Know about pool filter
Our swimming pool filter is like the kidney of your pool: it filters out the debris and unwanted nasties, leaving you with fresh, clean water.
Making sure your filter is working effectively is hugely important, regardless of whether you have an indoor swimming pool or a small, above-ground pool for summer. In this guide, we look at when you should be replacing your filter system and how you can keep your water cleaner for longer.
How Do Pool Filters Work?
Pool filters are really simple. A pump pushes water through a tight space that only allows clean water through, collecting any small particles of dirt and removing them from the water.
Types of Swimming Pool Filter
There are various types of filter available for swimming pools, and which is right for you often depends on the type and size of pool you have.
Generally, swimming pool filters are divided into three categories:
- Cartridge Filters
- Sand Filters
- Glass Filters
A small pool, like a temporary above-ground pool or hot tub, will often use a filter cartridge. This filter is less effective than sand or glass but is the simplest and cheapest option, making it perfect for smaller pools.
A filter cartridge is typically round like a barrel and made from polyester cloth or corrugated paper. Swimming pools with this filter will push water into the cartridge, which will trap any dirt.
Most swimming pools, however, opt for filter pumps which employ sand or glass media. Here, the filter is part of the pump system itself, filtering any dirt as it passes through and returning clean water to the pool.
Sand filter media operates by allowing water to pass through a canister containing sand (usually silica or pool-grade, not just from the beach!). The smaller water particles will pass through, but the larger particles get stuck, providing clean water.
Glass filter media works in much the same way. However, glass filter media tends to be more efficient and can capture particles around 1/4 of the size of sand filters. Hence, they tend to be more effective.
How Long Do Pool Filters Last?
Your swimming pool pump system can expect to pump 60-70,000 gallons of water every 8 hours. That’s a lot of work!
Like all things, swimming pool filters become less effective with age! When the filter has passed its prime, it will get clogged, dirty, and become ineffective.
How long your pool filter will last ultimately comes down to how much dirt it needs to clean. Assuming you properly maintain your swimming pool, you should expect the below timescales on average:
- Filter Cartridge – approximately 2,000 working hours, usually around 2-4 years.
- Sand Filter Media – around 3-7 years
- Glass Filter Media – about 7-15 years
When to Clean your Pool Filters
If your pool filter’s quality has decreased, it may not necessarily need replacing. All filters need regular cleaning to ensure they can work to their full capacity.
If you’re using a cartridge filter, remove it and rinse it off thoroughly with a stiff brush and hose, and use a specialist cleaner if available. Aim to do this once a week for the optimal longevity for your filter.
To care for a glass or sand-based pump filter system, you perform a procedure known as backwashing. Most pump systems will come with a backwash option, allowing water to run through the opposite way to before, lifting clogged dirt from the filter.
You should look to backwash your pool filters whenever the pressure has risen from its normal levels by around eight-to-ten psi. During heavy use, this will happen every week, and sometimes more frequently than that.
How to Know When Your Filters Need Replacing
As mentioned above, some symptoms of a poorly-working filter can be due to uncleanliness. However, there will often come the point when cleaning your filter isn’t enough and it needs replacing.
Here are some of the signs to look for when considering a filter change:
If your filter gets clogged or stops cleaning more frequently than expected, even with frequent backwashing, it may have lost its quality.
Filter cartridges will often come with a use-by date due to their design. However, all filters have a predicted lifespan. If this is passed, then it may be best to replace the filter.
This point applies to filter cartridges, which can tear over time. If this happens, you need to replace the filter.
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