Anatomy of a Swimming Pool

Anatomy of a swimming pool. What are the components or systems used for that big bowl of water in the backyard? How are they connected? In a similar fashion to the 'Dry Bones' song - "the ankle bone's connected to the skin bone..." all of your pool equipment is connected together and works in concert with each other.

Your Pool Pump is the heart of your circulation equipment, pulling water from the pool skimmer and main drain, and pushing it through the filter, heater and chlorinator, and then back to the pool through the wall returns.

Pictures tell a thousand words, and pool diagrams, help to visualize the closed loop of pipes and equipment. Your pool circulation system, is much like an electrical wiring schematic, only instead of power moving through wires, it is water moving through pipes.

Swimming Pool Components: A Glossary

Skimmer: The skimmer of a pool is a plastic box mounted at the top of the pool wall, to skim the surface of floating debris. The skimmer basket allows for easy removal of the leaves.

Main Drain: Another suction outlet that carries pool water to be filtered, heated and treated. Be sure that your drain covers are safe and secure, and teach kids not to touch them.

Returns: This is the term for the inlets where the filtered, heated and treated water enters the pool again. Wall returns or floor returns, they usually have adjustable directional eyeballs.

Auto-Fill: In arid parts of the US, an automatic water filling device is used to maintain the water level. Hard piped into the home water supply, it will keep your pool level from getting too low.

Rope Eyes: Even if you don't use the safety rope divider to separate the deep end and the shallow end, every pool will have rope eye bolts in the tile line, to attach safety rope hooks.

Steps and Ladders: Also required on every pool is some means of safe entry and exit from the pool. Built-in steps for the shallow end, and ABS 3-step ladder in 6-colors, for the deep end.

Slide and Dive: For those who want to add a little more adventure to the pool, a pool slide or diving board can be a big thrill for kids or grand kids, and come in sizes from mild to wild.

Design Features: Popular pool designs now include shallow water tanning areas, bench seating, islands, and beach front entry. Natural shapes with well-placed rocks and landscape.

Water Features: Deck jets, wall spouts, cascades and waterfalls are a few common ways to add the sights and sounds (and aeration) of water falling into your pool.

Pool Lighting: Underwater lighting of pools is now easier and more brilliant than before with slim LED lamps that fit inside of a 1.5" pipe used as conduit.

Deck and Patio: Larger pool and patio decks are also common now, with raised seating areas or sunken seating areas being drawn into many pool plans.

Pump and Filter: Your pump and filter are matched in size and capacity, to be able to filter all of the water in the pool, in an 8-hour period, or less.

Heaters: Gas heaters, heat pumps or solar heaters - pool heaters lengthen the pool season, or provide more comfortable swimming temperatures.

Sanitizer: Most pool owners use tablets in a chlorinator as a daily sanitizer, and use granular pool shock for super-chlorinating the pool every few weeks.

Plumbing and Valves: Pipes carry water to and from the pool and between the pool equipment. Valves allow you to control and balance flow rate among the pipes.

When you understand how the pump pulls water from the pool, and then forces it through the filter, heater, salt system or chlorinator or purifier, then you see how a pool circulation system is used to clean, heat and treat pool water.

The pipes run underground from the pool to the equipment pad and back to the pool again. You can imagine the pump moving the water through the pipes, pulling the water (under vacuum suction) from the pool, and then pushing the water (under pressure) through the filter and other equipment, and all the way back to the pool.

Every pool designer will do some fairly involved math, to specify the correct pipe size, and the correct pump and filter size, to 'turn-over' every gallon of water in an 8-hour period. This means that every drop of water in the pool goes through the filtration system every 8-hours, or once or twice per day.

In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.