Five insights on how your pool works

Pools work by using a combination of filtration and chemical treatment to constantly clean the water. Pools have a motorised pump, a water filter, drains and a plumbing system to connect everything together and interact to ensure that the pool runs continuously and efficiently. Here we look at five key elements of the plant room that ensures your pool performs efficiently.


The pool pump delivers and maintains a flow of water around the pool system. The pump should be programmed to run for a minimum of 12 hours per day; the longer it runs the better the pool will perform. The pool pump pushes the pool water towards the skimmers, catching larger debris in the strainer basket. Simultaneously, the main drain at the bottom of the pool collects the colder water for better mixing. This ensures that the water is heated evenly and sanitisation the chemicals are properly distributed. The pool pump collects and sucks up water and sends it directly to the filter.


The filter screens out impurities, ensuring that the pool water is clean. Any dirt and foreign bodies in the water are trapped by the filer media (eg sand, glass). When serviced, the pool engineer will backwash the filter to clear out dirt captured in the media, keeping the pool safe. If the pool has a cartridge filter, the cartridge element should be removed and cleaned regularly.

Water heating

After the clean water has passed through the filter, it is heated. Gas and oil pool heaters burn fuel to heat the water as it passes through special pipes in the unit. Electric heaters pass the water over a heating element. Heat pumps use a relatively small amount of electricity to compress a gas which then expands and draws heat from the air to heat the water. Solar heaters or ground source heat pumps take heat from the ground. Which is specified will depend on the type and design of pool.

Water treatment

Pool water must be sanitised to ensure the water remains healthy and safe all the time. The most widely used water treatment for private pools is chlorine, although there are alternatives such as bromine. In addition to chlorine or bromine, ultraviolet (UV) and ozone are used – they allow you to run the chlorine or bromine level at a much lower level. Your service engineer will advise what is best for your pool.

Water balance

pH is the most important element in pool water chemistry – it affects every other chemical balance in the pool water. The pH scale measures the pool’s acidity or alkalinity level. In pools, a slightly alkaline level between 7.2 and 7.6 is ideal because this range is the most comfortable for the human eye, provides optimum use of free chlorine and provides water that is non-corrosive or scale forming.

Your pool needs regular servicing to keep it in great condition. Choose your pool engineer with care; ensure that engineers are fully qualified and experienced.

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