Pool Terminology

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HAND SKIMMER
A screen attached to a frame which is then attached to a telepole used to remove large floating debris, such as leaves and bugs, from the water's surface.

HEAT EXCHANGER
A device located inside the heater providing for the transfer of heat from the heat source to the water. This is usually a series of metallic tubes with fins located just above the flames.

HEATER
A fossil-fueled, electric or solar device used to heat the water of a pool, spa or hot tub.

LINER
Also called vinyl liner - The vinyl membrane that acts as the container to hold or contain the water.

MAIN DRAIN
This term usually refers to a plumbing fitting installed on the suction side of the pump in pools, spas and hot tubs. Sometimes called the drain and is located in the deepest part of the pool, spa or hot tub. It is not a drain, such as a drain on a kitchen sink. Main drains do not allow the water to drain to waste but rather connect to the pump for circulation and filtration.

NEUTRALIZER
A chemical used to make chlorine or bromine harmless. Used in test kits to counteract the bleaching effect of the chlorine or bromine in order to increase the accuracy of pool water tests. Sold as chlorine and bromine neutralizer, it is used to destroy excessive amounts of chlorine or bromine so the high levels will not affect swimmers.

OXIDIZER
A non-chlorine shocking compound that removes or destroys built-up contaminants and chloramines in pool water without raising chlorine levels as required when "superchlorinating."

POOLSCAPE
A poolscape is a well-integrated living environment combining a quality pool with the functional and aesthetic considerations of the home and landscape.

PUMP
A mechanical device, usually powered by an electric motor, which causes hydraulic flow and pressure for the purpose of filtration, heating and circulation of pool and spa water. Typically, a centrifugal pump is used for pools, spas and hot tubs.

PUMP CAPACITY
The volume of liquid a pump is capable of moving during a specified period of time. This is usually gallons per minute (gpm).

PUMP CURVE
Also called a pump performance curve - A graph that represents a pump's water flow capacity at any given resistance.

PUMP STRAINER BASKET
Pump Strainer Basket - A device placed on the suction side of the pump, which contains a removable strainer basket designed to trap debris in the water flow without causing much flow restriction. Sometimes called a "hair-and-lint trap."

pH Potential Hydrogen
Indicates the level of acidity or alkalinity of water on a scale ranging from 0-15. A low pH causes etched plaster, metal corrosion and eye irritation. A high pH causes scale formation, chlorine inefficiency and eye irritation. The ideal range for pH in swimming pools is 7.4 to 7.6.

SHOCK TREAT
The practice of adding significant amounts of an oxidizing chemical - (usually non- chlorine oxidizers, such as sodium persulfate or potassium peroxymonosulfate) - to the water to destroy ammonia and nitrogen compounds or swimmer waste.

SKIMMER
A device installed through the wall of a pool or spa that is connected to the suction line of the pump that draws water and floating debris in the water flow from the surface without causing much flow restriction.

SKIMMER BASKET
A removable, slotted basket or strainer placed in the skimmer on the suction side of the pump, which is designed to trap floating debris in the water flow from the surface without causing much flow restriction.

SOLAR COVER
A cover that, when placed on the water's surface of a pool, spa or hot tub, increases the water temperature by absorption and transmission of solar radiation; reduces evaporation and prevents windborne debris from entering the water.

TEST KIT
An apparatus or device used to monitor specific chemical residuals, levels, constituents or demands in pool or spa water. Kits usually contain reagents, vials, titrants, color comparators and other materials needed to perform tests. The most common pool and spa water tests are: pH, total alkalinity, free available chlorine, water hardness, cyanuric acid, iron and copper.

TEST STRIPS
Small plastic strips with pads attached that have been impregnated with reagents that can be used to test pool water for residuals, levels, constituents or demands. The strips are usually dipped in the water, and the resulting colors of the pads are compared to a standard set of colors to determine concentration.

TURBIDITY
The cloudy condition of the water due to the presence of extremely fine particles in suspension that cannot be trapped by the filter because they are too small. Adding a clarifier, such as an organic polymer or alum, will coagulate the particles and make the filter more efficient.

VACUUM
This term can be used to define any number of devices that use suction to collect dirt from the bottom and sides of a pool or spa. Most common is a vacuum head with wheels that attaches to a telepole and is connected to the suction line, usually via the opening in the skimmer. It must be moved about by a person, and debris is collected in the filter.

VINYL LINER
The vinyl membrane that acts as the container to hold or contain the water.

WATER CLARIFIER
Also called coagulant or flocculant - A chemical compound used to gather (coagulate or agglomerate) or to precipitate suspended particles so they may be removed by vacuuming or filtration. There are two types; inorganic salts of aluminum (alum) and other metals or water-soluble organic polyelectrolytes.

WEIR
Also called skimmer weir - Part of a skimmer that adjust automatically to small changes in water level to assure a continuous flow of water to the skimmer. The small floating "door" on the side of the skimmer that faces the water over which water flows on its way to the skimmer. The weir also prevents debris from floating back into the pool after the pump shuts off.

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