How to Properly Service A Swimming Pool


Swimming Pools are a godsend in the Arizona summers. They can be a pain to care for, however. Here is a general guide for how to clean one.

Skim Off Leaves and Debris.

In Pool Service, this is the first line of defense against dirty water. The idea is to catch all the sediment as it sits on top of the pool before it settles to the bottom. Once on the bottom, that debris becomes food for bacteria and algae blooms to form.

It can be a pain on Arizona windy days to keep the pool skimmed. Just make sure you have your long-handled pole with a skimmer attached. We recommend disposing of the sediment and debris into a trash receptacle. Just throwing it off to the side makes it easy for the wind to pick it back up and throw it back into your pool.

Standard Skimmer pole

Brush the Tile and Sides

Again, using a telescoping pole, make sure you are brushing the side walls of your pool with a plastic pool brush. Pay special attention to the water line, as this is where those Tucson hard water stains begin to form. Make sure you are brushing the sediment all the way down to the flattest part of the pool. A lot of sediment tends to get trapped in the areas where there are slopes.

Scrub carefully around the stairs and areas where people walk, otherwise there will be little flakes of skin and oils that will build up in the plaster or pebble. Don’t forget to get the front edge of the stairs either, especially in the corners where stairs and the pool meet. If your pool has any ladders, don’t forget to get behind them and on top of the rungs. This is often a favorite place for algae and debris to collect.


Attach your vacuum head to your telescopic pole as well as the proper hoses to it, making sure to adjust the valves to begin vacuuming the pool.

Pool Vacuum with Telescoping pole

Arizona is harsh on pool hoses that have been sitting out in the sun for an entire season. Oftentimes they will need replacement as the plastic becomes brittle and will form small holes in it. This will decrease vacuum efficiency.

Go through the areas that you didn’t just brush and suck up all the debris on the bottom of the pool. Go slowly. Going fast will kick up more debris and dirt faster than your hose can suck it up. Have patience here.


Sand Filters

The most common type of filtration in older swimming pools is a sand filter.

Larger Commercial Sized Sand Filter

With your motor off, open your backwash valve by turning it to the backwash position. Turn your pool motor on with the backwash valve open and let it run until you see the water begin to come out of the backwash clear. (Around 2-3 minutes.) Turn the pool pump off. Close the backwash valve and open the air to bleed valve. Close the air bleed valve once water begins to flow. 

If you have a pool autofill mechanism, let it catch up. If not, turn your garden hose back on to refill the pool now.

Once the pool is started back up again, take note of the pressure on the gauge on your pool.

Always base it on your manufacturer’s specs, but a general rule of thumb is to wait until the pressure gauge reads 5-10 higher PSI (depending on the size of the sand filter) before backwashing again. Don’t backwash too often! You want your sand filter to have some debris and buildup in there. Some of it is a good thing that will help trap more particles. But only up to a point.

If chemicals are maintained and the filter is backwashed regularly, the sand in your filter should last 5-8 years. If the sand goes bad, you will see dirt coming back into the pool or the pressure will rise rapidly.

Backwash Valve

Note: Never open or close a backwash valve while the pump is running. It will damage equipment!

DE Filtration Systems

DE Filtration systems should be backwashed every three to six months.

With the motor off, turn the backwash handle to the backwash position. Turn the pump on and let it run for approximately 2 minutes until the water runs clear. Turn the pump off and return the backwash handle to the filter position. Turn on the pump and let it run for 2 minutes. Repeat this process 3 times. After the 3rd backwash, open the air bleed valve until water runs through.

Finally, add D.E. powder to the skimmer basket while the pump is running. Refer to the manufacturer’s specs for how much or have Pioneer pools come out to consult with you on how much to add.

Note: Never open or close a backwash valve while the pump is running. It will damage equipment!

Cartridge Filters

Cartridge filters cannot be backwashed. They have no way to accept backwards water flow. They still need to be cleaned every few months or once the pressure is 10 pounds about its starting pressure.

To clean a cartridge filter

Turn the pump off and open the air bleed screw on top. Allow the filter to drain back into the pool. Remove the belly band clamp. Remove the lid and revmove the hold-down manifold. Remove the cartridges and spray them with a hose. Be sure to clean out between the folds. If the cartridges are very dirty, you could try taking them to a car wash and use a high-pressure rinse.

Next install the clean cartridge and replace the hold-down manifold.

Then you will need to clean and lube the O-ring. We recommend using a vegetable-grade silicone lubricant such as Magic Lube. Replace the lid and screw down the the belly band clamp until it is fastened tightly.

Finally, turn the pump on and allow the air to bleed. Close the air bleed screw when the water begins to flow.

Get a Water Test Sample and Add Chemicals

The final step is to check your chlorine and PH levels. Add more chlorine, muriatic acid, PH increaser, alkalinity increaser or whatever is necessary.  Tucson’s water PH tends to be high naturally. The majority of the time, you will end up adding muriatic acid over PH increaser, but always get a water sample before adding chemicals. Follow the test kit instructions to balance the water.

Pioneer Pools will be happy to consult with you onsite to help you whenever any maintenance issues come up. Our highly experienced technicians will help you diagnose any issues with your pool. We also offer weekly and monthly pool service. Call us today at 520-881-7031 to schedule a consultation.