When purchasing a swimming pool you really have 3 choices of what type of pool filter to choose from. The three are a sand filter, a cartridge filter and a de filter. There are advantages and disadvantages to all three types.
First off the Sand pool filter. Advantages are the cost up front, it is an easy filter to take care of. Disadvantages are they pick up less particles of debris. A sand pool filter is the least efficient as far as picking up your finer particles like pollen. You generally will backwash this pool filter with a 6 way valve and put it to backwash when the pressure rises approxiamtely 6 lbs of pressure over the normal pressure rate (usually around once per every 2 weeks). There are usually a spot that says rinse on the 6 way valve and that is to drain water from the pool after a rain bypassing the filter itself, in case you just put chemicals into the pool and don’t want to waste them before they fully desolved. The sand will usually be changed every 4 years and should be done by a professional. A good way to tell if it is time to change your sand is when after a backwash you get quite a bit of dirty water going back from your pool returns. Also check to see if your water is getting consistantly cloudy and it seems as though your pool filter is not working anymore. They do make a better type of sand that picks up finer particles that you may want to consider if you go the sand pool filter route.
DE pool filter: Advantages are they pick up the finest particles of debris. Disadvantages are they can’t be backwashed directly to a street (you can purchase a separation tank, although these things are a pain to work on), the internal grids go bad after time, you need to replenish the pool filter with new DE everytime you backwash it, and twice a year you probably have to break the filter apart and clean manually like a cartridge pool filter. Although giving you great filtered water these pool filters are by far have the most maintainence involved with them. These two have a 6 way valve and you need to backwash it same as the sand pool filter. The only thing is you need to keep DE kept around and after backwashing it you need to put the recommended number of pounds into the skimmer with the pump running.Â It then sucks up the DE and goes into the pump then into the filter where it is trapped.Â DE should not be inhaled becuase it would be bad for your lungs.Â What happens when you backwash this type of pool filter you are actually empting about 85% of the dirty DE and not 100%, so after about 10 backwashes there is too much built up inside therefore you need to manually break it apart and clean it ( I do have a blog and youtube video on how to clean a Pentair cartridge pool filter and pretty much the same rules will apply here, although there is a little difference). After time, the grids/cartridge inside the filter will rot and stuff will bypass the filter going into the pool. So if you have this type of pool filter and see DE or sand/debris on the floor of your pool your grid probably has a hole in it and needs replacing.
Cartridge pool filter: Advantages are they pick up closer to what a DE picks up, they are pretty easy to work on, there is NO backwashing. Disadvantages are they are more expensive than your sand pool filter, and 2-3 times a year you need to manually break it apart and clean. This pool filter type has really taken off in the last 5+ years because of their ease. The only valve you have is to drain the pool down a bit after a rain. When the pressure on the PSI gauge gets about 8 pounds over the starting point it is time to clean. I have a blog/youtube video that shows you how to clean this pool filter. As the pool filter gets older the grid/cartridges will rot and have to be replaced. If maintained correctly you should be able to get 7+ years out of them.
So what pool filter is for you??
Most servicemen like the sand pool filter the best because to backwash the pool it only takes them a minute every 2-3 weeks and the sand change every 4 years. Where as a DE pool filter is a lot of work. The reason most servicemen don’t like the cartridge pool filter is because 2-3 times per year they need to clean it and most servicemen have too many accounts then to worry about taking time out to clean this filter.
We at Crystal Pools and Spas Inc. love the cartridge pool filter, although more expensive, gives the customer the easiest filter to maintain for the water clarity you will achieve with this pool filter. A lot of your low end pool builders will us a cheap top mount sand pool filter (the sand pool filter comes in top mount and side mount types, with the side mount allowing a better water flow rate for you pool but being more expensive).
Top mount sand pool filter is your cheapest and comes in different sizes/brands.
Side mount sand filter, which is the best of the sand filters comes in different sizes/brands.
DE pool filters come in different sizes/brands. The first is the filter, second is the valve and third is a separation tank.
The third which is the best overall comes in different sizes/brands is the cartridge filter and has NO 6 way valve.
When choosing a builder DO NOT overlook the cost of installing a good pool filter or you will pay for it in the long term. Thanks and if you have any questions contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.