Swimming pool equipment sizing is very important, and I’m finding the more backyards I get into the more issues I find. It’s ultra important for licensed contractors to make sure they are installing the right sized equipment when putting a new piece in. It’s our duty to do so. It not only makes the home owners job easier of maintaining it (if you need a service company I know of a great one…haha) but also the equipment lasts longer.
The equipment is essentially chosen during the design phase by the builder and the engineer signs off during the final stages. Once you starting change things around you change how the pool operates from how it was originally intended and designed to.
Below are the main pieces of swimming pool equipment and why it’s important to choose the right size.
Pipe (plumbing) – Choosing the right size plumbing is very important because it’s what brings water to the filter to be cleaned and back out to the pool to deliver fresh sanitized water. If you have plumbing that is undersized the water won’t flow as freely and vice versa. Going back to the original design of a pool, if it was originally designed for 2″ plumbing and you replace it with 1.5″ plumbing then you are seriously changing the dynamics of the circulation system and how well the equipment works. It’s also important to keep the system as simple as possible. If you are putting a lot of turns in the plumbing you’re cutting down on the water flow. For instance, you lose 3% of the flow when you install a 90* fitting. I’ve seen some pads where there’s 4-5 of those before you even get to the pump. One could easily cut down the flow rate by 40%-50% if they aren’t careful!
Pump – Choosing the right pump is also very critical because it’s what physically pulls water from and pushes water back into the pool. You really have to pay attention to several variables to make sure the swimming pool equipment is correct. If you have only 1.5″ plumbing then I wouldn’t recommend putting a 3 horsepower pump in because the pump will be starving for water. On the other hand, if your pool is only 6,000 gallons a 1.5 horsepower pump wouldn’t be the best choice either. Also, just because one pump has the same horsepower than another, doesn’t mean that they’re equal. For instance, a Pentair 1.5 horsepower WhisperFlo moves more water than a 1.5 horsepower SuperFlo, even though they both are 1.5 horsepower. There are hundreds of other variables that need to be taken into account that a professional needs to address. You can’t just guess and hope for the best!
Filter – This is the last main piece of equipment found on every equipment pad. This is what keeps your water clean and it has to be sized correctly in order to do so. This is probably the number one piece of equipment that is incorrectly sized and causes the most problems with a pool. Most of the time the installer chooses a filter that is way undersized. Because of this there are several issues. The first is the destroyed internals (grids, cartridges, laterals) from being overwhelmed with water pushed in by the pump. The second is the reduction of filtering because it’s undersized and can’t handle the water. Often times clients will note a lot of blowback into the pool when vacuuming. You can also see stress on cartridge pleats if it’s undersized (if new to newish). I went out on an estimate recently where it was a 10k gallon pool, a 1.5 horsepower pump and a 50 sqft cartridge. That filter doesn’t stand a chance. The homeowners complained they were going through cartridges monthly and had a lot of blowback. Another thing to note is do you have water features, auto cleaners, etc? Then you’ll want to step your filter size up so those features and cleaners run longer and more efficiently. You’re much better off having too large of a filter vs too small of a filter.
So that was a very short explanation for how important equipment sizing is. We only scratched the tip of the iceberg. We didn’t even discuss things like auto cleaners, heaters, heat pumps and so much more.
You can also check out my YouTube video of a podcast I did recently discussing this very issue. Also below you can listen to the podcast directly. Please like and subscribe!
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