Expert Advice from Pool Industry insiders

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5 Ways to Keep Your Pool Clean Without Using a Pump (For Less Than $10/month)

how to keep pool water clear no pump

If you’re like most people, your pool is probably one of the biggest investments in your home. It can be an expensive and time-consuming project to keep clean.

However, not all pools use pumps to filter the water, especially small kiddie pools and inflatable pools.

This short guide explains how you can keep your pool water healthy & clean even if you don’t have a dedicated filtration system installed.

And all it will cost you is a few bucks a month for chlorine – plus your time.

So let’s dive in!

What Causes Pool Water To Become Dirty and Unhealthy?

There are several causes of pool water problems. The leading causes include:

4 Best Ways to Keep Your Pool Clean Without Using A Pump

Swimming pools are great for relaxing, but they can quickly become dirty and unsafe if not properly maintained.

The smaller the pool (in gallons), the more quickly these problems will arise.

So if your pool lacks a pump, the following four tips will help you keep your pool clean without spending too much money.

1. Regularly Remove Debris

how to keep pool water clear no pump

If you have a pool with sand or dirt on its bottom, it can cause algae to grow faster than normal.

You should remove this debris from the surface every week using a pool brush to scrub the surfaces, followed by scooping out the debris with a pool net. You can find pool brush + net combos on Amazon for less than $30.

Doing this weekly will help prevent algae from growing.

2. Use The Right Amount of Chlorine

Chlorine is an effective way to kill bacteria and other microorganisms that could make your pool look cloudy.

Adding the right amount of chlorine, whether in tablet or liquid form, is probably the best overall thing you can do to keep your water fresh and clean for days or weeks before having to empty and refill it.

The amount of chlorine needed depends on how often you use your pool and the kinds of biological debris and organisms in your area.

If you swim frequently, you may need to add more chlorine each day. If you rarely go into the pool, you might only need to add chlorine once per month.

Regardless of how frequently you add chlorine, always use test strips to guide you. Too much chlorine can burn sensitive eyes and too little will let bacteria and algae flourish.  We recommend testing weekly.

3. Add Salt to Your Water

how to keep pool water clear no pump

Algae grow in areas where there is little or no chlorine present. This is especially true in pools that are not cleaned regularly.

Adding salt to your pool water helps prevent algae growth. Salt works by killing off algae and bacteria.

Adding 1/8th teaspoon of salt per gallon of water will do the trick.

4. Scrub and Circulate The Water

If you’ve ever had a pond, you know there are always tiny creatures growing on the surface of the water. You might not think about them at first, but if you leave them alone long enough, they’ll grow into large colonies of algae.

Algae is just like any other plant—it needs sunlight, nutrients and oxygen to survive.

But unlike plants, algae doesn’t need soil or dirt to grow. It grows right in the water, and unless you get rid of it somehow, it will continue to grow until the water becomes cloudy and unusable.

Fortunately, you can easily keep your pond clear using a simple method: use a pool brush to remove it and to agitate the water while doing it (which adds oxygen).  Adding chlorine right after this is recommended.

Use the brush to gently scrape away the algae from the side of the pool.

You may need to do this several times per week depending on the size of your pool, how warm the water is, and how frequently you use it. 

5. Buy a Small Robotic Pool Cleaner

how to keep pool water clear no pump

A robotic pool cleaner is the only type of automatic pool cleaner that doesn’t require a pool pump. 

Technically speaking, a pool robot is a small self-propelled vacuum that scrubs and sucks debris from pool walls and floor and traps the debris in a basket or filter inside the device.  They are really efficient and easy to use.  Just drop it in the water, plug it in, and let it run.

Every so often, you’ll need to empty the basket/filter.

The only downside is that a robot pool vacuum isn’t cheap: a small pool-cleaning robot designed for an above ground pool will set you back $200 or more. 

That said, robotic pool cleaners are excellent and hands-free appliances.  And they are far more reliable than 5 years ago.

Finally, a pool robot operates on 12 volt DC power, so it costs very little electricity to run even if you use it every day. 

Highly recommended.

18 More Tips For Keeping Your Pool Clean Without a Pump

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How to Chlorinate A Pool Without a Pump

how to keep pool water clear no pump

Chlorine is used to kill bacteria and algae in pools. It also helps prevent the growth of mildew and other harmful microorganisms.

To add chlorine to your pool, follow these simple steps:

How To Remove Leaves & Twigs From Your Swimming Pool

To remove leaves and other plant debris from your pool, scoop them out with a pool net ($10-20 at Walmart or Amazon).

Shake the debris into a trash can or on the ground a good distance away from the pool so it won’t be tracked back into the pool.

Repeat this process as often as necessary.

How To Get Rid Of Stubborn Stains In Your Pool

how to keep pool water clear no pump

Stains in your pool are most often caused by chemicals, oils, dirt, and algae.

These stains may be difficult to get rid of if you don’t know what causes them.

Here are some common sources of pool stains:

  • Oil spills
  • Food spills
  • Chemical spills
  • Dirt
  • Hair
  • Sweat
  • Bacteria
  • Mold
  • Mildew
  • Leaks
  • Pools with algae

Each problem above has its own unique cleaning method which we don’t have time to go into in detail right now.  However, we provide answers for most of these issues on this site.

If necessary, drain the pool and clean / sanitize it thoroughly before using it again.

Important Safety Tips That Will Keep Your Pool Clean

Do Not Let Pets In The Pool

Pets like dogs and cats love jumping into the pool.

However, this habit can cause severe damage to your pool and introduce all sorts of bacteria, debris, and pet hair into your pool water.

This creates an unpleasant environment for swimmers, but it also makes cleaning more difficult.

The best way to avoid this problem is to install a fence or barrier around the perimeter of your pool. This will keep pets away from the pool area.

Supervise Kids At All Times

Never leave children unattended near the pool.  Always supervise young children (under 13) when they are near the pool.  

Kids always find a way to track dirt, grass, and sometimes leave nasty surprises in the pool.

Keep Your Safety Equipment Clean

Swimming in a pool often requires additional safety equipment such as goggles, mouthpieces, and flotation devices.

It’s essential to wear all of this equipment while swimming to stay safe. But it is also important to clean these items after every use.

If You Don't Want To Do The Work: Buy a Pool Filter & Pool Cleaner

how to keep pool water clear no pump

At this point, you’ve probably thought at least once that mayyybe installing a pool pump and a filter would save a ton of time.

And you’re right – that’s why most pool owners don’t skip this part of their system.

A pool pump connected to a pool filter is the easiest/hands-off way to keeping your pool clean and clear. 

Without a pump to circulate the water through a filter, debris builds up over time. This buildup can clog pipes and drains and eventually cause expensive repairs.

The only maintenance required is to clean your filter system once every couple of months to keep your pool running smoothly.

Depending on how much your family uses the pool, you’ll need to replace the filter every 3-5 years. 

When replacing your filter, make sure you buy a high-quality product that won’t let harmful bacteria build up. Most manufacturers offer replacement filters at low prices.


Q:  What Does A Pool Cover Do?

Pool covers are used to protect your pool from damage during inclement weather.

A pool cover will also protect your pool from debris like leaves and sticks.

But some people think that pool covers are expensive.

However, this isn’t true.

Many pool owners find that their pool covers last longer than before purchasing them.

You’ll also save money by not having to replace damaged or lost pool covers.

Q: What makes a good pool cover?

A: A quality pool cover has several features.

First, it should be made out of vinyl or plastic so that it won’t break easily.

It should also be easy to install and remove.

And finally, it should fit well over your pool.

Q: How often should I clean my pool?

A: It’s essential to clean your pool twice per month.

This way, you prevent algae growth and other problems.

Q: Can I store pool toys in my pool?

A. Yes, you can store pool toys in your pool.

Just make sure that you place them far enough away from the side walls so that they don’t get wet.

Also, avoid placing toys directly under the waterline.

Otherwise, they might become stuck there.

Q: How much does a pool pump cost?

A: The pool pump price varies depending on how big it is.

Smaller pumps usually cost less than larger ones.

But the average price for a new pool pump ranges between $300 and $500.

Q: Do I need a filter system for my pool?

A: If you want to add a filtration system to your pool, you may want to consider installing a submersible pool filter.

These filters are designed to provide maximum protection against bacteria and algae.

They also help reduce the number of chemicals needed to disinfect your pool.

Q. Does a swimming pool need a heater?

A. No, but a swimming pool needs air circulation.

Without air circulation, your pool will quickly grow warm.

This could cause mildew and mold to form inside your pool.

Q.Do I have to drain my pool every year?

A: You don’t have to drain your pool every year.

However, if you live in a hot climate, you should drain your pool once a summer.

Your pool will dry faster when it’s drained.

And you’ll also be able to use the space more efficiently.

Q.How long does it take to fill up a swimming pool?

A: The time it takes to fill up a swimming pool depends on the size of the pool and the type of water you put into it.

The bigger the pool, the longer it will take to fill it.

The same goes for different types of water.

If you’re filling your pool with salt water, it will take longer to fill up than if you were using tap water.

Q: What kind of maintenance is required to maintain a swimming pool?

A: Regular maintenance is essential to keeping your pool clean and safe.

Regular cleaning helps keep your pool clear of dirt and debris.

Keeping your pool clean also prevents algae from growing.

Regularly testing your pH level is also recommended.

Q: How do I know if my pool needs a service?

A: When you notice any of these signs, it means that your pool needs a service:

  • Leaks around the skimmer basket
  • Water leaking through the bottom of the pool
  • Stains on the floor of your pool
  • Swimmers getting sick due to an infection
  • Chlorine smell coming from your pool
  • Yellowing of the water
  • Greenish or brownish coloration of the water

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