Saltwater Pool Maintenance 101 For Dummies

Saltwater Pool Maintenance 101 for Dummies

If you are searching for “saltwater pool maitenance“, “salt water pool maintenance for dummies” or “saltwater pool maintenance 101“, this post should help!

There are a lot of benefits to be had from a saltwater pool. These benefits include a lower cost of operating, no chlorinates to deal with, and softer water. However, there are a lot of people who are under the impression that a saltwater pool is maintenance free. A saltwater pool will require less maintenance, but the truth still stands that in order to keep and maintain a stable pool your saltwater pool will require some maintaining.

Step #1.

The pool water should be tested on a weekly basis to make sure the chlorine and pH are balanced. There are two different options for testing the water, by using a dropper test kit or testing strips. Take note that the chlorine level needs to be between 1–3 ppm. There is a place on the output control where the chlorine can be adjusted, or it might be on the control box cell. Your pool’s pH needs to be maintained to stay at 7.2-7.6. If it should need to be lowered you can use muriatic acid, and another way is to raise it with soda ash or some sodium bicarbonate. If you are wanting the specifics for your pool’s levels, check out your owner’s manual.

Step #2.

Your pool’s water should be tested every month for its contents of sale, stabilizer, alkalinity, and calcium. There are test strips to use for testing for these or another option is using a drop test kit. You would need to review the owner’s manual to get the specific and ideal levels and for making adjustments when needed. Most of the salt chlorinator these days gives a display of the salt reading. Still, its good practice for you to conduct salt testing to make sure your salt chlorinator does not require recalibrating.

Step #3.

For maintaining the best performance, cells are suggested to be inspected visually at least once every three months. Many of the salt chlorinates have an inspect cell light which can be located on the control box, which lets you now by flashing. After removing, the inside of the cell can be inspected to see if it has a buildup of scale or some other types of debris that got pass the bypass filter. If it does not show any visible deposits, go ahead and reinstall. Should there be deposits showing, using a high-pressurized hose, try flushing off the scale. Should this not work, try using a wood or plastic tool (not metal) to scrape deposits from the plates. I by chance, neither of these methods does not work, a mild acid wash may be necessary. You will need to see the owner’s manual for the instruction for this. Many of the manufacturers are suggesting a 4:1 ratio of muriatic acid and water (1-quart of acid to 1-gallon of water). Remember, it is important that the acid is added to water, never add water to acid.

This solution needs to be poured into the container so that it reaches the cell’s top, but under the cable. There may be some that needs to be taken out from the cell. Allow several minutes for the cell to soak in the solution, then rinse it off with using an outside hose. After it has been cleaned, reinstall.

Step #4.

Always keep your pool’s skimmer, pump, and filter clean. If the skimmer, pump, or the filter collects debris, the water flow will be reduced drastically. With the reduced water flow, the chlorine is no longer generated by a salt chlorinator.

Step #5.

It is recommended by many manufacturers that salt cells and flow switches be taken out and put in a storage away from the elements when winterizing the sale chlorinator. You can purchase dummy cells to replace the real salt throughout the winter months. However, the control box can remain installed as it is able to withstand the freezing temperatures. In the warmer climate, and wintering is not an issue, the pump can be running continuously should there be an unexpected freeze.

Papago Pool Service Offers Saltwater Pool Service In Scottsdale, Arizona

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Schedule your saltwater pool service in Scottsdale with Papago Pool Service by giving us a call today at (480) 423-9333 or filling out our contact form.

How To Lower Pool Water Level For In-Ground Pools


If you are looking for “how to lower pool water level” of your in-ground swimming pool, this guide should help!

You may find that heavy rain has raised the water level of your in-ground pool and needs some removed to avoid subsequent damage and overflow to surrounding foliage, or even the deck. Another reason for removing water is accidentally leaving the hose running and overfilling, or preparing your pool for the winter season. The water level may be lowered by the filter’s multi-port or a drainage spigot on the pump, if the pool is equipped with either. However, if these are not available a submersible pump can be used, or a garden hose can be used for siphoning the water.

Heavy rain is able to dangerously increase pool water levels.

How to Use Backwashing to Lower Pool Water Level (Most Popular Approach)

If you use a DE or sand filter in the pool, it will be equipped with a multiport valve. This can be used for backwashing the filter when it becomes dirty. There are two settings that can be used on the valve, Backwash or Waste, for draining pool water. Both of these settings will allow water out through the drain port. The difference is that ‘Waste’ allows water to bypass the filter, and ‘Backwash’ sends water to the filter going backwards (helping to clean it at the same time). If your filter needs cleaning, using the Backwash setting to drain the pool is best.

Step 1

The first step is to turn off your pool pump prior to changing the valve handle, this will avoid any potential damages to plumbing or valves. To ensure full safety, the pump should be unplugged or disconnected power from the circuit breaker.

Step 2

During normal operations, the filter is likely in the FILTER setting. Move the multiport valve handle to the BACKWASH setting by depressing it first. Ensure the handle is fully depressed prior to moving to avoid potential damage to the multiport valve seal.

Step 3

Ensure the WASTE hose has been placed where you want water drained too.

Step 4

Return power to the pool pump, running it for at least 2 minutes. You will notice the water changes from cloudy to clear within the sight glass located on the valve’s side.

Step 5

Turn power to the pool pump OFF.

Step 6

Ensure the multiport valve handle is fully depressed and change it to the RINSE setting. Once the backwashing has been completed, sand will be loose within the filter and needs resetting. This step also allows any dirty water remaining from the backwash to be rinsed from the filter, avoiding it being put back into the pool.

Step 7

Turn power to pool pump back ON, running the filter for 1-2 minutes on RINSE.

Step 8

Turn power to pool pump back OFF, fully depressing the multiport valve handle return to FILTER setting.

Step 9

Turn power to pool pump back ON. Begin operation as normal. Make sure pressure dropped between 8 to 10 psi from where it was prior to the backwashing by reviewing the pressure gauge.


How to Use Pump Drain Plug

Pools that have cartridge filters will not require a multiport valve as the cartridge is removable for cleaning. However, the pool pump may be equipped with a drainage spigot. If your pool has this setup, it should be located between the filter and pump. Simply connect a garden hose to your drainage spigot, open flow and let the water drain out.

How to Use a Submersible Pump

Submersible pumps are built to work when under the water, and there’s a chance you may already have one for keeping the cover dry during winter months. To use it, you just attach a drainage hose on the pump, place the pump in the pool, and allow it to sink to the bottom. Then, connect power to the pump and it will do the rest by pumping water though the hose. Be sure the hose is where placed where you want the water to drain. If a multiport valve or spigot is not available, use this method.

Siphoning Pool Water

If you’re in a pinch, water can be drained by using a garden hose to siphon the water out. All you have to do is place the other end under pool water, ensuring it remains submerged. The other end should be at lower elevation.

To begin the siphon process, you have to build negative pressure within the hose to begin the flow. Sometimes, this can be done by quickly dropping the lower end of the hose. However, a common method is sucking the end to build negative pressure.

Not big on the idea of sucking water from the garden hose? You can also fill the garden hose with water, then attach a nozzle on the end. Place the open end into the pool water, then take the nozzle end to the drain location, and unscrew the nozzle. Because the water filling the hose creates a flow, it will make the negative pressure needed for starting the drainage process.

Responsibly Drain Water

When lowering pool water levels, it can be a bunch of water. For a 20ft x 20ft pool, draining only 4-inches will be nearly 1,000 gallons. If not properly drained, it can create flooding issues for both you and neighbors. To avoid these type of issues, ensure water is draining into a sewer or the street. If you’re located in the country, simply look for a natural drainage path to safely carry water off.

Tips to Winterize The Pool

If the reason you are draining the pool is to prepare for winter, below are some things to keep in mind:

  • Let chlorine levels fall under 1ppm prior to draining the pool. This helps prevent chlorine being introduced to the environment. Once draining is finished, the pH level should be balanced, while more chlorine is added to return the level back between 1-3ppm.
  • If the pool liner is vinyl, avoid draining it completely. You can loosen the liner this way, with potential of cracking during cold weather. If the pool has a tile or gunite liner, and the pool will be covered with a solid cover or tarp, the water only needs drained just under the skimmer level. Ensure to add a pump on the cover to ensure it remains drained during winter.
  • After water level is lowered under the skimmer, turn on your pump for several minutes to allow the pipes to drain.
  • Do not allow pool lights to be partially covered with the water, as it can result in the lights breaking when being froze during winter. Pool lights should be fully submerged or fully exposed.

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If you are looking for pool cleaning services in Scottsdale, Arizona, Papago Pool Service can help! Get a free pool maintenance estimate by contacting us today!

Common Swimming Pool Problems & Solutions


If you are looking for common swimming pool problems and solutions, this post should help.

The air bleeder or air relief valve is located on top of your filter and is used to let air escape and let the tank fill up with water. It is vital that you open the air bleeder before you restart your motor. The force from the water may compress the air and cause pressure which may damage your equipment.

Common Valve issues and solutions:

  1. The air valve will not open.

Solution: The unit will need to be disassembled and lubricated.


  1. The valve is opening but nothing is coming out.

Solution: The passage may be clogged and will need to be disassembled and unclogged.


  1. Water keeps squirting out whenever its closed.

Solution: The rubber seal ring inside is missing or damaged and will need to be replaced.

Backwash is when you run water through your filter in reverse to flush the filter of contaminants and debris, which frees the filter to become less restricted so water can pass through the filter easily and collect debris more efficiently.

Pool Pump issues and solutions:

  1. No water is coming out of the pipe.

Solution: The pump needs to be primed.


  1. The water flow hasn’t increased since backwash, and the tank pressure is a bit high.

Solution: More backwashing will be needed. Ensure that your lint and hair strainer is cleaned before you backwash.

The cartridge is an element within the filter that is covered with fabric that strains contaminants and debris from water that flows through it.

Pool Filter issues and solutions:

  1. The fabric is ripped and allows dirty water to flow through.

Solution: The filter needs to be replaced.


  1. The filter is clogged and needs to be cleaned.

Solution: Remove the cartridge, replace it with a clean set and soak in degreaser or rinse with a pressure wash.

Caulking is material that is used in joints to create a waterproof seal.

Pool Tile Problems & Solutions

  1. Calcium on pool tile

Solution: Calcium on pool tile can be removed with acid washing services.

  1. Cracked pool tile

Solution: Pool tile replacement services can help with replacing cracked tiles

Green Pool Water Problems & Solutions

  1. Green Pool Water

Green pool water is one of the most common pool problems there is. Algae in your pool water builds up and without proper maintenance will start turning your swimming pool water green. Most algae growth is due to low chlorine levels or an improper pH balance.

Solution: You can get a pool service professional to perform a shock treatment to your pool water that will slowly remove the algae and get your water clear again.

Common Joint issues and solutions:

  1. There is splitting on joint sides, and there are holes where it was applied to thin. This causes water to get into the joint.

Solution: Remove the old caulking, clean the joint and tape the sides, apply new caulking and strike to smooth out the finish and pull the tape. Correct anything by hand with a release agent and allow the caulking to dry.

Centrifugal force is the outward force that can be created by an object in a circular motion. This is the force that is create by water pumps to move water.

Common Tubing issues and solutions:

  1. The tubing is split or cracked which allows air to disrupt the suction or chlorine to leak.

Solution: Find the leak and shorten the tubing to remove the leak which is common at ends of tubing or replace the tubing.

  1. The injection fitting has become clogged.

Solution: clean or replace the injector.

  1. The strainer is clogged.

Solution: Clean or replace the strainer.

  1. The pump tube is worn out.

Solution: Replace the pump tube assembly.

The circulation system is a combination of pump, filter, pipes, and other components which allows water to flow through.

Common Prime issues and solutions:

  1. Loss of prime.

Solution: learn the system needs. Depending on system designs and the equipment, there may be different procedures. Refer to the pool chart.

  1. The filter is clogged.

Solution: change or backwash the cartridges.

  1. The strainer is clogged.

Solution: clean the strainer before a backwash.

The coping is the cap stone on the edge of a spa or pool mounted on a bond beam.

Common Crack issues and solutions:

  1. Delaminating or hollow at the bonding surface.

Solution: reset the stone by removing the stone surface and reapplying fresh mortar. You can also replace the stone.

Solution: You can repair the crack with epoxy or mortar. This is just a temporary fix to ensure a safe, smooth surface. If it is really poor condition, replacement may be needed.

Discharge is the flow of water out of a port or pipe.

Pool Water Leak issues and solutions:

  1. A water leak.

Solution: The PVC fittings and pipe need to be removed and replaced to reseal the threaded discharge. This is a repair normally done by a repair technician. If the discharge has bolted flanges, there will be a rubber gasket that makes the seal and it may just need to be tightened.

The effluent is the water being discharged from your equipment or pipe.

The erosion system is a chemical feeder that a tablet sanitizer is placed in to slowly dissolve by constant flowing water through the device.

If You Are Experiencing Pool Problems In The Scottsdale Area?

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Papago Pool Service offers pool repair services Scottsdale, Arizona. If you are experiencing problems with your pool, give Papago Pool Service a call today at (480) 423-9333 or visit our contact page to receive a free pool repair quote. If your are looking for pool service in Scottsdale, we can handle that too!

10 Pool Maintenance Tips You Should Try Out


Having a pool in your backyard is nice, and makes you the envy of those who do not have one. However, in between all those daydreams about having parties, starting a regular exercise routine, including doing a few laps after a long day of work, and finishing it off with a few hours by the pool getting that gorgeous tan, you do not give much thought to the maintenance that comes with being a pool owner.

If you go without the proper care for your pool, it will not be luxurious for long. The water will soon take on a green hue and start to build up algae, it will have filters that are broken and need replaced, and that is just a few, there would be too many to even start mentioning here if your pool doesn’t get the proper care it needs. Needless to say, no one wants to lay out by a pool that makes them think of a swamp.

The following are ten tips to help with maintaining your pool, if you want to keep your pool up without doing much you should try these right away:

It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner at having a pool or if you have had a pool for years, these tips will help get your summer off to a great start.

  1. Start thinking of skimming, with a little bit of scrubbing as one of your daily routines:

You should skim off the leaves and debris from the pools surface on a daily basis, if you want your pool to be pristine. If it is something that you can afford, get a robot vac for cleaning your pools bottom for you. The Polaris Pool 360 is on the higher price range, however it’s performance reviews are up to five stars. Skimming is not the only thing that needs to be done, although it does not need to be done quite as often, scrubbing the sides of the pool is also called for, if you want to keep the buildup of algae that is. At least scrubbing the sides of the pool is not something that will need to be done daily, once every couple of weeks will be fine, simply scrub any growths you see to keep it fresh and clean. You can use an old sock filled with chlorine and let it lay on any stubborn stained areas that does not want to come out for a few hours and then give scrubbing another try. The chlorine is going to take that algae right off and just think, now you have a purpose for those single socks.

  1. Your pool’s filter serves the same purpose for it as your kidney’s serve you:

Your kidneys work to take the impurities out of your body and your pool’s filter works in a similar way, by taking out the dirt, leaves, and other things from the water, removing impurities from your pool. Usually, you can clean the pool by turning the filter off and taking the filter cap out of the filter basket (often located on the pool’s deck), cleaning any debris out of it and replacing it as it was. Also, you need to clean out the pool’s filter basket on the average of once a week. Another thing your pool will need you to do for it is to clean out all pipes that are utilized by the filter system, this is something you can do by merely setting the filter to backwash and take out the leaf basket, clean, and replace, now turn the pump back on and run the pump for a little while, just until the waste pipe has clear water running out of it. Another thing about turning the pool’s filter on and off, this is not something you want to do very often as it can cause the filter’s mechanisms to give way and crack. Have your filter set up on a timer, allowing it to run for approximately 6–hours every day.

  1. The chemical levels in your pool need to be consistent:

Without a doubt, the chemical levels in a pools could be the most important facet of maintaining a pool. If the water appears to be murky or irritates the skin and eyes, it could be because it is improperly balanced, which causes your pool to become a breeding ground full of bacteria. The water should be tested regularly, at least once a week. There are 6-different chemical levels to consider, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

The different chemical levels to consider are:

  • Cyanuric Acid:
    This chemical determines what the free chlorine level require should be and protects the chlorine from direct sunlight. The average reading for your outdoor pool should be between 30 and 50.
  • Free Chlorine:
    This is a chemical known as a sanitizer that helps in keeping your pool safe, and free from germs.
  • Acidity/Alkalinity:
    This is known as the pool’s PH level. The acidity of the pool needs to stay between 7.5 and 7.8 in order to prevent irritation and to protect the pool’s equipment from rusting and/or eroding.
  • Total Alkalinity:
    This helps to keep the pool’s PH balanced. The levels need to stay between a range of 60 and 120.
  • Calcium Hardness:
    This will help prevent damage to the plaster if kept at the appropriate levels. Try keeping it between 220 and 350, unless it is a vinyl siding pool, then it will need to be kept even lower.

Testing your pool’s water is not hard to do. You can buy testing kits at your local pool store, it is best to buy several of them at a time to have plenty on hand for testing. All you have to do is fill it up with a sample of the water in your pool. Next, add in the solution (provided in the testing kit) and then close the vials.  Wait a few seconds, now you can see as the water begins to change colors. Now, compare the sample water you have tested to the colors that are with the testing kit to determine what the current chemical levels are. Now that you know what the levels are, you will adjust them and balance them out.

Keep in mind that the water will be crystal clear when you have reached the proper balance, there should not be a scent, with hardly any residue on your skin.

  1. If your pool is cloudy, shock it:

That is correct, if your pool looks cloudy, do not be worried about shocking it. Anytime you feel the pool looks cloudy, by all means, feel free to give it a shock when it is necessary. Though that might sound like it would be more for a public pool, it is not. Consider how your pool’s water appears after you throw your parties, by all means, shock it. Get that murkiness out! It is the bacteria your concerned with isn’t it? All shocking your pool is doing is bringing up the chlorine level suddenly, for a short amount of time, lone enough to kill off any bacteria’s. This is done by simply diluting water with 3 to 5 times the amount you would normally of either chlorine or a sanitizer and slowly pouring it into your pool’s return line, it will need to filter all over the pool so give it some time and you can then slowly refill the pool. Naturally, shocking to much can cause damage to the pool’s siding, in order to prevent this from happening it is best to only shock it about twice per season.

  1. If you are paying too much for your pool’s chemicals, you should give Baking Soda a try:

There is no reason for you to keep putting out a lot of money for the chemicals your pool needs, when you can get Baking Soda right at your grocery store and it cost a lot less. Even a pool store will tell you that it is a good idea to use sodium bicarbonate in your pool to control the alkalinity, and it works without reducing the PH levels suddenly.  Of course, you are going to find that most of the pool stores are going to try and get you to spend a lot of money by trying to sell you items that are overpriced. Yet, it turns out that Baking Soda, yes, the kind you would buy to put in your refrigerator, will do the exact same job for your pool for a lot less money. Check the label and you will see that ‘sodium bicarbonate’ is in there. Go ahead, look for it. No need to worry about having to do any complicated conversions, it just so happens that Baking Soda has the equal amount of the same concentration per pound in it of sodium bicarbonate as the solutions do. Which means that you would add the same amount of the Baking Soda to your pool as you would the solution.

  1. Always have an eye on the level of your pool’s water:

Yes, the chemical composition in the water is extremely important, however, the water level itself comes in nearly as important. Taking into account the water fluctuating after a heavy rainstorm or after a day of people jumping in and out of the pool, but all in all, the water level needs to be tended to. You will always want to keep the level of your pool’s water halfway up your pool’s skimmer opening. When it is too low, simply add some by using the water hose. When the water level is too high, drain off the excess with a submersible water pump. However, should your pool’s liner be made of vinyl or maybe it is made of fiberglass materials, which could put excessive weight on it and do damage, it may be best to consult a professional. Always remember to recheck the waters chemicals after refilling or draining the water when correcting the water level, this is because the levels may throw the chemicals off balance again.

  1. A tennis balls is a good way to absorb oils:

Tennis balls are not just for playing with in the pool, they are great for soaking up unwanted oils. There are oils that can sometimes come off of swimmers and when they exit the pool they may be leaving behind part of their suntan lotion, oils from their skin, and oils from their hair products or their hair’s oils. Not something we really want to spend time thinking about, so simply throw a tennis ball or two in the pool and let it do the rest. It is the fibers that the tennis ball is made out of that do the trick by absorbing the oils.

  1. Make your pool deck shine, give it a power wash:

The surrounding area of your pool is important, so keep your deck and the surrounding area of your pool up to par by power washing it. Power washing is just another way to say pressure washing it. Either way, it will help keep any rust and also weather stains at bay. Don’t own a power washer, that alright, you can rent one at your local home improvement store. You will first want to sweep all the dirt, leaves, and any other debris away from the pool area. Be sure you set it on weak to medium spray setting, begin removing the deck debris in layers, repeating the process until the deck area is clean. Over lapping as you do it is beneficial if you do not want to leave streaks on the deck. In order not to tear-up the deck area it is best to keep the spray nozzle at least 1 ½ to 2 feet off the deck.

  1. Even if you do not feel it is necessary, set up a yearly service appointment:

When it comes to your pool’s mechanical equipment, such as the pumps, heating systems, and filters, you should have these things checked out by a professional at least once a year. Just before your appointment you need to take a look at your pool and gather any information you want to being to the attention of the professional. For instance, any holes that is noticeable in the linear, noises coming from the mechanisms, any leaks, and any usual smells that may be coming from the water and as always, mention all of these type of things to your service person. Keeping in mind that it is important that you do not cancel your pool’s yearly appointment, detecting and having an issue fix early on can save you a lot of time, trouble, and money later on.

  1. You need to learn the proper way to winterize your pool:

Knowing how to winterize your pool can save the pool from being damaged and save you a lot of time, trouble, and money further down the road. Your pool care during the summer months are important, however, your pool care during the winter is even more important. Taking time to properly care for your pool when it comes time to winterize it can save on time, trouble, and money when you pull it out for the following summer. You will need to ensure that the pool’s chemicals are correctly balanced and blow all excess water from the plumbing lines, purchasing a cover for your pool can benefit you in the long run.

Although keeping a pool up and going and put away safely is somewhat a chore, it should not be felt as a burden. If these tips are used and you have a regular cleaning routine for your pool you are going to be sure that you will have time to set by your pool to get that tan.

Please let us know how these tips help you, we welcome your comments.

IF you live in the Scottsdale Arizona area and are looking for pool maintenance services, give us a call at (480) 423-9333.