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3. Circulation system

The Importance of the Pool Circulation System

Residential pools should look to turnover the entire volume of the pool twice a day and commercial pools require the entire volume of the water to circulate three to four times a day.

Your pool’s circulation system is the elements of your pool that take water from the pool, filter it, sanitise it, heat it and return the water back to the pool. We’ll go over each of these elements and describe how they function and what you need to do with them.

Water outlets:

Water outlets are any pool opening where water goes out of the pool for circulation, some examples are:

a.) Skimmer: The skimmer is used to circulate water from the top of the pool and to “skim” debris off the water surface. It is critical that the skimmer be in good operating condition and functioning properly; the skimmer basket must be in place at all times and free from damage and the skimmer weir, (flap in the throat of the skimmer that maximizes skimming action), is in place and working freely. The skimmer is the place we recommend that you use to vacuum the pool to insure any large debris that may be vacuumed up is caught in the skimmer basket thus avoiding a potential plugged circulation line.

b.) Main Drain: The main drain is typically located at the deepest point of the pool and is used to lower the water level, however its primary purpose is to circulate water from the bottom of the pool. It is recommended that about 1/3rd of the circulated water come from the main drain. Some residential pools do not have main drains, instead relying on a deep water outlet to drain the pool and for extra circulation.

c.) Deep Water Outlet: A deep water outlet is located on the lower portion of the side wall and is used to circulate water and to lower the water level. A grate insert fitting must be installed to prevent suction entrapment.

d.) Vacuum Outlet: A vacuum outlet is installed on some pools and is intended to be used primarily as a suction port for vacuuming the pool. Extreme care must be taken when vacuuming a pool through the vacuum outlet so as not to vacuum up large debris that may become lodged in the circulation plumbing. We recommend you vacuum through the skimmer using a vacuum plate and skimmer basket if large debris is a concern.

e.) You may have other suction outlets designed into your pool for a unique purpose such as to feed a booster pump for a waterfall. The possibilities for this are endless and far to numerous to cover here. If you have any suspected water outlets beyond what we have discussed here consult with a reputable pool builder or service company for operating procedures.

Circulation Pump:

Your pool has a circulation pump that is responsible for moving pool water throughout the circulation system, (this is not to be confused with auxiliary pumps such as cleaner booster pumps, jet pumps, waterfall pumps, etc.). Water is drawn in from the pools outlets into the front of the pump, through the hair/lint trap, through the pumping chamber and out the top of the pool pump on its way to the filter. Two important things with pool pumps. First never run the pump without having the hair/lint trap basket securely in place. The trap basket collects all large debris in pool water before it can go into the pump impeller plugging it. Inspect the trap basket carefully looking for cracks or other damage that could allow debris through, replace if necessary. Secondly, never run the pool pump without first having filled the hair/lint trap with water, (“prime ” the pump). Most inground pool pumps are self priming pumps, this means that the pump is capable of pulling water up to the pump above the pool?s water level; However you still must fill the hair/lint trap first to give it an initial prime. Above ground pools and in rare cases inground pools have flooded suction pumps. These pumps need to be located below the pool water level because they are not capable of “pulling” a prime on their own and depend on gravity to keep them primed. The only maintenance for a circulating pump is to clean out the hair/lint trap basket as necessary and to lubricate the hair/lint trap lid gasket or o-ring with a non-petroleum based lubricant about once a month, (we recommend teflon or silicone based lubricants).

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