APCO Pools Specialties, Inc.

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A Glossary of Important Pool Maintenance Terms: Part II

Main Drain. See Drain. Your pool’s main drain can be found in the deepest part of the pool, and is connected to the pump. It helps to circulate and filter the water in your pool.

Microorganism. These are tiny living creatures invisible to the naked eye. Many microorganisms are harmful to your pool’s health, so it’s important to keep your pool properly chlorinated and maintained.

Nitrogen. Nitrogen is an element that is brought into your pool from a variety of sources, from decomposing yard waste to simple rain. Too much nitrogen can encourage algae growth, so it’s important to keep nitrogen levels low with proper levels of chlorine.

Organic Waste. This is the most common kind of “invader” that can create less-than-optimal conditions in your pool. Organic waste includes swimmer sweat, dead bugs, leaf litter, and any other material that can break down and release excess nitrogen into the pool.

pH. This term describes the level of acidity vs alkalinity in your pool. Too acidic, and your water can corrode metal and make your eyes sting. Too alkaline, and the water will become cloudy. Your pool water’s pH should be around 7.2.

PPM. This abbreviation is sometimes spelled with lowercase letters (“ppm”). It stands for “parts per million, and is generally used when determining chemical levels in your pool.

Pump, or Sump Pump. A pump creates pressure that essentially moves water from one place to another. Your pool’s pump circulates water throughout its filtration system. A sump pump can be used to empty your pool.

Residual Chlorine.  This term describes the “extra” chlorine in your pool above and beyond the proper level.

Sand Filter. A sand filter uses quartz, silica or zeolites (a porous mineral) as the filtering agent. Sometimes the sand is mixed with gravel as well.

Sediment. This is the solid particulate matter that collects in the water — from a variety of sources — and eventually settles on the pool bottom. Sometimes sediment is too thick for a filter to handle.

Shock Treatment. A shock treatment oxidizes your pool water heavily, using hydrogen peroxide, chlorine or another cleanser to kill nitrogen compounds and algae. You usually need a shock treatment if you haven’t been keeping your chemical levels up to what they should be.

Skimmer. Connected to your pump’s suction line, the skimmer is installed in one of the side walls of your pool. It traps large solids before they can clog the filter.

Solar Pool Cover. A solar pool cover floats on top of the water and heats it by absorbing energy from the sun. In addition to warming and protecting your pool, t also prevents evaporation, since the evaporated water has nowhere to go but back into the pool.

Test Strips. You can buy these at any pool supply store. They’re small strips of plastic with reactive chemicals embedded in them, which change color depending on the chemical content of your pool. Use these to determine whether you need more chlorine or other pool chemicals.

Turbidity. When water is hard to see through, we say it has high turbidity. This is usually caused by the presence of thousands of tiny particles that your filter doesn’t catch.

Vinyl Pool Liner. Simple: The vinyl “membrane” between the concrete of your pool and the water. Your vinyl pool liner holds water in your pool and prevents it from leaking into the ground around it.

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    Dr. Jason M.
  • Team was extremely professional and did an outstanding job.

    Mike W.
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    Richard D.
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