Buyers Guide to Swimming Pool Terminology
Beam The upper section of the vertical wall of a gunite pool or spa. A “raised beam” is one that extends above ground level.
Blower An electrical unit that generates air pressure to provide the spa jets with bubbles.
Cantilever Edge A pool deck of a poured or sprayed material that extends slightly beyond the edge of the pool negating the need for traditional coping.
Cartridge Filter A filtration system that uses a fine mesh material to remove suspended contaminants from the water. This type of filter requires a 30 minute cleaning with a garden hose six to ten times per year.
Chlorinator A unit that holds chlorine tablets and automatically treats the water.
Coping This refers to the material that covers the first nine to twelve inches of horizontal surface at the pools edge. It can be brick, flagstone, concrete, or one of many natural or man-made materials.
Deck This term describes the patio that is attached to the pool itself. Typical materials and finishes include brushed concrete, spraycrete, cool deck, sundek, flagstone, and pea gravel. The deck often accounts for 20 to 30% of a pool budget.
DE Filter A filtration system that uses a layer of fine powder (diatomaceous earth) to remove contaminants from the water. This type of filter requires a ten minute backwashing process about once a month that is accomplished by adjusting the valves. The DE powder is relatively inexpensive but must be replaced after each back washing.
Gas Heater Spas and heated pools require a large heater to quickly heat the large volume of water necessary. These are fueled by propane or natural gas and are often the most expensive piece of equipment.
Gunite A type of concrete that is applied with a sprayer to form the pool shell. It can also be used to form slides, waterfalls, pads, and other features.
In-Floor Cleaning System A system of pop-up jets in the floor of a pool that direct settled debris to an active drain for removal.
Lap Pool A long, narrow pool, usually about four feet deep for swimming laps.
Plaster A smooth cement coating that seals a gunite pool shell. The color of the plaster determines the apparent color of the water. White = Light Blue, Grey = Deep Blue, Green = Blue/Green, Brown = Emerald Green Water
Salt System A system that uses electricity to disinfect water with chemicals extracted from salt.
Sand Filter A filtration system that removes contaminants by forcing the water through a vessel of sand. These require backwashing about once a month and have no need for replacement chemicals.
Sports Pool A pool of various shapes and sizes that accommodate a net or goals for games such as volleyball, basketball, or water-polo. They are usually three to four feet deep at the ends and four and a half or five feet deep in the middle.
Spa Any vessel that holds hot water for soaking. Most popular spas are an integral part of the gunite pool, have multiple jets, and use the same circulation system as the pool. Hot tubs usually refer to wooden vessels and Jacuzzi is a brand of spa equipment.
Sweeper System A device that uses water pressure or suction to mechanically remove debris from the floor and walls of a pool.
Swim Spa Sometimes called a “Spool”, swim spas are usually about eight feet by twelve feet and have a large jet capable of generating a current to swim against.
Tile Builders use this term to refer to whatever material lines the inside vertical rim of the pool and spa at the waterline. Typically, the “tile” extends from just under the coping edge downward six inches. It can be ceramic tile, porcelain tile, flagstone, or marble. Since any floating contaminants tend to collect here, a non-porous tile surface works best.
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