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Why Circulation Is Important For Your Swimming Pool

Have you ever jumped into a refreshing pool, begun your breast stroke under water and realized you have some other persons unwanted hairs caught in your fingers. Instantly the refreshing pool moment vanishes from your head and clean shower has raced to the top of the things to do next.  A swimming pool with poor circulation will not only leave you with unwanted debris and treasures but it can also turn your clear water in to algae pea soup.   There are several steps to keeping your pool fresh, clean, clear, and pure.  However, circulation—old water out and clean water in—is a function that applies to all of the others, making it essentially the most important component to a clean swimming pool.  Here’s why circulation is so important:

  • General Cleanliness—one should run a filter—the main component of circulation, 8-10 hours per day.  As we’ll outline below, this simply pulls water out, filters it, and returns it, clean, to the pool.

  • Distribution of chemicals—your algae-preventing and other chemicals have to be spread evenly throughout your pool, and this is done by the circulation system.

Swimming pool with poor circulation You can’t know how to properly circulate your water without understanding the circulation system.  So here are the main components of the system, how they work, and how to get the best of them:   1) Water Outlets:  These are the places from which water drains from your pool to be filtered (and, as the case may be, heated). Your pool may contain all or some of these outlets: skimmer, main drain, deep water outlet.  You’ll definitely have a skimmer, the little rectangle with a sliding or swinging door.  The pump pulls the water from the skimmer.  The main drain is at the bottom of the pool, and filters, specifically, the water near the bottom.  Your pool may have both a main drain and a deep water outlet, or one of the two.  The deep water outlet is an opening low on one of the side walls. Common circulation problems can stem from the skimmer: allowing it to fill with debris or to be worn or damaged.   2) Pump: The second component of the circulation system is the pump, which draws water from the outlets listed above.  Once the pump draws water in, it takes it through the hair and lint trap, then through its main chamber and then on to the filter. Problems with circulation can also originate in the pump.  One crucial way of avoiding this is “priming the pump” or filling the hair and lint trap with water before running the filter.  You should do this every time.  Also, be sure to lubricate this trap’s lid gasket with a silicone-based lubricant about once a month.   3) Filter: From the pump, the water reaches the filter, which removes debris by sending it through a valve mechanism.  It then shoots the water to your heater, or on to the returns.   4) Returns: Now, we come full circle, with clean water pumping back into your swimmer’s paths.  Returns are small openings on the side of your pool that push the clean water in, two to four in all. It’s best to be sure the jets that power your returns are multi-directional.  If that isn’t the case, you can install a new jet fitting.   It’s also a good practice to position your return jet downward, which will give you a nice mix of water from the bottom and top.

Dead Areas

We’ve covered the components of the circulation system and have looked at small pieces of maintenance that can enhance the functioning of each.  But there’s something else to consider, and that is the so-called dead areas, which are places in your pool that, by definition, are hard to circulate perfectly. Key dead areas include:

  • behind ladder(s)

  • steps

  • under the skimmer

Brush the dead areas The goal in brushing dead areas is to whisk debris out of the dead areas and into the water at large, where it will be circulated by the normal workings of your circulation system.  Try to do this about once a week—these areas of the pool, by definition, get traffic and must be kept clean.   Don't forget about your pools circulation Circulation is a sort of ghost—an unseen force doing its work quietly in the background.  But you’ll be haunted by it if you don’t do the small things to keep your circulation system top-notch.

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