How Important is Swimming Pool Filtration? With Chemistry Expert Bob Lowry

Pool filtration is a big deal. For me, it is one of the three pillars of pool care. Filtration, Circulation, and Sanitation. Listen to chemistry expert Bob Lowry unpack pool filtration and cloudy water for you.

Bob Lowry has created over 100 chemicals used in today’s Pool & Spa Industry and has written over 20 books on pool & spa chemistry. He has been in the industry for over 47 years and is the Lead Consultant at Lowry Consulting Group, leads the Pool Chemistry Training Institute, and has created the Certified Residential Pool & Spa Certification Program. Learn more at

Your pool’ filter is often overlooked and in fact, it is the key to the entire equation. If your filter is undersized, dirty, or in poor working order circulation and sanitizer are affected negatively. You can run your pool for 24 hours with a dirty filter and have plenty of chlorine (sanitizer) in the water and you will have cloudy water or water that is not safe to swim in.

To correct this make sure your filter elements – grids or cartridges are in good working order. Both grids and the cartridges wear out and need to be replaced as well as the sand in your Sand Filter. Also, keeping your filter clean goes a long way in infiltration. A very dirty filter just won’t move the water well nor will it make the chlorine in the water effective.

You can have a brand new filter and you can add 2 gallons of chlorine to your 20,000-gallon pool, but if you run your pump only 2 hours a day chances are the chlorine will not hold and the water will become cloudy or algae-filled. It is like adding sugar to your coffee and not stirring it before drinking it. Without the pool pump running the correct amount of time to circulate the water in your pool, you can’t maintain a safe pool.

You will want at least one full cycle each day during the season. This is all of the water going from the pump into the filter and back out again until all of the water in the pool has passed through the filter. So for that 20,000-gallon pool, a run time with a single-speed pump should be about 8-10 hours each day. Otherwise, the filter just can’t work effectively and the chlorine will not circulate in the pool. Like that cup of coffee with all that sugar on the bottom.

Sanitizer (Chlorine):
You can have a clean or new filter and run your pump 24-hours, but unless you have a chlorine level of 1.5-3ppm in the pool, within a few days to a week in the Summer that pool will be looking like a swamp. The third element in the equation is just as critical as the other two. I even prefer to have my chlorine levels on the pools on my route at 3-5 ppm to give me some added cushion.

If any of these three elements are off like a 3-legged stool your pool will not be able to stay in balance. Filtration, circulation, and sanitization are the three key things to focus on if you want a crystal-clear pool all season long.

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