The ABC’s of Above Ground Pools

Commercial Pool Maintenance

The ABC’s of Above Ground Pools

Owning an above ground pool can come with a lot of new information.  Here is a quick ABC terms guide for your new pool!  If you have any questions, please contact us!


ACID – A chemical which releases hydrogen ions into water, decreasing pH. When water measures below 7.0, it is acidic. Add acid to lower pH and alkalinity.

AIR LEAK – What happens when something on the suction side is not air-tight. Pool pumps need to create a vacuum in order to work properly. Air leaks can be dangerous as trapped air can be compressed, causing high pressures. Air leaks can cause foam and bubbles. Correct air problems immediately.

ALGAE – Microscopic plants deposited in pool water by wind, rain and dust. It comes in many colors including green, yellow, brown, black, and pink.

ALGAECIDE – A strong chemical which kills algae and deters its proliferation.

AUTOMATIC CHLORINATOR – Automatically dispenses chlorine tablets into pool water.

AUTOMATIC POOL CLEANER – Device that cleans debris on the bottom of the pool automatically.


BACKWASH – Cleaning your filter sand that involves reversing the flow of water through the filter.

BACKWASK HOSE – Connected to filter that carries wastewater away from pool. (some people use their vacuum hose to carry wastewater)

BAQUACIL – An alternative sanitizer that is part of a pool water treatment system that uses no chlorine. Most chemicals used with chlorine are incompatible with Baquacil, and vice versa.

BRUSH – Connects to your telepole. You should brush your pool weekly.


CALCIUM HARDNESS – A measure of the level of calcium salts in the water. Helps determine how scaling or corrosive the water is. It is especially important to monitor in pools with a plaster finish. It helps ensure longer vinyl liner life.

CARTRIDGE FILTER – Filter with a pleated cloth element which traps debris.

CHLORINE – Chemical sanitizer that kills bacteria and algae

CLARIFIER – Chemical used to remove haze from water. Usually works by causing small particles to join together so the filter can filter them out.

CLOUDY – Description of the water when you cannot see the bottom of the pool

COPING – Plastic pieces under top cap that hold the liner to the pool.


DEFOAMER – A chemical which reduces and/or eliminates foam. Simply squirt the product over surface.


EYEBALL – Fitting that attaches to the pool return so that the water can be propelled in a certain direction.


FILTER – A device that removes waste particles from the pool as water passes through a porous substance called the filter medium. Types of swimming pool filters are sand, diatomaceous earth and cartridge.

FILTER CYCLE – Length of time between backwash cycles.

FLOATER – Dispenses chlorine tablets into your pool while floating in the water.

FLOCCULATING AGENT – Add to water to coagulate particles that cause haze. Sinks all cloudy particles to the bottom for easy vacuum removal.

FREE CHLORINE – The amount of chlorine in the pool that is available to kill bacteria.

FLANGE – Used to connect the ladder to the deck.


HAZE – Description used when you can see the bottom of the pool but the pool is not crystal clear.


LEAF VACUUM – Attaches to a garden hose. Pushes leaves into a bag on the top of the leaf vacuum.

LEAF RAKE – A deep net to scoop leaves under the water.

LEAF SKIMMER – A shallow net for skimming the water’s surface.


MURIATIC ACID – Used to lower pH and Alkalinity


ORGANIC – Debris such as microorganisms, perspiration, urine, etc. that needs to be burned up or “oxidized” regularly to prevent haze, algae, chloramines, etc.


pH – A measure of how acidic or basic the water is. pH of 7.0 is neutral. Pool water should be kept slightly basic: pH 7.2-7.8 PSI (pounds per square inch) – Measurement unit of filter pressure.

PPM (parts per million) – The accepted unit measurement of chemical concentration in swimming pool water.

PRIMING – Filling the strainer or vacuum hose with water to help push air out of the filter system.

PRESSURE GAUGE – Dial located on backwash valve or on top of filter. Indicates the pressure in the filter. The gauge signals when the filter needs cleaning or backwashing.

PUMP – Moves water through the filter and around the pool.


RETURN FITTING – The point at which water returns to the pool.


SAND FILTER – A tank that uses sand to filter pool water.

SANITIZER – A chemical used to kill bacteria. Generic names: Chorine, Bromine, and Baquacil.

SHOCK – An oxidizer that “burns off” the organic wastes. Typically a larger than normal dose of chlorine is used as a shock.

SKIMMER – Box-like device on side of pool, which allows the pump to skim the top few inches of pool water. Contains a removable basket that needs to be cleaned often.

STABILIZER – Prevents sunlight from dissipating your chlorine out of your pool. Used once a season. Commonly called conditioner or cyanuric acid.

STRAINER – A basket in front of the pump that keeps fine debris from reaching the pump’s impeller area.

SODA ASH – Sodium Carbonate. A chemical used to raise pH.

SODIUM BICARBONATE – A chemical to raise the Total Alkalinity.

SOLAR COVER – Blanket to warm the pool water.


TELESCOPING POLE – Pole that extends to use with cleaning devices.

TEST STRIPS – Easy to use strips that test your chemicals by dipping them into the water.


VACUUM HOSE – Attaches to the vacuum head on one end and to the vacuum plate on the other.

VACUUM PLATE – Provides a vacuum-sealed connection in the skimmer for the vacuum hose.

VACUUM HEAD – A flat piece of equipment that is connected to the vacuum hose and pole to vacuum the pool.