How to clean a cartridge type swimming pool filter

When people imagine a swimming pool, they imagine crystal clear water with a faint smell of chlorine, and shadows gently dancing on the concrete bottom. But that water quality does not come automatically. The pool filter plays a huge role in providing a safe, enjoyable experience for swimmers.

While many of the ins-and-outs of pool maintenance seem complicated, filter maintenance is not only straightforward but critical. Proper care can keep your filter running smoothly for years with relatively minimal work. Neglecting filter maintenance, on the other hand, can give you an unexpected headache or two.

What Does the Filter Do?

Summed up simply, the filter keeps your pool healthy. While the most apparent functions might include filtering out large debris like leaves and bugs (which it certainly does), it also filters out much finer things like dirt and dust, which can invite bigger problems when left unchecked. A few different filter types exist, but the basic mechanics remain the same.

Pool filtration systems essentially force water through some type of material porous enough to allow water molecules through, but condensed enough to trap larger objects trying to pass through with the water. By doing so, they reduce the amount of “junk” floating around in your pool.

Filters that fail to trap all of the particles end up placing a heavier load on the pool sanitizer since the chemicals go to work trying to dissolve all of the unwelcome things like bits of leaves, dust, or dirt. This creates issues wherein more chemicals may need to be applied, and the pool maintenance costs – both time and money – can arise.

Kinds of Filters

Filters come in a few different styles: sand, cartridge, and diatomaceous earth (D.E.) filters. There are pros and cons to each, but each of them provides essential protection to your pool water. You should consider what type of debris your filter will be handling, and how much you’re willing to spend.

Sand Filter

Sand filters come with the lowest price tag, but with the proper maintenance, they can still do an excellent job keeping your pool clean and last for years. They do have one drawback: the large pore space between sand grains means they function a little less effectively than other filter styles – at least initially.

However, that same drawback also means that sand filters become more effective over their first few years. Trapped debris decreases the pore space, but the effect does start to reverse as the grains wear down and lose their jagged edges. Sand needs to be replaced every five to seven years.

Cartridge Filter

Cartridge filters offer an even simpler filter to clean and filters out smaller particles than sand right off the bat. Cartridge filters generally filter out much smaller particles than sand filters. Unlike both sand and D.E. filters, which need to be backwashed (which uses lots of water – more on that later), cartridge filters can simply be removed and rinsed off.

While this cleaning process is simpler, these filters need maintenance a few times a year. Users pay for this simplicity with a higher upfront cost, and unlike inexpensive sand, the whole cartridge needs to be replaced every 3-5 years. Still, better filtering and decreased water demand for cleaning make it an excellent choice in many cases.

Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) Filter

D.E. filters use the fossilized, microscopic shells of diatoms to filter pool water. The tiny, hollow shells trap the smallest particle sizes, making D.E. filters the most effective at trapping debris. D.E. filters are also the most expensive, and like sand filters require backwashing to clean. Additionally, some restrictions exist on the disposal of spent D.E.

D.E. filters work by having the actual powdery earth sit on a grid or finger assembly. The D.E. itself is sold separately and needs backwashing every 4-6 weeks. The grid assembly needs to be cleaned annually, making D.E. filters a little more time consuming to maintain. But they do create the cleanest pool water, so some users find the extra time and cost well worth it.

Cleaning Sand Filters

First and foremost, cleaning a sand filter requires knowing when the filter should get cleaned. Your pool gives two main indicators: a reading on the pressure gauge 8-10 PSI above the normal operating level (which varies depending on the filter), or cloudy pool water. When either of these conditions develops, it’s time to follow the steps below.

Gather the Equipment

  • Backwash hose
  • Sand filter cleaner
  • Filter owner’s manual

Cleaning a sand filter does not require much equipment, but the owner’s manual may come in handy if something goes wrong during the process.

Start Cleaning

  • Turn off the pool pump. This step is crucial, as turning the valves on the filter with the pump still running can damage the internal components.
  • Attach backwash hose, or unroll if already attached to the waste line and open the waste line valve.
  • Turn the valve on the filter to the “backwash” setting.
  • Turn on the pump to get the water moving backward through the filter.
  • Run the pump on the backwash setting until the water flowing from the waste line runs clear – usually just a few minutes.
  • Turn off the pump.
  • Turn the valve on the filter to the “rinse” setting to resettle the sand.
  • Turn the pump back on and rinse for 30-45 seconds.
  • Turn the pump back off.
  • Turn the valve on the filter to the “filter” setting.
    • Once a year, remove the filter basket during this step and pour in the sand filter cleaner.
    • Turn on the pump just long enough to move the cleaner into the sand.
    • Turn off the pump and let the sand soak in the cleaner for 8 hours or more.
    • Repeat the backwash process to remove any material dislodged by the sand filter cleaner.
  • Turn the pump back on.

Cleaning Cartridge Filters

Like sand filters, cartridge filters need to be cleaned whenever the pressure gauge rises 8-10 PSI above its normal operating levels. Even if the pressure stays at a reasonable level, cartridge filters should be cleaned at least every six months.

Up until today, a swimming pool is still the most favorite water feature that a lot of homeowners adore. It’s because the swimming pool offers you a lot of benefits. Besides it can be a fun spot to exercise or just simply chill down your body, it also brings the style of your home to a whole new level.

Of course, a swimming pool should be maintained regularly so you can use it comfortably and it will look good overtimes. As you may have known, a swimming pool has several components that have different jobs in maintaining its performance and appearance.

The pool filter is one of the essential parts of the swimming pool that you always have to maintain. As the name suggests, it filters the contaminants of the pool water to keep comfort for the swimmers.

If the filter is dirty, of course, it can’t offer you the maximum performance. As a result, the water will feel slimy and murky that you don’t want to enjoy it after all. Cleaning the pool filter should be on the list of regular maintenance that you can’t just ignore.

Luckily, cleaning the pool filter is kinda easy so you can do the job all by yourself at home. To guide you to do this kind of job, below we share a simple tutorial on how to clean pool filter that you can easily follow.

How to Clean Pool Filter | Easy DIY Tutorial

Catridge filter is still the most popular option when it comes to pool equipment. The tutorial below is suitable for you who use the kind of pool filter.

Turn Off the System

First, you have to prevent the pool water from going through the filter. You just need to turn off the pump and filter system of your pool.

Open the Air Relief

Removing the air relief will speed up the process. Open the air relief which is located at the top of the pool filter.

Remove the Clamps

After you have completely drained the tank, remove the clamps that hold the filter together. You can use a wrench to remove it, but if you are not really sure, just read the manual guide.

Remove the Cartridge

Now it’s time for you to remove the cartridge from the filter, be careful in doing this step.

  • After you have removed the clamp, then open the filter lid.
  • Slowly remove cartridge inside.
  • Inspect the dirt, debris, or scaling on the cartridge meticulously. If you find some damages you may need to replace the cartridge.

Cleaning the Cartridge

Now, it’s time to clean the cartridge of the filter. It’s the most important component of the filter, you have to make sure that you clean it thoroughly for the best result.

Prepare these supplies:

  • Garden hose with a spray nozzle
  • Filter cleaner (if necessary)
  • 5-gallon bucket (if necessary)

Follow these steps:

  • Clean up the debris on the cartridge with the spray hose, clean it from top to bottom and make sure to thoroughly clean the pleats.
  • You may need to use the filter cleaner if the cartridge is really dirty. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to properly use the cleaner.
  • If the cartridge is extremely dirty, you have to soak it. Mix the filter cleaner with water and soak the filter in the bucket overnight.
  • After you are sure enough that the filter is cleaned properly, then you need to rinse it.

Place It Back

When the cleaning process is finished, now it’s time to place the cartridge back into the tank.

  • Make sure that you place the cartridge securely inside the tank.
  • Replace the lid and retighten the clamp, make sure that everything stays in place properly.

Test the Filter

The last step is to see the performance of the filter after you have cleaned it up.

  • Turn back on the filter system.
  • Remove the excess air by opening the air relief of the system.
  • Keep the air relief valve open until you see the water spray from the component.

Check the Pressure

The pressure of the system should be in the normal range, if the PSI (pounds per square inch) is off, follow these steps:

  • Check whether you have put all the components of the filter correctly or not.
  • Check the condition of all the components.

So that is our tutorial on How to Clean Pool Filter to guide you to maintain your beloved swimming pool. As one of the important pool components, cleaning your filter regularly is mandatory. You will not have an enjoyable pool if the filter is dirty obviously.

Keep in mind to always include the filter cleaning to your regular swimming pool maintenance. You need to clean it at least once every six weeks just like the tutorial above shows you.

To keep the performance of your pool filter, below we share some simple tips that you can apply:

  • Remove the Debris – Take a quick look at your pool filter every week to see the debris that stuck in the basket. You have to do it regularly to avoid build-up. Just simply turn off your pool filter, remove its cap, and clean up all the debris that you spot.
  • Balance the Chemical – Keeping the chemicals of your pool water in an ideal range can benefit you a lot, and of them is keeping the filter healthy. If the chemicals do its job properly in maintaining the hygiene of the water, the filter will give you its best performance.
  • Cover the Pool – No matter what season is, when you think you’re not going to use the pool for a long time, always cover it. It will help the pool water to stay clean and hygiene over times.

In Pool Tips by Swimming Pool Expert April 2, 2020

The beauty, function, and design of a swimming pool may come secondary to keeping the pool water clean.

It is essential to install a good filter system to guarantee that the oasis has clean water, without bacteria.

A cartridge filter is the most popular type of pool filter to use on a home pool. The filter artifacts are pleated, and they maximize the cleaning process by gathering debris as small as 10 to 15 microns. In other words, the larger the area, the more particles you can filter out.

The cartridge filters are efficient and clean particles out of your pools water as it flows through the cartridge artifact. Best of all, cleaning them is easy by using a garden hose to rinse the filter chamber and cartridges. Most pool owners clean their pool’s filter system every six months, depending on the water chemistry.

For all our DIY customers, you may already know the importance of cleaning your filter cartridge at least every six months. Cleaning your pool filter is not only important but is easy to do.

To clean your cartridge filter, you will need:

  • 9 /16th deep socket wrench
  • Garden hose

How to clean a cartridge type swimming pool filter

Filter Cleaning Procedure:

  • Shut the equipment off.
  • Open the drain plug at the bottom of the filter tank. (Remember, the water will come out fast so, take a step back).
  • Open the air relief valve at the top of the tank; this will help the water come out more quickly from the filter.
  • After draining the water out, proceed to remove the band and the lid. To do this, use your 9/16 deep socket and remove the nut from the bolt around the filter tank.
  • Take off the filter manifold from the top of the filters and remove the filters.
  • Use the hose to clean the filters. It works best to hose off the filters working from the top to the bottom of each filter.
  • Rinse the inside of the tank, underneath the tank band, pressure gasket and the manifold.
  • Make sure that the tank is free of any debris like sand, little rocks or pebbles in the filter tank. Otherwise, water may leak when you put the filter back together.

How to clean a cartridge type swimming pool filterPutting Your Filter Back Together:

  • Close the drain plug at the bottom of the filter tank.
  • Place the band back in its place. Ensure that the lid fits in.
  • Place the filter cartridges on the cups located at the bottom of the tank. This will help keep the filters standing up.
  • Re-install the manifold and make sure that the O-ring is properly set in place.
  • Place the tank lid, and make sure that no debris is on the inside rim. Since the cover has a dial, ensure that it faces towards the upper connecting tube.
  • Install the band to secure the lid.
  • While placing the nut and bolt:
  • Take the bolt’s vertical side and glide it inside the filter tank band. Then, take the other end of the bolt and place it in.
  • Take the nut and screw it back to the bolt, ensuring to close it tightly using the 9/16 deep socket, ensuring that the clamp is 1/16” gap from each side of the ring.
  • Open the air relief valve. This will allow for the air to come out while the water fills the filter.
  • Once the water escapes from the top, close the air relief
  • Turn the equipment on.

Anyone who follows these steps will extend the life of the filter system and the swimming pool. Remember that Platinum Pools has Maintenance Service ready to keep your pool equipment in top-notch condition. Call us at 281.870.1600 (Houston), 409.898.4995 (Beaumont), or 361.576.0813 (Victoria). You can also visit our website for a free quote.

How to clean a cartridge type swimming pool filter

Nothing brings joy to pool owners’ as much as crystal clear waters on a hot summer day. Yes, pool owners are obsessed with the clarity and purity of the water in their pools (and they very well should be).

To ensure that your pool remains crystal clear throughout the summer season, you need to clean and maintain your pool’s filter system. While pool filter maintenance is a year-round process, it takes the front seat during the peak summer season.

Whether you have a DE Pool Filter Grids or a cartridge filter, you have to follow the right maintenance procedures to ensure that your pool’s filtration system is working without any issues.

At Pool Filters, our clients often ask us two questions repeatedly. The first one is “what is the best swimming pool filter system?” The other one is, “How do I know it’s time to clean (or replace) my pool filter cartridge?” Today, we’re focusing on the second question.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question. In fact, the schedule for cleaning or replacement depends on an array of factors like filter type, pool usage frequency, water quality, and more.

Worry not! In this post we’ll give you the complete guide to pool filter cleaning and maintenance. So, without further delay, let’s get started!

Filter Cartridges – The Key to Crystal Clear Water

Filter cartridges keep the water in pools and spas clean. They can be used for pools of all sizes, from small home pools to large commercial pools with over 30,000 gallons of water. Generally, the filter cartridge is made of corrugated paper or polyester cloth. This is the media that traps and removes small particles from the water.

If the filter cartridge is clogged or dirty, it cannot filter out the small particles and the pool or spa water will stay dirty. Keep on reading to find out how often you should clean, or if it’s time to replace the filter cartridge.

How Long do Filter Cartridges Last?

With normal usage, filter cartridges last up to 2000 operation hours. This means if you use your pool or spa regularly, you’ll have to replace the filter cartridge once every 1 or 2 years. However, the lifespan of the cartridge will decrease if it is not maintained regularly or there is an increased presence of deodorants, suntan lotions, hair care products and other chemicals in water.

Should you Clean or Replace?

This is one of the biggest dilemmas faced by pool and spa owners. Should you clean it or replace it? Here are some signs that indicate it’s time to replace your Hayward, Pentair or Jacuzzi pool filter cartridge.
Signs that it’s Time to Replace your Pool Filter Cartridge

1. A High PSI Reading

Sudden spikes in your pressure reading indicate that your filter cartridge is under strain. One of the main causes for a high PSI reading is a dirty and clogged cartridge. A simple remedy is to hose the dirt and accumulated debris off. If a quick clean doesn’t resolve the issue, you may need a deep clean. Soak the cartridge in a cleaning solution overnight after hosing it down, and then do another rinse after soaking.

If this doesn’t bring down the PSI reading, it’s time for Hayward, or Pentair pool filter cartridge replacement.

2. Cracked or Broken End Caps

A pool filter cartridge has plastic caps on either end. These act as bookends binding the cartridge material (paper or polyester) into a tight, compact form. Generally, end caps are made from heavy-duty plastic and last long. But subsequent washings and exposure to harsh cleaning chemicals can make them brittle and cause them to break or crack.

If you notice signs of cracks or chips on the end caps, then it’s time to replace the cartridge. If you continue using a cartridge with a broken end cap, parts of the plastic may get circulated through your pool’s filtration system, which can cause extensive damage to the system.

3. Flat Pleats

When your pool filter cartridge gets over saturated, the accumulated dirt particles end up deforming the pleats. This process is called as flattening of pleats. When pleats become flat, they lose their cleaning capability. Another cause for pleat flattening is a missing or broken band.

4. Frayed, Tattered or Ripped Cartridges

While cartridges are made of a long-lasting material, the natural wear and tear, water pressure, weight of the dirt particles, and the action of harsh chemicals can cause the material to fail. Fraying of material makes the cartridge look furry and ripped.

If you notice any fraying or holes in the cartridge material, then it’s time for a replacement.

5. Crushed Cartridge

As the name implies, there are times when the entire cartridge collapses. A pool filter cartridge has an inner plastic core that acts as a reinforcement cage for the outer pleats. When your cartridge collapses or crushes, it will resemble a crushed soda can with pleats on the outside.

The reasons for this issue could be the wrong cartridge size, poor-quality replacements, or a dirty cartridge that can no longer filter the water, causing the pressure of the filtration system to crush the cartridge.

Final Thoughts

We’ve covered all that you need to know about identifying if you need to clean or replace the pool or spa filter cartridge. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s time for a replacement. Make sure to follow regular cartridge maintenance and cleaning schedule, to extend the life of your pool filter cartridge.

Clean or Replace your pool or spa filter cartridge & Enjoy crystal clear water!

If you think about it, pool filters are the dirtiest parts of your pool. All of the water passes through your pool filters and they grab on to all of the dirt and debris so that the rest of your pool is clean and sparkly. Now, most of the questions we often get is how often should filters be cleaned and how to clean the filter properly.

The first step to answering those questions is to first determine the type of pool filter that you have installed on your pool.

Different Kinds of Pool Filters

There are three main types of pool filters. Each one has their own strengths and weaknesses, but assuming that you already have a pool, it’s more likely that you have one of the three filters installed on your pool.

  • Sand Filters – These are the easiest types of filters to maintain and pretty much the most cost-effective type of pool filters as the media only needs to be changed every five years or so. Sand filters capture and traps contaminants and debris down to the 20-30-micron size (a human hair is 70 microns across, so that should give you an idea of how small the particles that are being filtered out are)
  • Cartridge Filters – Cartridge filters use replaceable fabric-like well… cartridges as the filter medium. These types of filter produce clearer water than sand filters as they can capture and trap contaminants down to 10-20 microns in size. These are the most commonly recommended filter systems as replacing them is a breeze.
  • Diatomaceous Earth Filter – This filter is as hard to clean as it is to pronounce. Diatomaceous earth filters are the most effective types of filters as they can trap down to 3-5 microns in size. These are fairly uncommon in-home pools as they require a lot of maintenance work and checking to ensure that the unit does not get damaged.

How often should you clean your pool filter

Here’s a quick and handy chart on when you should consider cleaning out your pool filter.

Once a month, or when pressure gauge on the filter is 5-10 PSI higher than regular pressure. (Or depending on your gauge, around 80Kpa)

A quick hosing down every two to three weeks and a thorough soak every couple of months.

Diatomaceous Earth Filter

Once a month or when pressure gauge on the filter unit is 5-10 PSI higher than regular pressure (Or depending on your gauge, around 80Kpa), plus annual dismantling to check individual parts. Fresh DE must also be added every time the filter is cleaned.

Different Pool Filters, Different Cleaning Methods

Now we’re at the heart of this post. How to clean your pool filter.

Sand Filters

Once you’ve determined that your sand filter is time for a thorough clean, it’s time to backwash it. The term for cleaning sand filter is called “backwashing”. If you take a look at your sand filter, you’ll find a multiple port system that has six settings. Filter, Backwash, Rinse, Circulate, Closed, and Waste.

Backwashing is a fairly simple process. Simply turn off the pool pump, set the multiport valve handle to “backwash”, let it run for two minutes (or until the glass viewport on the filter is clear). Turn off the pump, set the multiport valve handle to rinse and let it run for about a minute or two. Turn it off, set the multiport back to filter and turn the pump back on.

We also have a more in-depth guide on how to backwash your sand pool filter which you can check down below.

Also remember that you will need to change the sand in your sand pool filter every five years or so depending on the type of media that you’re using. For more information on changing the sand in your pool filter, check out our comprehensive guide to changing the sand in your sand pool filters.

Cartridge Filters

To make sure that your cartridge filter doesn’t get gummed up and get damaged prematurely, it is advisable to give them a quick hose down every two to three weeks. To do this, simply open up your cartridge filter housing and pull the filter out and give it a good hose down to remove dirt and debris. Every two or three months, you should also give your filters a good soak in some Zodiac filter cleaning solution. Just mix the Zodiac Filter cleaning solution with some water, drop the filter in and let it soak for about 12 hours (or overnight). After the filter is done luxuriating in its filter cleaner bath then give it a hose down to remove all of the remaining dirt and debris and it should be as good as new.

If after hosing down and soaking your cartridge filter doesn’t improve the filtration of your pool then it might be time to replace your filter. You can usually tell that your cartridge filter is in need of replacement when it’s discolored, mushy to the feel, has small holes and tears in it, or just basically a disheveled look to it. Replacing cartridge filters is a breeze, just take out the old ones and plop in your new filters and you should be good to go. Not sure what type of cartridge filter to get? Check out our article on how to correctly measure your pool filter down below.

Already know what to get? Hop on down directly to our store and browse all of the Pool Filter Cartridges we have on stock.

Diatomaceous Earth Filter

These are basically the same as sand filters, but on steroids. The media used is diatomaceous earth, or basically fossilized diatoms (plankton). To clean a DE filter, it must be backwashed like a regular sand filter. But unlike sand filters, DE filters spit out a lot of the diatomaceous earth media during backwashing, meaning that you’ll have to top-up with more filter media every time you clean your filter, which adds up to a lot of $$$ if you look at it on an annual basis.

DE Filters also have to be taken apart every year to be cleaned and degreased and to check that everything is working properly. Aside from that, Diatomaceous earth is ultra-fine, which requires special protective gear to handle. Some places around the world require special licenses and training to handle diatomaceous earth due to it being a possible health hazard. For us, all of these cons outweigh the pros and this is why we don’t recommend DE filters for home use.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to clean your pool filter, be sure to make a note somewhere visible so that you will have a visual reminder of when you should clean your pool filters. Regular pool filter maintenance will not only give you a cleaner pool, but this will prolong the life of your pool components as well, saving you money in the long run.

How to clean a cartridge type swimming pool filter

Nothing brings joy to pool owners’ as much as crystal clear waters on a hot summer day. Yes, pool owners are obsessed with the clarity and purity of the water in their pools (and they very well should be).

To ensure that your pool remains crystal clear throughout the summer season, you need to clean and maintain your pool’s filter system. While pool filter maintenance is a year-round process, it takes the front seat during the peak summer season.

Whether you have a DE Pool Filter Grids or a cartridge filter, you have to follow the right maintenance procedures to ensure that your pool’s filtration system is working without any issues.

At Pool Filters, our clients often ask us two questions repeatedly. The first one is “what is the best swimming pool filter system?” The other one is, “How do I know it’s time to clean (or replace) my pool filter cartridge?” Today, we’re focusing on the second question.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question. In fact, the schedule for cleaning or replacement depends on an array of factors like filter type, pool usage frequency, water quality, and more.

Worry not! In this post we’ll give you the complete guide to pool filter cleaning and maintenance. So, without further delay, let’s get started!

Filter Cartridges – The Key to Crystal Clear Water

Filter cartridges keep the water in pools and spas clean. They can be used for pools of all sizes, from small home pools to large commercial pools with over 30,000 gallons of water. Generally, the filter cartridge is made of corrugated paper or polyester cloth. This is the media that traps and removes small particles from the water.

If the filter cartridge is clogged or dirty, it cannot filter out the small particles and the pool or spa water will stay dirty. Keep on reading to find out how often you should clean, or if it’s time to replace the filter cartridge.

How Long do Filter Cartridges Last?

With normal usage, filter cartridges last up to 2000 operation hours. This means if you use your pool or spa regularly, you’ll have to replace the filter cartridge once every 1 or 2 years. However, the lifespan of the cartridge will decrease if it is not maintained regularly or there is an increased presence of deodorants, suntan lotions, hair care products and other chemicals in water.

Should you Clean or Replace?

This is one of the biggest dilemmas faced by pool and spa owners. Should you clean it or replace it? Here are some signs that indicate it’s time to replace your Hayward, Pentair or Jacuzzi pool filter cartridge.
Signs that it’s Time to Replace your Pool Filter Cartridge

1. A High PSI Reading

Sudden spikes in your pressure reading indicate that your filter cartridge is under strain. One of the main causes for a high PSI reading is a dirty and clogged cartridge. A simple remedy is to hose the dirt and accumulated debris off. If a quick clean doesn’t resolve the issue, you may need a deep clean. Soak the cartridge in a cleaning solution overnight after hosing it down, and then do another rinse after soaking.

If this doesn’t bring down the PSI reading, it’s time for Hayward, or Pentair pool filter cartridge replacement.

2. Cracked or Broken End Caps

A pool filter cartridge has plastic caps on either end. These act as bookends binding the cartridge material (paper or polyester) into a tight, compact form. Generally, end caps are made from heavy-duty plastic and last long. But subsequent washings and exposure to harsh cleaning chemicals can make them brittle and cause them to break or crack.

If you notice signs of cracks or chips on the end caps, then it’s time to replace the cartridge. If you continue using a cartridge with a broken end cap, parts of the plastic may get circulated through your pool’s filtration system, which can cause extensive damage to the system.

3. Flat Pleats

When your pool filter cartridge gets over saturated, the accumulated dirt particles end up deforming the pleats. This process is called as flattening of pleats. When pleats become flat, they lose their cleaning capability. Another cause for pleat flattening is a missing or broken band.

4. Frayed, Tattered or Ripped Cartridges

While cartridges are made of a long-lasting material, the natural wear and tear, water pressure, weight of the dirt particles, and the action of harsh chemicals can cause the material to fail. Fraying of material makes the cartridge look furry and ripped.

If you notice any fraying or holes in the cartridge material, then it’s time for a replacement.

5. Crushed Cartridge

As the name implies, there are times when the entire cartridge collapses. A pool filter cartridge has an inner plastic core that acts as a reinforcement cage for the outer pleats. When your cartridge collapses or crushes, it will resemble a crushed soda can with pleats on the outside.

The reasons for this issue could be the wrong cartridge size, poor-quality replacements, or a dirty cartridge that can no longer filter the water, causing the pressure of the filtration system to crush the cartridge.

Final Thoughts

We’ve covered all that you need to know about identifying if you need to clean or replace the pool or spa filter cartridge. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s time for a replacement. Make sure to follow regular cartridge maintenance and cleaning schedule, to extend the life of your pool filter cartridge.

Clean or Replace your pool or spa filter cartridge & Enjoy crystal clear water!

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How to clean a cartridge type swimming pool filter

There are three basic types of pool filters used to clean the impurities from the water in swimming pools. The different types are sand filters, cartridge filters and diatomaceous earth (DE) filters. Any of these filters can be used to maintain any pool.

The most inexpensive of the three kinds of pool filters are the sand filters. This type of filter works by filtering water through a bed of sand. Lateral tubes at the bottom of the sand then separate the clean water from the dirty water. Water is pushed through the filter sand, and as the filter separates the water, the dirty water is sent to the top while the clean water exits through the bottom.

Debris can plug up and block sand filters, causing the pressure to increase in the filter, dropping the flow of water. This can be fixed by running the system in reverse to backwash the filter, leaving it cleaned. The filter is then placed on its rinse mode where it repacks the sand back into the filter.

Maintenance can be done manually every couple of weeks to keep the sand filter in proper working order. Sand filters are inexpensive and easy to replace. The downside to owning a sand filter is that it sometimes allows smaller particles to pass through into the pool.

Cartridge filters are considered to be the most economically low in maintenance. Water runs through a filter inside this particular system, catching any debris. It is very similar to water filtering systems that are used in homes.

These type of pool filters do not clog up as much as the other pool filters, and two types of filter elements can be used in the cartridge filter system. The less expensive elements may be cheaper to replace, but they also need replaced more frequently. The more expensive elements tend to last longer.

Cartridge filters are created to run on lower pressure. They filter out more particles than sand but not as many as DE filters. These filters can be cleaned once or twice during the swimming season by simply hosing them off with water.

DE filters use diatomaceous earth to filter particles out of the water. They are composed of plastic grids inside of a plastic type of fabric. DE powder coats the grids and filters out tiny debris. If the pressure rises in the filter, the system automatically backwashes, similar to the sand filter, recharging itself with more DE powder. DE filters can cause some inefficiency and water flow loss because they tend to run at a higher pressure than cartridge filters.

Sand, Cartridge, and Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Filter Systems

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How to clean a cartridge type swimming pool filter

P. Eoche/The Image Bank/Getty Images

There is a lot of confusion about various filters, many different opinions, and several important facts to consider. The first is that a pool can be properly maintained with any of the filter systems available: Sand, Cartridge, or Diatomaceous Earth (DE). Here is a brief description of each type:

Sand Filters

Water is pushed through a bed of filter sand and removed through a set of lateral tubes at the bottom. The filter area of a sand filter is equal to the area of the filter itself.

For example, a 24″ filter will have 3.14 square feet of filter area. Only the top 1″ of sand is actually used to filter the water. The principle behind this filter is that water is pushed through the filter sand, somewhat like an espresso machine. Dirty water goes in the top and clean water exits out the bottom. As the filter sand becomes plugged with debris from the pool, the pressure increases on the filter and the water flow drops. In order to clean the filter, you just run it in reverse and dump the waste water; this is referred to as “backwashing” the filter.

Once the filter is backwashed, you move to the rinse mode and that repacks the sand and then back to filter. This has to be done manually every few weeks. From a hydraulics standpoint, a backwash valve is typically the most inefficient piece of equipment you can add to a swimming pool system. Should the sand ever become really dirty, it is easily and inexpensively replaced. In terms of particle size filtered out, sand is the least effective method as it can allow smaller particles to pass back into the pool.

Cartridge Filters

This one is easy to understand. Water passes through a filter material and the filter captures the debris.

This is just like the water filters used under your sink. Cartridges have much more available area to filter than sand. Most start at 100 square feet, and the majority of the cartridge filters sold are larger than 300 square feet so they don’t clog up as quickly and therefore you touch them less frequently. There are two types of cartridge filters in general. In the first case, there are filters elements that are inexpensive to replace and as such, they don’t tend to last as long. Then there are other filters that have very expensive elements and these last 5 or more years.

In both cases, cartridge filters are designed to run at lower pressure than sand. This puts less back-pressure on the pump and hence you get more flow and turnover for an equivalent pump size. Generally, these filters have to be cleaned once or twice a season by simply hosing them off, so you don’t touch them as often. In terms of particle size filtered out, a cartridge is somewhere between sand and DE.

DE Filters

Diatomaceous earth is mined and is the fossilized exoskeletons of tiny diatoms. They are used to coat “grids” in the filter housing and act like tiny sieves to remove debris. They are very small and as such can filter out particles as small as 5 microns.

Diatom filter area is sized between sand and cartridge at around 60 to 70 square feet are most common. Once the filter pressure rises, the filter is backwashed just like a sand filter and then “recharged” with more DE powder. Typically it is poured in a slurry into the skimmer and it then coats the filter grids. DE filters run at higher pressures than cartridge filters and as such can lead to some inefficiency and flow loss.

Now with that background, which swimming filter is best? You can use this question to gauge who you’re talking to in a pool store. Just ask: “Which swimming pool filter is best” and then listen for the answer. There is only one correct answer to that question: can you please define best? If the answer is any of the three, someone is trying to simply sell you something.

  • If you want bulletproof – sand is a great choice.
  • Low maintenance would lead one to a cartridge.
  • The cleanest water might lead you to DE.
  • All three types of swimming pool filters work.
  • You can add a little DE to a sand or cartridge filter to increases its ability to filter small particles.
  • Flocculants can be added to the pool water to create big particles out of small particles (think – flocks of birds are easier to see).
  • Cartridges that become fouled can be replaced.

Go With a High-End Cartridge Filter for Your Pool

Which filter should you choose? Go with a high-end cartridge filter for your pool. The reason is that no one really wants to have another item on the to-do list and good cartridge filter can last a season. Be sure that you: