A Pump Is Used To Maintain Rate Of Flow Inground Vs Aboveground Pool Filters – What’s the Difference?

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Inground Vs Aboveground Pool Filters – What’s the Difference?

Is there a big difference between filters for above ground pools and inground pools? They both filter water right? In addition, the manufacturer’s specifications tell me that this filter can filter swimming pools up to 20,000 gallons. So why should I pay double the price? The short answer is yes, but let’s not be penny wise and pound foolish.

Those are typical, reasonable questions that many pool owners ask. Let’s look at some of the key differences between filters for above ground pools and inground pools. But first let’s look at the similarities.

The similarities between underground and aboveground pool filters are quite simple. The first similarity is that there are 3 types of pool filters – sand, diatomaceous earth (DE), and cartridge. Another similarity is that they essentially work the same – the pump draws water from the pool through the skimmer, then the water is pumped through the filter tank and its media (sand, DE or cartridge) and is cleaned and filtered in the swimming pool. .

Differences between pool plumbing or piping, required flow and final size. Let us discuss them in order.

Pool plumbing. The biggest difference may seem to be pool size and gallonage. But in reality, it’s more of a function of pool plumbing. Most above ground pools have their filter system right next to the swimming pool. Furthermore, the filter and pump and motor are usually below the water level. In other words, the filter system is on the ground with a hose from the skimmer directly into the pump and the filtered water returns to the return jet of the pool – gravity feed. Most in-ground pools have no more than 6 to 9 feet (about 2 to 3 meters) of tubing on each side—12 to 18 feet in total.

On the other hand, in-ground pools can and do have many feet of piping and plumbing. On top of that, there are usually multiple skimmers or other suction lines – sometimes working in tandem, sometimes not. Then there are multiple return fittings or “eyeballs” or jets. Here’s an example, my swimming pool (only 16,000 gallons) has a skimmer, lower suction and 2 return fittings. Each wall fitting has its own plumbing line. Even though the filter sits only 15 feet from the pool, let’s see how many feet of pipe there are for each line. The skimmer and lower suction are relatively close to each other, so they each use the same amount of piping—roughly 40 feet per line, or 80 feet total going into the pump. Return fittings are on the opposite side of the pool. One return line is about 30 feet from the filter, another about 50 feet – another 80 feet. My pump and motor need to pull and push water a total of 160 feet or more than ten times the distance above the average pool. Moreover we have not mentioned heaters, valves, elbows and other fittings used in underground pools.

required flow.Understanding flow is the “great secret” of the pool industry. Very few people practice it well. Simply put, FLOW is pumping the right amount of water through the system to adequately filter the water. It’s not all about horsepower. In fact, most pool systems operate with a lot of horsepower! And this is a waste of energy and money. Think of it this way: All pipes or hoses (depending on their size or diameter) can only handle a certain amount of water flow – let’s say it’s 100 gallons per minute (gpm), for example. You or the pool guy may decide that a new pump is needed. “Let’s use something a little bigger that will give you ‘better’ suction,” he says. Now have a pump installed that pumps 125 gpm – great! Don’t go too fast! Your pipes can only handle 100 gpm. Do you have good suction? Maybe. Do you use a lot of energy to run a big pump? Of course. Approximately 25% more energy. Not only this, the filter also does not seem to filter like before. Because the water is being pushed through the media so fast (especially true for sand filters) – the filter system has to run longer because the dirt can’t get trapped as easily.

But that flow is only part of the discussion. The second part is something called “head”. How high the pump has to pull or push the water. Many underground pools have their filters above the water level. Sometimes within a foot or two (less than 1 meter). Sometimes, it can be 10 to 15 feet. The pump must pull all that pool water up to the 15 foot filter. Think of it this way: Is it easier to hold a glass of water over your head and pour it into your mouth or use a straw to drink it? Additionally there are solar heating panels (often installed on the roof of the house or pool shed) and fountains or other water features.

shape. Finally we come to size. pool size. Filter size. This is all important. Can the above ground filter system filter 20,000 gallons of pool water? yes But is an above ground filter system capable of properly pushing water through 100+ feet of piping and creating enough circulation to push water down to a depth of 6 or 8 feet and back up again? Or how to get 25 to 30 feet of water in various directions by doing all this? Ground pumps are made to do both pushing and pulling water. The above pumps cannot.

What about filter size? An in-ground pool typically holds 20,000 to 40,000 gallons of water. All of that water needs to be filtered 2 to 3 times per day for optimal performance (for more information on proper circulation: see our ezine article on “Circulation – The First Key to Good Pool Care”). Larger volumes of water require a larger filter.

As a necessary aside, larger above ground pools (27 feet round and larger, and 18 x 33 oval and larger) should consider using an appropriately sized inground filter system. After the first season, inadequate filter systems cause water quality problems in many large surface ponds. Unfortunately, these pools are “hampered” by the problem of having only one skimmer and one return cut-out. Ask your local pool professional to properly configure your system. Will it cost more initially? Yes, but you will be more satisfied in the years to come.

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