Pool circulation is a common term in the swimming pool industry. Almost every pool owner has come across the phrase ‘pool circulation is important in keeping pool water clean.’ However, very few people know what it’s all about. So, I’ve decided to take a moment and put together everything there is to know about pool circulation in one post. Read through it, and in the end, you will get an idea of why it’s a big deal to keep the pool water moving, how pool circulation works, and how you can improve it to enjoy more benefits.
What is pool circulation?
Pool circulation is the process of pulling water out of the swimming pool and pushing it through pool equipment and features for cleaning, sanitizing and heating, before taking it back to the same swimming pool.
How Does a Pool Circulation System Work?
Pool circulations are pretty straightforward. All you need is to follow the pool plumbing from the suction side to the pressure size.
Suctions Side (Pool Skimmer and Pump)
It all starts at the pool skimmer. The pool pump is the pool circulation system’s heart; it pulls water by sucking it through the skimmer. The skimmer has a door and a basket that removes debris and prevents them from getting to the swimming pool again.
When the water enters the pump basket, the impeller does the challenging work of pushing it out to the pressure side of the pool circulation system.
Some water might also come through the main drain, usually at the pool bottom but not available in all swimming pools, especially above-ground pools.
Pressure Size (Pool Pump, Filter, other Pool Equipment, and return jets)
When the impeller pushes the water, the pressure takes it through the pool filter for cleaning. Here the small debris and contaminants are cleaned by the filter media before releasing clean water.
From here, the water passes through other pool equipment such as the pool heater, chlorinator, or any other equipment you may have in your swimming pool.
After passing through the pool equipment, the pool water enters the swimming pool through a series of return jets. They help keep the water moving and help direct the pool water in a specific direction to improve circulation.
Pool Circulation System Parts
|Circulation System Part
|Where It’s Located in a Pool
|Its Purpose in Pool Circulation
|One side of the swimming pool walls
|• It creates surface tension and draws water into the pool’s plumbing system.
• It does also remove that massive debris such as leaves and twigs.
|2) Main Drain
|At the pool bottom. Not all pools have a main drain
|• It offers an alternate route for the water out of the pool to the pump.
• It’s there to maximize the water circulation
|Next equipment after the pool skimmer. Typically above water level for inground pools and below water level for above-ground pools.
|• It creates a vacuum needed to pull water out of the swimming pool.
• It creates pressure to push the water through various pool equipment and pool plumbing before returning it to the swimming pool.
|Next to the pool pump
|• It cleans the pool water of the tiny debris that might have escaped the skimmers
• It removes microscopic contaminants that might have entered the pool water.
|5) Pool Feature and Equipment: Chlorinator, Chlorine, generator, sanitizer, Ozonator, heater
|They come after the pool filter with the chlorinator, and Ozonators coming is after the pool heater.
|• They might be there to heat, sanitize or decorate your swimming pool.
|6) Return jets
|On the pool sidewall opposite the skimmer and below the water surface
|• They provide a return route for the cleaned, heated, and treated water back to the pool.
Why Is It Important to Maintain Proper Pool Circulation?
Keeping the water moving is a crucial part of maintaining a swimming pool. It has its benefits in keeping the water swimmable, reduces maintenance, and much more. Here are some reasons why pool circulation is essential:
1. Provide a Better Pool Experience
Circulation is an integral part of any pool, and it can be beneficial to your health while you’re swimming in the water. If you don’t have circulation, then that means there’s no movement or change in how dirty and clean water mixes together.
It also prevents harmful bacteria from growing, causing skin irritations for swimmers who want to enjoy their time at the pool instead of worrying about what filth they might come into contact with.
When the water is moving, the dirt is constantly being cleaned out of the pool. What’s more, the pool is kept sanitized from all the corners since sanitizer is being evenly distributed.
2. Help keep Pools Clean
Circulation also helps keep pools clean and free from contaminants. When water is stagnant, it allows the growth of algae.
That calls for pool owners to put more time and effort into maintaining a healthy swimming environment for swimmers, or their business will suffer because people avoid using dirty swimming facilities.
However, if you maintain proper circulation, the pool filter and skimmers will do their work and keep the swimming clean, thus preventing the accumulation of leaves and other debris and algae growth. In the long last, you will have an easy time keeping the pool clean.
3. Helps pool filter to work more efficiently
Another benefit of circulation is that it helps the pool filter work more efficiently and effectively because dirty water gets exposed to the cleaner consistently.
When the pump pushes the water, it passes through the filter, where it’s cleaned of the tiny debris and algae spores as it’s supposed to but effectively and efficiently.
4. Proper Sanitation and Disinfection
When water is circulated, it reaches every part of the pool, including its chemicals. That makes sure that all bacteria are killed by chlorine or any sanitizer used, thus protecting the swimmers. That’s why it’s crucial to keep the water moving for 24 hours after shocking it.
The circulation also ensures a consistent amount of the pool chemicals in the whole pool at any given time, which keeps everyone comfortable while being in the water. That helps keep them fresh, safe, and clean for swimmers who want an enjoyable swim without any distractions.
5. Ensures Stable Water Temperature
Having constant moving water also means that everyone enjoys a consistent swimming experience. It eliminated drastic changes in temperature between one end and another. It will also help improve the pool heater efficiency.
When the heated water is circulated through the pool, touching all the corners, it will be easier for the pool heater to detect when the ideal temperature has been met and shut down until the next reheating.
6. Keeps Pool Cleaner Longer
When there’s constant movement in your swimming pool, contaminants are forced towards filter equipment instead of settling onto surfaces, which takes longer for them to build up.
This makes maintaining cleanliness easier because less dirt will be present over time, which reduces the number of chemicals that go into the sanitizing process, making it more efficient.
7. Pool Maintenance Made Easier
Another reason why pool circulation matters is, you can maintain your pool much more effortlessly. The skimmer removes the huge debris, including leaves and twigs. If some dirt and water contaminants find their way through to the plumbing, the pump basket and the pool filter will do the rest. That can only be possible when there is proper pool circulation.
When all the dirt is removed from the pool, your next pool maintenance becomes a breeze. The best part is, if you’re balancing the pool chemicals, the same pool circulation will make the work easier for you.
It will help you circulate the chemicals to all the pool corners to make sure all the water in your pool is mixed with the chemicals.
8. Can Help Cool Down Your Swimming Pool during Hot Summer
If you live in areas where it gets scorching to the point that you need to cool down the pool to make it swimmable (very possible), proper pool circulation can help keep the temperature low.
You can install pool features that will help aerate the pool water during cold nights. In summer, the night is relatively cold, and that would be a perfect time to enjoy a cold swimming pool. A pool fountain or slide will only be possible when the water is moving.
How to Improve Pool Circulation?
Now you understand why it’s essential to keep the pool water moving. At the time, the water might be moving but not ideally well. You can know this by looking at the pool bottom for debris or when you don’t see any water movement when there is no activity in the swimming pool. So, what can you do to improve your pool circulation?
1. Use a booster pump
One way to improve circulation in a pool is by using a booster pump. The booster pump circulates water from the bottom of the pool up through the filter and then back down again at significant pressure than what was initially put into it so that you can have cleaner water throughout your entire pool.
You should check this device frequently for proper function and any electrical cords or hoses involved with it because these parts can break easily if they are not checked.
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2. Use an automatic cleaner
Another way to improve circulation in a pool is by using an automatic cleaner. This device can be programmed only to clean the bottom of your swimming pool and not put unnecessary strain on your pump or filter system.
Improving its overall function as well as extend the life of those components. You should still check this device frequently for proper operation because these parts can break easily if not checked regularly.
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3. Improve the Water Flow
A less expensive option than buying a booster pump and an automated cleaning machine would be to periodically move around the pumps within your equipment room regarding where you initially placed them. Moving one or more closer to another may help increase their performance better than what they were originally doing if they are not appropriately positioned.
You can also try to change where your equipment is facing from time to time well. Moving air around by simply rotating one machine might improve its circulation better than initially. However, this will likely cause more strain on that device and may result in a higher frequency of repairs or replacements over time.
When improving pool circulation, the main thing you want to remember is to focus on how much water pressure each component has rather than just thinking about all the pumps together. There needs to be enough force going through them so that everything operates effectively at their highest potentials accordingly.
Every part within your system plays a vital role with respect to maintaining a clean swimming pool, so you do not want to neglect anything.
4. Brush Dead Areas
If you have areas in your pool that are consistently dirty or just not being cleaned by the current circulation system, one way to improve this would be to brush it yourself.
You can do this manually with a push broom and scrubbing pad without putting too much strain on your equipment.
If you do so periodically while also cleaning any other parts of the swimming pool while using different tools designed for each specific section accordingly, you can reduce the overall pool maintenance.
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5. Check Your System for Clogs Regularly
Most pool owners forget to check their system for clogs, which can lead to poor circulation. While this might not seem like a big deal initially, it’s important to remember that if the filter isn’t working correctly, then you’re going to have issues with your water balance and chemical treatment as well.
So make sure you are checking your pool’s circulation system, including filter, regularly so good water circulation is maintained throughout the entire season.
6. Use a Variable Speed Pump
Variable speed pumps are an excellent way to improve your pool’s circulation. This type of pump will allow you to set the speed according to demand, ensuring that it is used only when necessary and saving energy in the process.
You can also use a variable speed pump if its current flow rate isn’t high enough for optimal filtration at certain times throughout the season. It’s also excellent at reducing the monthly electric bills incurred by running a pool pump continuously at high speed.
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7. Proper Jet Settings
Most swimming pools have several jets, with the primary ones being the return jets, which circulate water throughout the entire pool. However, this is not enough to circulate all of the water. You want to place the jets in such a way that they form a circular motion when the pump is turned on.
When you look at the jets, they might not seem as much. But these little plastic outlets in your pool water are responsible for controlling how water enters your swimming pool.
They can help distribute the pool chemicals through the pool water preventing chemical hot spots. The bubbling keeps the water surface moving, thus pushing the debris towards the skimmer.
Pro tip: If you are adding a new pool, consider getting one with an in-floor cleaning system. The pools jets help push the debris through the cleaning system, thus helping circulate water and boosting the filtering simultaneously! That will your pool maintenance easy, thus eliminating the need to vacuum your entire pool every week.
8. Watch Out for the Pool Turnover Rate
If you have a pool, then the turnover rate determines how quickly it can be cleaned. The higher your turnover rate goes, the more likely it will be for everything to run smoothly throughout its entire system.
However, this may not always happen depending on many factors beyond anyone’s control accordingly, thus why regular maintenance of each part within your overall system should take precedent over anything else.
Determine how long it takes for your entire pool water system to circulate through the filter again. You want to make sure the pool water passes through the filter 8-12 hours per day to get the circulation right.
How do I increase circulation in my above-ground pool?
There are two main options for increasing circulation in an above-ground pool. The first is to increase water flow through your filter pump, and the second option is to add a booster pump. You can increase the water flow by checking for clogs in the filter and inspect your pump’s impeller. A booster pump will circulate your pool more quickly than a filter pump. However, it will require electricity to run, which may increase your monthly electric bill.
How often should pool water circulate?
The more often you run your filter and pump, the cleaner their pool will be. However, that can land you into huge electric bills come next month. Pool circulation runtimes should vary depending on the pool circulation flow rate, turnover rate, number of people swimming in it, weather conditions, the total surface area of water to filter through, etc.
A good rule of thumb is once an hour for every 1000 gallons or less if someone has been in the pool within 45 minutes prior. Pool filters work better when there isn’t a lot of dirt getting clogged up inside them, which can cause breakdowns. Consider running your pump for 8 – 12 hours a day to meet the turnover rate required to keep the pool water clean.