Pool Filter and Heater System

How It Works

Pool filters maintain water purity and keep your pool safe, usually by pumping water through a series of debris-catching filters and smaller mesh filters. Many filters are also equipped with a system to maintain pool temperature. A pool filter pump is often controlled by an adjustable timer and temperature sensor.

Pool heaters are typically small heating boilers that may use natural gas, propane or electricity to operate. Pool water passes through the boiler as the sensors determine the boilers temperature. Pools may or may not be equipped with a passive solar cover which can dramatically lower the need for pool heating.

In addition to filters, salt-water pools utilize a salt conversion “generator” to produce algae-deterrent chemical balances. A properly operating saltwater pool can practically eliminate the need for chlorine chemicals that are required to maintain chemical purity of fresh water pools.  

What Can Go Wrong?

Pool filters should be cleaned out regularly for maximum effectiveness. A clogged motor can put excessive stress on the pump and cause the motor to fail. Even when pool equipment is operated and maintained properly, the pumps, motors, boilers and “generators” all have a relatively short lifespan - typically 10 years or less.

Environmental Impact

Pumps are typically three horsepower or less, but their size and power can vary widely. Larger and more powerful pumps are needed for larger pools and larger discharge pipes. Energy consumption depends on the power of your unit and how often it’s used. Typical operating hours range between 3 and 12 hours per day. Natural gas and propane-fueled pool heaters are far more energy efficient than electric units. Given the many variables, a “typical” electric filter uses approximately 700 kilowatt-hours per month, resulting in about 1,064 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2). Pool heating will add more energy consumption on top of that number.


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