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ALL POOLS REQUIRE A CERTAIN AMOUNT of equipment to run and operate properly. Some equipment is simply for convenience, while other equipment is necessary to the operation of the pool. Consider this a primer on pool equipment basics.


The only difference between a full on swamp and your pool is the fact that pool water circulates. Circulation is necessary in a pool, and no amount of chemical will take the place of frequent circulation. Clearly, one of the first pool equipment basics you need to think about is your pool pump. Sizing this pump depends on how big your pool is, but expect this pump to be a horsepower or two at the minimum. And it doesn’t just push the water round and round – it pushes it through a pool filter system. There are three main kinds of pool filtration methods, and you’ll notice right next to most pool pumps is a large cylindrical canister – the filter housing. Cartridge filters, sand filters, and Diatomaceous Earth filters are the three better known types of pool filters, and which one you select depends on your needs as far as how clean you want the water to be and how much maintenance you want to perform on it.

Once you have a basic pump and filter system, you’re ready to move onto the next part of your pool equipment basics – your pool heater.


In some parts of the country, especially in cooler northern climes, the pool won’t get the use it deserves if the water isn’t heated. Sixty degree pool water is simply no fun, and no amount of swimming in it will get you acclimatized to it no matter what well meaning people say. A pool heater is definitely a consideration here. A pool heater is simply a natural gas or propane fired series of burners that heat circulated water over a manifold which gets cycled back into the pool. The goal with the heater is not to turn your pool into a hot tub, it’s to take the edge off the water and make it comfortable to swim in. Increased temperature comes with increased vigilance, however, and you’ll need to keep an eye out for your chemical levels to ensure algae doesn’t take a foothold.


Sure, you can simply go flick a switch and turn the pool pump on, and then turn it off whenever you feel like it, but pool equipment basics really do need to include an electronic timer for the pumps. Most mechanical systems have gone the way of the dinosaur, now replaced with sleek electronic control panels that are usually mounted within the home. What you want in a basic system is a way to turn the pump on automatically, set the number of hours the pool pump must run, and then forget it. These can be as basic or as advanced as you want, and many are highly programmable with all sorts of custom programs to run the pumps, start the heater, run the spa, and a slew of other bells and whistles.

Pool equipment basics wouldn’t be complete without a mention of pool lighting. Although the summer months are known for long days, you may not always be using your pool during the day. Swimming in a pool at night without lights can be a terrifying experience, and the pool water will appear to be oily black – unless you’ve got a great pool lighting system which not only adds a safety factor to after dark swimming, it enhances the pool and back yard area when turned on.

This is more or less what you need to start out from a pool equipment basics standpoint and start enjoying your pool.

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