Cartridge Filters Are Different!

by Pool Builders on 04-28-2008 in Articles

Cartridge filter systems for swimming pools have become much more popular over the last several years. Pool owners like the convenience. No sand leaking into the pool, no messy DE to add and changing filter media is relatively quick, easy and clean. Cartridge filter systems definitely have some strong points to recommend them. Like most products people buy cartridge filter systems are not perfect and can have some troubling features that might influence your decision whether or not to invest in such a system.

Filter Cartridges

Unlike sand and DE filters, cartridge filters feature a re-usable cartridge. Usually made of a paper-like material with deep folds and plastic retaining rings top and bottom these cartridges are simple to remove, clean and replace. With care they can last 4-5 years or more and do an excellent job of filtering the finest particles from your pool water.

On the other hand cartridge filter systems usually do not have a multi-port valve that allows backwashing or vacuuming to waste like sand and DE filters. This can pose problems especially when opening your pool or cleaning up after an algae bloom. While the heavy debris present in these situations would be vacuumed to waste or cleared with a backwash in sand or DE filters this is not an option with cartridge filters. Even with proper cartridge maintenance cleaning up a really dirty pool can clog the cartridge requiring frequent removal and cleaning that really makes a tough job tougher. If you've neglected your cartridge it can be enough to drive you really crazy and leave the job undone.

What Can I Do?

Unfortunately there is no sure fix for this shortcoming of cartridge filters. Without a provision for backwashing or vacuuming to waste heavy debris has to move through the filter grid. If the debris is too heavy the grid will clog and pump suction will drop off severely. Proper cartridge maintenance is the only remedy.

If you buy or own a cartridge filter system be sure to purchase an extra set of cartridge filter elements and filter cleaner. Put one set of elements in service for up to a month then replace them with the new set. Soak the used set in filter cleaning solution overnight, hose off, allow to dry and store. Used the cleaned set for your next filter element replacement. Alternating element sets like this will ensure that your filter is as clean as possible to resist clogging and will considerably extend the life of your elements. Extending cartridge life is a good thing as new elements can cost hundreds depending on your filter.

Cartridge filters do a great job but as this article describes they're not perfect. When considering a pool filtration system it's always best to know the pluses AND the minuses of any system you consider.

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