Basic care package for pools

Dec 5, 2016
Charlotte, NC
Hello, I am looking to buy the basic chemicals needed to keep my pool clean and my water chemistry on track. Could anyone recorded a "care package" or basic supply to have on hand so I can address issues if and when they arise regarding the chemistry of my pool.At this point I take my water to my local Leslie's Pool store and they then suggest what I need, and more than often I leave with $50 and up worth of product, ouch. I like to buy these items online cheaper and have them at the ready. I currently use the basic chlorine tabs but not much else. I have a well that I replenish water with and have had some considerable rain as of late. Pool currently looks clear and recently had my sand replaced with a new lateral assembly and flo valve installed.I did not close the pool and kept up regular cleaning and chlorine through out the "winter" in NC, which was very mild.
I also plan on getting a test kit and any insight on whats best to buy would also be helpful.
In short pool chemistry is so confusing for a newbie like myself any hard and fast rules I need to consider? For example if it rains do I up my **** and lower my **** , things like that. Do they make one packet premixed that I throw in once a week that keeps my levels good?
Any words of wisdom and insight would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks TFP members you guys rock!!


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 7, 2011
Midland TX
Hi James, and Welcome!

As to your last question on a "one package" no, I am sorry to say. However, it may seem like a lot at first, but keeping a pool like we suggest becomes extremely easy once you get a few basics under your belt. Learning some of those and learning to use a test kit are the first steps. We suggest two usually. Both contain excellent Taylor reagents, and they are the Taylor 2006C, and the TF-100. I would suggest to any friend of mine the TF100 because its a better value for the dollar all round.

Buying Chems online wont be the best option with some of the most important, and frequently used products like Acid. It is too heavy, and Has high shipping costs being a strong Chemical. Chlorine and Acid will be the most commonly used products in most pools. Lots to say on all that, but please click the links in my signature. Start in Pool School with the ABCs, and work up from there. My links also contain test kit comparisons and links on where to buy them. You can do this much more easily than you might guess, and you'll likely save a great, great deal versus those trips to LPS with arm loads of stuff each time you walk out the door. There are always people here to help when you have questions, and most of them started just where you are now. Enjoy your stay, and let us know how we can help.


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jun 12, 2009
NW Ohio
The most hard and fast rule I can think of when it comes to pool care is: Don't ever trust a product that claims to solve everything. If you ever find a package that tells you to add it once a week to keep the pool clear, then walk away from it quickly!


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
Sebring, Florida
Everything we teach starts with testing. You can have no idea of what chemicals you need until you test your water. Read the ABC's of pool water in Pool School and get your own good test kit. That is your starting point.


Gold Supporter
Aug 13, 2015
Frisco, Texas
Hey James, welcome to TFP! I am a basically a newbie too. My pool was completed in December. But I feel like I've learned years worth of information by just reading through and staying current with TFP. Thanks to TFP I've managed my pool's chemistry from day one. So here's my advice for what it's worth:

1. Learn from the TFP experts (the guys and gals with years of experience.) They are SME's (subject matter experts) of the highest order.
2. Do not use Leslie or any other pool supply store or service to measure your pool's chemistry. They make money by selling you stuff, not by keeping your pool clear!
3. Get a good test kit. I use the TF100 from
4. As far as chemicals, there are 4 things I keep on hand. Liquid bleach from Costco or Wal-Mart, Muriatic Acid from Lowes, PuriTech Stabilizer Conditioner Cyanuric Acid from Amazon, and DE (because my filter is a DE filter). My SWG keeps my chlorine pretty constant, especially now that the water is warmer. So I don't use the bleach very often. Because my pool is new, the PH goes up, so I use the Muriatic Acid more often.
5. And the most import advice worth repeating: Learn from the TFP experts.

Good luck!


Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
Evans, Georgia
James, the thing with Leslies Pool Store is that they sell chemicals. So in exchange for "free testing" they've got to find something wrong to sell you the cure. And when everything routine is looking okay, that's when they pull out the Phosphate scare card and sell you phosphate remover.

Pretty much all you need is chlorine and stabilizer. Occasionally you may need to adjust your pH so that's muriatic acid. Occasionally your Alkalinity needs tweaking, and that's just baking soda. So there isn't a "one size fits all" chemical pack you can use to keep things in line except testing. Testing helps you *avoid* adding unnecessary items. The test kits we recommend give hard, accurate, reproducable test results and you ONLY add that which your water needs.

You have a vinyl pool, so you never have to deal with calcium unless you add a heater, and still that's a debatable need then too.

How are you sanitizing your water now??? Pucks???? We avoid those due to the "other ingredients" they add which we don't want added willy-nilly.

Please update me on the way you add chlorine?

When it rains, if your water gets too high you can backwash or turn the multiport to waste and lower it. The water level needs to be about 1/2 to no more than 3/4 up your skimmer box shape to work best.

Yippee :flower:
In short pool chemistry is so confusing for a newbie like myself any hard and fast rules I need to consider?
Hello and Welcome to TFP!

Hard and fast rules:
1. Get a good test kit, do your own testing and trust your results!
2. Only add what the testing shows you need.
3. Stay out of the pool stores, except to buy toys and floaties. When they ask if you need help just say "nope I know what I need"

You don't need to know any chemistry to have a perfectly clean and sparkly pool. PoolMath will tell you exactly what add by inputting your test results.


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 7, 2011
Midland TX
We recommend Cyanuric Acid aka Stabilizer/Conditioner sold in pool sections of hardware stores, big box stores etc. or pool stores. But, we dont suggest you adding any without knowing what is already in the pool, especially since you are/have been using pucks. The best plan is to get a kit, test your pool, and then decide what you need to add or not.

Also, having them in the skimmers is not something we suggest, and not considered a best practice even though lots of people do it.