Air Relief Valve – A manually-operated brass or plastic valve located at the top of a filter tank for relieving the pressure inside the filter and removing the air inside the filter (bleeding the filter). Also known as a pressure-relief valve.
Above Ground Pool – Above ground pool is a typically round- or oval-shaped structure that houses water and sits on top of the ground; above ground pools do not require excavation and are generally quicker and cheaper than inground pool options
Algae – Microscopic plant-like organisms that contain chlorophyll. Algae is nourished by carbon dioxide (CO2) and use sunlight to carry out photosynthesis. It can be introduced by rain or wind and grows in colonies, producing nuisance masses. Algae can harbor bacteria and can be slippery. There are thousands of known species of algae. The most common types of algae found in pools are black, blue-green, green and mustard (yellow or drawn).
Algaecides – Chemical compounds designed to kill, prevent, and control algae.
Automatic Pool Cleaner – pool maintenance system that will agitate and/or vacuum debris from the pool interior automatically.
Automatic Pool Cover – A heavy pool cover connected electronically or manually that extends over the pool, protecting the pool from the debris and temperature changes as well as adding an important safety measure
Backflow – The backing up of water through a pipe in the direction opposite to normal flow.
Backwash – The process of thoroughly cleaning the filter by reversing the flow of water through it with the dirt and rinse water going to waste.
Baja Shelf – Also known as a sun shelf or tanning ledge, a baja shelf is a shallow, expansive shelf in the pool designed for lounging, tanning, and more.
Balancers – Chemical compound designed to prevent corrosion and staining by balancing the pH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness in pool water.
Base Plates – Base plates are parts of an above ground pool that sit beneath each upright, providing a connection point for the base track and the upright itself.
Base Track – Part of an above-ground swimming pool that stretches from base plate to base plate between the uprights of the swimming pool and forms the bottom rim of the pool structure. During installation, this track has a groove into which the wall of the swimming pool is rolled.
Beach Entry – Also known as a “zero-entry pool,” beach entries are slightly sloped gradual entrances that replace swimming pool steps, giving pools a natural, organic appearance.
Bromide – Common term for a bromide salt used to supply bromide ions to the water so they may be oxidized or changed into hypobromous acid, the killing form of bromine. Used as a disinfectant.
Bromine – A common name for a chemical compound containing bromine that is used as a disinfectant to destroy bacteria and algae in swimming pools and spas. Available as a tablet or as sodium bromide, a granular salt.
BTU – Abbreviation for British Thermal Unit. The amount of heat necessary to raise 1 lb. of water 1 degree Fahrenheit.
Bullnose Coping – Pool coping with rounded edges that extends over the side of the pool used to finish exposed edges of the decking
Cabana – A small tentlike poolside structure used as a changing room or lounge area.
Calcium Hardness – How much calcium carbonate is present in swimming pool water
Calcium Hypochlorite – Chlorine in powder form; used as pool shock
Cantilever Coping – Also known as “no coping,” cantilevered coping is a style of coping where the pool deck extends to the edge of the pool and does not hang over like in bullnose coping styles
Centrifugal Pump – A pump consisting of an impeller fixed on a rotating shaft and enclosed in a casing or volute and having an inlet and a discharge connection. The rotating impeller creates pressure in the water by the velocity derived from the centrifugal force.
Check Valve – A mechanical device in a pipe that permits the flow of water or air in one direction only.
Chemical Feeder – A device that dispenses chemicals into pool or hot tub water at a predetermined rate. Some dispense chlorine or bromine while others dispense pH-adjusting chemicals.
Chloramine – Formed when chlorine and ammonia interact in pools due to sweat, biological substances, insects and more; can irritate skin and eyes
Chlorine – A term used to describe any type of chlorine compound used as a disinfectant in swimming pool and hot tub water or to kill, destroy or control bacteria and algae. In addition, chlorine oxidizes ammonia and nitrogen compounds cause by swimmers.
Chlorine Neutralizer – A chemical used to make chlorine harmless. Used in test kits to counteract the bleaching effect of the chlorine or bromine in order to increase the accuracy of pool water tests. Sold as chlorine and bromine neutralizer, it is used to destroy excessive amounts of chlorine or bromine so the high levels will not affect swimmers.
Circular Pool – Circular pools, also known as round pools, are swimming pools built in the shape of a circle, producing a classic contemporary look.
Composite Decking – A mixture of wood and plastic forming an ultra-durable building material that resembles real wood.
Conditioner – Also known as stabilizer, pool conditioner protects chlorine from loss due to the sun’s UV rays (see Cyanuric Acid)
Coping – The cap or top lip on the pool or hot tub wall that provides a finished edge around the pool or spa. It can be formed, cast in place or precast, or prefabricated of extruded aluminum or rigid vinyl. It may also be part of the system that secures a vinyl liner to the top of the pool wall.
Corrosion – The etching, pitting, or eating away of the pool or hot tub or equipment. Can be caused by improper water balance, misuse of acid or acidic products, or from soft water.
Cover, Solar – A cover that, when placed on the water’s surface of a pool, hot tub or hot tub, increases the water temperature by absorption and transmission of solar radiation; reduces evaporation and prevents windborne debris from entering the water.
Cyanuric Acid – Also is known as pool conditioner or stabilizer, cyanuric acid protects your pool’s chlorine from degradation due to sunlight.
D.E. Diatomaceous Earth — a porous substance used in certain types of pool filters.
Decking – The area surrounding a pool, typically concrete, wood, composite or natural stone.
Diverter Valve – A plumbing fitting used to change the direction or redirect the flow of water. Some diverter valves are used on pool/spa combinations to allow the use of the hot tub and then switch the flow back to the pool.
Drain – This term usually refers to a plumbing fitting installed on the suction side of the pump in pools, spas, and hot tubs. Sometimes called the main drain, it is located in the deepest part of the pool, hot tub, or hot tub. It does not function as a drain on a kitchen sink. Pool main drains do not allow the water to drain to waste but rather connect to the pump for circulation and filtration.
Excavation – The process of digging a hole in the backyard suitable for pool installation.
Exercise Pool – Exercise pools are small pools, also known as swim spas, typically built with jets to add resistance
Fiberglass – Finespun filaments of glass that are available in a rope or mat form. When used in a process with polyester resins, catalysts and hardeners can be formed or molded into pools and spas.
Figure 8 Pool – A pool shaped like a figure 8
Filter – A device that removes dissolved or suspended particles from water by recirculating the water through a porous substance (a filter medium or element). The three types of filters used in pools and spas are sand, cartridge and D.E. (diatomaceous earth).
Filtration – The rate at which the water is traveling through the filter, expressed in U.S. gallons per minute (gpm) per square foot of filter area.
Fire Features – A category of additional swimming pool features that includes fire pits, fireplaces, fire bowls and other enhancements that use fire.
Flagstone – A flat, hard natural stone used for patios, walkways, decking, coping, and more.
Flocculant – Chemical that clumps floating particles in cloudy water, causing them to sink to the bottom; clumps are then removed manually via vacuum
Flow Rate – The quantity of water flowing past a designated point within a specified time, such as the number of gallons flowing past a point in 1 minute — also known as gallons per minute or gpm.
Frame – The part of an above ground pool that secures the wall in place and provides much of the strength for the pool; generally made of coated steel, extruded aluminum, or resin.
Free Chlorine – Measures the amount of chlorine in a pool undisturbed by contaminants; contaminated chlorine is known as “combined chlorine”
Free Form Pool – Freeform pools do not follow a specific shape, rather are characterized by their free-flowing curves
Geometric Pool – Geometric pools are characterized by clean lines and sharp angles
Glass Pool Tile – Glass pool tile is specially designed to withstand temperature changes, chemical damage and being submerged in water; glass pool tiles are often transparent or opaque
Glossy Pool Tile – Glossy pool tile is water-, chemical- and frost resistant tile with a shiny exterior
GPM – Abbreviation for “gallons per minute.”
Grecian Pool – Grecian pools typically have diagonal corners rather than sharp squared corners like those found in rectangle pools
Grotto – A grotto is a swimming pool water feature made of large rocks build above and around a cavernous swimming area.
Grout – A paste-like mixture applied between tiles that dries solid, creating an insoluble surface.
Gunite – A mixture of cement and sand sprayed onto contoured and supported surfaces to build a pool. Gunite is mixed and pumped to the site dry, and water is added at the point of application. Plaster is usually applied over the gunite.
Gutter – An overflow trough at the edge of the pool through which floating debris, oil, and other “lighter-than-water” things flow. Pools with gutters usually do not have skimmers.
Hand Skimmer – A screen attached to a frame which is then attached to a telescopic pole used to remove large floating debris, such as leaves and bugs, from the water’s surface.
Hardscapes – Hardscapes refers to any hard landscaping building material, for example, concrete and natural stone.
Heat Exchanger – A device located inside the heater providing for the transfer of heat from the heat source to the water. This is usually a series of metallic tubes with fins located just above the flames.
Heater – A fossil-fueled, electric or solar device used to heat the water of a pool, hot tub, or hot tub.
Infinity Pool – An infinity pool creates the illusion of endlessness with a negative edge that spills over.
Inlet – The pool pump pushes filtered water back into the pool through inlets, also known as jets.
Kidney Pool – Kidney pools are characterized by their unique shape that resembles a bean
Liner – Also called a vinyl liner. The vinyl membrane that acts as the container to hold or contain the water in some types of pools.
Liquid Cover – Liquid solar pool covers cover your pool with a thin film that protects water from evaporating.
L-Shaped Pool – L-shaped pools is created with two rectangular pools that form a 90-degree angle
Main Drain – A plumbing fitting installed on the suction side of the pump in pools, spas, and hot tubs. Sometimes simply referred to as the drain, it is located in the deepest part of the pool, hot tub, or hot tub. It does not function like the drain on a kitchen sink. Pool main drains do not allow the water to drain to waste but rather connect to the pump for circulation and filtration.
Mosaic Pool Tile – Mosaic pool tile is made of smaller pieces of tile that combine to create a larger design
Natural pool – A natural pool earns its name from its organic shape, materials, and colors. Natural pools also may be self-cleaning and operating.
Neutralizer – A chemical used to make chlorine or bromine harmless. Used in test kits to counteract the bleaching effect of the chlorine or bromine in order to increase the accuracy of pool water tests. Sold as chlorine and bromine neutralizer, it is used to destroy excessive amounts of chlorine or bromine so the high levels will not affect swimmers.
Oval Pool – Oval-shaped swimming pool.
Oxidizer – A non-chlorine shocking compound that removes or destroys built-up contaminants and chloramines in pool water without raising chlorine levels.
Palapa – A palapa is an open-air structure with a thatched roof, popular for its breezy design.
Pavers – Pavers are small paving stones made of clay, brick, stone, or concrete.
Pergola – A pergola is an open-air outdoor structure with four support beams and a lattice or crossbeam roof.
pH – Abbreviation for Potential Hydrogen. Indicates the level of acidity or alkalinity of water on a scale ranging from 0-15. A low pH can cause etched plaster, metal corrosion, and eye irritation. A high pH can cause scale formation, chlorine inefficiency, and eye irritation. The ideal range for pH in swimming pools is typically 7.4 to 7.6.
Pool Cover, Hard Top – A cover used on pools, spas, and hot tubs that rests on the lip (coping) of the pool or hot tub deck; not a flotation cover. Used as a barrier to swimmers and bathers and for maintenance and thermal protection.
Porcelain Pool Tile – Porcelain pool tile is a highly durable, richly colored product that is resistant to water-, chemical- and frost-damage.
ppm – Parts per million
Pump – A mechanical device, usually powered by an electric motor, which causes hydraulic flow and pressure for the purpose of filtration, heating, and circulation of pool and hot tub water. Typically, a centrifugal pump is used for pools, spas and hot tubs.
Pump Capacity – The volume of liquid a pump is capable of moving during a specified period of time. This is usually listed in gallons per minute or gpm.
Pump Curve – Also called a pump performance curve. A graph that represents a pump’s water flow capacity at any given resistance.
Raised Bond Beam – The pool’s bond beam rises vertically in one part of the pool, creating a wall
Rectangular Pool – Pool shaped like a rectangle with clean lines and sharp corners
Retaining Wall – A retaining wall protects your backyard from erosion and landslides caused by hills and inclines.
Roman Pool – Roman-style swimming pools are recognizable for their rectangular shape bookended by two half-circles.
Sanitizers – Chemical compounds designed to kill bacteria, algae and other living organisms. Also protects water from the effects of the sun.
Scale – Buildup of calcium that forms a white-grey powdery stain on pools
Shock Treatment – The practice of adding significant amounts of an oxidizing chemical — (usually non-chlorine oxidizers, such as sodium persulfate or potassium peroxymonosulfate) — to the water to destroy ammonia and nitrogen compounds caused by swimmers, the environment, and/or weather.
Skimmer – A device installed through the wall of a pool or hot tub that is connected to the suction line of the pump that draws water and floating debris in the water flow from the surface without causing much flow restriction.
Skimmer Basket – A removable, slotted basket or strainer placed in the skimmer on the suction side of the pump, which is designed to trap floating debris in the water flow from the surface without causing flow restriction.
Solar Cover – A cover that, when placed on the water’s surface of a pool, hot tub, or hot tub, increases the water temperature by absorption and transmission of solar radiation; reduces evaporation, and prevents windborne debris from entering the water.
Spa – A small, heated tub, often with built-in jets, designed for hydrotherapy and relaxation.
Spool – The combination of “small,” and “pool,” a spool is a small pool.
Stone Veneer – Stone veneer is a manufactured stone that simulates the look of natural stone and is applied to the exterior of outdoor structures, walls and buildings.
Swim-up Bar – A built-in swimming pool feature that includes a large horizontal shelf above the water for beverages and snacks and underwater bar stools.
Tanning Ledge – See “Baja Shelf”
Test Kit – An apparatus or device used to monitor specific chemical residuals, levels, constituents, or demands in pool or hot tub water. The most common pool and hot tub water tests are pH, total alkalinity, free available chlorine, water hardness, cyanuric acid, iron, and copper.
Test Strips – Small plastic strips with pads attached that have been impregnated with reagents that can be used to test pool water for residuals, levels, constituents, or demands. The strips are usually dipped in the water, and the resulting colors of the pads are compared to a standard set of colors to determine concentration.
Top Caps – Usually made of resin or another form of plastic, the top cap covers the top plate and help to give an above ground pool a more finished, attractive look.
Top Plates – You will find a top plate attached to the top of each upright of an above ground pool. They provide connection points for the top track and top rails that span between each post.