How Does a Pool Pump Work?

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Importance of a Pool Pump

  • All swimming pools have a filtering system to keep the water clean and free of algae and bacteria. An integral part of your filtering system is the pool pump. Without a pump your filtering system will not work and your pool will get too dirty to use rather quickly. Most pool pumps are self priming which mean if the pump housing is not full of water when you turn the system on, it will fill it by it's self. This is a very helpful feature because priming a pump can be a difficult task. Pool pumps come in various horse power depending on the size of the pool and how many gallons of water it must pull through the filtering system each hour.

Parts of the Pump

  • The pump has a motor that turns at a high speed when the pump is on. At the other end of the pump there is an impeller that is driven by the pump motor. The pump housing, also known as the vacuum chamber, is filled with water. This creates a vacuum which allows the pump to pull the water out of the pool. Some pools have a diffuser in the pump itself and some have an external diffuser. The diffuser takes the air out of the pump, hoses or suction piping. If the air does not get out you can loose your prime. All self priming pumps have diffusers. Another part important to your pump is the pressure gauge. As the impeller creates the water pressure it is measured by the gauge. When the pressure gets too low you will know that the filter is dirty and needs to be cleaned or back washed.

How the Pump Works

  • Now that you know how the individual parts work it is easier to understand how the whole process works. When the pump is turned on and it is properly primed, the motor turns the impeller. This helps to pull the water into the vacuum chamber which is the pump housing. The water goes through a filtering system which could be sand, diatomaceous earth or a cartridge. The water is cleaned by the filtering system and pushed back into the pool. All the while the diffuser is helping to get rid of any air bubbles that have made their way into the pump. When the pressure gauge shows the low pressure you will need to back wash the system. This is done by switching valves to redirect the flow of the water and stopping water from going into the pool. The water is pulled from the pool, only this time it goes into the bottom of the filter, pushing the dirt up where it is drained out. This is done until the watercomes out clean. Then the valves are put back to their original position and the pump starts pulling the water through the filtering system again.

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  • Photo Credit Benjamin Earwicker
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