What is a Filter Pressure Gauge?
Swimming pool filters are high-pressure systems that need to be monitored on a regular basis to prevent damage to your equipment and to also ensure your cleaning system is able to do it's job properly. Filters come with a pressure gauge located on top to indicate the PSI your filter is operating at when running.
What is an Appropriate PSI Level?
Every pool filter's "Default" PSI will be slightly different due to the differing systems and type of motor/pump that is operating your equipment. Most filter systems are designed to operate in the range 5–15 or 10–20 PSI. The way to find out your filter’s pressure range is to clean or backwash the filter thoroughly and empty the pump and skimmer baskets. Start the system, and when the pump fully primes up, note the pressure gauge reading. That is your clean, or starting, pressure. Once your PSI raises roughly 10 additional points indicates that it is time for a filter cleaning or backwashing.
Filter Pressure Too High
One of the most common issues with filters is having too high of pressure. Your filter pressure will rise naturally over time due to the filtering system getting dirty, this is why backwashing your sand filters regularly or having bi-annual filter cleanings for your D.E. or Cartridge filters is so important. Once filter PSI rises above 30 your system will begin to perform poorly, and if left unchecked can lead to dangerously high levels that result in the filter tank rupturing. Pool vaccum's and pop-up cleaning systems, along with your skimmer, loses their ability to function properly at these higher PSI levels.
Filter Pressure Too Low
If you are experiencing low filter pressure there can be a number of causes, however the PSI should never drop below your "Clean" starting point. If it does you may have a clogged pump basket or skimmer baskets, clogged pump impeller, eyeball fittings not in place at pool returns, filter valve allowing water to bypass filter, air pulling into system at pump intake or pump lid or valves, closed or partially closed skimmer or main drain valves, clogged skimmer pipes or main drain cover, or cracked or collapsed skimmer pipes.
Filter Pressure Gauge Not Working
Over time filter pressure gauages can fail from normal use or even from regular and direct exposure to sunlight. Although this may seem like a small concern in the grand scheme things related to your swimming pool equipment, it is perhaps the biggest safety feature of your system. Leaving a broken PSI gauge on your equipment does not allow for you to know when trouble may be lurking just around the corner and to take preventative measures to ensure you protect one of oyur largest investments. Broken gauges should never be replaced while the system is operating - the system must be turned off and the pressure relieved from the air release valve located on top of your filter prior to repalcement. If you are unsure of next steps in troubleshooting contact your local pool professional to assist.