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The 3 Main Types of Pool Filters

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The 3 Main Types of Pool Filters

gorgeous pool with blue water

You probably know that your pool filter is an essential component to keeping your pool water clean and clear. Your pool pump pushes the pool water into the filter and removes debris and small particles, returning clean water back to the pool. There are three types of pool filters available on today’s market. Each differs in the way it achieves the goal of clear water, cost, and ease of maintenance. These three filters are sand filters, cartridge filters, and diatomaceous earth filters (D.E.). There are many differing opinions on which type of filter is the best. How will you know which one is right for you? The best choice will always be the one that lines up closest to your personal preferences and the needs of your pool. Let’s explore their differences.

Sand Filters

A sand filter uses sand to filter and trap debris that passes through it. It can trap particles from 20-30 microns, and is the least effective of our three types of filters. Note that to achieve the clarity of water you desire, you may have to add additional chemicals. Sand filters are extremely popular with pool owners for a couple of reasons. First, they are the most affordable of the three types of filters, and second, are easy to maintain. When the pressure reads 10 psi over normal, it is time to clean the sand filter by backwashing. Backwashing reverses the flow of water through the filter and dislodges debris. It is typically done once a month and only takes a few minutes, making it a very user-friendly option! Keep in mind, you will probably need to replace the sand around every 5 years. 

Cartridge Filters

Cartridge filters work by a fan-folded piece of material that traps debris in its folds. When the pressure rises above the normal range, you simply remove the cartridges and clean them with a hose, or soak them in a cleaning solution.  You will have to clean the cartridge about every six months, depending on how heavily the pool is used. Amazingly, Cartridge filters trap particles as small as 10-15 microns, which is much more effective than sand filters. They are energy-efficient, environmentally friendly, have a long filter cycle between cleanings, and may save you some money on chemicals. Most people have to replace their cartridges every 3-5 years.

D.E. Filters

Of the three types of pool filters, D.E. filters are the most controversial. Unquestionably, they will keep your pool the cleanest, as they can filter out the tiniest particles, as small as 2-5 microns! That is definitely superior filtration! However, they are the most expensive to purchase and maintain. Diatomaceous earth filters are actually made from the fossilized skeletal remains of diatoms. Water passes through special grids that are coated with the fossilized powder. This type of filter needs to be cleaned monthly by backwashing, cleaning the grids, in addition to supplying it with more diatomaceous powder. Cleaning D.E. filters is considered the most time-consuming of the three types of filters.

Bonus Tips:

  • Avoid inhaling the diatomaceous powder.
  • Do not dispose it into storm drains, surface waters, septic tanks, or on the ground.

As you can see, there are pros and cons with each of the three types of pool filters we have discussed. The right choice of filter for you will depend on your budget, the amount of time you want to spend maintaining it, and how clear you want your pool to be. Our professionals at Aqua Pools invite you to consult with us on the advantages of each type of filter and help you make the most informed choice possible. 


Latham Liner Visualizer

Aqua Pools Online is proud to showcase the Latham Liner Visualizer by Latham Pools.  Now you can visualize an assortment of vinyl liners for your swimming pool.

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