So, you’ve finished your new pool, and now you’re ready for the summer. The tiles are detailed, grouted, polished. Finally, you are prepared for those fun summer days that you and your family have been looking forward to since you’ve started talking about putting a pool in your yard.
Suddenly, you see some leaves in your pool and start to think about the upkeep. You remember seeing the black algae and calcium deposits lining tiles in public pools and the salty, almost sweat-like taste of the water that didn’t seem like it was properly chlorinated. You begin to wonder if your pool might turn out the same way and what you can do to prevent it.
Filtration systems, water pumps, and sanitation equipment are manufactured to help you keep your pool in perfect shape. Reading about pool equipment might not be the most exciting thing in the world, especially when all you want to do is go for a swim, but it’s a must if you want to keep your brand new pool clean and sparkling.
In this guide, you will learn what types of equipment to buy to keep your pool usable, what additions to get so it can look fresh all year, and what playtime accessories are safe for your guests and pool.
Your Essentials and Must-Haves
Below are some of the items you’ll need to keep your pool from falling into disrepair. You can do many of their tasks yourself, but it will require a mammoth amount of time and effort. Without this equipment, your pool might become a home for bacteria, dead insects, and dead leaves.
Swimming Pool Filter Systems
Media filters are one of two types of pool filtration systems that will remove all kinds of solid matter from your pool. Whether it’s dead leaves floating on the surface, or a paper boat that sank to the floor, these fine filters will catch it.
Media filters commonly come in fibreglass, plastic, and metal shells that are full of loose filtration media supported by a medium on the bottom. In today’s most popular models, that supporting medium would be gravel.
You can pick from recycled glass, sand, diatomaceous earth, glass beads, zeolite, or a combination of each for your filtration media. What you choose should depend on what sediments are most likely to fall into your pool and how often you’re willing to replace your media.
For example, silica sand is the most reliable filtration media, and it comes in different grades that will filter different sizes of sediments. Number 20 silica will filter particles as small as 20 microns, which is useful for crushed up leaves, hair, and insect body parts, but not algae, which is just 10 microns.
Zeolite is either lab-produced or natural volcanic material that can filter as small as 5 microns, which makes it more efficient than silica but also more expensive.
Recycled glass is an eco-friendly option that will filter particles as tiny as 9 microns. It also creates the smallest amount of waste because it will take ten years before it needs replacement, unlike silica that only takes five years, and zeolite which takes six or seven.
Cartridge filters are the cylindrical systems you see in spas, mountain pools, and indoor swimming pools. A replaceable filter sits inside the cylinder. They’re excellent because of their low cost, versatility, and lower water usage compared to media filters.
Let’s review some of the common cartridge pool filtration systems:
- Pleated filters are suitable for large pools since they have a high flow rate and can remove particulates from the pool’s surface easily
- Melt blown filters are suited for residential pools and have a more efficient middle depth filtration rate than a pleated filter, but they do lower water pressure
- Wound filters are great for keeping your pool crystal clear and free of any cloudy turbidity
- Activated carbon filters will remove any taste, odour, and chlorine from your pool
- Carbon block filters work like activated carbon filters and are better at removing chlorine, but they can lower your water pressure
- Water softening and iron reduction filters eliminate iron from the water, which will eventually form orange stains on the pool tiles if it stays in the system
- Hot water cartridges will filter out sediments from water at high temperatures
- Oil removal filters will eliminate 99% of hydrocarbons in your pool
- Cryptosporidium filters kill the Cryptosporidium parasite that lives in water and might cause illness to people who ingest it
A Water Pump
A water pump and a pool filter work together to keep your pool safe and free of any bacteria and sediments. Without a water pump, your filter is useless because no water will be able to pass through it.
Finding the right water pump means knowing the specifications of your filter and looking for a pump that won’t prematurely age or destroy it. If your pool filter can’t handle high water pressure, it will put a strain on your pump, which might destroy the filter and the pump itself.
A water pump is significantly more expensive than a pool filter. Replacing a destroyed filter might set you back a few hundred dollars, but a broken pump can cost as much as $1,200, especially if it is a submersible or variable speed model.
If you read the product description of your pool filtration system, you will find a maximum flow rating, which indicates the most amount of water that can pass through the filter per minute. If your water pump has a standard strength of 300 litres per minute, you should get a filter with the same rating or higher. Also, you should always use the pipes and tubes that came with your water pump because it can overheat if you starve it of water.
Most people keep their pools bacteria-free and usable by installing a disinfection system. In the past, chlorine was the only way to keep pool water sanitary, but times have changed, and you have more options now that are more eco-friendly, cost-efficient, and longer-lasting.
Saltwater chlorinators convert the salt in your pool water to chlorine that will kill any mould, viruses, and bacteria that might be forming in your pool. All you need to do is put salt into your swimming pool, turn on the water pump, and let the chlorinator do its job.
A chlorinator will convert sodium chlorine into hypochlorous acid by electrolysis. Hypochlorous acid is the same chemical found in industrial bleach solutions, but for your pool, it will be many times milder.
Bromine or Chlorine Dosing
Without using a cleansing agent with your pool filtration system, you and your guests will be sitting in a tub of soap and shampoo residue, skin cells, saliva, and bacteria. Manual bromine or chlorine dosing is the solution for people who don’t want salt water chlorinators and choose to clean their pools manually.
Chlorine is the standard cleansing agent for most residential and commercial pools, while bromide is more suited for hot tubs and Jacuzzis. You can dose your pool with chlorine by putting in 40 grams of chlorine powder for every 10 cubic meters of water. Leave it overnight and allow it to spread thoroughly, then by morning, check if your pool’s pH is between 7.2 and 7.6.
Automated Chlorine Dosing
An automated chlorine dosing system is one of the most expensive cleaning instruments you can get for your pool but will pay dividends in the long run. A complete setup will come with chlorine probes, pH level probes, temperature sensors, and bund tanks where chlorine is stored.
Automated chlorine systems take all the guesswork out of cleaning your pool for you, and it will reduce the need for chlorine shocks as the system will keep your pool’s pH levels stable 100% of the time.
The ancient Greeks stored water inside pots that contained silver coins. They were ionising the water, which saved it from algae and other bacteria. The Greeks did not know the scientific process behind this, but they did it because it worked.
An ionising system will clean your pool without the use of chemicals. Chlorine can sometimes cause skin irritation and burning eyes. You would only need to add oxidisers to your ionised pool to complete the cleaning process, which will leave it with about 0.5 to 1 ppm of chlorine.
Ozone generators are preferred by many commercial establishments in other countries, most surprisingly in Europe. Smaller versions for residential use are slowly coming up in the market as its technology advances.
With this system, oxygen is turned into ozone and converted into a water-soluble form using a compressor. Ozone kills viruses and bacteria without affecting your pool’s pH balance.
Your Non-Essentials and Accessories
Once your pool filtration system is ready, you can invest in accessories and peripherals that will improve the look and feel of your pool, such as heaters and lights. Automatic pool vacuums are also a popular addition for people who want to save themselves from wire brushes, pool booms, and leaf scoops.
Retractable Pool Covers
Pool covers might seem unnecessary, but they can help you save big on water and energy bills. Most pools in Sydney will reach a temperature of 26 degrees Celsius during the summer and will cool down by evaporation at night. A retractable cover will regulate the temperature of your pool by trapping the heat from the sun and preventing the water from cooling too fast.
It will also shield your pool water from chemical evaporation, as well as leaves, dust, and other debris, which will reduce your filtering time.
Solar heaters are the conventional choice for commercial and residential pool owners. They consist of a PVC/TPR or EDPM rubber element on the roof of a house that collects heat and a dedicated pump to circulate the hot water down to the pool. Solar heaters are famous for their longevity and energy efficiency, along with their ability to prolong the average swimming season by up to 5 months.
Heat pumps collect heat from the surrounding environment and then transfers it to your pool. They are known to be the most energy-efficient heating solution next to solar heaters as their heat output is nearly three to four times the energy they require.
Compared to solar heaters and heat pumps, gas heaters might cost a bit more to run, but they are the quickest way to heat your pool bar none. Gas heaters run on liquefied petroleum gas, which is much cheaper than electricity. They are excellent for heating a pool occasionally, and they are a great choice if you want to do it fast.
Vacuums In-floor Cleaning Systems
Vacuums connect to your filter system to suck up debris using a hose connected to a separate filter basket. Most vacuums will chart a random course in the pool, but some models have been enhanced with artificial intelligence, allowing them to learn the shape and size of your pool.
An in-floor cleaning system will push the debris, sediments, and deposits in your pool to a designated collection zone and then send them to the drain. It will come out at the side of your pool in a canister.
Pool lights are useful for late-night parties, especially if people will be diving or swimming around others. Having a clear indicator of where the floor and walls are can prevent accidents.
Pool lights usually sit at the deep end of the pool and are hardwired into an outlet. People seem to love colour-changing LED pool lights as they can change the look and atmosphere of an entire pool area. Although they are more expensive than halogen bulbs, LEDs can last longer and use up to 80% less electricity.
If you do not want a hardwired light, you can also buy floating lights that shine down into the water. These are less effective, but there are some affordable options on the market.
If you want any of these accessories, you should decide before building your pool. In-floor cleaning systems, in-pool lights, and pool heaters are wise investments if you install them as you’re building your pool. The cost significantly goes up if a contractor has to tear up sections of your pool to install pipes and heating elements.