Tips to Maintain Your Pool & Equipment
The following DIY pool maintenance guide was developed to assist you to understand the various aspects of your pool equipment. For more information please feel free to contact us on 0450 22 55 87
Basic pool pump operation and information
A pool pump is the heart of the pool filtration system. The pump draws water from the skimmer box in the pool and circulates the water through the filter, (and sometimes through other pool equipment like saltwater chlorinators) and returns the water back to the pool.
Nearly all pool pumps have a leaf catchment area in the forward part of the pump; this is called a “hair and lint pot”.
In the hair and lint pot there is a small basket that catches any small particles that make it through the skimmer box. It is important to regularly check and clear any debris from there so it doesn’t affect the pumps flow.
It is quite easy to see any Debris inside the hair and lint pot because most pumps have a clear see through lid.
Opening the lid to empty any leafs etc, must be done with the pump turned off.
Most pool pump lids will remove when turned anti clockwise.
When buying or replacing a pool pump it is important to buy a pool pump that has the correct flow rate for your pool.
The size of the pump will depend on the type and size of filter you are using for your pool.
The size of pump can also depend on the volume of pool water you are trying to circulate it also may depend on the pool plumbing.
These days, as well as your common pool pump, we now have the option of multi-speed pumps or sometimes call Eco pumps.
Basically, a multi-speed pump is economically cheaper to run than the standard pump when run on a slower speed. We have a large selection of pool pumps on our “pool equipment” link at the top of the page (Please note: This is basic information for the average pool, this may not apply to your equipment.)
We can deliver all of our pool pumps and pool equipment Australia wide using discounted freight options to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, and we can also supply to pool companies and builders. If you need a pool builder in Sydney contact us for more info and we can also recommend you to our pool builder partner in Melbourne.
Basic filter operation and information
(How to clean a sand filter)
The most common filters in domestic pools these days are media filters and cartridge filters (media filters are commonly known as Sand filters or glass filters).
A media filter can use different types of material inside the filter, for example the most common media is sand, followed
by glass media and zelbrite etc.
Regardless of what media you are using in your filter and operation is the same.
A media filter is operated by the multiport valve control on the filter
The multiport valve on the filter normally has 6 positions, filter, rinse, waste, close, backwash and recirculate.
When the valve handle is pointing to filter, the water is directed from the Pool pump into the filter valve through the media, back to the pool. In this position we are filtering the pool water.
How To Clean A Sand Filter
As the pool water passes through the media (which I will call sand) the sand starts to catch the dirt and trap it in the sand. The more dirt that gets trapped the harder it is for the water to pass through the sand.
That’s when the pressure gauge comes into play; somewhere on the filter you will see a pressure gauge, mainly located on the filter valve.
As it is now hard for the water to pass through the filter because of the trapped dirt in the sand
The needle on the gauge will register a higher reading when the needle reaches close the red mark on the gauge (approx 120 kpa ) that is telling us that the filter needs a clean and is full with dirt.
Please note: this instruction is only general, seek professional advice filters may vary
Now the filter is full of dirt we need to clean it and this is how we do it. Always be sure to turn pump off whenever moving the valve handle on the filter, No matter what position you are moving the handle to.
Push the handle down and rotate the handle until it points to the backwash position Locate it correctly and turn the pump on. The water will be directed the opposite way through the filter, lifting the sand Up inside the filter. Because the sand is too heavy the water passes through the sand pushing only the dirt through the backwash pipe down the drain (cleaning the filter.)
On the filter there should be a small sight glass on the valve head or a clear view point on the Backwash pipe, where you can see the dirt being washed out of the filter. This sight glass is the indicator of how long the filter should backwashed or rinsed.
You will see dirty water passing through the sight glass, when it clears you will know you have removed all the dirt from the filter. It usually only takes a few minutes.
Now the filter is dirt free, so now we have to move the handle to rinse. (Remember always turn the pump off when moving the handle). The Rinse pushes the sand back in to place, any extra trapped dirt will be washed again down the drain. The same thing applies, watch the sight glass until it clears. This normally takes around 30 secs.
Now moving the valve handle back to filter for normal operation. We have successfully cleaned the filter. Personally I prefer not to backwash when the filter is too clean, because as the filter builds up with dirt the pressure rises, as there is less area left in the sand, so finer practicals can be trapped.
Waste setting is just what is says, it directs the pool water straight down the drain without passing through the filter. Sometimes used when pool is too full.
Recirculate directs the water from the pump back to the pool without passing through the filter sometime used when adding special chemicals.
Close can be used to stop the flow in the filter; the pool pump cannot be turned on when in this position.
Cartridge filter operation (cleaning a Cartridge filter)
Cartridge filters are quite simple; your filter holds a paper cartridge similar to this pool water passes through the filter. Dirt catches on the outside of the paper cartridge as dirt increases the pressure gauge location on the filter will start to register higher.
When the gauge reaches close to the red mark (approx 120 kpa) we must clean the filter.
Remove the cartridge from the filter, hose the dirty cartridge thoroughly, trying to hose between all the creases it is possible buy some cartridge cleaning agents from a Pool shop to soak the cartridge for an extra clean.
Cartridge filters are a simple design but most people prefer sand filters. Sand filters require far less maintenance and have more features (please see sand filters’ above).
Please note the instructions are a general guide for the average filter, your filer may vary. Seek advice from your pool shop before operating your filter system.
How a Saltwater Chlorinator Works
Firstly to have a saltwater chlorinator working on a pool there must have a level of salt in the water.
The majority of chlorinators run on a salt level of 4000ppm, which is about 250kg of salt in a 50,000 liter pool.
(Please note: this is basic information on how chlorinators work, not scientific)
A saltwater chlorinator is a unit that consists of a small control box and a plastic housing which fits into the pool plumbing.
Inside the plastic housing there are metal plates called anodes and cathodes. An anode is a positive changed plate and a cathode is negative changed plate. This housing is commonly known as a “cell”. The chlorinator control box provides a small electrical current to the cell as the pool water is circulated by the pools filter system, the metal plates in the cell, come in to contact with the pool water.
This is where the magic happens, the small electrical current on the metal plates has a reaction with the salty water which produces chlorine.
Most all control boxes have the ability to regulate the amount of chlorine they produce. Turning the chlorine production up on the box will increase of electrical current to the cell, this will enables you to adjust the correct chlorine level to suit your pool.
Chlorinator boxes have a power point fitted. This is where the pool pump must be plugged. Conveniently, most chlorinators have time clocks, so as well as controlling the chlorine level you can control the hours the pool system runs.
Another feature that are available on most chlorinators is “super chlorinate” if this button is pressed, the chlorinator will produce chlorine at full capacity for a constant 24hours then the chlorinator automatically reverts back to original timer settings.
This is great if you notice your pool going off, or you just need to super chlorinate the water
The difference between self cleaning chlorinators and non cleaning chlorinators
Inside the cell where the chlorine is produced certain chlorinators get a calcium build up on the cathode plates of the cell (which is the negative plates) this must be cleaned off with acid diluted with water.
In a self cleaning chlorinator the negative and positive plates keep swapping polarity so calcium doesn’t get a change to build up on the cathode plate, because the cathode will soon become an anode (which is the positive plate) and so on.