The Anatomy of a Swimming Pool

Learning about the crucial components of a swimming pool can be immensely beneficial for both you and your pool. It will aid you in maintaining it on a daily basis and prove useful in tackling any issues that may arise from time to time.

Maintaining your pool can be a difficult task without a good understanding of its anatomy.

Skimmer Pool :

Overflow Pool :

Eight Essential Pool Parts

All pools share the same fundamental eight parts, regardless of any additional equipment or accessories that may be purchased.

  1.       Skimmer/ Overflow fittings/ channel
  2.       Main drain
  3.       Suction line(s)
  4.       Pump
  5.       Filter
  6.       Return lines
  7.       Return inlets
  8.       Vacuum point

Once you have an understanding of the function of each pool component, it will become evident why some are placed on the suction side of the pool, while others are on the delivery side of the filter.

The Suction Side

This is the side of the pool that sucks in water and pushes to the filtration system, beginning the circulation process.


These are plastic buckets that built into the side of the pool to house skimmer baskets, which are there to catch larger debris such as leaves, twigs, bugs, and anything else that’s too large to go through your filter

When pool water enters the skimmer, it commences its journey through the pool’s filtration system

Overflow fittings/ channel

If it is an overflow pool, a channel would be placed on the pool water level to allow water to circulate around.

Main Drain

Typically situated in the floor of the pool’s deep end, the main drain is seldom used to drain the pool. Its usual role is the same as the skimmers, but it operates from the bottom of the pool, resulting in more effective circulation by drawing water from both the top via the skimmers and the bottom via the main drain.

Note: To minimize suction force in the event of a blockage of one of the drains by an object or person, newer inground pools are often equipped with two main drains as a safety feature. In contrast, older inground pools may not have two main drains, making pool safety practices even more important.

Vacuum point

A point connects with pipes to pump suction for manual cleaning.

Suction Lines

Typically constructed of UPVC, these pipes carry the pool water from the skimmer to the pump. Additionally carry water from main drain and vacuum point.

The Filtration System

The filtration system comprises the pool pump and pool filter.

The Pump

Pool water doesn’t just fall into the skimmers. The pool pump contains an impeller, which spins fast enough to create a vacuum that pulls the water into the filtration system.

Pool pumps are categorized by their horsepower since the impeller is powered by a motor. Typically, these pumps come in sizes ranging from ¾ to 3 horsepower. The appropriate pump size you need will vary depending on the size of your pool. The larger the pool, the more horsepower the pump will need to move the higher volume of water.

The pump alters the force exerted on the water from pulling to pushing as it passes through. The pump then pushes the water into the filter.

The Filter

Although sanitizers such as chlorine can eliminate viruses and bacteria, they only perform half the task of purifying the water. The filter completes the remaining process by removing fine debris, tiny particles, and in some cases, even bacteria that might have bypassed the sanitizer.

Pool filters are available in various types as media which determines the quality of cleaning. Sand, Glass media, Glass beads are few used in great extent. Each of them has its own pros and cons, but all are effective and easy to maintain.

The Delivery Side

This side of the pool pushes water from the filtration system back into the pool, completing the circulation process.

Return Lines

The opposite of the suction lines, but also made of UPVC, they carry pool water from the filter to the return inlets.

Return Inlets

After the water has been filtered and passed through the return lines, it makes its way to the return inlets, where it is reintroduced back into the pool.

The return inlets in the pool have a dual function - not only do they facilitate the re-entry of water back into the pool, but they also push the water around the pool. This aids in directing water towards the skimmers and any surface debris, allowing it to be collected in the skimmer basket.

Tip: To achieve that circulation in the pool, and if there are two or more return inlets, it is advisable to angle some of them downwards towards the floor in a specific direction, either left or right. This helps to create a circular flow and aids in dislodging debris from the bottom of the pool by directing the inlets downwards.

Additional Equipment

Pool Heater

While not considered an essential part of a swimming pool, a pool heater can enhance your swimming experience by providing warmth and extending your pool season. It doesn't, however, contribute to the pool's filtration or circulation processes.

You can find pool heaters suitable for both in-ground and above-ground pools, and there are several heating methods available to choose from, including natural gas, propane, electric, and solar. And they work more efficiently with a solar pool cover.

Heating your pool is worth considering if you're not fond of cold water or wish to prolong your swimming season.

Chemical Feeder

This handy little piece of equipment simplifies the pool sanitization process. You only need to fill it with the specific sanitizer that the feeder is designed to use, such as chlorine, bromine, or a mineral cartridge, connect it, and then not have to worry about adding sanitizer for a while.

This is the last piece of equipment in your filtration line. The order of equipment is as follows:

Important: When connecting both a pool heater and a chemical feeder to your filtration system, it's crucial to ensure that they are installed in the correct order. The water should pass through them in the following sequence:

• Pump
• Filter
• Heater
• Chemical Feeder


If the chemical feeder is positioned before the heater, the chemical-laden water can damage the heater over time.


By understanding the basic anatomy of a pool, you can ensure proper maintenance for a clear and clean pool all season long, allowing you and your loved ones to fully enjoy it.

Happy Swimming!


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