Pool Maintenance 101: A Beginner’s Guide

By Shiloh McGinley

January 30, 2024

Swimming Pool Maintenance Tips For new Pool Owners

Pool Maintenance 101: A Beginner's Guide

Swimming pools can be a delightful addition to any home, providing endless hours of fun and relaxation for family and friends. However, owning a pool also comes with the responsibility of regular maintenance to ensure its safety and longevity. For those new to pool ownership, the task of maintaining a pool can seem overwhelming, with multiple components and processes to consider.

This beginner's guide to pool maintenance aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the essential aspects of pool care, from the four main components of a swimming pool to the importance of water chemistry and cleaning.

In this article, we will cover the fundamental concepts of pool maintenance in an objective and technical manner, providing readers with the knowledge they need to keep their pools in optimal condition. We will begin by discussing the various components of a swimming pool and their functions, including the pool pump, filter, skimmer, and return jets.

We will then delve into the essential maintenance concepts, such as water circulation and cleaning, and the importance of balancing water chemistry. By following these tips and resources, pool owners can ensure that their pools remain clean, clear, and safe for swimming, providing a refreshing escape from the summer heat, and the freedom to enjoy their backyard oasis.

Key Takeaways

  • Proper pool maintenance involves understanding the four main components of a swimming pool: pool water, pool interior, pool filter system, and pool skimmers and returns.
  • Good water circulation, regular cleaning, and balanced water chemistry are essential for effective pool maintenance.
  • A water testing kit is the most important tool for balancing water chemistry, and chemicals should be added following directions and understanding their effects.
  • Creating a maintenance schedule and delegating tasks can ease the workload and lead to pride in pool care prowess.

Pool Components and Functions

Understanding the basic components of a pool and their functions, including the pool water, pool interior, pool filter system, and pool skimmers and returns, is crucial for effective pool maintenance.

The pool water is the most important component of a pool, as it is the medium in which swimmers interact. Maintaining the right chemical balance in the water is essential for ensuring safe and healthy swimming.

  • The pool interior, which includes the walls, floor, and steps, must also be kept clean to prevent the buildup of algae and other contaminants.
  • The pool filter system, which includes the pump, filter, and piping, is responsible for keeping the water circulating and removing debris and contaminants.
  • Finally, the pool skimmers and returns are responsible for removing debris from the surface of the water and returning clean, filtered water to the pool.

Properly maintaining each of these components is essential for keeping your pool in good condition. Regular inspections and troubleshooting common issues can help prevent major problems from occurring.

For example, checking the water level and inspecting the pump and filter for leaks can help prevent damage to the pool equipment.

Regularly cleaning the skimmers and returns can also help prevent clogs and keep the water circulating properly.

By understanding the basic components of your pool and how they function, you can take the necessary steps to keep your pool in good condition and enjoy safe and healthy swimming all season long.

Maintenance Concepts 

Proper care of a swimming pool involves implementing three fundamental concepts: water circulation, cleaning, and chemistry, which form the foundation of effective maintenance. Good water circulation is vital for healthy and safe swimming, and backwashing the filter is essential for proper circulation.

A pool cleaning schedule should include weekly skimming, brushing, and vacuuming to keep debris out of the water and walls clean.

Automatic Pool Cleaners Make Life Easier!

Automatic pool cleaners can make cleaning easier and more efficient. Unorthodox additions like tennis balls and pantyhose can also help with cleaning.

We did the research for you, and recommend the #1 Top Rated Automatic Pool Cleaner on Amazon.com - the Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus:

BUT - If your pool tends to collect a lot of debris (leaves, bugs, etc) on top of the water, we'd suggest going with a pressure side cleaner such as the Polaris 360.  

The Polaris 360 not only cleans the bottom of your pool, but it uses your pools return water to create a suction vortex which essentially pulls junk from your swimming pool into the bag attached to the top of the device.

Unlike many pressure side cleaners, a booster pump is NOT required to use it, as it uses your swimming pools pump for circulation!

Check out the Polaris 360 on Amazon, here.

How to Use Tennis Balls to Clean Your Pool

Not only are tennis balls the star of the show during a match, but they can also help you keep your pool clean.

Sure, you can use traditional chemicals to clean your pool, but why not let tennis balls do the work for you? The rough exterior of the tennis balls will soak up any dirt and oil that don't belong in the pool - things like sunscreen, lotion, and hair products that have made their way into the water.

All you have to do is toss in one or two tennis balls and let them work their magic. It's an easy and effective way to keep your pool clean without having to do the scrubbing yourself.

How to use pantyhose

Yes, you read that right. Simply wrap a pair around your skimmer baskets and watch as they work their magic, collecting even the finest of debris. Your plain skimmer basket just won't cut it anymore.

But wait, there's more! You can also use pantyhose to wrap around your skimmer net or window screen. Once they're full, just toss them out and start fresh with another trusty pair of old panty hose.

Chemical Testing

Swimming Pool Chemical Testing

Balancing water chemistry is crucial for effective pool maintenance, and a water testing kit is the most important tool. pH levels, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels are the most critical parts of pool water chemistry. Chemicals can be added to balance water, but it's essential to follow directions and understand their effects.

The ideal pH range for pool water is 7.4 to 7.6, and the ideal alkalinity range is 100 to 150 ppm. Adding pool shock on a regular basis helps maintain pool cleanliness, and shocking the pool at night is recommended to prevent the sun's ultraviolet rays from eating up the chlorine.

Here are the pool shock treatments I recommend and use!

  1. Pool Shock Treatment (6 Count)
  2. "In the Swim" Chlorine-Free Pool Shock (24x1 Lb Bags)

By incorporating circulation and cleaning techniques and understanding the importance of automatic pool cleaners, pool maintenance can be kept at a high standard.

Balancing Water Chemistry

Key Parameters

Ideal Count

FC – Free Chlorine

1-3 ppm (parts per million)

CC – Combined Chlorine

0.5 <

Br – Bromine

4-6 ppm

PH – Acidity/Alkalinity


TA – Total Alkalinity


CH – Calcium Hardness

220-350 (May be lower for vinyl/fibreglass pools)

CYA – Cyanuric Acid

30-70 ppm


2800-3100 (Depends on specific brand of the salt system used)

Balancing water chemistry is a crucial aspect of pool care that requires regular attention to pH levels, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels. A water testing kit is the most important tool in maintaining proper water chemistry.

  • pH levels should be maintained between 7.4 to 7.6, as this range is optimal for swimmer comfort and chlorine effectiveness.
  • Alkalinity, which helps prevent pH fluctuations, should be maintained between 100 to 150 ppm.
  • Sanitizer levels, such as chlorine or bromine, should be maintained at recommended levels to kill bacteria and prevent algae growth.
  • Chemicals can be added to balance water chemistry, but it's important to follow directions and understand their effects. Overuse of chemicals can lead to skin irritation and equipment damage.
  • Shocking the pool on a regular basis helps maintain pool cleanliness and prevent algae growth. It's recommended to shock the pool at night to prevent the sun's ultraviolet rays from eating up the chlorine. 

Testing methods, such as test strips or drops, should be used regularly to ensure proper chemical levels and prevent imbalances that can lead to costly damage or unsafe swimming conditions.

Here are some useful links for Chemical Testing Kits on Amazon.com:

  1. Poolmaster 22212 Smart Test
  2. 14-in-1 Water Test Strips
A person cleaning the bottom of the pool with a pool brush

DIY Cleaning Tools

Navigating the vast sea of pool maintenance tips and resources can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but with a little research and patience, a treasure trove of valuable insights and tools can be uncovered.

For those who prefer to take a DIY approach to pool maintenance, there are plenty of cleaning tools available that can make the job easier and more efficient.

A pool skimmer net, pool brush, and pool vacuum are essential tools to keep on hand for regular cleaning tasks.

Here's my favorite Pool Net, on Amazon.com.

Additionally, unorthodox additions like tennis balls and pantyhose can be used to help with cleaning tasks, such as removing oil and debris from the water's surface.

For those who encounter common pool problems, troubleshooting tips can be found online or through pool maintenance courses.  You can also find hot tub maintenance tips on our blog!. Some common problems include cloudy water, algae growth, and malfunctioning pool equipment. Pool owners should regularly check and maintain pool equipment, such as filters, pumps, and heaters, to prevent problems from occurring.

Creating a maintenance schedule and delegating tasks can also help pool owners stay organized and on top of pool maintenance tasks. By utilizing tips and resources, pool maintenance can be made simpler and more manageable, leading to a cleaner and more enjoyable swimming experience.


In conclusion, pool maintenance is crucial for ensuring a clean and healthy swimming environment. By understanding the four main components of a swimming pool, the importance of water circulation, and the fundamentals of cleaning and balancing water chemistry, pool owners can avoid common mistakes and keep their pools in top condition.

However, maintaining a pool requires more than just technical knowledge and adherence to a maintenance schedule. It requires a deep respect for the beauty and complexity of the aquatic ecosystem.

By treating your pool as a unique and living entity, you can cultivate a sense of wonder and appreciation for the natural world.

With this mindset, pool maintenance can become a fulfilling and rewarding experience, allowing you to connect with the beauty of water and the joy of swimming.

About The Company

RoboticPoolCleaners.org was built by pool lovers, for pool lovers and features a range of Robotic Pool Cleaner Reviews such as: Aquabot Pool Cleaners, Polaris Pool Cleaners, Zodiac Baracuda Pool Cleaners, Dolphin Pool Cleaners, and even the Best Swimming Pool Pumps!

Please feel free to have a look around and drop us an email or comment with any questions!

We're here to help! 🙂

Shiloh McGinley

About the author

Shiloh McGinley has been in and around swimming pools her whole life. She's seen a lot of products come and go, and she wants to share with you the best products that really work!

Shiloh is passionate about helping people stay safe in the water, and she loves educating others on how to choose the right pool products.

When she's not working, Shiloh enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and swimming - of course!

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