Your filter is the powerhouse of the pool, keeping the water clear and sparkling above anything else. Even though there’s not much to it, the filter provides an essential service to your pool water, and it does so by using a pressurized system to flow water in, through, and out of the pool filter. You can tell what pressure your filter is using by checking your pool’s pressure gauge. Here at LOOP-LOC, we want to help you understand the big role your pressure gauge has and how to maintain the essential pool part for years to come.

What is a pressure gauge? A pressure gauge is the small, round dial on your filter system with a thin black needle pointing to the PSI of your pool filter. PSI stands for Pounds Per Square Inch, which measures how much water pressure your system is running on. Understanding how to read and interpret this pressure gauge is essential to having a healthy, clean pool.

So, how do you read it? Most pressure gauges have a range between 0 and 60 PSI. A key factor to understanding your pool’s pressure gauge is knowing what your pool filter’s “normal” pressure is. This number is subjective, varying by pool and system, and should be recorded when you first have your pool up and running, or when you give your filter a good cleaning or repair. By giving yourself a base number, you can have a good idea when your pool is running efficiently in the future.

How do I know it’s working well? Your pressure gauge should not fluctuate greatly, and if it’s dynamic while the pump is running, your filter may have an issue. A good rule of thumb is to mark the “normal” PSI, and when the needle is 10 PSI higher than usual, take that as a sign to clean your filter. In other cases, if you turn on your pool filter and the needle doesn’t move at all, you’ll need to replace the gauge itself.

What if the pressure is too low? If your pressure is 5 PSI or more lower than normal, there’s a different issue at hand. Low pressure could indicate some kind of barrier or a leak, preventing water from reaching the filter fast enough. Check your filter for any debris or blockages and clean them out if you find any. Give your filter a good check for any leaks as well. If these do not uncover the issue, call a professional to assess your pool filter.

When do I change my pressure gauge? Oftentimes your pool’s pressure gauge may wear down with age or get damaged in some way. When this is the case, you cannot rely on the pressure gauge for accurate results. To maintain your pool system at its best, you need a fully functioning pressure gauge. Take the time to invest in a new one if your current pressure gauge is old or damaged. They are not a big investment, averaging 10-12 U.S. dollars, and can save you time and money in the long run if your old gauge is giving you inaccurate readings.

How do I change it? Once you’ve purchased a new pressure gauge, you can replace your old one very easily. Just like many other household tools, you simply need to rotate your old pressure gauge counter-clockwise to loosen and remove it. Then, clean out the gauge screw socket of any debris. Make sure to wrap the new pressure gauge with white plumbers tape 3 to 5 times before putting it in the socket. Finally, rotate the new pressure gauge in the screw socket clockwise, tightening it with an open-end wrench. Be gentle on this step, taking the time to insert the gauge properly. Be wary of overtightening the pressure gauge, as this could strip the plastic around the socket and cost you more repairs later on.

Now that you know all about your pool’s pressure gauge, make sure to keep an eye on it to catch any issues before they become serious. For such a small piece of the pool system, it has a huge role in keeping your pool clean for you and your family. This all just goes to show that even though a pressure gauge is a small piece of a bigger picture, it’s the smallest pieces that can have the biggest impact.