Filtering Swimming Pool Water Using Diatomaceous Earth Filtration

by Pool Builders on 05-19-2010 in Articles

Three different types of swimming pool filters are in use in the United States, and each of the three offer certain advantages over the others. The three types are sand, cartridge, and diatomaceous earth (DE) filters. While sand and cartridge are less expensive options, there are drawbacks that make DE filters the ones of choice for most people. Experts will tell you that if you want the cleanest swimming pool water in town, use a large DE filter.

Sand filters operate using a process of water being pushed through the filter which is then the clean water is removed through two lateral tubes in the bottom. Although this type of filter works quite well, when it gets dirty it requires manual cleaning before it will work efficiently again. To clean it, it must be run in reverse, and then backwashed. The backwashing process is done using a very inefficient piece of equipment which means the cleaning process is quite lengthy.

Cartridge filters are the least expensive type of swimming pool filters, and they are very easy to clean off with a hose once they get dirty. They don't clog as quickly as sand filters do, and instead of needing to be cleaned every few weeks like sand filters will require, they only have to be washed off once or twice a season. A cartridge filter uses the the simple technique of pushing water through the filter, the surface of which is larger than a sand filter. A cartridge will also remove smaller particles than a sand filter does, but it won't remove debris as small as a DE filter can do.

DE filters utilize diatomaceous earth which is made up of the fossilized skeletons of tiny organisms known as diatoms. This earth is then poured into a slurry and then on into the skimmer where it will coat the filter grids. Once on the grids, the tiny exoskeletons act as sieves to remove particulates as small as 5 microns from swimming pool water. Even though a DE filter will clean the water the best of the three types of filters, the size of the filter matters a great deal in the job it does. Therefore, if you can't afford to purchase a DE filter of adequate size, you may find that you're better off going with a cartridge filtering system.

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