Maintenance terms defined   

by Pool Builders on 03-28-2012 in Articles

Just like any other discipline, there are certain terms used in pool maintenance that might confuse some pool owners. Consider this your pool maintenance dictionary:


This is a material that forms on the pool's surface when the water is out of balance, usually calcium hardness. Water with an abundance of calcium hardness is referred to as "hard water." To prevent scale, make sure your water is balanced properly because it can lead to staining. You can also purchase a rust and/or scale remover to help prevent it.

Alkalinity and pH

You're probably thinking you're pretty familiar with these terms, but the truth is most pool owners are misinformed as to what adjusting alkalinity and pH really means. These aren't actually chemicals, just qualities of your swimming pool water: how acidic and how basic. The chemicals that you're actually using to adjust these chemicals are dry acids and other chemicals that are increasers and decreasers.


In order to clean certain filters, you've got to reverse the flow of water through the filter. This is known as backwash. Filters will have a gauge that will tell you when it needs a backwashing.


Oxidation is the destruction of organic matter. In pool maintenance terms, and oxidizer will break up materials that contaminate your pool such as sunscreen, hair products, and oils that naturally occur on swimmers' skin.


An ionizer is an appliance that puts metal ions into your water that can prevent algae and bacteria. Common metals used include copper or silver.

Chlorine Generator

A chlorine generator will make its own sanitizer. This works by putting a salt solution into the pool that the generator will use to produce chlorine. This time of sanitation is typically easier on swimmers' skin and eyes and doesn't produce as harsh of a smell.


A coagulant will take contaminants in your pool that make the water look cloudy and group them together so that the water looks clearer. This also makes it easier for your pool cleaner and filtration system to rid the water of these contaminants by making it sink to the bottom of your pool.


A conditioner helps the effectiveness of chlorine by protecting it from the sun. This means you'll need less chlorine and it can also save you money on sanitizing chemicals.

Understanding pool lingo can help you research pool maintenance problems and help you get the most from your swimming pool.

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