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Glossary of Swimming Pool Terminology

Building a swimming pool at your home can introduce you to all sorts of new terminology. We have listed some of the more popular terms associated with swimming pools below.


A liquid (hydrochloric acid) or dry granular (sodium bisulphate) substance able to dissolve metals and other organic substances. It is used to lower a swimming pool or spa pH or alkalinity level. Back to Top

Acid Wash

Procedure using an acid solution to clean the interior surface of a swimming pool.

Air Blowers

A mechanical device that forces air through holes in the floor of a spa to produce bubbles.


A product used to raise pH or alkalinity also known as a base. It is the opposite of an acid.

Automatic Pool Cleaner

A device requiring little to no human effort and designed to vacuum or remove debris from the walls and floor of the pool.


The process used to clean a sand filter where the flow of water is reversed through the filter washing out the dirt collected during filtration. This water then goes to waste or drain.

Balanced Water

A term used to described pool water that has the correct levels of pH, chlorine, total alkalinity and calcium hardness.

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Cartridge Filter

A swimming pool and spa filter that uses a replaceable porous element made of paper or polyester to remove even the finest particles without embedding them in the filter.


An electrical/mechanical device used to generate chlorine from sodium chloride (salt) solution at a controlled rate. Used extensively in Australia and growing in popularity overseas.


A disinfectant or sanitizer used extensively in the pool and spa industry and the drinking water treatment industry to kill bacteria, viruses, algae and other organisms as well as oxidise organic matter and compounds such as ammonia, nitrogen, etc. It is available in a gas, liquid, granular or tablet form and reacts when added to water in the right quantity to make it safe for human consumption.


To start up the pool once construction is completed and the pool has been filled with water. This involves adding chemicals to adjust the water balance and turning on the pool equipment.

Concrete Pools

A swimming pool constructed of concrete and reinforced with steel.


The walkway immediately surrounding the swimming pool or spa that provides a finished edge between the pool structure and the surrounds, also known as capping. Some popular finishes include terra-cotta, clay bricks, sandstone or bluestone type pavers, and timber decking.

Courtyard Pools

A smaller sized swimming pool that can be located in more diminutive spaces.

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Exposed Aggregate

A pebble-type interior finish made from a blend of ingredients including white cement, quartz sand, metallic oxides and coated aggregate. Exposed aggregate provides a smooth surface and is available in a range of colours.


Very fine filaments of glass that are woven into a mat. This mat is then used in a process with resins, catalysts and hardeners to form or be moulded into pools, spas and other products.


Generally built on-site out of timber and plywood, the formwork provides a solid surface for the concrete to be sprayed against. Once the concrete has set (or cured), the formwork is stripped away (removed) to expose the finished shape of the concrete swimming pool.


The process of passing pool water through the filter medium to remove dirt and debris particles.

Free Chlorine

The amount of chlorine in the water that is available to sanitise or disinfect the water. It is also known as residual or available chlorine.

Geometric Pools

A geometric pool has even lines and features. Usually built in a rectangular shape, this pool is considered the “traditional” swimming pool style.


A meeting between pool builder and owner upon completion of the project to discuss the operation of the swimming pool, and to review equipment procedures and correct chemical balances.

Hydrochloric Acid

A strong acid used in pools to lower the pH or Total Alkalinity. It is also known as muriatic acid and used in cleaning concrete and other surfaces. It is normally 31-33% hydrochloric acid.

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Leaf Basket

A strainer basket situated in the skimmer box to trap large leaves and debris before they enter the hair and lint pot.

Lap Pools

Lap pools are built so that people can swim laps for health and fitness. They tend to be long and narrow, usually over 15 metres long.

Licensed Electrical and Plumbing

Electrical and plumbing connections are not usually included in a swimming pool contract because they require work by licensed tradesmen. An electrician will be needed to install switch wires for pool lights and fountains etc. A plumber will need to make connections for the backwash, cold water supply and gas (if applicable).

Load Bearing

A load-bearing wall is one in which the wall of a structure bears the weight and force resting upon it. Swimming pool walls can be load bearing if a planter box, for example, is being supported by part of the concrete shell.

Main Drain

This term usually refers to a plumbing fitting installed at the deepest part of the pool. It is not a drain, such as a drain on a kitchen sink, but usually connects to the pump for circulation and filtration.

Plunge Pool

A plunge pool is small in size, but deep.


A mechanical device, usually powered by an electrical motor, which circulates water from the swimming pool where water is drawn into the filtration system.


Reinforcement bar, used to add strength to concrete. After excavation of an in-ground pool a steel cage is formed out of re-bar, and the concrete shell is sprayed over and surrounding it.


A mixture of cement and sand used on the interior of a pool or spa to smooth out the surface before tiles or exposed aggregate (pebble) are applied.

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Salt Chlorinator

A unit which manufactures chlorine through the electrolytic conversion of salt. A saltwater pool is not actually chlorine-free; it simply utilises a chlorine generator instead of direct addition of chlorine

Set Out

The swimming pool is marked out on the property to show the exact location and shape in preparation for the excavation.


A box-like device installed through the wall of the swimming pool or spa connected to the suction line of the pump that draws water and floating debris into the skimmer from the surface. Usually located to one side / end of the pool and used as the main suction point for manual vacuuming and / or skimming of leaves.

Skimmer Basket

A removable, slotted basket or strainer located in the skimmer box which is designed to trap floating debris in the water flow from the surface without causing much flow restriction.

Temporary Fencing

A safety barrier that is set up during the construction period. A permanent fence that complies with the Australian Standards must be installed before the swimming pool can be filled with water.

Underwater Light

A fixture designed to illuminate a pool or spa from beneath the water’s surface.


This term can be used to define any number of devices that use suction to collect dirt from the bottom and sides of a pool or spa . Most common is a vacuum head with wheels that attaches to a pole and is connected to the suction line, usually via the opening in the skimmer. It must be moved about by a person, and debris is collected in the skimmer basket and filter.


The height to which the water is filled in a swimming pool or spa . This is usually in the middle of the skimmer opening.

Wet-edge Pools

A wet-edge pool is a swimming pool which produces a visual effect of water extending to the horizon, vanishing, or extending to infinity. Often the water appears to fall into an ocean, lake, or other similar body of water. Also known as ‘infinity pool’, ‘negative edge pool’ or ‘vanishing edge pool’.

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We focus on creating sophistication and functionality

Swimming Pools built by Pools of Noosa are designed to suit your requirements, sourcing only the best materials and providing the highest quality finish available. The current trend is for shallower pool design, offering low maintenance and lower cost / ease of heating.

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