Pool Equipment: Getting to Know the Parts of Your Swimming Pool

What Makes Your Pool Run

How imtimately do you know your swimming pool? If you maintain it yourself—even part-time—then you should know about some of the inner-workings of that big body of water in your yard. Let us help you take the mystery out of some of the main components of your swimming pool, so at least if the pool repair person is explaining something, you won't have a spacey, far-off look in your eyes as he/she uses terms like surface skimmer and filtration system.

Pool equipment and parts are listed in alphabetical order.

  • 01 of 11

    What is Backwashing?

    man on computer by pool
    Man on computer next to pool. Getty Images

    OK: you can't go to a pool supply store and ask to buy a backwasher. They might know what you're talking about, but you'll give away that you don't know the correct terms for the parts of your pool. Whether you buy your pool equipment from a local retailer or shop online, this is an important word to know for general pool maintenance.

    A hint: backwashing is a process, and a very important one at that. Discover why it's key to keeping your pool clean and properly maintained.

  • 02 of 11

    Cartridge Filter

    This type of filter for your pool is gaining in popularity, probably because it's safe, effective, convenient and does not need any backwashing or disposal.

  • 03 of 11

    Centrifugal Pump

    Learn how a centrifugal pump works by doing this Basic Science 101 project. Involve your kids -- it's fun!

  • 04 of 11


    Without coping, the steel projecting from the pool's walls would be exposed and water could get behind the pool shell. Discover other functions of pool coping.

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • 05 of 11

    DE Filter

    Not surprisingly, DE, aka diatomaceous earth, is the main ingredient in a DE pool filter. Discover why many pool owners consider DE filters to be the best kind of pool filter.

  • 06 of 11

    Gas Heater

    While solar has been grabbing all the attention, gas heaters still account for most of the heaters in residential pools. Discover why they are still a good idea for heating small pools and spas.

  • 07 of 11

    Main Drain

    In most residential pools, two main drains are located at the bottom -- the deepest part of the swimming pool. Discover which one the main drain is and it's primary purpose.

  • 08 of 11

    Pumps and Motors

    Working in tandem with the motor, the pool pump draws water from a pool or spa and somehow returns it back to the pool or spa. Find out how this happens and why it's an integral part of your pool.

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • 09 of 11

    Sand Filter

     What? Another type of filter for your pool? Too many choices. Learn the pros and cons of this type and why it might be the right type for your particular swimming pool.

  • 10 of 11


    Most residential pools have skimmers, which help with debris collection. Find out the other functions of a skimmer and the types of debris it collects (ick alert!).

  • 11 of 11


    Weirs are best friends to skimmers and you rarely see one without the other. Find out why.