The pool pressure gauge is a small, but essential part of your pool’s filtration system. Without your pool filter pressure gauge, you’ll be exposing your pool to potential problems when it comes to filtration. There is also the possibility of damaged pool equipment, not to mention the repairs you’ll be facing if a busted pool pressure gauge is ignored for too long.
What exactly is a pool pressure gauge?
A pool pressure gauge or pool filter pressure gauge is found on top of your filter. Its sole job is to read the pressure building up inside of your filter. When your pool filter pressure gauge goes above or below the normal reading then that’s a good sign that there’s something wrong with the filtration system. But that’s no reason to panic though, pool pressure gauge problems can usually be solved with a thorough cleaning or good backwashing.
What should the pool filter gauge read?
There is no fixed answer to this one as every pool has different components which may affect your pool filter gauge reading. The best way to get your “normal” pool filter gauge reading is to first make sure that everything is at its peak levels. What does this mean? Clean your skimmer boxes, clean your filters, make sure your pump is running at normal levels, then note down the pressure reading at that point in time. That reading is called your baseline reading. So whenever we speak about high or low pressure readings, this is relative to your baseline reading.
What do different pool pressure readings mean?
High pool filter gauge pressure
Don’t worry too much if you have a high pressure reading. For home pools, this is perfectly normal. This just means that the filter is doing its job correctly and it’s starting to get clogged up with dirt and debris, causing the water inside of the filter to push harder to get through. This can be cleared up with a good backwashing (if you have a sand filter) or thorough cleaning of your cartridge filter elements with some filter cleaning solution.
If your pool pressure reading doesn’t go down after cleaning your filters, there are a couple of things you can do to check:
- Check your return valves - a partially closed or closed return valve can cause high pressure readings so make sure they're fully open.
- Check salt water chlorinators - Another cause may be a clogged chlorinator if you’re using one. An excess of calcium build-up on salt cells may cause your water flow to become obstructed and cause high pool pressure gauge readings.
- Air inside of your filters - Now this shouldn’t be an issue with newer filters as many new models now have an automatic air bleed valve. But if you’re using older filters, open up the air bleed valve until water comes out to fully flush all of the air out of your system.
If you’ve done all of that and your pressure reading is still high (or hasn’t gone down) then you may have a stuck pool filter gauge, don’t worry, we’ll get down to replacing the gauge later in the article.
Low pool filter gauge reading
If you have a low pressure reading then this is almost a guarantee that there’s something going on BEFORE the filter. A low pressure gauge reading indicates that not enough water is getting to the filter to pressurise it properly.
- Clogged pumps and skimmer baskets - leaves and other debris may be blocking your pump so give them a good once over and empty out all of the skimmer baskets and pump baskets.
- Low water levels - No water = no pressure. Pretty simple fix. Simply fill up your pool to the appropriate level (about halfway above the skimmer lne) and everything should be good.
- Clogged skimmer lines - If the water level is fine and your skimmer baskets are clean then it may be possible that there’s a blockage somewhere. We recommend using a Drain King Hose Genie Jet to blow out the blockage back into the pool where they can easily be scooped out.
Zero pressure gauge reading
Zero means that there's nothing going on inside of your filter. If your pump is working, water is coming out back through your return jets, and everything seems to be going fine then it’s probably a broken pool filter pressure gauge.
How to change pool filter pressure gauge
It’s actually not rocket science and it will take at most, five minutes to replace your pool filter pressure gauge. The first step of course is to buy a replacement gauge. Your filter won’t work without a pressure gauge so make sure you have one handy. There are two types of pressure gauges so make sure you get the right one! Lower mount pressure gauges have the thread ON THE BOTTOM of the gauge while rear mount pressure gauges have their thread BEHIND the gauge (like a badge). You can easily tell which one you need so be sure to order the right one.
Steps to changing your pool filter pressure gauge
- Turn off everything
- Bleed the air from your filter. This allows you to depressurize your filter and allows you to safely and easily remove your existing pressure gauge
- Screw off your old pressure gauge
- Apply two or three layers of teflon tape on the new pressure gauge (not too much). Applying teflon tape will prevent air and water from leaking. This is a normal thing with all plumbing parts as machining metal screws will have very minor imperfections that are invisible to the naked eye but can be a source of leaks.
- Screw on your new gauge, not too tight, just finger tight. Make sure to get it as straight and as readable as possible.
- And you’re done!
For more tips on how to maintain your pool filter, click here.
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Happy swimming :)