10 Common Questions About Swimming Pool Filters

When the CDC did their annual public pool report they came up with disturbing results. Of the 48,632 water venues inspected, almost 80% had at least one safety violation.

Your pool might not be public, but you are still at risk of having a dirty pool. Swimming pool filters will clean the dirt, debris, and bacteria from your pool water.

This will prevent you from being at risk of harmful diseases. Curious what other things you should know? Check out these 10 most common questions about your pool filter.

1. How Often Should I Change the Cartridge?

If you leave a dirty filter in the system, you probably have E. coli in your water. This is because the grime that causes this bacteria to thrive are not getting removed.

A dirty filter can make your pool water dirtier than if there wasn’t a filter at all. If your filter has frayed fabric or a cracked cap it is time to change your filter.

You can expect to get about 2,000 hours of use from a single pool filter. This equals out to 2 years.

2. Which Type Is Right for Me?

The filter you buy depends on how you plan to use and care for your pool. If you are looking for low maintenance a cartridge is your best option.

These need a wash every month and replacement every few years. They are also the lowest in cost.

If longevity is your goal a sand pool filtration system is the right choice. These filters work great if you use your pool daily or have a lot of people in it on a regular basis.

The pool filter system with the strongest cleaning power is the diatomaceous filter. The powder in these filters is finer than sand filters so they trap more contaminants.

3. Which Filter Do I Buy?

In theory, the original manufacturer will mark what size filter you need. Manufacturers do this by placing a check mark next to the right one on a list.

Unfortunately, this mark may not be there or have worn away. The solution is to measure the cartridge.

Measure the length of the cartridge not including any extensions or attachments. Then measure the diameter of the filter and the inside hole.

Do not skip this step and guess. You are going to have to open up the system and take out the old filter, so do it first and measure.

4. OEM vs Aftermarket Filters, What Is the Difference?

OEM filters have a brand name that comes with them. Do not assume that the name has an influence over the performance of the product.

Often you will find the aftermarket alternative is a lower price. This is because they do not pay for the same marketing and promotion as the OEM.

OEMs often contract for certain materials, this can also raise the price. An aftermarket company has the freedom to shop around for their materials.

If you still doubt the quality, know that both filters get a MERV rating. This measures their filtration ability.

The rating means the same thing for both types of filters. This means no matter the name, the price, or the materials, you know it will clean at a certain level.

5. How Do I Clean My Filter?

Knowing how to clean a pool filter will save you money. It will reduce the stress on the filtration system allowing it to clean effectively.

Cartridge Filter

Start by turning off the filtration system. Check that the timer won’t automatically turn on the system while you are cleaning the filter.

Bleed the air by releasing the air relief valve. Then remove the tension clamps.

Take the filter out and remove the cartridge elements. While doing this check the cartridges for cracks, tears, and damage.

Use a garden hose to rinse debris off. Next, soak the cartridges in a pool filter cleaner for at least 10 hours. This will remove sunscreen and other oils.

Give your filter a rinse after the soak and reassemble everything. While assembling, use a silicone lubricant on the o-ring to help protect it.

Sand Filter

You need to check your sand filter’s pressure gauges to know when to clean it. If you see the psi rising to the 20’s it’s time to backwash your filter.

Another clear sign you need to clean is if the pool water is dingy or cloudy. Leaves, dirt, and algae clog your filter impairing its ability to flush clean water out.

Backwashing means you will reverse the flow of water through your filter. Start by turning off the pump and the circuit breaker to the pump.

Turn the filter’s valve from “filter” to “backwash.” Lay out your waste hose to direct the wastewater where you want it to go.

Now turn the power back on and run the pump for at least two minutes. You’ll want to flush the system until the water runs clear in the sight glass valve.

Once the water is clear, turn the filter off. Now turn the filter valve to the “rinse” setting.

Run the filter on this setting for at least a minute or two. This will reset the sand and flush any dirty water remaining in the system.

Finally, turn the filter off and the valve to “filter.” Then turn the filter on to work as normal.

Diatomaceous Filter

Start by turning your pump motor off. Then set your valve from “filter” to “backwash.”

Lay out the waste water hose and run the system until the water runs clear. Then turn the valve to “rinse” and run for 10 seconds.

Finally, switch the valve back to “filter” and add DE powder. You will need 1 pound for every 10 sq ft of filter area.

6. How Often Should I Run the Filter?

It is best to run your swimming pool filtering system 8 to 10 hours a day. Run it longer and continuously if your water still isn’t clear.

Always run the filter when you are adding chemicals to the water. This helps circulate the chemical through the water.

7. My Filter Keeps Getting Clogged, What’s Wrong?

Nothing is wrong, this is your filter doing its job. As long as you are chemically cleaning the filter every 4 to 6 weeks you have nothing to worry about.

If your filter is getting clogged while the water is cloudy or green this is normal. If your filter is clogging while the water is clear you may have another problem.

When You Are Cleaning Too Often

If you feel that you are cleaning your pool filter too often it could be a result of heavy use of the pool. Your pool may also be too large for the filter.

If these aren’t the case, check that there is nothing broken or damaged in the system. Finally, if you have very hard water, this is your answer to a constantly clogged filter.

8. Should the Filter Pump Be so Hot?

Older pumps run at a lower temperature than new pumps. This is the way they work these days and nothing to worry about.

The process happening is that the heat is getting pulled away from the inner windings. The shell then takes that heat and radiates it away.

If Its Too Hot

There are three causes to your pump running much hotter than normal. The first would be low voltage.

This causes a high amperage. Check that your wiring isn’t undersized or too long.

The second cause is a block that is causing the motor to bind up. Turn the system off, remove the block, and you should be good to go.

The third cause is the motor bearings wearing out. You’ll know this one by the increased sound it makes.

9. Why Do I Need a Pool Filter?

Your pool filter will keep you safe from bacteria. The filter will remove dirt and insects.

If you leave the bacteria and dirt in your pool it will become a breeding ground for harmful diseases. Algae and mold will also begin to grow.

As your pool gets used, people will drop skin cells into the water. It sounds gross but you can’t avoid it. Your filter will clean these out.

Many states require that your pool have a filtration system. Check with your local laws on the filtration required in your state.

10. Why Is Dirt Returning to the Pool?

All it takes is for one part to go bad and your filter can let dirt back into your pool. First look for a tear in the filter material.

This hole in the filter will allow debris to pass through and go right back to the pool. If there are no tears look for missing fittings.

It is possible that the filter system was not put back together right after a cartridge change. Missing an essential fitting will create a space that dirt can pass through.

Swimming Pool Filters

By checking your pool filter on a regular basis you can keep your pool water safe and clean. Make sure to run your filter at least 8 to 10 hours a day.

This will circulate all the water in the pool through the filter. Then clean your filter every 4 to 6 weeks.

This is a general guide, you should clean your filter when you see the psi climb too high. To clean your filters flush them until the water runs clear.

Don’t feel that you must buy an OEM cartridge when replacing your swimming pool filters. It is more important to look for the MERV rating.

Replace your pool filter and start swimming in clean water again.

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