Your first pool, now what?

Mark Larm Mar 02, 2023
3 People Read

So you bought a house with a swimming pool, now what?  Hopefully the water is clean and inviting.  The trick is keeping it that way.  Let’s start with the very basics, identifying the equipment and what it does.  First you will have at least a pump to draw the water from the pool to a filter that cleans the water before sending it back to the pool.  Some of you may have three or four pumps, two filters and a heater.  No matter your situation, don’t be scared.  I know many homeowners who look at the equipment like they just popped the hood of a BMW.  


Pool pump or circulation pump: In a basic situation it will have a pipe coming out of the ground into the filter and back into the ground.  The horizontal pipe goes into the front of the pump, this is from the pool.  Right after that is going to be the pump basket.  The pump basket catches all the leaves and debris that gets past the skimmer basket.  Always make sure the pump is off when opening the pump basket to clean out leaves or the system will suck air causing it to lose prime, meaning that the pump is running but not working. The next pipe comes out of the top of the pump and connects to the filter.  This is your basic pump situation but yours may be more complicated than that so let’s go a little deeper.  If the front pipe (horizontal) has a tee off of it then you probably have a spa. This means you also have a Jandy valve allowing you to choose where you want the water to come from, spa or pool.  Some of you may have another tee coming off one of those pipes, that is the pool side.  This means you have an automatic pool cleaner or vacuum separate from the skimmer (your main inlet from the pool) and another Jandy valve to adjust how much water or suction you want coming from which device.  If your pool vacuum isn’t working then adjust the valve increasing suction from vacuum until it starts moving.  Assuming you don’t have a problem with the vacuum itself, like a gopher stuck in the bottom of it.  

If you have multiple pumps they all work the same, horizontal pipe comes from pool and the vertical pipe goes back to pool and you have a pump basket in the middle.  These pumps go to a spa, vanishing edge, slide or any other water feature and don’t get used as much so if the basket turns green it just needs to get turned on once in a while. 

Filters:  Filters do just that, filter the water.  The cleaner the water the easier it is to keep clean and the less chemicals you will need to use.  The three main types of filter are, DE, cartridge and sand.  Identifying if you have a DE or cartridge filter is easy.  If the horizontal pipe from the pump goes directly into the filter then it’s a cartridge filter.  If the pipe from the pump goes into something else with a handle on it then it is a DE filter. 

The DE (Diatomaceous Earth) filter is the most popular because it cleans down to about 10 microns.  Inside the filter is a set of grids that are basically just leaf collectors until they get coated with the DE, a powder that gets poured in through the skimmer and coats the grids giving them their great cleaning ability.  

The Cartridge filter has one to four slim cylindrical cartridges inside it.  They are a paper cartridge that requires no DE to coat them.  They only clean down to around 20 microns but are a lot easier to clean due to the fact that you don’t have a pile of white powder to clean up or worry about getting rid of.  Today you can add a clarifier to your pool water that will bring down the microns to match that of the DE filter making it more and more popular with today's pool owners.

The Sand filter, the good and the bad.  Bad news first, they only clean down to about 40 microns, that’s bad.  You can find great reviews on them because if you live in Hawaii or on the coast they do work ok.  This is because of the cool temperatures and the clean air algae doesn’t grow easily anyway.  The good news is that they are easy to clean, just backwash for a couple of minutes and you're done.  If you already have one and don’t live at the beach then use a good algaecide and add a clarifier to your pool weekly.  

Click on link to view a video 

Happy Pools