The Basics of Pool Care

Welcome to the bare minimum, sensible and essential guide to taking care of your pool. A big thank you to ACME Pool and Spa for their contribution to putting this guide together.  While your PoolSense smart pool monitor will ensure that the chemical parameters of your pool water are monitored constantly and kept in balance, you will still need to do some of the work yourself.  We will discuss when and how long you need to run your pump as well as when to backwash and remove debris.

Correct Filtering Hours?

There are a number of critical things that happen in your pool when you turn the pump on.  Firstly, the water gets moving and that in itself helps prevent the growth of bacteria and algae but that’s not enough, the circulating water distributes the chemicals that you’ve added and then it pushes the water through the filter.  The filter catches all the debris and some of the bacteria before adding the filtered water back into your pool.  We have had huge success using Ecofibre Pool Filter Media and can highly recommend it as it greatly increases filter performance.


In general, we recommend that you filter your pool water for 12 hours per day in summer and 6-8 hours per day in winter.  This is because the higher temperatures in summer facilitate bacterial growth and your pool will consume more chlorine in summer months due to higher temperatures.  However, use the guide below to adjust your summer filtering hours to suit your pool size… In winter, you can reduce the filtering hours by half.

Filtering times measured in hours

POOL SIZE Filter Size:
2 Bag

Pump Size:
Filter Size:
3 Bag

Pump Size:
Filter Size:
4 Bag

Pump Size:
1000 2 2 1.5
1500 3 2.5 2
2000 4 3 3
2500 5 4 3.5
3000 6 5 4
3500 7.5 5.5 5
4000 8.5 6.5 5.5
POOL SIZE Filter Size:
2 Bag

Pump Size:
Filter Size:
3 Bag

Pump Size:
Filter Size:
4 Bag

Pump Size:
4500 9.5 7 6
5000 10.5 8 7
6000 13 10 8
7000 15 11 9.5
8000 17 13 11
9000 19 14.5 12.5
10 000 21 16 14


Ave pool size = 50,000L, 0,75kW pump and 3 bag filter. Filtering hours in summer = 8 hours, in winter = 4 hours

Backwash and Rinse the Filter?

When you filter your pool, a lot of dirt and debris is caught in the filter sand or sponge. Your filter will become clogged and need to be backwashed and rinsed to clear it. You will need to do this every 2 weeks or when your automatic pool cleaner moves slowly around your pool.

Here’s how to backwash and rinse your swimming pool:

  1. Switch the pool pump off and disconnect the automatic pool cleaner.
  2. Clear both the weir and pump baskets of any debris like leaves or grass.
  3. Set the multiport valve onto the “backwash” position.
  4. Switch the pump back on for approximately 2 minutes or until the water in the sight glass runs clear. Turn the pump off.
  5. Set the multiport valve onto the “rinse” position
  6. Switch the pump back on for approximately 30 seconds to recompact the sand in the filter. Turn the pump off again.
  7. Set the multiport valve onto the “filter” position.
  8. Reconnect the automatic pool cleaner and turn on the pump to resume normal filtration.

Remove debris

Pump and weir baskets that are full restrict water flow through the pump and filter and puts unnecessary strain on the pump.  If the pump is below the water level in the pool, then turn the multiport valve to closed before opening the lid of the pump basket to clean it. 

Clear pump and weir baskets of leaves and debris weekly.  Brush pool walls to dislodge algae and dust particles and clear floors of debris weekly.  Consider installing a leaf catcher device to prevent floating debris like leaves from sinking to the bottom of the pool.  To reduce chlorine consumption, remove debris from the surface and the floor of the pool – do this on a daily basis for best results.

Testing Your Pool

Testing the pool water weekly used to be the norm in order to maintain adequate chemical balance and sanitiser levels plus to ensure swimmer comfort. However, with PoolSense testing has become much easier.  The PoolSense device will test your water approximately every 4 hours and send smart notifications to your phone with recommendations on how much chemicals to add and retest again.  The PoolSense app will recommend the correct pH and chlorine levels to ensure the optimum functioning of your pool. Proper testing ensures well-balanced water and minimises costs associated with overdosing and expensive shock treatments.  Check out our basic guide to pool chemistry for more information on pool chemical levels and how they influence each other. 

Calcium Hardness

What is calcium hardness

Calcium Hardness is the amount of dissolved calcium in the pool water. Low calcium hardness levels can cause plaster to finish etching and shorten the life of pool linings. High calcium levels can result in calcium deposits on the pool surfaces as well as equipment. The proper range for calcium hardness in pool water is 200- 250 ppm (parts per million). Your pool professional can advise you on the best method for treating your pool if you encounter high calcium hardness. If tests indicate that you have extremely high calcium levels in your pool, take a sample of your fill water (water used to fill the pool) to your pool professional for analysis as well.

Calcium content is best in the range of 100-400 ppm and is water temperature-dependent. Unlike pH or total alkalinity, however, both of which can be raised or lowered with reasonable ease, calcium levels cannot.

Adding a hardness increaser

Adding a hardness increaser to the water easily raises calcium levels. Conversely, there is no simple chemical addition that can be made that will reduce calcium hardness. The only way to reduce calcium hardness levels in pool water is through dilution with water of lesser hardness. Over time, calcium hardness will naturally increase in pool water due to evaporation and possibly other factors unless the pool water is regularly diluted.

Sequestering agent

While it may be difficult to reduce calcium hardness, it is possible to control it so that a potential problem such as cloudy water or scale formation is prevented. The best way to minimize the effect of high calcium levels is through the use of a sequestering agent (scale inhibitor or metal remover). A sequestering agent is a compound that, when added to water, will chemically bond with calcium and other minerals to make them, in a sense, more soluble. This means that calcium will still be present, but in a form that is less likely to cloud water or form scale if the pH or other factors get out of balance. In addition, since calcium will still be in the water, you will not have the corrosion problems you would otherwise experience with soft water. A further advantage is that elevated levels of calcium (over 400 ppm) can be tolerated without the constant need for dilution. This becomes especially important when the pool is located in hard water areas or calcium-based chlorine sources are used. A sequestering agent should be a part of your regular chemical maintenance program.

Pool professionals

When dealing with calcium harness issues in your pool, it is suggested that your first line of defence is your local pool professional. They can prescribe what is best for your pool to take care of and prevent any problem that can arise.

Total Alkalinity

To prevent the pH varying up and down, the proper amount of acid buffers, or total alkalinity, must be maintained in the pool. Low total alkalinity can not only result in pH bounce and fluctuations but corrosiveness and the possibility of staining increase. High total alkalinity also can cause the pH to fluctuate as well as cause cloudy pools along with possible scaling. To raise total alkalinity, an alkalinity booster is recommended.


There should not be any metals present in your swimming pool water. Metals can cause staining and discolouration of the pool. The most common types of metals that appear in pool water are copper, iron, and manganese. If metals are present in the pool, a stain and scale remover should be used on a regular basis to prevent staining. You should determine the source of the metals and remove if possible.

Sanitise with Chlorine

Chlorine products sanitize your pool water and kill bacteria. Stabilized chlorine products are protected from sunlight degradation and are an ideal means to keep your pool clear and clean.

Your PoolSense app will recommend the ideal chlorine levels for your pool.


Preventing algae is the key to an enjoyable pool. Algaecides act as a backup to your normal sanitization program and prevent algae from starting and growing in the pool. Algaecide should be added after every shock treatment.  However, maintaining the correct chlorine and pH levels by micro-dosing with your PoolSense device will inhibit the growth of algae in the first place.  Prevention is much better than cure. 

So there you have it, your sensible and essential guide to maintaining your pool.  If you haven’t already invested in your own PoolSense device, we highly recommend downloading our free demo now and join the smart pool revolution.

PoolSense also available from

PoolSense will be available in more stores very soon and those links will be added to the list below.