Glossary of Terms

Definitions were composed by Christopher Carthy.  When you read “I …” Christopher Carthy is rendering his opinion.

Automatic Cleaners:  Tractor like robotic devices that drive around the bottom of the pool to keep the pool clean.  They are electrically charged on deck and dropped in the pool to clean the pool.  They need to be charged and maintained.

Automatic Control Systems:  An attractive electronic display panel is installed in the house, which is connected to a central control panel at the filter site, which may also be connected to a pool or spa side remote.  The control panel enables a pool owner to operate and regulate the pool equipment from inside the house, to turn on the heater, the pumps, the lights, the cleaning system, the negative edge, the waterfall etc.  The temperature desired in the pool or spa can be changed from inside the house without ever visiting the filter site.  Smart phone applications are standard with control systems.  I think it is difficult to operate a pool spa combination without a control system.

Automatic Retractable Cover:  A solid vinyl cover that automatically covers and uncovers the pool.  Best for a rectangular pool.  They are excellent safety barriers after the fence.  They maintain the heat in the pool and reduce evaporation – the number one cause of heat loss.  During the last ten years, they have been improved substantially.  Available in various colors.   

Automatic Water Fill:  A floating or electronic device that is installed next to the pool or near the filter equipment during construction to maintain the water level of the pool.  A fresh water line must be attached to the auto fill. 

Cantilever Deck:  When a patio is constructed of poured concrete and it is extended to the pool edge in a decorative and bull nose fashion so that the pool does not have true coping, then the patio must be separate from the pool walls, so that the two bodies (pool walls and patio) are free to move independently of each other (movement of an 1/8” matters).  The separation of the two bodies is achieved by separating the patio from the wall of the pool via a piece of plastic film during construction.

Cartridge Filter:  A moderate sized rounded tank that contains plastic type accordion style pleated cartridges through which water must pass.  The dirt and impurities are collected on the outside of the cartridge.  No multiport is applicable and backwashing is not an option.  The only way to clean this filter is to disassemble it and hose wash the cartridges.  Our maintenance company handles this procedure for home owners, however a strong home owner can manage it.  The advantages of this filter are that it does not discharge water.  The filter may need to be cleaned throughout the season.  The size and quality of the cartridge filter will determine how well it filters the water.  The disadvantage of this filter is the need to disassemble it to clean it and the expense of replacing the cartridges.

Chlorinator:  A device attached to the return line plumbing at the filter site after the heater, in which chlorine tablets are placed.  A chlorinator dispenses chlorine steadily while the pump is operating.

Chlorine Generator:  Fine salt (NaCl sodium chloride) is added to the pool.  Via an electrolytic cell, the salt molecule is converted into chlorine gas which is added to the pool water while it circulates.  The chlorine gas sanitize the water.  Salt chlorine generators require a salinity level of approximately 3500 ppm, which is about 1/10th the salinity level of the ocean.  Most people can slightly taste and feel the salt water.

Conventional Pool Lights:  Bright white lights that illuminate the pool well.  All lighting is totally safe.

Coping:  A masonry material that caps the walls of the pool.  Coping can be a natural stone such as bluestone, or bull nose brick, or a cultured bull nose stone.  There are numerous options.

Diatomaceous Earth Filter:  A moderately sized vertical tank with many screens inside it.  The screens are coated with diatomaceous earth – clay like substance – through which water must pass.  A diatomaceous earth (DE) filter requires maintenance throughout the season.  It filters to a high level.  However the filter may need to be backwashed every week to every other week.  After backwash, the diatomaceous earth powder must be reintroduced into the filter via the skimmer while the pump is circulating.  A filter typically requires 6 to 10 pounds of DE powder after backwash.  The DE is drawn into the pump and sent to the filter, where it is trapped on the screens inside the DE filter.  When Pools of Perfection winterizes a pool with a DE filter, the servicemen disassemble the filter and hand wash the screens, reassemble the filter and leave it clean and ready for the spring.

Expansion Joint:  There must be a slight space between the pool and the patio so that when the patio moves it does not damage the pool.  The space is filled with an expansion joint between the coping and the patio.  The expansion joint is approximately ½” thick.  An expansion joint can be installed beautifully and skillfully or poorly and sloppily.

Filter Mode: Water is pumped in a forward direction through the filter to remove impurities.  From the filter the water is sent to the heater and to the sanitation device and returned to the pool.

Backwash Mode: Water is pumped in a backward direction through the filter to remove collected dirt and impurities.  The dirty pool water is ejected from the filter through a waste line to a dry well or some other point.  Backwash mode is easy to operate and it cleans the filter.

Floor Jets:  Small nozzles built into the floor of the pool through which the filtered water is returned to the pool.  Ideal for returning heated water to the pool.  When Pools of Perfection installs floor jets, we dedicate the heater return water to the floor jets.  Wall jets are still necessary for filtration circulation.

Gas Heaters:  Specifically designed for swimming pools, gas heaters are available for natural or L.P. (liquid propane) gases.  They heat pools very well but they are expensive to operate.  They require either a natural gas line from the meter to the heater or a LP tank.  Natural gas is ideal.  Usually Pools of Perfection recommends a buried 500 gallon tank for LP. 

Heat Pump:  Similar to a central air conditioning unit in reverse.  Its condenser produces heat that is transferred to the pool.  It consumes electricity instead of gas.  A heat pump is regarded as generally more efficient than a gas heater.  However it takes longer to heat a pool and it is much less efficient in the cooler weather of April, May, September and October.  On the other hand, they are regarded as most efficient when the weather is warm in June, July and August.

Hydrotherapy Jets: Small nozzles built into the wall of the pool or spa through which forceful water is sent to massage your back.  Usually hydrotherapy fittings are installed on the steps, a swim out, a pool bench or a spa.

In Floor Cleaning System:  A system designed to keep the pool clean without an obtrusive robotic instrument running around the pool.  An in floor jet system pulsates water along the floor of the pool to a central main drain system that collects the debris to a central serviceable canister.

Main Drain:  A suction port at the bottom of the pool, through which water is drawn to the pump and filter.  A main drain is essential to good circulation throughout the pool and it helps circulate heat around the pool.  Main drains when installed correctly comply with the VGB act.  We always install main drains when we build a pool.

Multiport:  A round valve attached to sand and diatomaceous earth filters.  The valve has six settings, all of which are important to the pool service person but less important to the pool owner, but there are two settings that you should understand now.

Filter Mode: Water is pumped in a forward direction through the filter to remove impurities.  From the filter the water is sent to the heater and to the sanitation device and returned to the pool.

Backwash Mode: Water is pumped in a backward direction through the filter to remove collected dirt and impurities.  The dirty pool water is ejected from the filter through a waste line to a dry well or some other point.  Backwash mode is easy to operate and it cleans the filter.

Rinse Mode: Rinse is used after backwash for 15 to 20 seconds.  Residual backwash water is ejected from the filter through a waste line to a dry well or some other point.  Water is pumped in a forward direction through the filter to reset the sand or diatomaceous earth before exiting the system.

Recirculation Mode: This mode is used when there is a problem with the filter.  Water is recirculated through the multiport, but not through the filter tank.  In recirculation mode, there is circulation but not filtration.  However the sanitizer, heater, cleaner etc. will still work.  This mode is useful when circulation is necessary, but the filter tank is clogged or broken.

Waste Mode: Water is ejected without passing through the filter tank from the multiport through a waste line to a dry well or some other point.  Waste is used to lower the water level.

Negative Edge or Vanishing Edge Pools: A dramatic feature where a section of pool wall is cut lower than the rest of the pool walls and therefore the water is spilling over the wall into a catch pool.  The water is returned via a pump from the catch pool to the principal pool.  This feature works well when there is a difference in elevation between the principal pool and the catch pool because of topographical slope.

Ozone Generator:  Via a corona discharge cell, oxygen (O2) is separated and then rejoined as ozone (O3).  Ozone is unstable and anxious to separate again into O2 and the extra oxygen atom combines easily with organic matter or other impurities in the pool to create an oxide which can be removed by the filter system.

Pressurized Automatic Cleaners:  Robotic cleaning devices that drive around the bottom of the pool to keep the pool clean.  They are installed during construction.  They require a separate booster pump to work and they operate when the filter system is on. 

Pump:  An electro mechanical machine designed to suck water in an airless environment from one point and return it to another point.

In Floor Heated Returns: An ideal method for heating a pool.  Heated water enters the pool from the deepest point in the pool, which is far more efficient that side wall heated water returns, where the heat is immediately exposed to the environment and lost.  Once the pool is heated, there is even distribution of heat throughout the pool and there is much less geothermal layering of warm and cold layers. 

Sand Filter:  A large rounded tank filled with a gravel bed and sand bed, through which water is passed to remove impurities.  A sand filter requires very little maintenance and is reliable.  The purity of filtration is a function of filter design and size. 

Skimmers:  Durable plastic boxy devices built into the wall of the pool to remove floating debris from the surface of the pool.  We typically install at least three skimmers.  They are unobtrusive.  The pool water enters the skimmers and is drawn to the pump.

Vacuum port:  A dedicated line from the pool wall to the pump, used to vacuum the pool.  When Pools of Perfection provides swimming pool maintenance service, we use our own independent filtration equipment, through which we vacuum your pool.  We do not vacuum your pool through your pump and filter.

Wall Returns:  Small nozzles built into the wall of the pool through which the filtered (heated0 water is returned to the pool.

Winter Safety Cover:  A trampoline type material that is suspended across the pool and is spring loaded for tension.  It covers the pool most attractively and safely.  Also falling leavers usually blow off the cover.  Flush retractable anchors are installed in the deck to suspend the cover.  When the pool is open, the ¾” anchors are lowered into the deck and are virtually invisible.  This is an excellent product. 

Zero Edge Pool: An awesome feature where the pool is filled so high that it gently spills over the coping into a slender joint between the coping and the patio and is circulated back to the pool.  A large balancing tank (usually buried underground) is required to maintain the perfect water level.