Pumps & Filters

by William
(South Carolina)

Hello again. I am slowly but surely completing the install of my 16X32 Doughboy above ground pool in the ground. I'm doing it myself with the help of my wife and her dad. A lot more involved than I ever would of imagined. My wife says we would already be done if I weren't so picky. Anyway, I have a question about filters & pumps.

My Doughboy came with 1 Hayward sand filter and two 1/2hp pumps, one on each side, there are two skimmers. I would like to set up a small building on top of the ground and run the piping to the pumps & filter inside the building instead of building in an area in the ground for the filter and pumps to fit. I have been told to be careful with this because the above ground system works on gravity feed but if I install it on top of the ground above the pool it will not work or work very poorly. It was recommended that I buy an in-ground filter system to install on the pool.

What is your opinion of this? Also, if it will work the way it is can I run both skimmers from 1 pump? If not the 1/2hp how about upping the size of it and running them both? Any help or advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for the advice on the pressure plates as well. I purchased them and installed them. I'm in the process of digging out the deep center of the pool now. Ugh!! My goal is to be finished by Christmas. Haha.


Hi William. Thank you so much, it is nice to hear my words are read and appreciated. Please inform your wife you are building one of the most difficult pools ever made. It is by far my favorite, but difficult none the less. There is no way you are being to picky, this pool needs all the picky you can muster up.

You mentioned you are in the process of digging out the center. Hopefully you have all of the side braces set into place. It is so easy to over dig the hole without the braces in place to work off of. I use my foot to set the start of the slope off of each brace. I have small feet but that's the distance I use from the end of the brace to the start of the slope.

The larger Doughboy ovals have skimmer and return knockouts at each end. Most of the time, one end gets patched off, and one filter system is set up. There have, however, been many times I have installed a separate filter system at each

end. I have never installed a filter with two pumps, I have no idea how that would work. My thought is that it's not a good idea. The problem with most above ground pool filter systems is the water is pumped through the media to fast. The slower the better, so hooking up two pumps is probably not a good thing.

I have heard of 1/2 and 3/4 HP pumps cleaning a large pool just fine when they are let to run 24/7. Two speed pumps are about the best thing going because you use the 3/4 HP mode for filtering and the 1 1/2 HP mode for vacuuming and other maintenance.

One skimmer should be fine, it's the addition of a second return that is needed for larger HP pumps. A big mistake above ground pool owners make is hooking up their 1 1/2 HP pumps with only one return. This size system needs more outlet to handle the pressure from one inlet.

My first pool was a 16' x 24' Doughboy set in the ground. I used an above ground pool pump set at ground level, about ten feet from the pool. It was a 3/4 HP Muskin pump. It was always loosing its prime. When I would go out in the evening to turn the filter on I would open the hair and lint pot, let water from the filter fill the basket, replace the lid and start it up. Seldom did it need any more priming than that. I could have never used a pool timer, but back then I'm not even sure they had been invented yet.

The biggest problem I have seen with filter systems being set in the ground is rain. I have seen way to many filter systems sitting in water after a rain. I would prefer the system to be out of the ground.

The best filter system I ever had I purchased off of Craigs List. It was a 1 HP in-ground pool pump hooked up to a sand tank holding about 400 lbs of sand. That was an awesome system. I could have set it uphill 30' from the pool and been just fine.

So, I would set the system on top of the ground, use one skimmer and one pump. At some time in the future upgrade to an in-ground pool pump. They use a different type of impeller made for drawing water uphill, and they do make a difference. Go with 3/4 HP or possibly a two speed, unless you are able to increase the size of your sand tank also.

The larger the HP of pump you use the more media you need to be pushing the water through. There is something to be said about a matched system.

Hope this helps some.

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