An Abbreviated Glossary for the Pool Homeowner

There’s a lot of terminology that comes into play with owning a pool. We’ve broken it down with our abbreviated glossary.

ALGAE: Over 20,000 species known to exist. Algae may form on your pool surfaces or it may bloom in suspension. We typically know algae to be green but it may also be yellow (mustard algae), black, blue-green, or any shade in between. It may form separate spots or seem to grow in sheets. Pink algae is not algae at all but a form of bacteria. Algae are living breathing organisms that need warmth, sunlight, and CO² to thrive.

ALGAECIDE: Algaecides are used to help kill algae.

ALGISTAT: Algistats are used to help prevent algae.

BALANCED WATER: Balanced water is the result when all of your chemical parameters are where they should be and thus balance each other. The key components of water balance are pH, Total Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, and Temperature.

BOOSTER PUMP: Secondary to the filter pump, a booster pump is used to power an automatic pool cleaner such as Polaris or Letro.

CALCIUM HARDNESS: A test is used to determine levels of the mineral calcium dissolved in the pool water. Incorrect hardness levels appear as dissolved metallic parts of your pool, discolored water, stains, or scale formation.

CARTRIDGE: One type of filtration, the cartridge is a pleated, porous element through which water is passed through.

CLARIFIER: A clarifier is a chemical used to clump together small floating particles into larger filterable sizes.

CONDITIONER: Also called Cyanuric Acid (CYA) or a stabilizer. This chemical protects the chlorine from destroyed by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Think of it as sunscreen for your chlorine.

D.E. (DIATOMACEOUS EARTH): The filtering medium of the DE filter, this dry powder is the fossilized remains of the ancient plankton; diatom.

pH: The scale of relative acidity or alkalinity, expressed in logarithmic numbers from 0 - 14, with 7.0 being neutral.

PPM: Parts per million. A method of assigning value to certain concentrations of chemicals in the water.

PUMP STRAINER BASKET: A device placed on the suction side of the pump, which contains a removable strainer basket designed to trap large debris in the water flow without causing restriction. Sometimes called a Pump Leaf Trap.

SANITIZER: A chemical agent used to remove unwanted contaminants.

SCALE: Usually whitish in color, scale forms on pool surfaces and equipment when mineral salts are forced out of solution. A scaling condition is one in which calcium hardness, pH and/or alkalinity levels are out of balance.

SEQUESTERING AGENT: A sequestering agent ties-up minerals tightly in solution, preventing their precipitation, which colors the water and/or stains the pool.

SKIMMER: A surface skimmer is a plumbing fitting set at water level, containing a weir mechanism and a debris basket. The skimmer is part of the suction side circulation system.

SKIMMER BASKET: Beneath the lid, the basket strains debris, as the first line of defense in filtering the water.

TURNOVER: The amount of time it takes your pump to move all the water in your pool through the filter and back again. Usually, pools are designed for an eight hour turnover.

Mike Assenza