Swimming pool filters and pumps are truly essential pieces of equipment for above ground pool owners. Together, they work to keep pool water clean and free of debris and contaminants. By doing so, filters and pumps for above ground pools help to create and maintain a healthier and more pleasant swimming environment. While swimming pool pumps are responsible for circulating water and driving it through the filtration system, filters are responsible for trapping contaminants and debris particles, thereby preventing their return to the pool.
When above ground pool filters and pumps are used properly, swimmers can enjoy sparkling clean water and a greatly reduced risk of contracting infections while swimming. However, to get the very best performance out of pool filters and pumps, it's important to ensure that they are well suited to your particular pool as well as your swimming pool maintenance routine. That is why it's important to have some basic knowledge about the various types of pumps and filters available, how they work and what pros and cons are associated with each product. The information below is designed to help pool owners make informed decisions when it comes to choosing right equipment for above ground pools.
Above ground swimming pool pumps are powered by electricity and form the heart of a pool's circulation system, taking water from the pool and propelling it through the filter before sending it back to the pool through the return port. While some above ground pool owners prefer to run their pump 24 hours per day, others will operate their pump for six to 12 hours each day. Such reduced operation allows for daily cleaning of the pool water while reducing energy costs. For greater convenience and to reduce the risk of forgetting to operate the pump, many models come with built-in timers.
When selecting a swimming pool pump, keep in mind that bigger does not necessarily mean better. In fact, a pump that is too powerful for a particular pool can cause significant damage to filters, heaters, pipes and fittings. Overly powerful pumps can also prevent proper filtration from occurring. Therefore, if you have any doubts as to how powerful your pool's pump should be, consult with a swimming pool professional. For pool owners who are looking for a replacement above ground pool pump and would like a model with the same horsepower as their existing pump, the pump's horsepower can often be found on the nameplate of the pump motor.
While swimming pool owners have many different models of above ground pool pumps to choose from, there are certain features that can make some pool pumps more attractive than others. For instance, many pool owners prefer to purchase energy efficient pool pumps as such models will allow for energy and cost savings. Quiet operation is also another great feature to look for, as quieter pumps will cause less disruption and will be less noticeable. As pool owners understandably want to get as many years of use out of their pump as possible, corrosion-resistant construction is another great feature as it will enhance a pump's durability.
Above ground pool filters work together with pool pumps to remove debris and contaminants from pool water. Maintaining a clean and healthy swimming environment is absolutely vital, and that is why it's so important to choose a filter that will work well for both you and your pool. While above ground pool filters come with many different brand names, they fall into three main categories -- sand filters, cartridge filters and diatomaceous earth (DE) filters. While all of these filters perform the same task, each type uses a different filtration media and provides different benefits.
Sand filters (such as Hayward Pro Series) use sand-filled chambers to trap dirt, debris and other contaminants. Commonly used by residential pool owners, sand filters for above ground pools are capable of trapping debris particles as small as 20 to 40 microns. As the pool pump drives water through the filtration unit, debris particles become trapped in the sand while clean water is able to pass through the chambers and return to the pool. In order to ensure that sand filters continue to work effectively, periodic backwashing is necessary.
In contrast to sand filters, cartridge swimming pool filters use cartridges made from fibrous, paper-like material to trap debris particles. These filters provide greater filtration surface area than sand filters and can therefore provide more effective water filtration, trapping impurities as small as 10 to 15 microns. Cartridge filters for above ground pools can also operate at a lower pressure than sand filters, and thus exert less strain on the pool pump while providing greater flow. Instead of backwashing, cartridge filters can be periodically rinsed with a regular garden hose to keep them clean and working effectively.
Diatomaceous earth (DE) pool filters provide the highest level of filtration currently available. These filters, which require periodic backwashing, use diatomaceous earth to filter out dirt and debris. Diatomaceous earth is a white silica powder derived from the fossilized exoskeletons of microscopic single-cell plants known as diatoms. DE powder is a porous powder that is highly effective at trapping suspended impurities such as dirt, hair and bacteria. In fact, DE powder is capable of trapping particles as small as 2 to 5 microns, making DE filters the most effective swimming pool filters on the market. Considering their effectiveness and the fact that they are relatively inexpensive to operate, it's not surprising that the popularity of DE pool filters is growing rapidly.