Your Pool Filter Pressure Gauge – An essential guide to the basics.
Any pool owner should know that a pool filter pressure gauge is of paramount importance to your pool’s filtration system.
In today’s market, a pool filter pressure gauge isn’t going to break the bank. You can often get one for less than half a tank of gas and it will certainly last you a lot longer! You can think of the gauge as an independent pool technician by keeping an eye on the technical side of things for you. But this doesn’t mean that you won’t need to get your hands dirty to keep your pool in top condition!
Early detection of potential problems associated with your pool’s filtration system is key to saving your hard-earned cash. A pool filter pressure gauge will tell you everything you need to know about the health of your pool, provided that you understand how to read the gauge meter. Read on below as I am going to cover everything you need to know so you can understand how this amazing little device can make your pool maintenance a breeze.
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What exactly does a pool filter pressure gauge do?
The most important thing that your pool filter system requires to function efficiently is adequate pressure levels. Too much or too little pressure in the tank can spell disaster for your pool. If something disrupts the water flow, your circulation system will suffer. This can end up becoming a very expensive headache. So how does one identify the correct amount of water pressure? The pool filter pressure gauge will tell you by displaying the exact PSI (pound per square inch) of your pool filter. If the indicated pressure is outside the recommended range, then you know you have an issue.
The pool filter pressure gauge is easy to identify. It is a small dial that is fixed to the top of your filter and looks similar to a cooking thermometer that your mom used to use when making treats. Fortunately, most pool filters now come with a pool filter pressure gauge since it’s the only way pool owners can monitor the filter’s pressure levels.
How do I know what the normal operating pressure should be?
The is no right or wrong answer to this one as pool systems come in many shapes and sizes. Therefore, there is no universally accepted standard pressure. Your normal operating pressure will be influenced by several factors. These can range from your pump’s HP (horsepower), the condition of your filter, and the size of both your pump and filter.
Don’t be perturbed that your pool filter’s normal pressure is specific to your setup and cannot be looked up in a manual – it is easy to figure this out on your own and will serve as your baseline for future reference. This could be as simple as making a quick observation when initially introducing your filter media or cartridge filter, depending on your preference. Once you turn on your pool pump, the first reading on your gauge is your new baseline pressure and the standard you will use for all future pool maintenance.
Be sure to write this value down so you don’t forget. The second step is finding out your PSI number. The simplest way to do this is after rinsing out your filter system for the first time. This is normally done by rinsing or backwashing your preferred filter media or cartridge. You should write this number down too. Now you have all the info you need about your system’s normal operating range.
But what if you have already changed your filter media and forgot to take a reading? Don’t panic, as you will still have the opportunity to do so when replacements need to be made. In the meantime, you can run your system perfectly fine using the number shown on the display after the last filter cleaning session.
Do you use a cartridge filter and are in the market for a replacement? We recommend the Replacement Filter from Hayward Pool Products. If you are looking to save money and also get a reliable and trustworthy product, this is perfect for you.
Highs and lows and how to deal with them.
My PSI is higher than my normal operating range, should I be worried?
Not at all! Surprisingly this can be a pretty good sign that your filter is doing its job properly. Although you may worry that the goo and dirt your filter has caught will reduce its efficiency, it works in your favor by helping to catch even more debris. Gunk can end up being your pool filters friend!
OK great! Then how do I know if the pressure is too high?
It could not be easier to tell! You already know what your normal operating level is and what the number at the top end of that range is. If your gauge shows a pressure reading that’s 10 PSI above that figure, you know you have an issue and your filter should be cleaned. This is a simple process for both filter types. If your filter of choice is sand, just backwash it. If you have a cartridge filter, it’s a case of hosing it down, and if you want to go the extra mile, use a specialized cartridge filter cleaner to keep it in good condition.
If any of the methods you tried have not worked for you, it’s not a big deal. It just means that it may be time to replace your filter media. Doing so will also allow you to get your pool’s normal operating pressure reading that you missed the first time around.
I did everything as advised but my PSI is still too high. What do I do?
You are in luck, as you don’t need to rely solely on your filter pressure gauge. A secondary feature of the gauge is an air relief valve that helps to keep the pressure balanced. Don’t get frustrated If your PSI is still too high, as it is likely that water is not the only culprit. Air stuck in the filter could also contribute to higher than normal PSI. If you are familiar with pool filtration systems, you know this is never a good thing!
If you are wondering how the air got in there in the first place, your first port of call is to check your water level. Take a good look into your pool, if everything is correct, the water level should be roughly halfway up to your skimmer door. If that’s not the case after inspection, there’s a good chance your skimmer is responsible and could be sucking air into the pipes since the pipes feed into your pump and filter. With only air in the system, it could be a recipe for disaster since the equipment won’t work as intended and is at risk of overheating.
In a situation like this, an air relief valve is important and can also save you cash and unnecessary stress! It is a quick fix as all you need to do is run your pool filter as normal and open your relief valve. It is easy to identify the valve – it is on top and resembles a miniature handle. It is similar to letting water out from a radiator – just run the filter until you see water trickling from the valve and you no longer hear air hissing through. Keep it going until the pressure falls sufficiently. It is always better to be safe than sorry so it’s a good idea to also prime the pump while doing this. You can never be certain that there is air only in the filter, as it may also be elsewhere in your system. Hence, it is better to identify these places at the same time.
Do you feel that your current pump just doesn’t cut it? Or maybe it’s not performing as well as you hoped? A great pump that can not only handle all your pool needs but essentially pays for itself within 12 months is the ultra-powerful 1.5 HP Variable Speed Blue Torrent Thunder In-Ground Swimming Pool Pump. If that’s not enough incentive, it also comes with a lifetime warranty and is even eligible for rebates! Customer testimonials are consistently positive. As loyal customer Robert F says, “From the first day that I installed this beauty, it worked like a dream! Took all of the hassles out of taking care of my pool” What more could you ask for?
My PSI is lower than my normal operating range, should I be worried?
PSI that is too high sounds a little scary, so surely a PSI that is too low is harmless right? Not quite. If your filter pressure gauge is registering a low PSI, it can be an indication that you have bigger problems. It is telling you that the water flow is insufficient and far below optimal operating levels- water is not flowing as it should be. Here are some reasons why this could be happening.
How do I know if my pressure reading is too low?
As mentioned before, you know what your normal operating level is, so a red flag is anything that reads 5 PSI above or below your normal operating pressure. Luckily, troubleshooting is relatively trouble-free! The problem is often less technical and you just need to get a pair of gloves to start removing any clogs in the system. It may not be the most fun job, but you can always reward yourself later with a dip in a lovely clean pool!
How do you find the blockage? The most common place where you will find a blockage is in the area before the filter. You can take a good look at your skimmers and drain covers to try and locate them. It is a great idea to check your pump basket and pump impeller to see if your problem lies there. It is common to find a big pile of dirt, leaves, twigs, and debris clogging everything up. Chances are it will be slimy and unpleasant!
I got rid of the gunk, or there simply wasn’t any, but I still have a problem, what next?
If you followed the above tips and cleared everything out, or found that there was nothing to remove and your gauge is still registering a reading that’s too low, there is another check to make. A leak is likely the cause of your issue and the first suspect is your pump. Again, not a huge deal, all you need to do is inspect your pump thoroughly for any leaks. You can approach any leaks you may discover in two ways, a little DIY, or if you don’t feel confident with your repair skills, hire a professional. To avoid problems like these in the future, consider investing in a new variable speed pump. Picking the right one could help you save on costs as it will pay for itself in energy savings in under 12 months.
Final question. How do I know if my pool filter gauge is broken?
Perhaps you followed every piece of advice given here but still cannot figure out why your pressure levels are off. You may need to consider that the pool filter gauge itself is the issue. Checking this is easy- simply turn your pool pump off and check your gauge (it should read zero). A quick visual inspection will tell you if the gauge is warped, or the indicator needle is broken. Sometimes a hard tap may also fix it. If the gauge still displays an incorrect reading, the time has come to replace your gauge. Do not fret, as a new gauge is often cheaper than a few coffees and sandwiches!
So, what have you learned about your pool filter pressure gauge?
There is no pressure!
The number one rule of pool maintenance is that prevention is key. Staying on top of regular checks and maintenance will prevent problems from snowballing into bigger issues. The last thing you want is a cloudy pool. If you are in the know and follow good advice, having a beautiful pool should be effortless. A great pool should be a pleasure and something to be proud of and your pool filter’s pressure gauge will help you maintain that standard. No one wants a pool to be hard work, and with the right information and guidance, it doesn’t have to be.