Selecting a Swimming Pool Filter - What Are the Alternatives?

by Pool Builders on 07-06-2009 in Articles

If you own or are considering buying a swimming pool you will need to think about heaters, pumps and filters. All three of these accessories are essential to keeping the water clean and at a suitable bathing temperature.

A filter is particularly important as its primary job is to remove all manner of debris and impurities from the pool water. A pool without a filter is not a healthy place.

So what does the filter do and how does it work?

Firstly, the filter works hand in hand with the swimming pool pump and it is the pump's job to suck or push water through the filtration mechanism.

The pump also distributes chemicals throughout the water and, between the filtering and chemical cleaning processes, the quality of the water is maintained.

The filter works by doing exactly what its name suggests, i.e. it filters out tiny particles of debris by passing the water through a special filtration chamber. There are however different types of filtration processes that can be used and this is where selecting a pool filter can become complicated.

The 3 types of filtration

There are 3 different types of swimming pool filter and each uses a different material to perform the filtration process. These materials are:

1. Sand
2. Cartridge
3. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

The main differences between these alternatives are, the "minimum" particle size that they will filter out, the ongoing replacement/maintenance versus costs/complexity required, and the initial set-up outlay.

Further considerations include the water volume of the pool and the frequency of use (e.g. seasonal versus year round use).

Selecting the right option

In order to decide which is the best option for your pool and its usage you need to know the differences between each filter type, so here is a summary:

1. Sand: The most popular outdoor swimming pool filter is one base on sand filtration. This type of filter is the cheapest to buy and run and, although it requires a reasonable amount of space, it is effective and efficient. On the downside, it does not remove very small particles as effectively as its cartridge and diatomaceous earth counterparts and it can "clog-up" periodically.

2. Cartridge: Filtration systems bases upon a removable cartridge are also very popular. These systems require frequent cartridge replacement (sometimes cleaning), however the process is easy to perform. Cartridge based filters can remove very small particles and, in this respect, they are superior to sand based systems. They do however have limitations based upon pool size and they are expensive to run.

3. DE: The diatomaceous earth (DE) pool filter is the least popular alternative and it comes in a range of variations all of which are expensive and complex. However, the big plus with this system is its effectiveness at removing even the smallest of particles with an efficiency that sees the best systems filtrate particles as small as 3 microns. Neither the sand or the cartridge options can compete with this level of debris removal, but it does come at a price.

Leave a Comment

List YOUR Pool Business