Your pool filter is a very important. There aren’t many moving parts on your filter and no electricity, but one thing that is present in every filter is pressure, and it is that pressure that drives the whole mechanism to carry on with its mission of cleaning your water. That is why you will find a little handy pressure gauge on the top of every filter. With it you can read the pressure on your filter and use that number as a guide to properly care for your pool.
The pressure gauge is a simply little dial that is usually found on the top of your pool’s filter system. Most include ranges from 0 to 60 pounds per square inch (psi) that indicate how the pressure is holding (or not holding) in your pool.
Knowing how to read this little gauge is, as you may have guessed, key in understanding what is happening with your pool’s filtration system.
So what is normal? Unfortunately, this number is relative. Ideally it is the number that you record when you first install your pool filter and everything in your pool is running just as it should. If you don’t have that number, then your next best result is directly after you have changed the filter, backwashed, changed the sand or, at the very least, given it a good cleaning.
Whichever route you have to take, make sure you record that number somewhere for future reference. Now that you have the number, you need to make sure you start checking the pressure at least once every week as a part of your normal pool maintenance routine.
So what happens if you check your pool’s pressure and it seems high? Any reading that is 10 psi higher than your normal recorded pressure. Basically, a high reading means that your filter system isn’t allowing the water to flow through it fast enough. This could mean that the filters need to be cleaned or replaced, or in case of sand filters, backwashing usually is sufficient. You should see a significant change in reading after doing this.
Now your reading won’t always be too high. Sometimes it can be too low. This means that the water isn’t reaching your filter fast enough. Remember, while your pressure will fluctuate, it shouldn’t stray too far from your normal levels. In general, if the pressure is at least 5 psi lower than normal then a little extra attention is required. Because these means water is not reaching the filter fast enough, this generally indicates a blockage of some type or maybe even a leak in your system. First, check the pump basket and impeller for any debris that could be clogging up the system and make sure the main drain covers aren’t blocked. Check around your pump carefully to see if you notice any leaks.
These gauges don’t last forever and only cost around $20 to purchase, so you could actually have a problem with your gauge and not your pool. If your gauge has some age on it or it is cracked, you may want to consider investing $20 to check to make sure you really do have a pressure problem and not just a gauge problem. In the end it could save you quite a bit of money.
While the pressure gauge is just a small component in a large system, its role is vital to the overall health of your pool. Remember to check it weekly and never ignore pressure problems of any kind. If you do, you could end up doing more damage to your pool resulting in much more expensive repairs down the road. So play close attention to that little gauge, it could mean the difference between a pool that is crystal clear and ready for swimming, and one that is broken down in need of major repairs.
This can seem like a simple task for the home owner to accomplish, but calling in a professional can take a lot of stress and frustration out of your corner.