Owning a pool can be a very time consuming and quite confusing at times. A pool requires a lot of care, equipment, and chemicals in order to stay clean and healthy. Many of which you may have never heard of, let alone have any knowledge of. This list of pool terminology will help make owning a pool a little less confusing and aggravating, so you can spend more time enjoying it.



Acids are used to help bring your pool back to a balanced state. They will lower the waters pH level and the total alkalinity. However, if the water is too acidic, your pools surface will eventually begin to dissolve and the metals will corrode.


Acid Demand:

The amount of acid needed to bring your pools water back to a balanced state.



Algae is a microscopic plant-like Organism that can be brought into your pool by wind or rain. With enough sunlight it could grow quite quickly and really become a nuisance, making your pool appear discolored and gross. The most common types of algae are black, green, blue-green, and a mustard color.



Algaecide is a chemical solution that’s used to treat, control, and kill the algae growing in your pool.



Too much or too little alkalinity in your pool will either turn your water cloudy, minimizing the impact of sanitizers, or your pools surface and metals will begin to dissolve and corrode. Ideally, total alkalinity should be kept between 80-100 ppm.



Ammonia is often introduced to your pools water by saliva, urine, feces, and other human bodily fluids. When these react with chlorine, they will form chloramines.


Automatic Pool Cleaner:

These cleaners are an easy way to maintain your pool will little effort. Once they are set up, they will begin to vacuum and brush your pool automatically. There are three different types of automatic pool cleaner, robotic, pressure side, and suction side. Each of which function a little bit differently.



This is the function on your filter valve that will be used to clean your filter. The flow of water will be reversed to help get rid of all the junk residing in your filter.


Balanced Water:

Your pools water is balanced when the pH, hardness, and alkalinity all fall into a specific range. Alkalinity should be between 80-100 ppm, hardness between 100-300 ppm, and the pH should be between 7.2-7.6.



Balancers are used to help keep the pH, hardness, and alkalinity within in the required ranges discussed above. For example, sodium carbonate is used to increase the pH level and sodium bisulfite is used to decrease the pH and alkalinity levels.



Bromine is a form of pool sanitizer that is often used as a substitute for chlorine. It helps kill of bacteria that’s in your pool, but it tends to be more expensive.



This is both the process and material that is often used to seal joints or seams in and around pools.


Cartridge Filter:

This type of filter contains a fan-folded polyester cartridge that has the ability to collect debris as low as 5 microns. They tend to be the filters of choice for hot tub/spas and many smaller above ground pools.


Check Valve:

A device that will only allow the flow of water in a pipe to go in one direction.


Chemical Feeder:

A chemical feeder will release chemicals into your pool at a predetermined rate. This will make maintaining a balanced pool a whole lot easier and less time consuming.



This is the most popular type of pool sanitizer. Chlorine will help kill off any harmful bacteria that’s present in your pool.



When the ammonia from your bodily fluids react with the chlorine in the pool, they will produce chloramines. Chloramines are what will irritate your skin and eyes as well with give off that strong chlorine smell.



This is what happens when your pool or pool equipment starts to deteriorate.



This stands for Diatomaceous Earth, which is a white fossil powder used in a D.E. filter.


D.E. Filter:

D.E. Filters use a white fossil powder that is coated on the grids in the filter tank to trap the contaminants in your pool. They have the ability to trap particles as small as 3 microns.



Stands for the Environmental Protection Agency. They are the ones who enforce all of the regulations in order to protect the environment and human health.



A device that cleans the water in your pool by recalculating it through a substance that will trap the particles.


Filtration Rate:

The rate at which the water is traveling through your filter.


Flow Rate:

The amount of water flowing through a designated point in a specific amount of time.



This is a mixture of cement and sand that is used to spray over a rebar framework to ultimately build a pool.



A gutter is usually lined around the outer edge of the pool to collect debris and recirculate the water. They are typically more common in public pools and are not in pools that have a skimmer.



GPM stands for Gallons Per Minute and it is the amount of gallons flowing past a point per minute.



If the hardness level is too high, the water will become cloudy, surfaces rough, and the recirculation in the filtration system will be reduced. If the level becomes too low, pits will form on concrete surfaces and the grout will dissolve.



The rotating part in your pool pump that helps run the pump and recirculate the water in your pool.



Where the water that goes through your filtration system reenters your pool.



A natural element that can cause your pools water to turn brown or green in color. This may result in your pools surfaces being stained. However, it can be controlled by adding a suitable sequestering or chelating agent.


Leaf Net:

This is a net attached to the end of a telescopic pool to remove larger floating debris in your pool.



The layer on your pools walls and floor that acts as a container for all of the water. Its purpose is to keep all the water contained and will provide you with some customizability in styling your pools walls.


Main Drain:

The main drains is one of the few pipes in your pool that will suck up the water and bring it through your filtration system.


Multiport Valve:

A valve for your filter that has several different functions. Some of those functions can include filter, waste, closed, backwash, recirculate, and rinse. These valves are also commonly called 6-way valves.



A chemical used to deactivate or destroy the chlorine or bromine in your pool. This way you will get a more accurate reading when you’re testing your pools water.



A chlorine-free shocking compound that helps destroy the contaminates in your pool.



This stands for potential hydrogen and it measure how acidic or basic your pool is on a scale of 0-15. A low pH is acidic, a high pH is basic, and a pH of 7 is considered neutral.



A common type of finish applied over the concrete shell of an in-ground swimming pool.


Pressure Gauge:

A device that’s part of your filtration system and indicates the amount of pressure inside the tank. It can help notify you when a service is needed or let you know how well the system is performing.


Pressure Side Pool Vacuum:

These automatic pool cleaners are powered by your pools water pressure and are ideal for swimming pools where medium to large debris accumulates. This type of vacuum works by using the force from your pools water pressure to suck up the debris into a mesh bag. As the vacuum collects debris the water is filtered back out into your pool. Some models may require a booster pump.



The abbreviation for pounds per square inch.



The abbreviation for parts per million.


Robotic Pool Cleaner:

Robotic vacuums are usually the most expensive yet they are the most efficient type of automatic pool cleaner. They are completely automatic and require very little human supervision, if any at all. The system drives itself around your pool, effectively collecting debris of all sizes while scrubbing your pool at the same time.


Sand Filter:

Sand filters are typically the most commonly used filter and as the name implies, they use sand to collect the contaminants in your pool. They are large tanks that can hold between 50 and 300 lbs of sand. Sand filters work best when they are slightly dirty, so a clean filter can trap particles as low as 50 microns in size, a slightly dirty one can trap particles as low as 20-25 microns.



Chemical compounds that are designed to kill bacteria, algae, and other forms of bacteria that are living in your pool. Bromine and chlorine are a couple examples.



The deposits that form on your pools walls along the surface of the water. If the deposits aren’t removed they can cause permanent damage to your pools surface.



A layer of dirt or debris at the surface of your pools water.



Shock is an oxidizing chemical that is used to destroy all the contaminants in your pool that are brought in by swimmers. This will be most necessary after a pool party or frequent use. This process is often refereed to as “shock treatment” or “shocking your pool”.



Dirt that is so fine it passes through your filtration system. It will typically be found along the sides and edges of your pools surface.



A device on the side of your pool that is attached to your filtration system. It will collect the large debris in the water that flows through to the filtration system.


Skimmer Basket:

The basket placed in the skimmer to collect the larger debris that’s floating through.


Solar Cover:

A cover for your pool that will trap the heat from the sun and in return heat your pool up. It will also help prevent your water from evaporating and will keep debris out of your pool.


Suction Side Pool Vacuum:

The suction side cleaners are typically the most affordable option out of all of the other automatic pool cleaners. This type of vacuum uses your existing pump and filtration system, so the vacuums performance is dependent on the quality of your system.


Teflon Tape:

Tape that is typically placed on threads to help prevent water from getting through the seal. It is often used on the plugs that screw in to your filter or pump.


Telescopic Pole: 

A pole that can be extended and used with attachments to maintain your pool.


Test Kit:

A kit that will come with different tests to test your pools water for the level of specific chemicals or substances. Test kits can include tests for pH, alkalinity, hardness, chlorine, acid, iron, and copper.


Test Strips:

These are small strips that can show you the amount of a specific chemical or substance that is present in your pool. The color will change depending on how much of the chemical is present.



The cloudy condition of your pool caused by tiny particles that are too small for your filter to trap. Adding a clarifier will help solve this problem and clear the water up.


Water Clarifier:

A chemical compound that is used to treat cloudy water. It works by binding the particles in your pool together, making them large enough to be caught in the filtration system. Pool clarifiers will only work if small particles getting past your filter is the cause of the cloudy condition. Test kits or strips will help identify the cause.



The small floating door attached to the side of the skimmer facing the pool. It will allow water and debris to flow into the skimmer, but it will not allow the debris to exit. This is why you may often find frogs trapped in the skimmer.