Pool Care Guide

Steps for Success

Would it surprise you if I said that pool maintenance is almost fun when you have all the correct information? Maintaining your swimming pool is essential for healthy summer fun, but it can be easy to forget all the details of proper pool maintenance. Whether you’re looking for a guide to pool maintenance for beginners or you need to jog your memory on the specifics of pool care, this handy printable guide has everything you need to stay safe and get the best use of your pool all summer long.

In addition to adding products to the water, there are a few extra steps that you will need to maintain a beautiful-looking pool. After you have these down, you will become the neighborhood pool pro! 

Circulate and Filter the Water

Circulation and filtering go hand in hand because, without circulation, water is not filtered. The water needs to circulate for 12 hours or more for the pool to be clear and free from contaminants. When water moves, it is harder for bacteria, algae, and other contaminants to cause issues in your pool. Circulation allows your filter to trap visible and invisible materials that have entered the pool’s water. Periodically your filter will need to be cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instructions. One of their recommendations is to use a chemical cleaner such as ProTeam Filter Magic.

Clean your Pool

Periodically, the pool will need vacuuming to remove visible debris in the water. Even if the water looks fantastic or you use an automatic pool cleaner, you will need to brush the pool walls at least once a week so microscopic organisms can be filtered out and consumed by water treatment products. No matter how often you circulate and filter the water, some material is not removable without your interference.

Testing Pool Levels

Ideal Ranges at a Glance

pH 7.4 – 7.6

Total Alkalinity Gunite Pools 100 -150 ppm (parts per million)

Vinyl or Other 125 – 150 ppm

Calcium Hardness Gunite Pools 250 – 350 ppm

Vinyl or Other 150 – 250 ppm

Metals 0 ppm

ProTeam UV Shield (Cyanuric Acid) 30-50 ppm

Chlorine 1-3 ppm

Bromine 3-5 ppm

The Importance of Proper Water Balance

A “balanced” swimming pool means keeping the five basic pool water components (total alkalinity, pH, calcium hardness, stabilizer, and total dissolved solids) within their proper levels. These components work together to help the sanitizer work more effectively. 

Water balance is important for many reasons. Balanced water will allow your sanitizers to work more efficiently to eliminate bacteria and germs. Balanced water will protect equipment and will contribute to brilliant-looking water. When water is in balance, it is more comfortable for swimmers, unpleasant odors are virtually eliminated, and burning eyes and itchy skin are less likely to occur. 

If you are starting up your pool for the first time of the year, allow the water to circulate for 24 hours. During this time, avoid adding any products to the pool. After a full day has passed, obtain a sample of your pool water using a ProTeam Water Sample Bottle or any clean resealable container. Your water sample should be taken at elbow’s length down and away from anywhere water may re-enter the swimming pool. After the container has been sealed, bring the water to The Pool & Spa Store, your ProTeam authorized dealer, for water analysis.

Most ProTeam dealers perform water analysis using a computerized optical testing system. Speed Lab tests the water to get the information needed to treat and balance swimming pool water properly. With that information, The Pool & Spa Store will help you select the right products in the right quantities for your pool’s specific needs. We strongly recommend using our testing services at the beginning, the end, and at least a couple of times during the swimming season.


pH is the most important factor in water balance. pH is a number between 0 and 14 that measures the acidity (low pH) or basicity (high pH) of water. A neutral pH is 7.0, but swimming pools should have a pH between 7.4 – and 7.6. A low pH in a body of water causes it to become acidic. Low pH levels will start to corrode equipment and deteriorate surfaces, such as plaster and vinyl. If pH becomes high, water will likely form scale buildup around pool surfaces and equipment. (Scale buildup is a calcium carbonate that solidifies on pool walls and surfaces. It’s usually white or tan in color with a rough or gritty texture.) These scale deposits can be unsightly in the pool, and their formation in pool equipment (especially the heater) can be damaging. Additionally, high pH can cause hazy water and eye and skin irritation. If pH is below 7.4, apply ProTeam pH Up. If pH is above 7.6, apply ProTeam pH Down according to label instructions. Test the water’s pH daily when there is heavy swimmer use or twice a week with moderate or light use.

Total Alkalinity (TA )

Total alkalinity’s function in water is to be a pH buffer. In other words, alkalinity will help keep pH at ideal levels. Typically, when total alkalinity in water is low, pH will bounce in and out of range. When total alkalinity is high, pH should be high or difficult to adjust. The proper TA should range between 100 – 150 ppm (parts per million) for plaster or gunite pools and 125 – 150 ppm in vinyl, fiberglass, and non-masonry finishes. Test Total Alkalinity at least once a week. If total alkalinity is low, add ProTeam Total Alkalinity Increaser according to label instructions. If TA is high (not typical), consult your local ProTeam authorized dealer for assistance.

Calcium Hardness (CH)

Calcium hardness refers to the amount of dissolved minerals in the water. Proper calcium hardness levels for plaster or gunite pools range between 250 – 350 ppm. Calcium hardness levels should be between 150 – 250 ppm for vinyl and fiberglass surfaces. Low CH can lead to corrosion of equipment, etching of surface finishes, or premature aging of liners. CH that is too high may cause cloudy water and scaling. Test calcium hardness levels at the beginning and end of your pool season. Continue monitoring these levels monthly during the season. According to label instructions, if calcium hardness is low in your swimming pool add ProTeam Calcium Up, according to label instructions.

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

To keep the water sanitary and to help keep water in balance, products are periodically added to the water. These products leave a small invisible trace of themselves behind during a regular pool season. All these unseen particles are called total dissolved solids or TDS. TDS may cause some issues in a traditionally sanitized pool when levels exceed 2,000 ppm. These issues can range from increased sanitizer consumption to hazy pool water. Traditionally, the most effective method is to drain a small amount of water out of the pool and replace it with fresh water. However, use ProTeam Superfloc Clarifier according to label instructions in highly elevated TDS levels. Since TDS does not increase rapidly, it may only need to be tested twice a season.

The Critical Difference

ProTeam differs from other pool treatment systems. Our unique formula, ProTeam Supreme, will make caring for your pool refreshingly simple. When introduced to the pool, ProTeam Supreme will help maintain water balance, so you will spend less time testing and adding products into the pool.

ProTeam Supreme will reduce your time performing maintenance on your filter. ProTeam Supreme will also suppress algae growth and reduce sanitizer consumption, adding up to big savings. Caring for the pool will be easier, and the look and feel of the water will be second to none. When ProTeam Supreme is in the water, eye and skin irritation are eliminated, giving the water a soft and silky feel. Supreme is a product that solves problems before starting with an easy initial treatment. It may be added only once at the beginning of the season, with no additional treatments needed in many pools. The only way that Supreme is removed from your pool is through filter backwash, splash out, or a leak in the pool. Once you have added ProTeam Supreme to your pool, you are on your way to a more easily maintained pool. This process will be easier than using other chemical treatment systems. Now you will be saving your hard-earned money and be able to relax and enjoy your pool more!

pool care
how to sanitize a pool

Sanitizing Your Pool

Properly sanitized water looks good, feels great, and has no odors. However, bacteria, algae, and organic wastes can collect in pool water if not properly sanitized. If this happens, pool water can turn cloudy and uncomfortable, and an unpleasant odor can occur. This is when your water is unsanitary. Chlorinating and brominating compounds have been effectively and safely used for decades to ensure sanitary, clear, and comfortable water. ProTeam has innovated and offers several options for sanitizing swimming pool water. If needed, The Pool & Spa Store can help you decide which sanitizer method is best for you and your pool. Traditionally pool owners added these products to either a floater, a chemical feeder, or directly through the skimmer. But there are several ways to add these products to your pool. In any application, consult the manufacturers’ instructions for the proper use of these dispensing devices. Be sure to follow the label directions for applying any ProTeam brand sanitizer.

Options For Sanitizing Your Pool

ProTeam High Tech Tabs

Our unique 1-inch and 3-inch tabs are a special blend of chlorine and ProTeam Supreme. This blend makes our tabs different from other traditional chlorine sanitizers for many reasons:

  • Higher chlorine efficiency
  • Reduces pool operating costs
  • Reduces scale formation
  • Enhances waters clarity

ProTeam Pure Tabs

Our Pure Tabs are highly effective at providing regular chlorination to your pool water. Pure Tabs are available in both 1” and 3” compressed tablets. All these chlorinating products are made without glues or binders, leaving no sticky or slimy residue.

ProTeam Zip Chlor

For those who prefer to hand feed their sanitizer to their pool, we created Zip Chlor. It is added periodically directly to the pool by broadcasting it over the water’s surface.

ProTeam Brominating Tabs

Bromine is an easy and effective way to sanitize a pool or spa alternative to chlorine. Since bromine cannot be stabilized against the effects of the sun, it is recommended that it be used in pools that are indoors or frequently covered.

Don’t lose it!

The biggest loss of chlorine in a swimming pool is to the sun. When chlorine is added to water, the sun’s ultraviolet rays can rapidly deplete chlorine levels in the pool. Adding a stabilizer (Cyanuric Acid or CYA) to your pool will increase the life expectancy of chlorine in the water. Most importantly, this simple step will save you money. Proper CYA levels should be between 30 and 50 ppm and be tested monthly. Since cold water can cause false CYA test results, wait until the pool water is around 55 to 60°F before testing these levels. Add ProTeam UV Shield to the water according to label instructions if these levels are low.

Stop Algae Before It Starts

Algae is a common problem for pool owners. These microscopic plants come into your pool from rain, wind, and animals. What starts as a virtually invisible invader can turn your pool into a slimy green mess overnight. This mess does not necessarily have to be green. Algae come in many colors, such as black, pink, brown, or yellow. Most pool owners do not know that their pool water is almost always infested with algae. Usually, when pool owners see algae in the water, they think they have a problem. Luckily, ProTeam has several ways to control algae and potential outbreaks. Though ProTeam Supreme is highly effective in preventing algae growth, we recommend the regular use of an algaecide to help eradicate algae. Consult with The Pool & Spa Store, your local ProTeam dealer, to find the right product for you. As always, follow the label directions for starting and maintenance treatments.

ProTeam Prevent

This excellent algaecide provides an effective defense against algae growth. Prevent is a broad-spectrum algaecide, and its nonstaining formulation will not affect the balance of your pool water.


ProTeam Polyquat 60

Our highly concentrated algaecide provides superior defense against algae growth. This non-foaming and non-staining formulation, when used regularly, can help reduce sanitizer consumption.

Alternate Treatments

ProTeam Microfloc Clarifier is a unique product that will bind microscopic particles in pool water together. This action aims to help the filter remove these particles with ease. Some particles are so small that they pass through the filter. However, once the filter has trapped these particles, they can be removed from the pool’s system by backwashing or cleaning the media. (Backwashing refers to pumping water backward through the filter media. The filter media are the portion of a filtering system that separates unwanted particles from the filtered substance.) Microfloc Clarifier does not know the difference between dirt and other physical material in the pool. Its powerful pH-neutral formula can help remove these microscopic particles from the pool. Microfloc Clarifier can help solve problems in swimming pools before they ever become a problem.

Making Water Crystal Clear

While the pool is open, the water collects various contaminants. Some can include pollen, dirt, body oils, cosmetics, suntan lotion, and other swimmer or organic wastes. The build-up of these contaminants can make your water cloudy and cause unpleasant odors. These contaminants can interfere with your ability to sanitize the water and prevent algae growth. ProTeam offers a variety of products to remove these contaminants from the water. These products will also help revitalize the sanitizer already in the water. Typically these products are called oxidizers or “shock” treatments and should be added at least once a week. Shocking the pool is also recommended after heavy rain or when the pool has been heavily used. The Pool & Spa Store can help you decide which oxidizer is best for you and your pool. Regardless of which product you use, carefully follow the product directions.

Options for Shocking Your Pool

Power 73 Oxidizing Shock

Our powerful 73% Calcium Hypochlorite scours the pool of contaminant buildups.  Use regularly to maintain sparkling clear water.


Multi Magic Shock

Our powerful oxidizer combines the power of three products in one easy shock treatment. Multi Magic contains Oxone® to shock the pool and a powerful chlorine solution to help sanitize the water. It is also blended with a clarifier to help keep the water sparkling. After Multi Shock is added, swimmers can resume enjoying the pool after 15 minutes.


Call the Professionals at The Pool & Spa Store

You don’t have to do it alone.