How to select pool equipment - Further Reading

Important Warranty Information When Selecting Equipment

Prior to purchase, review all warranty information and details. Under all cases, it is advisable to review a manufacturer’s position on warranties. How do internet sales and/or owner installation affect the warranty? Identify whether the equipment manufacturer has a warranty clearly defining if the equipment must be installed by a certified professional or if a pool owner can simply perform the installation.

Selection of Equipment

Equipment selection for pools is dependent on the volume, use, features in addition to how much technology or automation is chosen. It is also recommended to research in advance to be a bit more familiar with terminology (if you are relatively new to the discussion), and any changes or advancements that have been made since your last purchase.

How to select the best pool pump

Sizing a pump depends in large part on what its intended use will be. Will the pool have water features (sheer descents, deck jets, etc.) or an integrated spa? In the United States, variable speed (VS) motors will be required for all pumps over 1.1 total HP as of mid-2021. Purchasing a single speed pump is discouraged from this point forward. Variable speed pumps are built with over-capacity in mind. For example, a smaller pool, with water features or spa, should have a full-size VS pump. A large pool with many features may need multiple VS pumps. A VS pump can easily be set to pump the flow you need for each purpose, from low rpm for regular filtering and to skim the surface to high rpm for a spa or water features. If the pool is to have no water features or an integrated spa, then one of the lower HP VS pumps is sufficient. This is because at most times a lower flow will be sufficient to skim the surface, but a higher flow can be used for vacuuming or other specific needs.

Selecting the best pool filters

Filters should be sized at the largest you can afford and fit onto your equipment pad. The larger the filter, the less it needs to be cleaned. All filter types work to clean the stuff that falls into the pool. Depending on where you live, your access and cost of water, and if your pool is open year-round can influence what type of filter to get. The cost of the filter only increases marginally from a small size to the largest size. Many sites stress ‘turnover’ when sizing filters. TFP has shown that turnover is not a factor in maintaining your pool water. Proper pool water chemistry and sufficient filtering (skimming) to remove the stuff that falls into the pool is what keeps your pool water TFP clear.

Pool Filter Types

  • Sand filters are the simplest. Most pools should use a minimum of a 24” sand filter with pools greater than 25000 gallons or in high debris areas using a 30” filter. Sand filters use lots of water often to clean them. We based the sizing on the larger the sand filter, the less you have to backwash and thus you use less water.
  • DE (diatomaceous earth) filters are a bit more complex but also use lots of water to clean and need to be refilled with DE or an alternative. The filter sizing is in Square Feet (SF) of filter area. Minimum size of 48 SF for most pools. Pools larger than 25000 gallons should use a 60 SF filter. This again is based on the wish to reduce backwash/cleaning of the filter and thus a reduced use of water and DE or an alternative.

There are new Hybrid DE filters that use a cartridge element with DE added. They can be backwashed but are typically broken down and cleaned instead of backwashed, and thus use less water. A minimum size of 80SF is recommended with larger pools using the 100SF models. The few models of this type filter available only come in limited sizes. Larger, again, is always best to reduce cleaning intervals.

  • Cartridge filters use little water when being cleaned as you remove the filters and clean them using a hose sprayer. The cartridges do need to be replaced every +/-5 years. For most pools a cartridge filter is a great choice. The filter sizing is in Square Feet (SF) of filter area. At a minimum you want 200SF/10000 gallons of pool volume. You may see some sites recommend far smaller filter sizes. But for more efficient operation and less cleaning of cartridges, more filter area is better.

Selecting pool heaters


Sizing of heaters depends on many factors and type of heater being considered (natural gas, electric heat pump, etc.). Another factor is if natural gas is available as propane is quite expensive. Pools that need quick heat or have spas should use a natural gas heater. For pools in areas that need heat nearly all of the swim season or are located in warmer climates that wish to extend the season an electric heat pump may be applicable.


Heat pumps only work when ambient air temperature is above 50-degree F. As the variables for sizing a heater are so wide, we suggest speaking to a pool heater sales representative and posting on the forum for recommendations.

About BTUs

The science of heating water is that it takes one British Thermal Unit (BTU) of energy to raise one pound of water one-degree Fahrenheit. Water weighs 8.4 pounds per gallon. So, from the BTU output of a heater being proposed you can determine how long it will take to heat your pool. We suggest using an 80% efficiency factor in the calculation. This efficiency factor encompasses all losses, not just what occurs at the heater.

Chlorinating Your Pool Water

Saltwater Chlorine Generators

These are widely used by members of the forum. The main thing to remember in sizing is to get a SWCG that is rated for at least 2X your pool volume. That way you will not need to run your pump 24 hours per day and/or your SWCG at 100% setting to chlorinate your pool. For example, a 20000-gallon pool should have a SWCG rated for a 40000-gallon pool. A SWCG is also rated in pounds of chlorine gas per 24 hours. A rating of 1.4 pounds is sufficient for a 20000-gallon pool.

Liquid Chlorine Dispensers

Tanks with a chemical pump are available that can be used to add liquid chlorine to a pool. We suggest making sure the tank will hold a minimum of 5-7 days liquid chlorine use so you can go that long between filling the tank.


Most automation systems sold by pool equipment manufacturer’s work better when the automation system, pump(s), lights and SWCG (if installed) are from one manufacturer. Some automation systems can control other manufacturer pumps and lights, but in general it is not advised to mix the items listed from different manufacturers. Programming, control, etc. are far simpler and straightforward when all items are from the same manufacturer. Do realize that even with that, not all pumps from a manufacturer can be controlled by their automation. The most prevalent case is the Pentair Superflo VS pump. It cannot be easily controlled by an automation system, even Pentair’s. Filters and most heaters from all manufacturers can be mixed with any automation system as they are not controlled. Heaters are typically just turned on and off by the automation based on a water temperature.