There are three different types of pool filters you will come across over the lifetime of owning a swimming pool. The filter is used together with your primary pool pump, which allows water to pass through before re-entering the pool. The filters you will run into, at one point or another, will be cartridge, diatomaceous earth (D.E.), and sand filters. It is suggested to get an oversized filter because a larger filter will provide you a longer period of time in between your cleanings. Depending on your location of residence, certain filter types will be used in favor over others. Make sure to speak to a local pool professional near you to ensure the proper filter type is being used for your backyard swimming pool. As with everything else in life, each type of filter has its pros and cons. However, when used properly, each filter type can do a remarkable job at keeping your pool nice and clean.
Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) Filters
A D.E. filter is made from fossilized material called diatoms and can filter particles all the way down to 3-5 microns. This is pretty impressive because the width of a human hair typically ranges from 40-50 microns, so this filter will not have any issues cleaning out the smaller particles in your pool. For those who like to go late night swimming in a lighted pool, this is the filter you will want to use. Because this filter type can clean up even the smallest of particles, you will be more likely to see truly clear, crisp water being reflected in your pool. The D.E. filter uses a pressure gauge to indicate when it is time to backwash your product; typically when it reaches anything between 8-10 psi over its clean reading, you’ll know it time for a cleaning. While cleaning this filter, it is always a good idea to inspect for tears as any defect as such will call for a filter repair or replacement.
A sand filter can capture particles in the 20-40 micron range and it becomes increasingly more efficient as it continues to filter on a regular basis. As with the D.E. filter, your sand filter will have to be backwashed when the gauge shows 8-10 psi over the starting value. Sand filters have the reputation of being the lowest maintenance of all the different pool filter types as it takes roughly 5 years before your first time replacing the sand.
Unlike sand and D.E. filters, a cartridge filter does not require backwashing. Since backwashing is no longer required, your water balance tends to stay in its proper setting. This type of filter can capture particles as low as 10-20 microns, an improvement vs. sand but not quite as fine as D.E. The cartridge element is removed from the filter tank and hosed thoroughly with a high-pressure hose to remove dirt when the gauge falls between 8 – 10 psi over its starting value. A benefit to a cartridge filter is that it saves on the amount of water typically used to backwash the other filters. Cartridge filters are the fastest growing filtration type because it also gives you the support needed to be energy efficient.
Speak to a local pool professional and find out if you are using the correct filter type for your pool.