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How to Maintain a Pool Without Equipment

A pool emergency can happen to any pool owner any time of the year. It could be in the middle of winter, and unexpected freezing temperatures and power outages are causing busted lines and damaged pool equipment. It could be the middle of summer, and your pool pump suddenly stops working. Maybe a major storm or hurricane came through and damaged the power grid, rendering your pool’s circulation system useless for a few days. No matter the reason, a pool that isn’t pushing water through the filter can quickly turn into a murky mess. When you can’t use the pump for more than a day, we have a few tips and tricks to keep your pool water clean and clear:

Use a pool leaf rake to remove debris

Remove Debris

Leslie's Pool Shock

Sanitize Water

Leslie's Pool Chemicals

Add Algaecide

Pool Water Circulation

Circulate Water

1. Remove Debris From Pool

Organic debris in the pool can quickly use up any remaining sanitizer in the pool or even cause surface stains. That said, it’s important to remove as much as possible before you start this whole process. If you’re cleaning up after a storm, you’ll probably have quite a bit of debris to remove. You can use a leaf rake, battery-powered cleaner, or a leaf bagger to remove the worst of it. Battery-powered cleaners and leaf baggers can also be used to help with circulation, which we’ll talk about shortly.

2. Sanitize the Water

Test sanitizer levels in the pool, and maintain at least 3-4 ppm of Free Available Chlorine at all times. Since you can’t rely on the pump to distribute the chlorine throughout the pool, you’ll need to use a fast-dissolving chlorine. We recommend Leslie’s Chlor Brite (dichlor granular chlorine) or Leslie’s Liquid Chlorine (sodium hypochlorite, available in-store only).

BONUS TIP: It’s OK to test other aspects of your water chemistry, too. But until your circulation system is back up and running, it’s not a good idea to add balancing chemicals. Doing so can cause inadvertent damage to pool surfaces, including scaling and discoloration. Circulation is a crucial part of re-balancing pool water!

3. Add Algaecide

If you face sudden complications in the cooler fall and winter months, you may not need to worry as much. But if you find yourself with a pool emergency in the middle of summer, you'll have to act quickly to prevent an algae bloom from taking over the pool. We recommend using Leslie’s Algae Control to prevent algae outbreaks. It’s non-metallic and non-staining, which is ideal for these scenarios.

4. Circulate & Agitate the Pool Water

Circulation is the most important part of a healthy pool. Aside from its primary function of pushing water through the filter, a pool pump also keeps chlorine distributed throughout the entire pool. This makes it harder for algae to thrive and adhere to pool surfaces. Stagnant water is an ideal breeding ground for algae and bacteria. But even without a pool pump, there are a few ways you can keep the water moving around the pool.

If you still have power, one of the easiest options is to use a robotic pool cleaner. Robotic cleaners circulate water as they move around the pool. Plus, the onboard filters can help maintain the water until your filtration system is back up and running. Another effective way to circulate the pool if you still have power is to use a submersible pump. Place the pump at one end of the pool, and use a clean garden hose to direct the outlet water to the opposite end of the pool.

If neither of these methods are an option because 1) you don’t have one, or 2) you’ve lost power, look no further than your trusty pool brush. Even if you do use one of the other circulation methods, it’s still a good idea to thoroughly brush all pool surfaces. Brushing not only prevents staining and keeps algae from taking hold, it also agitates the water to help with pool circulation.

As we mentioned in the first section, you can also use a battery-powered pool cleaner or a leaf bagger to keep the water moving whenever you're without power. Leaf baggers can either be battery-powered or run on the water current of a garden hose. Water levels will increase when using the garden hose model, so use another method if water levels are already high.

BONUS TIP: Once your pool’s circulation system is back in working order, you can quickly clear the cloudy haze of suspended debris by using a flocculant (Leslie’s Alum) or clarifier (Leslie’s Ultra Bright Advanced).

The important thing to remember when faced with a pool emergency is to remain calm. You’re not in this alone! From expert pool recovery advice to professional services and repairs, Leslie’s is here for you. Stop by your local Leslie’s store today to chat with an associate, or call 1-800-LESLIES to speak with one of our knowledgeable customer service representatives.