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Understanding Pool Anatomy

Updated: Aug 16, 2020

Just like the human body, your pool is a precision system — with every part working together to keep it running smoothly. Similar to how your heart pumps to circulate your blood, your pool's filtration system circulates the water in your pool to make it comfortable, clean, and ready for hours of enjoyment. And just as you need regular checkups to maintain your health, your pool requires regular maintenance as well.

To simplify pool maintenance and operation, a swimming pool must have adequate working equipment along with the right chemical balance. Water clarity refers to how it appears, while water quality is how clean it is. Water quality is maintained through a proper balance of chemistry, circulation, and filtration—if the water is appropriately "balanced" you should see the bottom of the pool.


The filtration system is made up of several parts, just like the human circulatory system. There's a pump, a filter, a chlorinator, and possibly a heater. The filtration system's primary purpose is to remove dirt and debris by filtering water and distributing the chemicals that will keep your pool sanitised.

Whatever type of in-ground pool you might have, its equipment should be made of quality, non-corrosive materials. Whether you are building a new pool or remodelling an older one, it's essential to use high-quality, durable and energy-efficient equipment to conserve energy and maintain reasonable electricity bills.


A pool pump is a type of centrifugal pump, that circulates the water through the filtration system where it will be cleaned and heated (if it's equipped with a heater). A pump is usually located on the intake side of the filter, which allows it to push pool water through the filter, heater, and other components. There are a few options when choosing a pump — single speed, two speed and variable speed. Compared to single and two speed pumps, variable speed pumps provide the highest energy savings by allowing the motor to automatically adjust to operate at lower, energy-efficient and cost-saving speeds, depending on the immediate needs of the filtration system.


Working in conjunction with the pump, the filter traps debris, hair, dirt, sand and other fine particles that you can't see. Pool water enters the filter, moves through the filter medium, and is comes out clean as it leaves the filter tank. There are three types of pool filters:

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) can trap the finest particles and provide the best filtration resulting in clear, glassy water.

High-rate sand filters are popular because they are easy to install and maintain, and don't need frequent replacing.

Cartridge filters are a cost-effective and popular choice; cartridge filters require no backwashing.

When selecting a filter, make sure it's appropriate for the number of litres per minute that the pump is equipped to deliver. Your filter selection may depend on city or regional code requirements, the preference or recommendation of your builder or the specifications of the manufacturer of the pump and/or filter. Remember, your filter won't remove bacteria or other organisms, that's where chemicals come into play.


The job of the chlorinator is to add sanitising agents to your water. There are different options for chlorinators that either require you to replenish chlorine with chlorine tabs, liquid chlorine, or ones that create the chlorine through a natural process using salt technology (Salt Chlorinator).


A heater can extend the swim season and allow you to swim comfortably early in the morning or at night. Pools can be heated by gas, electricity, or the sun in some areas. Gas heaters and electric heat pumps are the most common types of heaters, and each has its advantages based on your specific application. Your builder or pool pro will help you determine the appropriate heater type and size for your pool. 


Another vital part of the pool support system is the skimmer, which is usually built into the pool and is designed with a basket to remove debris quickly. A skimmer connects to the pump intake and draws debris into the filtration system. Skimmers can be sold as extra parts or adaptors for automatic or robotic pool cleaners.

These basic pieces of equipment are vital parts of your swimming pool. Maintain them, treat them well, and they'll work together to give you a beautiful, healthy pool.

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