Pool Equipment

The breakdown on Filters,pumps, and heaters.

When it comes down to pool equipment there are a lot of different products and variations. Pumps, filters and heaters are amongst the largest and more expensive purchases you’ll make when owning a pool so it makes sense to know the differences and benefits of each.

Pool Pumps

Pool pumps are the heart of any pool. They are the “powerhouse” that circulates your water, enabling the filtration, heating and automatic pool cleaners to function. The pump removes water out of your pool from the drain and skimmer and through your filter, where it removes debris and contaminants. If you have a suction side pool cleaner, it will also remove water and debris from your pool via a dedicated suction line through your pool cleaner. The water then moves through your heating device where it heats water before it enters your pool. If you have a pressure side pool cleaner it will also expel water out of your designated pressure line, powering your pool cleaner to maneuvers through your pool, picking up dirt and debris.

There are several different types of pool pumps that you can purchase for your pool. Single speed pumps, dual speed pumps, and variable speed pumps are all different and come at different costs, not only for the initial investment, but the cost of operation.
Single Speed Pumps
Single speed pumps are going to be the cheapest out of the bunch, but come with more additional operational costs. Single speed pumps only work at one speed (high speed), because of this they use more energy and have a higher overall cost to operate. This is due to a higher amount of energy and friction on your plumbing, which in turn requires the pump to work harder.
Dual Speed Pumps
Dual speed pumps are going to be the next big thing when it comes to energy efficiency. These pumps use two different speeds. A high speed for vacuuming and backwashing and a low for circulation, enabling a much more energy efficient speed at which to operate. The use of a lower speed reduces the friction in the pool’s plumbing and the noise created by the pool pump. The pump will run a bit longer throughout the day, but at a lower speed, costs less and allows for a longer circulation, resulting in healthier water. Longer circulation cycles reduce stagnant water, better mixing of chemicals, and further reduction in algae occurance.
Variable Speed Pumps
Variable speed pumps are going to be the best value for your money, often paying for themselves quickly after initial investment. They allow pool owners the option to automate several different speeds. This enables pool owners to optimize their pool and equipment, lowering energy consumption and cost. For example, pool owners can program their pumps at higher speeds for cleaners and water features and lower speeds when not needed, such as water circulation. Variable speed pumps lower flow rate and reduce friction much like dual speed pumps, but in a different way. They run at a lower speed but also amperage, reducing friction while lowering the actual energy usage of the pump, further decreasing energy consumption and cost. Variable speed pumps do this by using a permanent magnetic motor similar to the ones used in hybrid cars. This allows the pumps to reduce cost and noise to a whispering hum when running the pump.


Pool filters are one of the most necessary components of a pool or spa system. When water is pumped out of your pool and through your pool pump, it then moves through your filter. Inside of your filter, water passes through filtration media, removing debris and contaminants before it re-enters your pool.

Sand Filters
Sand Filters are large filters that use sand to filter your water. These are the most common type of filters and cost less to operate than a D.E. or Cartridge Filter. However, this does not mean it’s always the best choice for your pool. As always, you will want to consider the location of your pool before choosing a filter for your pool. For instance, sand filters filter down to 20-25 microns and work well in environments where there is not an extreme amount of small debris. This is because sand cannot trap small particulates and they will often return back into your pool, leaving you with cloudy water. On the other hand if you live in an area where small debris is not a big problem, the cost effectiveness of a sand filter might be best for you. Maintenance on these filtration systems require backwashing and replacing the sand every five years or so. Check with local codes as some can restrict backwashing.
Cartridge Filters
Cartridge filters are going to be in the middle of the spectrum when it comes to filtering quality, but provide an advantage when it comes to maintenance. Cartridge filters use a fabric like material that water passes through, catching debris down to 5-10 microns before water returns back into your pool. Many pool owners are moving towards systems like cartridge filters because they provide clearer water than a sand filters, but with reduced maintenance. Because you do not have a large tank containing sand, these filter have a much smaller footprint and are easy to maintain. To replace the media in a cartridge filter, just remove the filter top and remove the cartridges. Depending on the condition of the cartridges, you’ll either replace or clean the cartridges. Cleaning is simple and done by spraying the cartridges with a garden hose to removes built up dirt and contaminants and new cartridges install easily with little effort. For easy cleaning , hook your garden hose up to a water wand, a must if for cartridge filter owners.
D.E. Filters
D.E. Filters are going to give pool owners the clearest water available, filtering down to 3 microns. This however comes at a bit higher cost. D.E. or Diatomaceous Earth Filters are made up of a tank containing filter grids and D.E. powder (small fossilized exoskeletons of diatoms) that require replacing every time you backwash your filter. The grids are easily cleaned and done so with a garden hose once a year. The D.E. gets replaced by, simply, adding it into your skimmer. As with sand filters, make sure to check local codes for any backwashing restrictions. Although D.E filters filter down to 3 microns, they also produce more built up pressure in the tank, requiring your pool system to work harder. If you have a small particulates that enter your water, causing cloudy water, this might be the filter for you.

Heaters and Heat Pumps

Pool heaters and pool heat pumps play a significant part in extending the pool season into or throughout the winter months. Water is pumped from your pool, through your filter and into the heater or heat pump which heats it before it re-enters your pool, making for much more comfortable water. Both, heaters and heat pumps, are a great addition to any pool. Which one depends on a few simple factors that will determine which piece of heating equipment makes the most sense for you.

Heaters use a propane or natural gas to heat your pool. They heat your pool at a much quicker rate than heat pumps and work in any temperature to heat your pool water. Pool heaters have a lower upfront cost when compared to a heat pumps, but require the use of propane or natural gas. If your don’t already have a dedicated line you’ll have to have one installed to fuel the unit. The use of gas adds an additional expense to the operation of the unit, thus making it more costly to run than a heat pump. These units work the best in cold climates and are best if you want to keep your pool heated in under 50 degree weather.
Heat Pumps
Heat pumps are powered by electricity and use ambient air around the unit to heat your pool. This means the ambient air will directly effect the time in which the heat pump will heat your pool. The higher the temperature the faster it will heat your pool.Heat pumps have a higher upfront cost, but are much more efficient and cost less to operate than a pool heater. On the other hand heat pumps will take longer to heat your pool and if temperatures drop below 50 degrees they will no longer be able to successfully heat your pool. They do not require an additional gas lines and if you will not be using your pool in 50 below temperatures, a heat pump will save you money in operating costs.
Solar Covers
Whether or not a heat pump or heater makes the most sense for your and your pool, you will want to combine it with the use of a solar cover. A high majority of the heat loss is due to evaporation from your pool. Solar covers reduce evaporation while letting sunlight in, increasing the temperature of your pool. The use of a solar cover can reduce heating costs up to 80% and leave your pool warm for the next use.
Other types of optional equipment include salt system chlorine generators and erosion feeders. Automatic pool cleaners are another type of pool equipment but are often classified in their own category because they are removable and not considered permanent equipment. If your have any questions, visit www.lesliespool.com or reach out to one of our knowledgeable staff members at your local Leslie’s store.