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How to Spot a Healthy Pool: A Complete Guide

A healthy pool is one of the keys to a happy summer. Healthy, well-maintained pools allow you and your family to enjoy their benefits without the risk of damage, irritation, or disease.

Do you know if your pool has earned a clean (no pun intended) bill of health? Here’s a guide for spotting a healthy pool, along with what to do if yours doesn’t quite meet the mark.

Smell

There’s a common misconception that a strong chlorine odor means your pool is clean and healthy. What you are smelling is not the chlorine fighting off germs and grime, but rather a chemical reaction that occurs when inactive compounds in chlorine bind with organic material produced by bacteria. In other words, the strong chlorine smell indicates that your pool is contaminated with germs.

A healthy pool, on the other hand, should be relatively odor-free. Monitoring chemical levels and shocking regularly will keep your pool healthy and free of odor-causing germs.

Appearance

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge the health of a pool by its appearance. Healthy pools have water that is clear and thin inconsistency.

Cloudy water could indicate a chemical imbalance or debris caused by a lack of sunlight, heavy rain, and poor filtration. Green water is caused by algae growth and is more likely to happen after a storm, lack of sunlight, and poor maintenance.

And while bubbles make for backyard fun (and a great elephant name, if you ask us!), they have no place in a healthy pool. Healthy pools have water that is thin in consistency and flat. Foaming or bubbling at your pool’s edge indicates that your pool water is “thick.” This is commonly caused by bacteria, cosmetic products or lotions, chemical imbalances, or filtration issues.

Habits

Healthy pools all have one important thing in common -- they are maintained under a set of habits and standards that allow them to stay healthy.

These habits include: 

  • Skimming and scrubbing. Skimming surface debris, vacuuming the bottom, and scrubbing the sides should be part of your regular pool maintenance. But skimming and vacuuming daily and scrubbing bi-weekly is necessary to really maintain excellent pool health.
  • Cleaning the filter and filtration system. Most people think that removing surface debris from filters is enough to keep it running smoothly. However, it’s necessary to clean the pipes of the filtration system as well. Do this once a month and you’ll notice a big improvement in the health of your pool.
  • Know your chemicals and balance them. At least once a week, test your pool’s level of cyanuric acid, free chlorine, acidity, alkalinity, and calcium hardness. Balance these chemicals as necessary to keep your water clear, odorless, and without residue.
  • Watch the water level. Rain, humidity levels, and heavy use can impact water levels. If water levels are too low, they might not allow water to flow into the opening of your filter. Check water level regularly and be sure to re-test chemical balance each time the water level changes!
  • Winterize properly. Maintaining pool health isn’t just about what happens when the pool is open.  Take the right steps to winterize your pool to make sure no dangerous bacteria spend all winter festering in your pool. This can be done by checking chemical levels carefully before closing, blowing excess water out of pipes, and investing in a high-quality pool cover.

Remember, a healthy pool is a happy pool--and that means happier friends and family all summer long. Take the time to learn how to spot a healthy pool so nothing is left to chance.