Understanding Pool Circulation Systems

Pool circulation systems are designed to manage swimming pool water – to filter it, to heat it, and to return it back into the pool. Since all pools are not the same in terms of shape and size, pool circulation systems may be differently designed and installed. But the basics are similar, and having a good understanding is the key to good maintenance and optimum operation. As always, being well informed as a pool owner is more advantageous.

The Main Drain

The main drain is located in the deepest part of the swimming pool. Its purpose is to circulate pool water from the bottom of the pool upwards. Some residential pools are not outfitted with a main drain, and have a “deep water” outlet instead, which serves to drain and circulate.

Deep-Water Outlet

The “deep-water” outlet is typically located on a side wall of a pool and is designed to circulate water and manage water levels. A grate is affixed to the outlet for the purpose of preventing “suction entrapment”. This is particularly important when it comes to pool safety.

The Vacuum Outlet

The vacuum outlet is intended as a connection point for a vacuum device. Not all pools are so outfitted, but with these outlets its important not to vacuum large debris – this could easily compromise the circulation plumbing. It’s recommended to use a skimmer for large debris.

The Skimmer

The skimmer circulates water from the top of the swimming pool – it skims debris from the surface of the water. Skimmers should always be in good working order, and the skimmer basket should always be in place, in order to avoid anything from plugging up circulation.

The Circulation Pump

In all pool circulation systems, the circulation pump moves pool water through the various parts of the circulation system. In simple terms, the pool water is drawn into the pump from the various water outlets, flowed through a “hair trap”, and then sent through to the filter.

Important Features of the Circulation Pump

With all circulation pumps, “hair traps” should always be in place and in good working order. The same applies to “trap baskets”. Importantly, a pool pump should not be activated without first filling the “hair-trap” with water. And regular pump maintenance is also vital – it involves cleaning out the “hair-trap” and lubricating some the operating parts. This can all be easily handled personally, although having professional service from time to time would be wise.

Swimming Pool Filter

The circulation pump sends pool water to the pool filter for cleaning, and then returns clean water back to the swimming pool. While there are various pool filters to choose from, all are designed to force water through a “sediment” trap to remove debris and dirt particles.

The Pool Heater

Pool heaters are also available in a variety of options, each with their own benefits. The pool heater only works when the circulation pump is on. Quite simply, once the water is heated, its returned back into the pool. In most pool circulation systems, proper maintenance is required.

Some pool circulation systems may have added product elements beyond the essential: there may be a chlorinator; there may be a mineral purifier; and there may even be an ozonator. Whatever the case, all components must be properly maintained to ensure long product life.

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