H aving a pool in the backyard just gives a sense of luxury and vacation. A refreshing oasis under the burning sun. Clean waters, smooth waters, and lazy afternoons. Yes, it sounds heavenly. But did you ever stop to question how does the water stay so clean? If you are in charge of maintenance, you probably know that it isn’t enough to skim some leaves from the waterline (this is the only cleaning step they show in the movies).
The pool doesn’t have the advantage of a river, a lake receiving the stream of a river, or a sea, namely, its waters don’t move on their own. And, if you’d decide to leave it this way, you can bet in just a few days you would find a stinky marsh where the luxury used to be.
So, water circulation is important. But how does it function in a pool? And how much does it help? Stay with us as we answer these questions.
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How Does Swimming Pool Circulation Work?
Every unit should be provided at least with a basic filtration system. This means that you should install a pump with a skimmer, a filter, and jets.
The efficiency of this method is usually based on the strength of the pump. When choosing it, it is essential to assess first the dimensions of the pool and the number of persons who will be using it regularly. The larger the pool, the more powerful the pump should be. In fact, the more powerful the pump, the more transparent your water will be.
Regarding the filter, you have three options, namely cartridge, sand, and diatomaceous earth. If you pick the first one, you will need to open it every time it gets clogged and clean it. Luckily, this only happens only once or twice a year. Sand filters have more or less the same efficiency as cartridge models, while D.E. filters are renowned for their ability to filter molecular particles. These two options are more convenient as they can be cleaned through the process of backwashing, therefore you will need to open them more seldom.
The jets are the small holes you see exiting from the walls. Most units are provided with more than one jet, and this is essential, as they are the last element in the filtering process.
Now, to explain how this works, we should start with the pump. Once it is on, it will start sucking the water in. Before entering the pump, the water goes first through the skimmer’s basket, which is in charge of removing large debris like leaves, acorns, or pebbles. Once the first filtering step happened, the water enters the pump and is directed towards the filter. Here, fine particles like dust, fine sand, cosmetic solutions, skin particles, and others are filtered, and the water is delivered back into the pool with the help of the jets. Thus, it is continuously circulated, and it does not have time to gather algae and other contaminants that could make it dirty.
Your filter works all day to keep debris away, but you can give it a break from time to time and pick another method to protect the pool. Let us introduce you to solar pool covers, which are an easy and economical way of keeping algae and insects away while increasing the water’s temperature.
Why Is It Important to Maintain a Good Pool Circulation?
Until now we have spoken of the necessity to keep the water running so debris and dirt don’t have the chance to settle on the bottom and the walls. But, besides this indispensable task, water circulation contributes to the following actions as well:
It helps mix the disinfectant with water
Every time you apply a treatment, being it routine or a pool shock, the instructions on the package tell you that you need to keep the pump running for at least 8 hours afterward. Why is this necessary? It will move the water, helping the substances mix with it and cover the entire volume. Thus, every corner of the pool becomes safe, and you don’t have to worry that you may enter a spot where the chlorine concentration has remained too high or one where the water hasn’t been properly disinfected.
It eases maintenance
Every week, you need to get the walls scrubbed and the water vacuumed. This can be a tiresome job if the circulation isn’t done properly. In this case, you will find the tiles or concrete walls filled with algae and dirt, and you will spend more time trying to dislodge them. On the other hand, if you have invested in a powerful pump and have multiple jets feeding clean water back into the pool, the deposits will be reduced and easier to scrub.
Invest in a robotic pool cleaner and leave all the scrubbing and vacuuming on its hands. The investment may seem high, but it will give you back time and impeccable cleanness.
It keeps the water sparkling clean
Even if you perform weekly maintenance by the book, the water is still at risk to become dirty until the next cleaning session. Swimmers leave behind a bunch of dead skin cells and hair, nature will throw some acorns, leaves, and algae, while birds are not known to be the politest creatures in the world, and they may drop something more or less gross in the water.
If the water is circulated and filtered, all the contaminants end up in the basket or the thick layers of the filter, so you can enjoy the swim without worrying that algae may get caught on your leg. Yuck!
It ensures the health of your family
The main reason we throw chlorine or disinfectant into the water is to kill bacteria. They are the ones that can make us sick and spoil all the fun. But bacteria usually grow around things like algae, bird feces, dead leaves, and other elements that end up in the pool and start decomposing. If the water isn’t circulated and filtered, you will be enjoying a not so refreshing bacteria bath, which will not strengthen your immune system, as some may think, but actually, make you sick.
Have you noticed some black spots on the surface of your pool lately? You may be dealing with a very stubborn type of algae. Check out our article about how to kill black algae and get rid of them immediately.
How to Improve Pool Circulation?
Even if you have invested in a super-strong pump, made sure to mount multiple jets, and even went for one of the most efficient filters, this system isn’t always perfect, and you will still need to help it from time to time.
Here is some advice on how to make water circulation better:
- Calculate turnover rate – This will tell you how much it lasts until the pump filters all the water, depending on the pool’s size. It is recommended for the water to be filtered for 3 to 4 times a day. Nevertheless, if you don’t have the necessary information to do this calculus, running the pump for at least eight hours per day is usually enough for residential units.
- Search for dead areas – In most cases, the jets are unable to reach spots like crevices, cracks, the stairs area or under the skimmer. These are known as dead areas, and dirt tends to gather around them. This is why, when performing weekly maintenance, it is indicated to insist on them and brush all the dirt that may have gathered in corners and crevices.
- Scrub the surfaces once a week – This is one of the most important maintenance steps and will help the water remain clear over the week. The brush will dislodge the debris from the wall, so it can be sucked by the pump and filtered by the basket or by the filter.
- Adjust the return jets – They should push the water in a circulator motion to make sure all of it gets circulated and not only a specific area. This can help improve the turnover rate as well.
- Clear the basket and clean the filter on time – If one of these elements is clogged, then the whole system is compromised. If the water seems cloudy or particularly dirty even if you have run the pump for more than eight hours a day and applied shock treatment periodically, then the filter may not be working properly. So, check it out. In some cases, if it is damaged, you may need to replace it. At the same time, pay attention to the baskets, which can get full and block the water’s entrance into the pump.
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The Bottom Line
As you have noticed, keeping your pool always fresh is not rocket science. It does require an initial investment, and this is where you don’t want to be cheap. Get a pump that can circulate the water multiple times in a day and go for a high-quality filter. Your family will thank you, and even you will thank yourself when you will discover how easy maintenance can be when you have reliable help.
At the same time, don’t forget to do your part of the job. Clean the surfaces, scrub where it is necessary, vacuum, or leave all these to the hand of a robotic cleaner. Nevertheless, always remember to throw sanitizer into the water and shock the pool periodically to prevent algae and other pollutants to settle in.