From The Experts: Pool Maintenance and Care

When it comes to pool maintenance, no one size fits all and precision is the key to success. After all, installing a pool is an investment just as much as it is a lifestyle and commitment. Luckily, Pools by John Clarkson has been a leading expert in pool maintenance and care in Jacksonville, Florida since 1989. The keys to good pool care are a quality filtration system, cleaning of debris, and maintaining chemical balance. We’re going to talk through how to increase longevity and keep your gorgeous new investment maintained and up to par!


Filtration systems are there to keep water clear of dirt, debris, and other contaminants that can cloud or pollute water chemistry. At Pools by John Clarkson, we provide cartridge filters on all of our pools because of the many advantages they offer over other types of filtration media:

  1. Better Filtration Efficiency: Cartridge filters can capture particles as small as 10-15 microns, providing superior filtration compared to sand filters.
  2. Energy Efficiency: Cartridge filters generally have lower operating costs as they require less energy to pump water through the filter media. Combined with a variable-speed pool pump, it offers the most energy-efficient filtration possible.
  3. Compact Design: Cartridge filters are more compact than other filter types, which helps significantly in reducing equipment space needed and overall aesthetics of the equipment area.
  4. Easily Replaceable Filter Media: Cartridge elements can last for several years before requiring replacement, and changing the filter element is so fast and easy that most any homeowner can do it.

Debris Cleaning

No one wants to head out for a sunny day swim and find the pool filled with dirt and leaves. Enter: state-of-the-art automatic cleaning systems that will keep you and your pool happy!


Pressure Side Cleaners – Good
These cleaners are powered by the pressure of the water returning to the pool and are inherently safer than suction side cleaners because they present virtually no risk of suction entrapment. They do an adequate job of removing debris, but have parts that are prone to jamming that reduce cleaning efficiency and can cause homeowner frustration.


Electric Robotic Cleaners – Better
A robotic cleaner is essentially a Roomba for your pool. These have gained in popularity over recent years thanks to their trouble-free operation, ease of use, and quality of cleaning, even corners and pool walls. And because they don’t require any plumbing, it’s a drop-in solution that works in any pool!

In-Floor Cleaning System – Best!
Popup spray heads are installed throughout the pool on the floors, steps, and walls that will rotate a stream of water to send debris towards the main drain where it can then be filtered free of debris. In-floor cleaning is automatic and operates nearly invisibly. As an added benefit, it also provides the best possible circulation of pool water, aiding in filtrating and significantly improving pool heating efficiency. In-floor cleaning can only be installed during installation, so if your still in the design phase, this is a great option to consider.


Suction-Side Cleaner – BAD!
Suction side cleaners are not sold or recommended by Pools by John Clarkson. Because they are tied into the pump’s suction line, they can create a suction hazard for anything or anyone in the pool. Because of this risk, they are best avoided.

Chemical Balance

Pool maintenance truly is a science, so it’s important to ensure the chemical balance of the water is precise to avoid damaging pool equipment in the long term. Use our tips below to guarantee as many fun pool days with the family as possible and make good on your investment!

  1. Test and Adjust pH: This will give you a good read on how much acid or base is present in the pool water. You’ll want to try and hit a pH of 7.4 – 7.6 ideally. Use sodium carbonate to increase the pH and muriatic acid to decrease the pH.

  2. Test and Adjust Total Alkalinity: This acts as a pH stabilizer, and when adjusted correctly, the pH fluctuates less, which is crucial for pool water health. The range to aim for is 80 – 120 ppm. To increase total alkalinity, use sodium bicarbonate or baking soda. To decrease total alkalinity, use sodium bisulfate or muriatic acid.

  3. Add Sanitizer: This should be familiar even to those that don’t own pools: you’ll want to use a sanitizer like chlorine to kill bacteria. The sweet spot is at 3 ppm. Take care to get this measurement correct, as we know chlorine can be painful and cause skin and eye irritation if used in excess. Salt based pools make sanitization easier than ever – set your salt cell to the correct level and chlorine levels will remain consistent.

  4. Measure Total Dissolved Solids (TDS): Keep your TDS range below 2,000 ppm as high levels can cause cloudy water, scale formation, and reduce the chlorine’s effectiveness.

  5. Balance Calcium Hardness: Avoid plaster damage and cloudy water by keeping the calcium hardness balanced and in the range of 200 – 400 ppm.

  6. Cyanuric Acid (CYA): CYA forms a weak bond with free chlorine in the pool water, protecting it from the sun’s ultraviolet rays to reduce chlorine loss. Properly managed, CYA has been shown to reduce the amount of chlorine needed to maintain the minimum chlorine residual in a pool. The ideal range for cyanuric acid is between 30 and 50 ppm – anything above that reduces chlorine effectiveness and lead to additional issues.

While the above tips on chemical balance can be daunting, do not worry! Whether you’re looking for some help in maintaining your existing pool, or looking into getting one installed, the team at Pools by John Clarkson is available to help! Drop us a line at 904-223-4050 to get started on turning your backyard dream into a reality.

Transforming Your Backyard: The Power of Custom Outdoor Living Spaces

In sunny Northeast Florida, where outdoor living is a way of life, creating a captivating and functional outdoor living space can significantly elevate your home’s appeal and your quality of life. Custom outdoor living spaces are more than just a trend here; they are a lifestyle upgrade that unlocks a world of possibilities right in your backyard and builds value in your home. As a trusted custom residential and commercial pool builder in Jacksonville for 34 years, our team at Pools By John Clarkson specializes in turning these possibilities into stunning realities that enhance your outdoor oasis. Let’s explore some outdoor living options that you may want to consider and look at some of our actual backyard creations that are sure to inspire you.

Why Invest in Creating a Custom Outdoor Living Space?

Transforming your backyard into a captivating outdoor living space brings a wealth of benefits that go beyond the surface. From enhancing your daily life to increasing your property’s value, the decision to invest in a custom outdoor oasis is a strategic and rewarding one. Some of the most common reasons why homeowners in Florida routinely invest in creating larger, more personalized outdoor environments that seamlessly blend relaxation, entertainment and aesthetics include.


  1. Enjoy the Ability to Entertain by Day and Night: Florida’s warm climate encourages outdoor gatherings all year round. A well-designed outdoor space offers the perfect setting for hosting friends and family during the day or under the stars. Imagine festive poolside barbecues, intimate evening conversations by the fireplace, and memorable pool parties that become the talk of the town.
  2. Maximize Your Backyard Space: Your backyard can become an extension of your living area, expanding and maximizing your usable square footage. A well-designed outdoor living space creates designated zones for various activities, ensuring that every inch of your property is put to good use.
  3. Create Shade and Comfort: The Florida sun is beautiful but can be intense. Introducing features like pergolas, cabanas and shaded seating areas allows you to enjoy the outdoors without worrying about sunburns or overheating. It’s the perfect blend of nature and comfort.
  4. Boost Your Home Value: Investing in custom outdoor living spaces not only enhances your quality of life but can add substantial value to your property. A beautifully designed and well-maintained outdoor area can be a strong selling point when the time comes to put your home on the market.

How to Enhance Your Outdoor Living Space

Your outdoor haven awaits transformation into a captivating retreat that caters to your lifestyle and preferences. Consider these carefully curated additions that seamlessly blend function and aesthetics, elevating your outdoor living experience. From rejuvenating hot tubs and serene cabanas to sizzling summer kitchens and mesmerizing firepits, each element contributes to the creation of a harmonious oasis where relaxation and entertainment intertwine. Embrace the art of outdoor living by considering some of the following features that will amplify the allure of your surroundings and offer endless opportunities for enjoyment and relaxation. We’ll even provide you with some additional inspiration by sharing a few of our actual Pools By John Clarkson projects that we have created right here in Jacksonville, FL!

Transform Your Spa

1. Spas: Immerse yourself in ultimate relaxation with the soothing waters of a spa. These water features offer therapeutic benefits, promote relaxation and create an inviting focal point in your pool or backyard.

Transform Your Cabana

2. Cabanas, Pergolas and Patios: Create a shaded retreat by adding a cabana, pergola, or an open, enclosed or covered patio to your poolside area. These structures provide protection from the elements while offering a comfortable space to lounge, dine or simply unwind.

Transform Your Outdoor Kitchen

3. Summer Kitchens: Elevate your outdoor gatherings with a summer kitchen equipped with grills, sinks, refrigerators and prep areas. Cook, entertain and savor delicious meals while enjoying the fresh air and natural surroundings.

Transform Your Outdoor Fireplace

4. Firepits and Fireplaces: Extend the usability of your outdoor space into the evenings with the warmth and ambiance of a firepit or fireplace. Gather around the flickering flames for cozy conversations and create lasting memories.

Transform Your Outdoor Pergolas

5. Pergolas and Arbors: Add architectural interest and shade to your outdoor area with pergolas and arbors. These structures can be adorned with climbing plants, creating a natural and inviting atmosphere.

Transform Your Outdoor Gardens

6. Gardens and Landscaping: Incorporating lush gardens and landscaping elements can enhance the beauty and tranquility of your outdoor space. Create a colorful oasis that complements your pool and adds visual interest.

Pools By John Clarkson, with its extensive experience and expertise, is your partner in crafting the ultimate custom outdoor living space. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to enhance your existing pool area, their skilled team can transform your vision into reality. With a portfolio of successful projects in Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, Pools By John Clarkson has earned a reputation for excellence and creativity.


Don’t miss the opportunity to turn your backyard into a haven of relaxation, entertainment, and beauty. Explore the limitless potential of custom outdoor living spaces with Pools By John Clarkson and embark on a journey to transform your outdoor oasis! With our guidance and expertise, your backyard can become a captivating retreat that reflects your lifestyle and enhances your home’s value. Learn more about our services to start turning your outdoor living dreams into a reality.

Welcome To The Oasis – Dive In!

We are thrilled to introduce “The Oasis”, a new monthly newsletter and blog from Pools by John Clarkson. The Oasis is your ticket to an enchanting journey through the realm of Florida outdoor living. As a trusted member of our pool and outdoor living community, we wanted to create a resource for you that not only connects us but also enriches your knowledge and inspires your imagination.

Get ready to dive into a deep pool of inspiration, tips, and expert insights designed to elevate your outdoor living spaces and experiences. Our goal is to provide you with valuable content that helps you unlock the full potential of your pool, your home and to transform your backyard into a personal oasis.

Each month, we’ll feature one educational and insightful article. You’ll discover a treasure trove of topics ranging from design ideas to maintenance tips, customer spotlights, outdoor living trends, and everything in between.

Seeking design inspiration? We’ve got you covered! Immerse yourself in breathtaking pool and outdoor living hardscape designs that will spark your imagination and guide you toward your dream outdoor sanctuary. Stay informed about emerging styles, innovative features, sustainable materials, and technological advancements.

Watch projects come to life with our outdoor showcases, where we unveil the stories behind our completed works. Witness the transformations, admire the craftsmanship, and gather ideas for your own outdoor haven.

Have questions about ongoing maintenance and care? Our team of experts will share their secrets, providing you with tips and tricks to ensure that your pool and outdoor features stay in top shape. From water chemistry management to equipment maintenance, we’ll equip you with the knowledge you need for hassle-free enjoyment.

At Pools by John Clarkson, we’re here to keep you ahead of the curve. As a 30-year-old, third-generation, family-owned pool company serving distinctive custom residential and commercial pool customers all over Northern Florida, it’s something that’s ingrained in our DNA.

We understand that your time is valuable, so our newsletter will be concise and informative, bringing you only the most relevant content without overwhelming your inbox. We will also be including exclusive offers and promotions reserved just for our newsletter subscribers. Expect surprises that will make your outdoor dreams more attainable!

Finally, we also want to hear from you! Have a question or a topic you’d like covered? Drop us a line so that we can address it!

Thank you for being a part of the Pools by John Clarkson family. We’re excited to embark on this new journey with you, celebrating the beauty of outdoor living and providing you with the expertise and resources you need to create unforgettable moments in your own backyard.

Stay tuned for our first newsletter, arriving in your inbox soon. Get ready to connect, learn, and grow with us as we dive into the exciting world of Florida outdoor living!

Warmest regards,

The Pools by John Clarkson Team