Swimming Pool Pumps - Pool Pumps and Filters

Swimming pool pumps force the water from your pool and spa through your pool filters at an extremely high pressure. These pool pumps are considered centrifugal pool filter pumps that convert mechanical energy into hydraulic energy. This hydraulic energy is created by the centripetal force that is exerted on the water in the volute of the pump. Pumps are classed under two major categories.

The names of these categories are Rotodynamic and Positive Displacement pumps.

Pool pumps are usually classed as rotodynamic pumps. Simply because they are of a centrifugal design.

Arguably swimming pool filter pumps are the most common of all the pumps used in a pool and spa mechanical systems.

Centrifugal swimming pool pumps have a major disadvantage though. That is, they use a significant amount of electrical energy.

Design Of A Swimming Pool Pump

A swimming pool filter pump can be used for a variety of applications. Because of this, pool pumps have a plethora of different designed shapes and sizes. They can range in size from exceptionally large to ridiculously small. They are capable of pumping large volumes of water under extremely high or low pressures.

Applications For Swimming Pool Pumps

The installation of a swimming pool filter pumps is usually done on recreational facilities such as:

  • Public slides.
  • Lazy river rides.
  • Swimming pools.
  • Spas.
  • Waterfalls.
  • Water fountains.
  • Hot Tubs

A swimming pool filter pump can also be installed on a maxi sweep machine. This is a portable pool vacuuming system that is used in swimming pool care for cleaning. Pool filter pumps consist of two major parts, the motor end, and the pump or wet end. When these two parts are connected, the motor becomes the driving force that moves the internal components in the pump end.

Parts Of Swimming Pool Pumps

It is particularly important for you as a pool and spa owner, to familiarize yourself with the various parts of your swimming pool pump.

This is an absolute must if you are going to service or repair your pool filter pump yourself.

The most important parts of your pool circulation pump are as follows:

  • The motor. This part of the pump can be from any manufacturer in the motor business. Some of the most recognized ones are Hayward, Jacuzzi, Jandy, Sta-Rite, and Pentair. Motors that are fitted to your swimming pool pumps come, in different horsepower. 

Ordinarily a specific motor with a particular horsepower will be used depending on the turnover rate of your swimming pool, the volume of water that must be pumped, and the distance that your pool water must be pumped from.

  • Impeller. This part of your swimming pool pump increases the velocity of the water.
  • The volute (pump casing). The volute acts to convert the increased velocity of the water into an increased pressure.
  • The mechanical seal. This device is responsible for stopping or sealing the water in the volute housing. It is normally located behind the impeller. When installing a new mechanical seal, it is important that you pay close attention to the manufacturer's instructions. 

Failure to do so can result in you putting in the seal the wrong way and damaging it. Mechanical seals that are fitted to swimming pool filter pumps usually come in multiple parts.

Internal Wear Of A Swimming Pool Filter Pump

As your pool pumps continue to provide the force for your filtration systems, they will wear internally. This wear and tear on your filter pumps, depends on a couple of things. They are as follows:

  • The pumping rate of your pool and spa water.
  • The materials that your pump was made with.
  • The operating environment in which your swimming pool pump will be used.
  • The alignment of your pool filter pump (especially important).
  • The balance of your pool water chemistry. The wrong water balance can lead to complete failure of your impeller if it is made from metal.

Power Consumption Of Swimming Pool Pumps

Primarily your swimming pool filter pump is a part of your swimming pool care and maintenance. It is responsible for providing you with clear water through proper circulation and filtration to your pool and spa.

Typically, the power consumption of a pool pump ranges from 500 watts to 2000 kilowatts. During the winter months, swimming pool pumps are usually operated for a period of four (4) hours per day. Ordinarily, this is done while your pool is closed.

Then again during the summer months, pool filter pumps usually run for eight (8) to 24 hours. Most swimming pool and spa owners try to save on the cost of their electrical energy consumption. They accomplish this by using electronic control devices. These electronic devices are installed in the control circuit of the swimming pool pump.

These are usually digital time clocks. Some manufacturers have variable frequency drives (VFDs) that power up and power down the motor of the pump. When you can vary the speed of a pump, you can cause a reduction in the amount of power that it consumes.

This is substantial savings in electrical energy, especially when the pump does not require full power. In your efforts to save energy, you can use digital time clocks.

This will allow you to set your pool filter pumps to come on at a certain time and go off at a certain time. The set time can be anywhere from 6 to 12 hours at a time during the summertime. In Europe, manufacturers have re-designed centrifugal pool pumps with a smaller motor that have heavier windings.

This design allows the motor to consume less energy and still be able to drive a swimming pool pump with a larger impeller.

Characteristics Of Swimming Pool Filter Pumps

Primarily a swimming pool pump is considered a "self-priming" pump.

Pool filter pumps that are self-priming designed, can be installed above the main water level of your pool.

Even after a short rest period, these pumps will still start up and function as it was intended.

There are some pool pumps that are not of a self-priming design. These brands of pumps are referred to as "flood suction" pumps. This means that this type of pool filter pump must be gravity fed by your pools and spas.

To achieve the required gravity feed, the pump must be installed below the main water level of your swimming pool. As an added precaution, most pumps that are used on swimming pool systems today incorporate a small filter basket. This filter basket is commonly referred to as a hair and lint strainer or merely a lint pot.

The main purpose of this small filter basket is to trap any hair or leaf contaminants. As a result of this, debris is kept from entering the close-tolerance sections of the pump impeller.

Choosing your swimming pool pumps

Ideally, your swimming pool pump is the most important part of your swimming pool equipment. Without it you will not be able to move water through your filtration system or properly circulate it. According to swimming pool design experts, selecting the right pool filter pump depends on an extensive list of components.

This list will help you in determining the right size pool pump. This includes selecting the correct horsepower if you are also considering upgrading your pump size. One of the main factors that is looked at when determining a pool and spa pump, is the total dynamic head (TDH).

Total dynamic head is the sum of the resistance that your pool water will encounter as it flows through your entire pool filter system.

Factors That Contribute To The Total Dynamic Head Of Your System

Resistance to your pool water flow will come from every piece of swimming pool equipment that is connected to your pool circulation and filtration system. Regrettably, the flow rate of your entire circulation system will be affected by this total dynamic head.

If you have a recently constructed water facility, you can calculate the total dynamic head of your system. Unfortunately calculating the TDH for older swimming pools can be a little difficult. This is providing that the plumbing for the pool is underground.

With a properly sized pool filter pump, your filtration system will perform at its optimum capacity. The right swimming pool equipment will help you to achieve the required turnover rate for your swimming pools and spas. Maybe you are considering having a pool or spa built!

Whatever the case may be, make sure it meets all the national standards. Also ensure that all your swimming pool equipment meets the requirements of your water facility as well. Especially all your swimming pool pumps.

Swimming pool pumps are a big part of your pool and spa filtration systems.

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