The three keys to crystal clear water are your pump, filter and water chemistry. This piece of equipment is what drives the pool water through your system. Fortunately, it doesn’t require much maintenance by the pool owner.
Just make sure the pump’s strainer basket is free of debris and that the lid is tightly secured. A leaky pump lid can allow air into your system. Check the O-ring periodically and make sure it is properly lubricated so that it makes a tight seal. Also, look for leaks around the pump just to make sure it’s working properly.
Keep your water moving! Good circulation and filtration is the second key to clear water. To remove dirt and other particles from the water, your pool uses a filter system to trap it as the water passes through. Keep your filter clean so that it has a better chance to catch more particles.
Run your filter long enough each day to allow all the water to pass through the filter at least once. Most swimming pools are engineered to completely circulate the water in eight hours. Run it a little more in the summer to compensate for the additional use of your pool.
Your pool has one of three different types of filters.
Sand filters are the easiest and least costly to maintain. They use sand to filter the pool water. Water passes through the sand but dirt and other particles are trapped. Backwash your sand filter once per week to remove the trapped debris.
Chemically treat the sand once per year to maintain its filtration capacity.
The sand lasts for five years in chlorine pools. Have a pool technician change it at five year intervals.
Most newer pools are equipped with cartridge filters. As the pool water passes through, mesh material in the cartridges traps the waste material. You don’t back wash a cartridge filter. You remove the cartridges and hose them off to remove the waste.
Clean the cartridges every six months. Just remove the cartridges, spray with a filter cleaner, hose them off and replace them.
Cartridges normally last about two years.
DE filters use Diatomaceous Earth to trap waste particles in the filter. DE is a white powder added to your filter through the skimmer while the pump is running. Backwash your DE filter and add Diatomaceous Earth once per month.
The DE filter should be cleaned once per year and the filter grids replaced every three years.
The Pressure Gauge
Keep an eye on your filter’s pressure gauge. It monitors the pressure in your filter measured in pounds per square inch. When your filter is new or has just been cleaned, note the pressure reading. This is your normal pressure. If the pressure is seven to ten pounds higher than normal, it may be time to backwash or clean the filter.
Higher than normal pressure may also mean an obstruction in the line after the filter.
Lower than normal pressure could indicate an obstruction before the water reaches the filter, or perhaps an air leak.