Why A Swimming Pool Filter Cartridge Is A Great Choice

Want something better than a sand filter, but not as expensive as a D.E. filter?  Do you require good filtration and something that's not too expensive to replace?  Try this.  Cartridge filters are very effective at capturing small particles, bacteria, and algae spores.  This is a small as a micron.  For reasons not known to me, I've seen more swimming pool cartridge filters here in Florida than I did while I had my pool route in Arizona and the 11 years I lived in Oregon.  Must be a geographical thing. 

Why A Swimming Pool Filter Cartridge Is A Great Choice

What Is A Swimming Pool Cartridge Filter?

The pool water flows into the tank, through the pleats, and the debris, as small as 10 microns, is captured in the filter.  The clean water is then returned back to the pool.  Pool cartridge filters are inexpensive and easy to replace.  They normally last about 2500 - 3500 operational filter hours.  I've personally found that cartridge pool filters are the best "all-round" in terms of a swimming pool filter system.  It's kind of like a Toyota Camry.  They're easy for the first time and well-seasoned pool owner.

In my opinion and all things considered, they're the best water filter system you can get.  Swimming pool filter cartridges for inground and/or above ground swimming pools are just as they say.  They work the same as an air filter in a car.  Dirty water passes through a filter and comes out clean.  It’s a very simple process.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  There are other filters which are more expensive that may last 5 years or longer, depending on pool use and cleaning frequency.

Do I Backwash A Pool Cartridge Filter?

Backwashing can be troublesome to certain pool owners.  By not backwashing, you can save between 150 - 200 gallons per month.  With a cartridge filter system, there's no backwashing involved.  The dirt and debris is simply captured in the filter and you can easily spray it off when needed.   Just use a regular garden hose to clean it.  Never use a high pressure washer.  You can also use a pool water filter cartridge cleaner to get them clean.  This involves filling a large bucket or trash can with water and adding the pool filter cartridge cleaning solvent.  Allow the cartridge to soak for a few hours and simply spray it off.  Remember a pair of heavy duty rubber gloves and goggles.  A good cartridge filter rates between a sand filter and D.E. pool filter in terms of filtering capacity and efficiency. 

Easy pool maintenance

Sand Filter vs. Cartridge Filter?

There's much to take into account when choosing the right pool filter for your pool.  All filters keep your pool clean, but what are the difference and how do they work?  In this example I'm going to compare a sand filter and cartridge filter. 

Sand Filter

Sand filters are generally more affordable for your inground or above ground pool.  The way a sand filter works is fairly straight forward.  The sand filter uses a specific type of sand, usually #20 silica sand.  The dirt water is pressed through the sand, starting from the top.  The sand captures dirt and debris and holds it in the first 3 - 4" of the sand.

The cleaned filtered water exits the sand filter through the bottom end of the filter.  This clean water is then returned back to the pool through the returns.  Backwashing is an essential part of a sand filter and occurs once water flows out through the waste line while cleaning the filter. In general, you should have your sand inspected and/or changed every 5 - 7 years, or based on usage.

Cartridge filters can literally capture over twice as much dirt and debris, compared to a sand filter.  Due to it's larger filtration area, more water can be passed through the pool cartridge filter, effectively removing smaller particles.  Maintenance is easier on a cartridge filter.  There no need for backwashing, you have no sand to deal with, and when it's time, simply toss it away and install a new one.

You will need to clean it from time to time, as swimming pool cartridge filters do get dirty.  All we do is take the pool filter cartridge out of the filter housing and wash it off.  Cartridge filters also work great with variable speed pump motors.  Since the filter pressure is lower for a large portion of the time, it can prolong the life of your pool pump and the need to replace the filter is extended. 

Cartridge Filter

Cartridge filters can literally capture over twice as much dirt and debris, compared to a sand filter.  Due to it's larger filtration area, more water can be passed through the pool cartridge filter, effectively removing smaller particles.  Maintenance is easier on a cartridge filter.  There no need for backwashing, you have no sand to deal with, and when it's time, simply toss it away and install a new one.

You will need to clean it from time to time, as swimming pool cartridge filters do get dirty.  All we do is take the pool filter cartridge out of the filter housing and wash it off.  Cartridge filters also work great with variable speed pump motors.  Since the filter pressure is lower for a large portion of the time, it can prolong the life of your pool pump and the need to replace the filter is extended. 

Swimming Pool Filter Cartridge Comparison

Some pros and cons between the other kinds of pool filters.

PROS

  • Good filtration down to about 10 microns. Sand can filter to about 30 microns.  D.E. is about 3 microns.
  • Lower back pressure than sand and D.E. pool filter pumps.
  • Easy maintenance.
  • No backwashing.  Simply take the cartridge out, soak it in a cleaning agent, and spray off with a garden hose.
  • Water savings. 

CONS

  • A cartridge swimming pool filter can initially cost more than sand and D.E. pool filter
  • Pool cartridge filters require replacement every 3000 - 3500 operational filter hours.  Sand can last for 5 - 7 years, on average.
  • Because there's no backwashing and less topping off of the water, your CYA will tend to rise a bit faster.

How To Replace A Swimming Pool Cartridge Filter

How To Clean Your Swimming Pool Filter Cartridge

You need to clean your pool filter cartridges when your pressure gauge reaches 8-10 psi (pounds per square inch) above the normal range.  

If you're a lucky one and have a hot tub, clean the filter with a good pool filter cartridge cleaner based on usage. There is no backwashing any swimming pool filter cartridges so you need to remove and clean them.

  • First is to turn off the pump motor, then the breaker to the pool filter pump.  Bleed the air out of the filter if you can.  Remove the swimming pool filter cartridges from the housing following the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Use a garden hose or a water wand.  Wash down the swimming pool filter cartridge.  Work from the top down, cleaning inside and outside.  Getting the spray at a 45 degree angle will give you the best results.  Clean in between all the pleats, every nook, very cranny, and every wrinkle.
  • NEVER use a high powered sprayer on your filter cartridge.  It will destroy the pleats.
  • Rinse again and again until all the dirt & debris is gone.
  • Some people choose to let the swimming pool filter cartridge sit in the sun to dry, then remove any loose particles with a stiff pool brush.  You don't need to do this, but you can.
  • Get a large bucket with a tight-fitting lid to soak your filters.  Use a pool filter cleaner as per directions.
  • Remember to read the directions on the bottle because not every pool filter cleaner is the same.  Submerge the filter in this solution, then place the lid on the bucket.
  • Allow the filters to soak for about 24 hours 
  • Remove the filters and rinse in a bucket of clean water.  Hold it at one end and dunk them up and down in the water.  You should see all the contaminants coming from the swimming pool filter cartridge.
  • Rinse your filters again with clean water
  • Optional Step: You could mix muriatic pool acid and water and allow the filters to soak one more time.  In a 5 gallon bucket, mix 3 gallons of clean water to 1.5 quarts of pool acid.  Place the filter in the bucket and allow to soak until it stops bubbling, or about 5 minutes.  Take the filter out and rinse well.
  • Remember to add acid to water, never water to acid.  Keep the container sealed tight when not in use. 
  • Rinse your filters again with clean water.  Failure to remove all of the oils, contaminants, and pool filter cleaner solution may result in partial or complete failure of the filter
  • Replace it within the filter's housing per the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Turn on the breaker to the pump
  • I don't recommend using Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) powder.  The powder will become trapped in the pleats of the cartridge filter and may shorten its life expectancy.

As always, follow the manufacturer's instructions on pool cleaning tips for your swimming pool filter cartridge and use the proper pool filter cleaner.

This will work for:

  • Hayward pool filter cartridge
  • Pentair pool filter cartridge
  • Jacuzzi pool filters
  • Pleatco filters
  • Sta Rite pool filters

and all others.

Get To Be A Cartridge Pool Filter Pro

A swimming pool cartridge filter can add years of clean enjoyment to your swimming pool.  They rate between a sand and D.E. filter, are easy to clean, and there's no muss or fuss.  No matter what kind of pool filter you choose, make sure you keep up on your weekly maintenance and test your chemicals at least 2x per week. 

Have A Story, Question, Or Comment?

If you have a chemical related issue, please give the chemicals readings, type of filtration system, what you've done or are trying to do, etc..

Chlorine
pH
Alkalinity
Hardness
Cyanuric Acid
Sand, Cartridge, DE Filter

Please explain your issue thoughtfully. By giving me all the details, it makes it much easier to answer your question and helps others that may have similar issues.

Thank you

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