The Importance of Circulation for Proper Pool Service and Spa Maintenance

Three C’s to Pool Service and Spa Maintenance

It’s been said that there are three “C’s” to pool service and spa maintenance.  They are Circulation, Chemicals, and Cleaning. By far the most important “C” is proper circulation for pool service and spa care.  Without effective circulation the other two “C’s” won’t matter.

Circulation in your pool and spa all starts with the filter pump.  It needs to be operating at peak efficiency for your pool care or spa service to be effective.  Many people think dumping chemicals into their pool or spa will fix any problem, but if those chemicals aren’t circulated then they will more than likely just sit at the bottom or evaporate over time without doing all the work needed to keep the pool or spa fresh and ready to use.

The circulation system in your pool or spa is made up of the pump, the filter or filters, intakes, and returns.  In a large swimming pool it looks something like this (image borrowed from Swim University):


pool service

Proper circulation is critical to effective pool service and spa maintenance.

For a spa the circulation system is similar, but on a smaller scale.  Without the circulation system working efficiently chemicals will not be able to be transferred around the pool to sanitize all of the water and surface areas of your pool.  Your efforts at pool service or spa maintenance will be practically meaningless.

The Use of Chemicals for Pool Service and Spa Maintenance

Chemicals usually mean sanitizer to kill off any organisms that can be harmful to swimmers as well as prevent formation of algae that can be  harmful to your pool. For pool service liquid chlorine is typically used as the sanitizer and for spa maintenance bromine tablets or powder are typically used.  Chlorine and bromine are very similar chemically, but bromine holds up better to the higher temperatures typical of spas. So your pool and spa care professional will typically suggest bromine for spa maintenance when providing your weekly spa service.

Once the chemicals have been added to your pool or spa by your pool service or spa maintenance professional, it is the circulation system’s job to move the chemicals around the pool to evenly distribute them.  This will ensure that they do the best job possible of keeping your water fresh and safe to swim in.  

The other important water characteristics of your pool or spa are pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness (there are some lesser important ones too).  All of these are managed with weekly pool service and spa maintenance through the use of chemicals. If your pH is too high (basic) then your pool or spa professional will add acid to bring down the pH to make it more like pure water.  For a low pH (acidic) your pool professional will add an alkaline substance like soda ash (think baking soda) to make the water more basic during their pool service visit. For more information on balancing the water see our blog post “What to Know About Water and Your Pool Service or Spa Care.”

Cleaning and Brushing for Pool Service and Spa Care

As for the third “C”in pool maintenance and spa care, cleaning usually means brushing the sides and bottom to scrub off dirt or other airborne matter that could be taking root on the surfaces or your pool or spa.  While brushing these foreign invaders is important to keep them from attaching to the surface and possibly damaging the surface of your pool or spa, the only way to remove them is through proper circulation.

Once the foreign material has been brushed off the sides and bottom by your pool service or spa care professional, your pool or spa water will typically look cloudy.  The foreign material is suspended in the water, and it is the circulation system’s job to run the cloudy water through the filter where the foreign material can be removed.  Again this keeps your pool looking clean and keeps the water safe to swim in. After all who wants to swim in a pool or spa where you can’t see the bottom.

Circulation is the Key to Pool Service and Spa Cleaning

From the image above you can see there are several features important to circulation for pool service or spa care to be effective.  As said previously, it all starts with the filter pump. When the filter pump is running it draws pool or spa water in through the skimmer(s) and the drain.  The water is run through the filter to remove foreign materials making your pool or spa’s water dirty and then returned to the body of water through the return jets.  For the optimum pool care and spa service the circulation cycle should cause the water to flow in a circular motion to maximum the cleaning efforts of the circulation system.

So as you can see circulation is the capital “C” of pool service and spa maintenance.  Without proper circulation and a filtration system working at peak efficiency the chemicals added and cleaning efforts made by your pool service or spa care professional will not have much of a positive impact on making your pool or spa fresh and ready to use when you want.