It’s important for pool owners to invest in a premium pool filter. Together with the pool pump, the filter keeps your pool clean and clear by circulating and aerating the water, discouraging the growth of algae. It also regulates the active chemicals in the water by properly dispersing these agents. Given the importance of the pump to your pool set-up, it is advisable to invest in a model that can withstand years of use while delivering efficient cleaning.
An In-ground swimming pool with crystal clear water.
To help you choose the best system for your pool, let us walk you through the ins and outs of swimming pool filters. With this comprehensive and easy-to-follow guide, you’ll be able to purchase a quality filter appropriate to the type of pool you own.
Types of Swimming Pool Filters
There are three major types of swimming pool filters available in the market. They are divided according to the cleaning material each system uses. These are sand filters, the cartridge filters, and the Diatomaceous Earth (DE) filters.
Backyard Ocean’s Sta-Rite 22 Above Ground Sand Filter With HP Pool.
With sand filters, dirty water is pushed through the top section of the filter where it gets cleaned as it exits through the bottom. When the filter becomes clogged with debris, the water pressure increases and the water flow drops. To clean the sand filter, run it in reverse and then remove the wastewater. Once the filter is clean, switch the system to rinse mode to repack the sand before putting it back to its normal setting.
Backyard Ocean’s Cartridge Filter 1 HP Pump.
A cartridge filter uses a screening material to remove debris from your pool water. This filter type is less susceptible to clogging, a feature that gives it a wider coverage area (commonly over 300 sq. ft.), compared to sand filters.
Cartridge filters can be used as surface filters or depth-style filters. The first type uses thin filter materials, such as papers, woven wires, or cloths, while the second one traps contaminants in the water using a thick medium. The general idea behind cartridge filters is that the larger the size of the filter surface area is, the larger the capacity it has and the more durable it becomes.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Filters
Backyard Ocean’s DE Filter System.
DE filters use a cleaning powder to screen out particles. This agent is made from the microscopic skeletons of ancient, sub-aquatic Diatoms. They act as tiny sponges to trap debris in the water.
The grids of the filter need to be coated with DE powder before putting it back into the tank. The powder is added to the skimmer as it dissolves in the pipe. Once it reaches the nylon-covered grids, the agent stops, coating the grid with the DE powder. The pool water is filtered twice; first, as it passes through the powder and again when it reaches the nylon cover.
When it comes to efficiency, the DE filter ranks above sand and cartridge filters because of its ability to capture even the smallest of contaminants. By diluting the powder in the water, it allows the cleaning agent to thoroughly coat the filter, trapping particles up to 3 – 5 microns small. Most sand filters can remove particles sized around 20 – 100 microns, while cartridge filters can screen out debris down to 25-100 microns.
As far as operating costs go, cartridge filters are the more practical option. Many pool owners prefer cartridges because they can be used and cleaned repeatedly without racking up energy costs. Depending on the frequency of use, a cartridge can last up to 3-5 years before a replacement is needed. It also costs about $40-$100 for a new cartridge filter.
Backyard Ocean’s Grime Guard™ Type C Universal Pool Filter Cartridge.
Sand filters, on the other hand, are more readily available than cartridge and DE filters. They are also fairly simple to replace and do not require a lot of maintenance.
DE filters are the more expensive options. While the DE powder is affordable, replacements for DE filters can be a costly and hard to come by. DE grids are usually priced at around $15-$25 per piece and the manifold can cost up to $75-$100.
For pool owners who want to use a sand filter for their pool, you can go with Backyard Ocean’s Sta-Rite 22″ Above Ground Sand Filter With 1-1/2 HP Pool Pump for above ground pools and the 24″ In-Ground Cristal-Flo II Sand Filter Tank for in-ground pools.
Our Cartridge Filter with 1 HP Pump is a quality cartridge filter system you can use for your pool. It can work with up to 90 sq. ft. of pool water and does not clog up easily.
If you prefer a DE filter, our DE Filter System with 1.5 HP Pump for A/G Pools is an excellent choice. Its state-of-the-art filtration system can clean an above ground pool with up to 22 sq. ft. of water.
Sam Howzit via Flickr. CC BY 2.0
Make your swimming pool last longer by choosing only premium quality filters for your pool cleaning needs.