12 Key Parts of a Pool

Parts of a Pool

If you have a pool or are thinking of installing one, you need to understand its anatomy. Knowing a pool’s anatomy makes maintenance more straightforward for you, and you will also have to go through less hassle when it comes to troubleshooting things.

Besides knowing what the essential parts are, you also need to understand how each works and what makes it vital for the proper functioning of your swimming pool.

While the essential pool part can sometimes vary from one pool type to another, here is an overview of the most common ones regardless of your pool type.

Key Parts of a Pool

1. Skimmers

Both above and inground pools will include skimmers. A typical above ground pool will have just one, while the inground types often include two.

Skimmers are small baskets on the sides of the pool that act as the first step in the water filtration process. These baskets will trap large debris like bugs, twigs, and leaves, which are too large to get to your filters without clogging them.

It would be best to empty the skimmer basket at least once every week to keep it at optimal performance. Also, make sure you use the handheld pool skimmers like Sunnyglade Swimming Pool Cleaner to scoop out the debris to complement your built-in skimmer.

2. Main Drains

The term main drain can be a little misleading as the primary role of this pool component is not to drain out the pool.

Although you can still use the main drains to remove water from the pool, they work more like skimmers as they help trap debris at the bottom of the pool before they get to the filters.

Unlike the older models, most modern inground swimming pools will include two of these drains that hard just one. Having two drains provides extra safety as they help minimize the suction force if someone or something in the pool blocks one.

3. Suction Lines

Suction lines connect the skimmer to the pool’s pump system. They can either be rigid or flexible PVC pipes, and their primary role is to move water from the skimmer to the pump to enhance circulation.

Some pools will have suction lines below the ground, while others are above the ground. Having suction lines below the ground makes it harder to detect leaks, and repairing them can also be more expensive.

4. Pre-Filter (Optional)

Pre-filters are an optional pool component, but they can still be quite valuable to have in your pool. Passing water through a pre-filter before it gets to the pump helps remove any large debris that your skimmer might have missed.

While some pools will include pre-filter as part of the original setup, it is still possible to add one later as an aftermarket modification. If you have issues with massive debris accumulation due to having lots of plants around the pool, this pool component can be handy.

5. Pump

A pump is one of the most crucial components in any swimming pool, regardless of the type and sanitation system you use. Without the pump, you will not be able to circulate the water or pool chemicals adequately.

Standard pool pumps will include a motor, front housing, and a strainer basket. The motor spins at high speed to turn an impeller that then draws water through the pump and filter for filtration and circulation.

The housing on the pump holds everything together and protects the delicate pool components from the elements. On the other hand, the strainer basket catches large debris to ensure they do not clog filters.

6. Filter

A pool filter is what traps the tiny contaminants that your skimmer, main drain, and the strainer basket on your pump cannot catch.

The filter can also catch other things like algae and bacteria to supplement your pool sanitizer in cleaning the water. You can get pool filters in three main types: sand, cartridge, and DE (Diatomaceous Earth).

Cartridge filters will require replacement every few months, but your sand filters only require backwashing to keep them clean, while a spray with your garden hose is enough to clean DE filters.

7. Heater (Optional)

Pool heaters are another optional pool component that is also worth having. Heaters help raise your water temperature to make it more comfortable to swim in during cold days and help extend your swimming season.

You can get a pool heater with different capacities, and they come in various types, so there is something for any pool put there. Solar pool heaters are great for those who want to save money on their electric bill and heat the pool continuously. However, they do not provide a quick temperature rise.

Gas and electric heaters are more effective at heating the water, but they are more expensive to install and operate.

Other things like solar pool covers, solar pool rings, and liquid solar blankets can also help heat your water and are also more cost-effective options.

8. Chemical Feeder (Optional)

You might not always be around or have the time to add chemicals to your pool. The good news is that an automatic chemical feeder can do the job for you.

Chemical feeders add small doses of pool chemicals like chlorine and bromine to ensure your water remains sanitized. Installing an automatic chemical feeder can eliminate the need to use other things like tablet dispensers.

An automatic chemical feeder can be handy for those that plan to leave the swimming pool unattended for long periods but still want to ensure it remains in good shape.

9. Saltwater Generator (Optional)

A saltwater generator is a crucial component for any saltwater swimming pool. However, it is an optional pool part as you can always use traditional pool sanitation systems like chlorine and bromine.

Salt generators have a salt cell that will convert the salt in your pool into chlorine to keep the water sanitized.

When using a salt generator, you have to make sure the salt level in your swimming pool is at least 1,000 ppm to ensure it can produce enough chlorine to clean and sanitize the water.

10. Return Lines

Return lines will take the clean water back to the pool after it goes through the filters and any other filtration system you might have in your swimming pool.

For most pools, these lines are PVC pipes that end at the return jets. Most pools will have 2 or 3 lines, and the actual number often depends on the size of the pool, meaning the larger ones can have even more than three.

11. Return Jets

Water from the return lines will go to the pool’s return jets. The return jets are tiny holes on the pool walls that inject clean, filtered water into the pool.

Like return lines, most inground swimming pools have 2 or 3 return jets, but 1 is often enough for an above ground pool.

Besides injecting water back into the pool, returns jets can also help with pool chemical distribution and temperature control. For example, pointing the return jets down helps ensure a more uniform pool temperature and chemical distribution.

12. Water Features (Optional)

Water features provide an easy way to add some fun to your swimming pool. However, they can also serve various other purposes, such as helping cool your water and improving circulation.

You can install different water feature types, but fountains, waterfalls, deck jets, and bubblers are the most common options. A good fountain adds some aesthetic appeal, keeps the water moving, and helps push foreign matter closer to the filter.

Deck jets shoot a stream of water to create a stunning display as the water arches, and they also help cool pool water. Waterfalls help keep the water moving for optimal circulation, while bubblers also lower pool water temperature.


A swimming pool includes several components that work together to keep the water clean and comfortable for the best swimming experience.

Some pool parts like pump, filter, skimmer and return jet are essential, and every pool will have them. Others like heaters and chemical feeders are optional but can still make the pool more comfortable for you and keep it clean.

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