APCO Pools Specialties, Inc.

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Swimming Pool Maintenance: Pool Filter Basics

Your pool’s filter is like its beating heart. Well, OK — technically, your pool’s pump is like its beating heart. Your filter is more like its kidneys, removing impurities and generally keeping the water safe. Thus, keeping your filter running smoothly and regularly should be an important part of your swimming pool maintenance regimen.

Most pools are outdoor pools. That means materials from the surrounding environment can wind up in the water. Things like leaf litter, dust, mold spores, pinecones can fall into your pool or be carried there by winds.

But even if those things don’t end up in the pool, you’ll still be swimming in your pool (that is why you bought it, isn’t it?). People carry debris with them — things like sweat, viruses and bacteria, sunblock, makeup, and so on. And — ahem — sometimes people do things in pools that they should be doing in the bathroom. We’re not here to judge.

All of those pollutants become the responsibility of your pool filter, which might use sand, diatomaceous earth, or a specialized cartridge to keep your water clean. Your pool’s pump ensures that the water will travel in and out of the filter consistently; as it moves through, the filter pulls out pollutants and organic materials.

You should run your pool filter for at least six hours every day; you won’t need to turn in on and off, as most pool service centers will sell timers that will attach to your filter. Occasionally, you’ll also need to backwash your filter, since it’ll accumulate a pretty large amount of dirt. Backwashing your filter cleans out that excess dirt. To do so, simply set your filter to “backwash,” then remove the leaf basket and clean it out. Then turn on your pump and let it run until the waste pipe ejects clear water.

Then clean out the pipes by turning off your pump and setting the filter to rinse. Then clean out the leaf basket again and set your filter back to the “filter” setting.

Remember, though — the filter is primarily meant to handle extremely small particles. Even though it’s meant to keep your pool clean, it can’t handle large debris. So be sure to keep your pool as clean as possible at all times. Pull out any sticks that have fallen in, and use your leaf skimmer to pull off any leaf litter that’s sitting on the surface.

Overall, keeping your pool filter in good working order doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, but the maintenance it does require should be performed regularly. If you maintain your filter, your pool will last years and years.

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