Along with monitoring and adding specific chemicals, proper filtration is vital to maintaining clean, clear water in a swimming pool. The primary piece of equipment to perform this task is the pool filter, which pumps water from the pool through filtration material such as sand or diatomaceous earth, and then circulates it back into the pool. This is all accomplished through the use of a pool pump and attached motor. Although the pump does not have to run all the time, there are some basic guidelines you should follow.
The Components of a Pool Filter
An in-ground pool filter consists of several components. There is the filter itself in which the pool water flows in and out of, trapping dirt and other particles along the way. It is normally filled with either sand or diatomaceous earth which aids in removing particles from the water. The filter is powered by a pool pump that is attached to a motor. Some pool filters may have an automatic chlorinator attached to the water return line which maintains a steady flow of the sanitizer into the pool. Other parts of the filter are the skimmer and main drain valves which control water flow, and the filter control dial which is used to set particular activities such as regular filtration, backwashing and drainage of excess pool water. It has a closed position for when the pool is shut down for the off season.
The Pool Pump and Motor
One of the basic concepts of proper filtration of pool water is the turnover rate. This refers to how long it takes for all the water in the pool to circulate through the filter. To maintain proper water clarity, it should take no longer than 12 hours to completely circulate all the water in the pool. If you know how many gallons of water the pool holds, along with the pumping power of the motor and the width of your filtration piping, you can determine your turnover rate. Because most pool pumps are designed with this in mind, a professionally installed pool should come equipped with the proper pump for your size of pool. If you are installing the pool yourself or are not sure about your current pump, consult a pool company which can easily determine what size pump and motor you have or need.
Running Your Pool Filter
To keep your pool water clear and clean, an ideal turnover rate is eight hours, so this would be the average amount of time to run your pool filter in any given day. Because most pool filters do not come equipped with an on/off timing device, you will most likely have to install a pool timer to automatically turn your filter on and off at the preset intervals you desire.
Nature's Effects on Filtering Your Water
Certain conditions may call for a time adjustment. When you open your pool for the season, you should let your pool pump run continuously for the first few days to thoroughly filter the water. After that, if the pool water temperature remains below 70 to 75 degrees F, you can run the pump about six hours per day until the water heats up. As the water temperature begins to rise, so does the the bacterial growth in the water. Although eight hours might be enough if the water temperature stays below 85 degrees F, you may want to extend your filtration time to 10 hours per day during periods of extreme heat when the water temperature is more than 85 degrees F and bacterial growth is at its highest.
Pool Usage Effects on Filtering Your Water
Besides water temperature, another factor that will affect the proper filtration of the pool water is usage. Regardless of the water temperature, during times of heavy usage, always run your pool pump longer than eight hours. In fact, if you have a party with a large number of bathers, then let the pump run continuously until the crowd dies down. Because of the added amount of skin oils, sweat, suntan lotions and other human factors that get into your water, you will need to run your filter longer to maintain proper water clarity.
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