What to do when above ground pool pressure is low

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We have a Bestway Steel Pro Max 10-foot diameter above ground pool with a filter-cartridge style of pump. I noticed the water pressure of the water coming back into the pool from the filter pump was really low. It was a weak stream of water flowing back into the pool. And this means it isn’t filtering the water as well as it should.

In this article I’ll list the 2 main things I’ve done in the past when our above ground pool’s inlet water pressure is low.

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DISCLAIMER: I am not a pool expert. I’m just a homeowner with an above ground pool sharing some of my experiences with you. I hope you can learn from my experiences and mistakes. But I can’t be held responsible for anything you interpret or misinterpret from this article. Thank you.

What to do when an above ground pool’s pump has low water pressure

We have an above ground pool (10-foot round Bestway) with a filter pump that I run about 12-16 hours per day.

Our above ground pool (set up on a blue tarp)

This helps keep the water clean by removing dirt.

The “dirty” water exits the pool through the outlet valves and goes into the pump where it gets filtered through the filter cartridge.

The dirt particles get stuck in the filter while the “clean” water gets pumped through a hose and re-enters the pool through the pool’s inlet valve.

When a lot of dirt accumulates in the filter, it impedes the flow of water and the water pressure getting pumped back into the pool drops.

Your pool’s inlet may only have a trickle of water re-entering the pool.

This is usually a sign that the filter is dirty.

Is your pool pump making gurgling sounds?

First, have a listen to see if the pump is making a sucking or gurgling sound. This can mean there is air in the pump or in the hoses.

If it sounds like air is in the pump or hoses, here is what I do.

I unplug the pump. I slowly unscrew the valve on top of the plastic pump lid. This is the air valve.

You’ll hear air hissing out of the valve. This is air escaping from the system. Then once water starts to flow out of this valve I close the valve. (Like in the photo below.)

letting the air out of an above ground pool pump system

Now most of the air has been displaced from the pump so I can plug the pump into the power outlet again.

If your pump is no longer making gurgling sounds, yet the inlet pressure is still low, you can try the steps below to see if they help.

1) Try cleaning the Filter cartridge

dirty above ground pool filter will obstruct water flow
Very dirty above ground pool filter

If your pool’s water inlet (water coming back into the pool) is only a light stream, you can try cleaning the filter cartridge.

This usually works well to improve the water flow.

Here are the steps I I take to clean the filter.

Unplug the pump. I choose to lift my pump off the ground and set it on a small table at the side of my pool.

I do this so that when I take off the top of the pump, the water doesn’t continue to flow out the top.

I unscrew the top off the pump then I remove the filter cartridge. (Like in the picture below.)

The I spray the filter using my garden hose with a spray nozzle attached.

Spray the dirty pool filter with a garden hose to clean it

I try to get off as much of the dirt and debris that I can.

I usually use the “jet” setting on my hose nozzle for more aggressive cleaning and then the “shower” setting to continue rinsing the dirty away.

Then I put the filter back into the pump, ensure the lid is on tight and I place the pump back onto the ground.

To remove the air that got into the pump and hoses while the lid was off, I unscrew the air valve at the top of the pump.

You’ll hear air hissing out. Then water will start seeping out of this valve.

Once I see the water coming out of the air valve, I close the valve by turning it clockwise.

Then I plug the pump back in and keep an eye on the inlet valve.

Is the water coming back into the pool a stronger stream now?

This usually works well because you’re removing the physical obstructions (the dirt) in the filter that is clogging the water flow.

Last summer I cleaned the filter only once weekly, but judging by how dirty our filter was, I think I may have clean it more frequently.

2) Get a new filter cartridge

Usually cleaning the filter helps improve the inlet pressure.

But last week after I cleaned the filter and reinstalled it the water pressure was better, but this only lasted a couple of hours. After that the water flow was weak again.

It was time to replace the filter.

The filter cartridges come in various sizes.

Our pump uses a Type III filter. Thankfully the filter has this number written right on the plastic top.

Our pool filter has the type number written right on top (in our case Type III)
Filter is stamped with what type it is. In our case, Type III

We bought a new Type III cartridge and I sprayed it off with clean water before installing it.

I don’t know if this is required, but I do it with other filters (like my cat’s drinking water fountain), so I did it with this one too.

Then I put the filter into the pump and closed the top. I put the pump back onto the ground. I opened the air valve on the top until water came out then I closed this valve again.

I plugged the pump back in and marvelled at the increased inlet water pressure.

The water flowed out like a strong stream.

improved water flow in above ground pool after changing the pump filter cartridge

I try to angle the inlet at a 45-degree angle to help circulate the water around the pool in a circular path.

Thank you for reading through my article on what to do when your above ground pool’s inlet pressure is low.

I realize I’m only on my second season with the pool, but in my limited experience cleaning the filter cartridge usually works really well to improve water flow.

I hope it helps you keep a nice clean and clear pool too.

Up Next:

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Check out these cool above ground pool accessories.

Thank you.

Tim from LearnAlongWithMe.com

Tim worked in construction for a few years before going to university. Then he worked as a community pharmacist for 10 years and now works as a full-time writer and online publisher. He has experience in several different, far-reaching lines of work.
“I sincerely hope you find the articles helpful and informative.”
Tim from LearnAlongWithMe.com

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