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9 ways to get the most from your pool this season

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ClearBlue Mineral System

What is a Mineral System?

You’ll be surpised how easy it can be

Spring is upon us and that means it’s almost pool time. It’s always an exciting time of year, especially for kids. But sometimes, opening your pool can be intimidating, frustrating and expensive. Here are some ideas on how to get the most from your pool this season – so you can spend more time enjoying it and less time stressing about it.


  1. Fill your pool with a hose filter to remove contaminants from the source.
  2. Balance the pH, alkalinity, calcium, and other less-known factors.
  3. Remove phosphates and keep them as low as possible.
  4. Keep the Cyanuric Acid (CYA or stabilizer) below 50 ppm.
  5. Use Borax or other borate products to buffer the pH.
  6. Use a mineral system to prevent algae growth.
  7. Maintain a low level of chlorine with an inline chlorinator.
  8. Use a shock regularly to burn off excess organics.
  9. Test water weekly and adjust parameters as needed.

1. Start with a Clean Fill

When topping up your pool in the Spring, it’s important to use water that’s as pure and clean as possible. There’s no point dumping a bunch of contaminants into the pool just to remove them later using chemicals.

The best way to do that is with a filter that attaches to your garden hose. These remove dirt, sediment, metals, and odors that can sometimes accompany your water, especially if it’s coming from a well. The filter screws onto the end of your garden hose. Then, you place the attached filter into the pool and turn on the water.

Mineral Pool Hose Filter Carton

2. Balance the Water

Once the pool is full, the water needs to be balanced.

Balanced water:

  • is safer for your pool surfaces
  • helps equipment work more efficiently
  • ensures that sanitizers are effective
  • feels softer on your skin during and after use

The three critical elements to balance are pH, alkalinity and calcium which make up the water’s saturation index. If this index gets too far to one side, water will deposit minerals and other dissolved materials onto surfaces. If it’s too far on the other side, the water becomes corrosive which slowly damages pool equipment and surfaces. And on both ends of the spectrum, the chlorine or bromine sanitizer is less effective.

So a trouble free pool starts with a good water balance. The easiest way to get the correct balance is to take a water sample to your local pool store. They will recommend the products you need to increase or decrease pH, alkalinity and calcium.

Recommended Water Parameters for Swimming Pools

ParameterRecommended ValueTesting Frequency
pH7.2 – 7.8Weekly
Alkalinity80 ppm – 120 ppmWeekly
Calcium Hardness200 ppm – 400 ppmWeekly
Phosphates0 ppb – 200 ppbWeekly
Chlorine1 ppm – 3 ppm
(0.5 ppm with minerals)
(Cyanuric Acid / CYA)
30 ppm – 50 ppmMonthly
Borates30 ppm – 50 ppmMonthly

3. Remove Phosphates from Pool Water

Apart from the critical three, there are two other factors that can throw off your summer fun: Phosphates and Cyanuric Acid.

Phosphates get into the water through run off, detergents on bathing suits and sometimes from tap water. Phophates cause problems because they are food for algae. So the higher the phosphate level, the faster algae grows.

Phosphate levels should be tested weekly and kept as close to zero as possible. There are several products on the market for reducing the level, but the best ones use a mineral called lanthanum.

4. Keep CYA / Stabilizer Below 50ppm

Cyanuric Acid or CYA is used to keep the chlorine available in the water longer. If you’re using stabilized chlorine tablets, the stabilizer part is CYA. In the right concentrations, CYA is good because the chlorine stays active in the water and you don’t have to add it as often. But if it goes too high, you get a condition called ‘chlorine lock’ where the chlorine stops sanitizing, even at high levels.

There are experimental treatments for reducing CYA that get mixed reviews. However, this condition is normally fixed by partially draining and refilling the pool, so it’s important to test the CYA level regularly. If you see it creeping up to 50 ppm, you should switch to unstabilized chlorine. This type of chlorine does not have CYA, so the level will not increase.

5. Buffer with Borax

Borax you say? Isn’t that for laundry? It is indeed. But it also works wonders in your swimming pool. Borax is a compound of borate – an abundant mineral that is used in a variety of applications. One of its many abilities is buffering which means the pH level stays more consistent in the water.

This comes in handy for swimming pools because many factors can affect the pH. And drifting pH has several unwanted side effects. For example, a change in pH of 1.0 can reduce the sanitizing efficiency by 40%. That means you need 40% more chlorine to do the same job.

As a bonus, borates make the water sparkle because algae can’t get a foothold as easily. Also, the added borate minerals make the water feel soft and silky on your skin.

Box of 20 Mule Team Borax

A popular brand of borates for pools is BioGaurd Optimizer, but you don’t have to pay their outlandish price to realize the benefits. A box of Borax from your local grocery store will do just as well, provided you use the correct amount and adjust the pH after adding it.

6. Prevent Algae with Minerals

Keeping algae in check is the biggest challenge with pool water over the course of the season. An open body of water in the beating sun is the ideal environment for algae growth. Yes, you can use chlorine, bromine or other sanitizer to kill algae, but that distracts it from its main job – to sanitize the water from viruses, bacteria, protozoa and other nasties.

By maintaining a low level of minerals, you have a natural defense against algae while freeing up the sanitizer. This means you can keep the sanitizer level lower and not worry about the cleanliness of the water. The water will look better, smell better and feel better. With a mineral residual, you’ll save a bucketload of money and spend less time balancing the water.

ClearBlue Mineral System

Chlorine burns off in the sun and degrades with water features and splashing so the minerals give you a backup to make sure there’s aways an army of good guys in the water. The easist, most natural, and most cost effective way to deliver a residual mineral algaecide is with a pool ionizer. You can also use a more complete mineral system that is both an algaecide and long-lasting residual sanitizer.

7. Maintain a Low Level of Sanitizer

When the pool is properly balanced, buffered with Borax and populated with minerals, only a low level of chlorine or bromine sanitizer is needed – around half of what it says on the label will do the trick.

The easiest and most cost effective way to deliver the low sanitizer is with an inline chlorine feeder. Simply fill the chamber with slow dissolving chlorine tablets and set the dial to the lower settings.

If you don’t have a chlorine feeder and don’t want to install one, you can add one 3″ tablet to your pool skimmer every week or two. Some manufacturers of pumps and equipment advise against this, but when you’re only using a few tablets a month, there is no harm to the equipment.

Please note that these are guidelines only and it’s important to test water parameters weekly to make sure they’re in the correct range according to the labels on the algaecide and sanitizer.

8. Shock Away Organics

The more you use your pool, the more organic material builds up. Organics can also wash in from wind and rain. Keep a shock product on hand so you can respond right away to an influx of organics. If you want to keep the chlorine levels low, you can use a non-chlorine shock that is derived from the mineral potassium (e.g. potassium monopersulfate).

Apply the shock after pool parties, heavy use or rainstorms. This will burn off excess organics before they can overload the sanitizer and hand the water over to algae and worse.

9. Test and Adjust Weekly

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is doubly true when it comes to your backyard pool. It’s tempting to just look at the water and move on if it’s clear. But problems show up in the test results before you can see them in the water.

Mineral Pool Water Chemistry Test Strips Carton

It’s important to test the core parameters on a weekly basis and make any adjustments to pH, alkalinity, chlorine and mineral levels regularly. If you see green, you’ve waited to long and you’re in for a mighty battle with a costly arsenal of chemicals.


Let’s not think about that just yet. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for more tips and get a free hose filter and test strips to kick your season off right. You can unsubscribe any time.

We’ll check in a bit later to see how your opening went and make sure you get the most from your pool all year.

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Hose filter and test strips
Hose filter and test strips


These products will help you get the most from your pool this season:

Start with a Clean Fill: Garden Hose Filter

Remove Phosphates: PHOSfree Lanthanum Phosphate Remover

Buffer with Borax: Using Bioguard Optimizer or Household Borax

Prevent Algae with Minerals: Using a Pool Ionizer or Mineral System

Maintain a Low Level of Sanitizer: Using an Inline Chlorinator

Sanitize: With Stabilized and Unstabilized Chlorine

Shock Away Organics: Using a Chlorine Shock or Non-Chlorine Shock

Test and Adjust Weekly: Using the Mineral Pool Test Strips and Copper Test Strips

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