint strainer basket. When the basket is removed for cleaning, there is a chance they may fall into the housing below the basket. When the motor is restarted, stones may be drawn through and lodge between the impeller and the pump housing jamming the pump and motor.  

· To check for an obstruction, unplug motor, remove rear cover of motor and try to turn shaft manually using a 7/16 open-end wrench or some models by hand. 

· If shaft will not turn, it may be necessary to remove the bolts securing the housing cover, which allowsaccess to the impeller. 

B. Occasionally after winter storage the shaft may become stuck. Manually turning the shaft as described in step A usually overcomes this. 


Noisy Pump

A. Air in the system causing a rumbling noise − see "Air in the System." 

B. Blockage or restriction in suction or discharge lines.

C. Vibration due to improper mounting on plastic filter base or loosening of bolts. 

D. Foreign matter, such as small stone, lodged between the impeller and pump housing (may be necessary to remove housing cover). 

E. Motor bearings worn or need replacing (growling, raspy noise), contact your pool service department.  

Low Water Flow Returned to Pool

A. Backwash Sand Filter. Regenerate or change D.E. Filter powder. 

B. Consult "Air in the System" section. 

C. Check for restriction in baskets or intake lines. 

Vacuum Not Working

A. Consult the "Vacuuming" section as well as the "Air in the System" section for hints.  

B. Inspect the vacuum hose for breaks or splits, which may cause air leaks. Also check that the vacuum head or hose isn't blocked or kinked. 

C. Make sure the skimmer control valve is open and bottom drain valve is closed.  

Dirt or Sand Returning to the Pool

A. If this is taking place after backwashing, check correct procedures in the filter operation section for "Backwash" and "Rinse." This may also indicate a longer RINSE cycle is needed. A D.E. Filter may return up to a 30-second stream of D.E. to the pool. This is a normal occurrence. If this lasts longer, contact your pool Service Department. 

B. If heavy vacuuming of mud, dead algae or fine sediment occurs, the sand may saturate and begin to be forced through. A thorough backwashing should clear the problem. Correct vacuuming procedures will prevent this type of difficulty. 

C. Pump motor was not turned off while changing multi-port control selector and has fractured a filter lateral and/or internal stand tube, contact your pool Service Department. 

D. Sand media may need changing, contact your pool Service Department.  

Air in the System

A. Air being sucked into the filter system may be responsible for any or all of the following conditions: 

1. Pump is noisy. 

2. Pump will not prime. 

3. Vacuum does not have enough suction. 

4. The water flow returning into the pool is low. 

5. Air bubbles are visible in water returning to the pool. 


B. Pinpointing the Problem:  

1. Check Around the Skimmer 

a. If the pool vacuum hose is connected, disengage vacuum and see if problem clears. If so, look for improper seating of skim-vac adapter (vacuum plate) or if it is cracked or the vacuum hose has a hole allowing air to enter. 

b. Check to be sure that the pool water is at the proper level as described earlier (1 inch below top of opening in the skimmer). 

c. Occasionally after the pump is turned off and then restarted, the skimmer basket may become unseated and cause air to mix with the water. Check also to be sure basket is not plugged with debris. In rare cases, the weir (skimmer door) will stick in an upright position after the pump has stopped and restarted. Check for freedom of weir door movement. 

d. Look for cracks in the plastic, especially around fittings. Check all clamps and hose connections. Check for missing or pinched O-rings on unions or flow valves. 

2. Check the Pump 

a. If bubbles are evident in the clear high-pressure hose leading from the pump to the multi-port valve, the air leak must be occurring at the pump or before it. 

b. Check for a clogged strainer basket. If air bubbles are visible through the cover, the problem is at/or before the pump strainer housing. 

c. Check the strainer cover O-ring. Sand, dirt or other debris may be allowing air to enter. If so, clean off gasket and coat with pool lube or replace the O-ring. 

d. Check all clamps and hose connections for looseness or dripping water. 

e. Check to be certain at least 1 of the flow ports on the 3-way diverter or flow valves is fully open. 

f. Alternating between full skimmer suction or full bottom drain suction may provide a clue as to which line may be the problem. 


Filter Tank Concerns

A. Water leaking from the multi-port control valve. A leak at the filter multi-port control valve base indicates the underlying O-ring may need lubricated, replaced or the retaining clamp is not tight. 

B. Dripping from selector handle or waste port are normal and are usually not a major concern.  

C. Modular media systems may develop a slow flow due to excessive accumulation of dirt or algae on the cartridge filter element. Remove and rinse the element well with a garden hose very well and re-install. 

D. D.E. Filters normally only have 2 problems than may occur:  

1. The symptom is a free moving handle or inability to regenerate. The bump handle/plunger handle are forced excessively up or down by the operator, which can cause internal filter breakage. Apply firm steady pressure, not force when first moving handle to regenerate or clean filter. 

2. High filter pressure even after changing filter powder. Either disassemble filter and thoroughly clean elements with high-pressure hose or clean them using a D.E. cleaning wand on a garden hose. 

3. After removal of the D.E. Filter element cluster, if the tank lid will not seat, make sure inside tank bottom is clean and that the tank top O-ring is not being pinched or pulled out of position during reassembly.  

Beaded Liner Coming Out of Bead Receiver Track

Many pools are designed with a beaded snap-in liner for ease of installation and removal. The heavy vinyl beading is electronically welded to the top perimeter of the liner. This bead fits into a lip on the top coping track, which may be made of aluminum or plastic. The bead and bead receiver track are designed so that when conditions warrant (as in the case of a water level or temperature change), the bead may partially release from the coping, allowing a part of the bead to droop.

Should this happen, it may be pushed back into the lip much like a zip-lock bag. To place the liner back into track, pull up on the liner and flip the bead, pressing it back into the track. A duckbill shaped piece of wood such as a Popsicle stick may be used to snap and lock the beading back into place.

If needed, very hot water may be used to warm the liner making it much more pliable and elastic. Reducing the water level may be necessary, but the beading should be watched when refilling so that it does not slip out again. Liner work should be done on a warm sunny day when the liner material is easier to work with.

Pool Leaks

Normal daily water loss through evaporation can range from ¼" to ½" and swimmers may splash out measurable amounts.

Locating a Leak

A. Plumbing Leak 

1. Leaks on the suction side of the pump will result in air being drawn into the system. A suction line leak will only leak water when the pump is off − See "Air in the System." 

2. Also check return line connections for leaks by isolating the return line. This can be done by plugging the other return line or bypassing the return line and plugging it, if you only have 1 return inlet. Usually a leaking return line will loose water rapidly only while the pump is running. 

B. Liner Leak 

1. Usually indicated by a wet spot on the ground outside the pool in the general location of the leak. This will give you a starting point. 

2. Once the general area of the suspected leak has been established, a visual inspection of the liner (underwater with a swim mask or goggles) should be enough to locate the hole or tear. 

3. Occasionally, there may be a leak small enough that you cannot find it by visual inspection. In this case, it may be advisable to wait for the water level to stop falling. Wherever the level of water stops, the leak should be at or just below the water level in the pool.


 Rectangular: Length x Width x Average Depth x 7.5 = Total Gallons

 Circular: Diameter x Diameter x Average Depth x 5.9 = Total Gallons

 Oval: Long Dimension x Short Dimension x Average Depth x 5.9 = Total Gallons


Pool Size x 4- depth

Maximum Capacity (in gallons)

15' Round


18' Round


21' Round


24' Round


27' Round


30' Round


12' x 24' Oval


15' x 24' Oval


15' x 30' Oval


12' x 20' Rectangle


12' x 24' Rectangle


12' x 32' Rectangle


16' x 24' Rectangle


16' x 32' Rectangle


18' x 36' Rectangle


20' x 40' Rectangle




 1. Most swimming pool water problems are the result of 1 or more of the following:

a. No free available chlorine.

b. Poor water circulation or not circulating water long enough.

c. Not using test kits or not reading them correctly. 

d. Lack of proper maintenance, which includes periodic shock treatments and fresh water replacement. 



Possible Cause(s)


Cloudy water

1. Build up of organic contaminants  

2. Improper pH  

3. Improper Total Alkalinity  

4. Precipitating calcium compounds  

5. Water hardness level is too high


6. Filter inefficient; plugged or calcified  

7. High mineral content  

8. Algae  






1. Shock the pool using chlorine shock treatment  

2. Add pH reducer  

3. Add pH reducer  

4. Reduce the quantity used of calcium based chlorine  

5. Add settling agent or partially drain pool and refill with fresh water 

6. inspect filtration system; backwash or regenerate it 

7. Add mineral remover  

8. See “Algae” 








Colored water in newly filled pool: water turns blue, black or brown when first treated chemically

1. Chlorine changes unseen iron, copper and minerals in the water into highly visible compounds



1. Adjust pH to 7.8


2. Use settling agent or mineral remover


3. Run longer filter time and backwash


4. Vacuum settled material to waste






Colored water in pools already filled

1. Leaves or other organic debris in the water


2. Algae




1. Clean pool of leaves or other debris


2. See “Algae”





1. Insufficient Free Chlorine residual


2. Routine pool maintenance including water testing and sanitizer is insufficient


3. Filter isn’t running long enough





a. Adjust Total Alkalinity to proper range and the pH to 7.4 to 7.6


b. Brush pool surfaces using pool brush to remove clinging algae


c. Shock the pool 5x’s normal dosage


d. The next day, vacuum dead algae to waste


e. Adjust pH to 7.4 to 7.6; Maintain a chlorine residual of 1.0 to 3.0 and begin weekly additions of a premium algaecide.


f. Run filter at least 12 hours per day








Eye irritation and/or Chlorine odors

1. Improper pH


2. Chlorine too low (chloramines-combined chlorine)


3. Low Total Alkalinity, pH won’t stabilize





1. Adjust pH to 7.4 to 7.6 using pH Plus


2. Remove chloramines build-up using shock treatment


3. Add alkalinity increaser





Rapid loss of chlorine/Can’t hold or get proper chlorine reading

1. Low pH and Total Alkalinity


2. Initial chlorine demand was high


3. Chlorine burn off due to sun/heat


4. Heavy pool use


5. Old chlorine test reagents/expired


6. Filter isn’t running long enough, if using automatic chlorinator








1. Stabilize and adjust pH


2. Add 3” chlorine tablet and re-test in 6 to 8 hours


3. Add chlorine stabilizer


4. Remove build-up with more frequent shock treatments


5. Replace test reagents and keep them out of sun/heat


6. Run filter longer each day











Stains or Scale

1. Metal corrosion on hardware due to pH hardness too low


2. High pH


3. High alkalinity


4. Dissolved metals






1. Adjust and maintain pH to 7.4 to 7.6 and hardness to 250 to 400ppm


2. Lower Total Alkalinity then the pH, repeat as needed


3. Adjust Total Alkalinity and pH using pH Minus


4. Use settling agent or partially drain pool and refill with fresh water






Dark brown blotches on bottom

1. Very low alkalinity


2. Algae




1. Raise Total Alkalinity using pH stabilizer


2. See “Algae”




Bleached out spots on liner

1. Granular Chlorine not dissolving


2. Chlorine tablets tossed into pool


3. Improper liquid chlorine usage





1. Shock treatment not added through the skimmer


2. Use automatic chlorinator or the skimmer basket


3. Slowly pour chlorine in front of the return inlet without splashing






1. High dosage of algaecide


2. Build-up of soluble organic wastes in the water




1. Read and follow label directions carefully; foaming will dissipate with time or use de-foamer


2. Adjust Total Alkalinity and pH as necessary and shock pool




Scale (gray, white or brownish deposits on pool surface, plumbing, filter, or heater cores)

1. Calcium Hardness too high caused by excess very hard water


2. Accumulation of dissolved minerals


3. Total Alkalinity is too high


4. pH is too high


5. Accumulation of total dissolved solids







1. Use settling agent or partially drain pool and refill with fresh water; if hardness level is at 500ppm or above, you must partially drain pool


2. Use settling agent or mineral removed and adjust the pH to 7.4 to 7.6


3. Lower Total Alkalinity using granular pH Minus; repeat until proper range is achieved


4. Destroy a portion of Total Alkalinity to allow pH to adjust to 7.4 to 7.6


5. See “Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)”







Pool filtration is impeded resulting in increased system back pressure

1. Restricted water flow


a. Algae


b. Hair or cotton fibers inside filter


c. Suntan lotion


d. Calcification of filter sand media


e. Improper pH, alkalinity and/or Calcium Hardness








1. Inspect baskets first


a. See “Algae”


b. The top of sand bed must be physically cleaned


c. Backwash filter using Enzyme or cleaner


d. Change Filter sand


e. Adjust and maintain proper pH, Total Alkalinity and Hardness levels








Total dissolved solids (TDS); Erratic Pool behavior, scaling, staining and reduced chlorine efficiency

1. Insufficient fresh water added to pool to proper chemical balance



1. Drain “old” pool water; refill pool and adjust











Tiny plants which grow in the water and can discolor it or make the pool walls and bottom slippery in the absence of chlorine or improper chemical balance.




Chemicals which kill algae and prevent its growth.




Microscopic one-celled organisms (germs) which can cause infection or illness.



Calcium Hardness

The quantity of calcium dissolved in water. Known as "hard water." High levels may promote scale deposits or corrosion.




The "combined" form of chlorine after it has oxidized impurities in pool water. It can cause eye irritation and a foul chlorine-like odor. This form of chlorine is a less effective disinfectant in the ideal pH range.




The most commonly used disinfecting agent for swimming pools because it is the best chemical material for killing bacteria and preventing algae growth.



Chlorine Demand

The materials in the water that use up the chlorine, such as bacteria, dirt, algae and swimmer's wastes. The chlorine demand must be satisfied before a chlorine residual is available to disinfect the pool water.



Chlorine Residual

The chlorine level present in the water after the chlorine demand has been satisfied. The "Free Chlorine residual" is the true measure of chlorine's disinfection potential.



Chlorine Stabilizer

(Cyanuric Acid)

Prolongs the effective life of chlorine in the pool water by diffusing/screening the breakdown of chlorine, caused by the Ultra violet rays of sunlight.




A natural pool chemical that breaks down oils, lotions, water molds and organic contaminants keeping filters working to maximum efficiency.



Free Chlorine

The most active, available chlorine that kills bacteria and algae.



Orthotolidine (OTO)

An indicator solution referred to as a reagent, used to measure the chlorine residual in pool water testing.




For the purpose of pool water chemistry, it is a system for measuring the acidity or base value of water. Readingsare measured on a scale of 0 to 14. Those above 7.0 are alkaline (basic); below 7.0 are acidic.



pH Minus/Reducer

A granular (Sodium Bisulfate) or liquid (Muriatic Acid) acidic chemical, which is approved for use in swimming pools to lower the pH and the Total Alkalinity.



pH Plus/Increaser

A granular (soda ash) alkaline material which is approved to raise the pH value of swimming pool water.



pH Stabilizer

Alkaline minerals (Sodium Hydro-carbonate or Sodium Bi-carbonate) added to pool water to increase the Total Alkalinity to prevent fluctuations in pH. Its primary use is to increase the pH "buffering capacity" of the water.



Phenol Red

The indicator solution (reagent) used to measure pH levels in swimming pool water chemistry.




The standard measure of a chemical or a mineral concentration in pool water; Parts Per Million.



Shock Treatment

The addition of large dosages of chlorine sanitizer to achieve "break-point chlorination" (30 to 50ppm). This is the amount of chlorine needed to oxidize organic contaminants in the pool water.



Total Alkalinity

Measure of the quality and quantity of alkaline mineral present.



Total Chlorine

The sum of the amount of Free Chlorine and combined chlorine.



Water Balance

Balanced water occurs when the pH value, Total Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness content are in their ideal ranges.