If you are searching for a replacement swimming pool filter for your existing pool, you have options. Don’t be afraid to change systems if you haven’t been satisfied with the old one. Here, we’ll explore three different options.
Sand filters are as old as pools themselves. They are the old stand-by, but if not used properly, you won’t be satisfied. In the filtration world, sand filters effectively remove particles 30-40 microns or larger. So…what’s a micron? It’s short for micrometer, where one micron equals one-millionth of a meter. That’s pretty small, indeed. In fact, it’s _micro_scopic. However, exploded algae cells, bacteria and small debris can be much smaller and can easily pass through many sand filters.
The most common problems with sand filters are often user errors. Sand filters trap dirt inside, ultimately necessitating a backwash, or flushing of the sand. But the biggest mistake pool owners make is over-backwashing. In short, a dirty filter is more efficient and effective than a clean one. Trapped dirt closes gaps in the sand and collects small particles that would normally pass through. Refer to your owner’s manual, but generally, you should allow the pressure to raise 6-8 pounds above normal before backwashing.
..and the cost?
Expense-wise, a thorough backwashing generally removes 70-100 gallons of water from your pool. This adds up over the swim season, so if you have a water supply issue, you may want to go a different route. Also, sand needs changed every few years and that can be somewhat labor intensive. Make sure to get sand rated for a swimming pool filter. Pool sand has sharper edges than other sands, such as play sand. As water passes through, debris is trapped in the gaps. Over time, those edges erode, and grains get too smooth. Water flow gets restricted, and calcium can build up inside, further reducing effectiveness.
Sand is inexpensive, but the filter valve isn’t. It can be quite temperamental and can be easily damaged if you are not careful. Always turn the motor off before changing settings. Failure to do so can rip internal gaskets that seal one compartment from the next. If you see water leaking out the backwash or waste port, you have a gasket issue that needs corrected.
If you can’t break away from the concept of a sand swimming pool filter, give yourself an upgrade and maximize the system. Replace the sand with Filter Glass media. It filters out finer particles than sand and media erosion is minimized. Therefore, it will stay effective for a much longer life. Plus, you won’t need as much, as a 40-pound bag replaces a 50-pound bag of sand. Filter Glass is the smart way to make your new, or old sand filter work better.
Commonly shortened to ‘DE’, these filters remove much smaller particles than sand filters. It’s odd, as DE is the skeletal remains of fossilized aquatic organisms called diatoms and are mostly crushed silica. Sand. The consensus is that DE filters will trap particles as small as 5 microns, and some manufacturers claim even smaller. They will keep your pool sparkling clean and your bank account lean. These systems are not cheap, with most retailing over $750, and many well over $1000. And that is without a new pump and motor.
You still must do a modified backwash to clear out the trapped gunk, and DE will exit, too. Thus, you’ll need to add a little new DE after every backwash. This is easily done, sifted in through the skimmer. However, the pool owner will usually need to do a couple complete drain-and-recharge events each pool season.
If you don’t mind the extra work or paying more for a DE system, you’ll enjoy a clean pool. However, I feel there are better, more economical options that are just as efficient and easier to use.
Cartridge Filters: A great alternative.
Economical, easy to use, and effective filtration: That’s just what a pool owner wants to hear.
If you have an above ground pool, you should be considering a Black Diamond Elemental cartridge filter. First, they cost less than most sand or DE filters. Second, they remove particles comparable to a DE filter—perhaps even smaller. Lastly, they are a breeze to keep clean. Simply turn off the motor and close the included knife valves. Remove the lid, then the cartridge, and hose it off, making sure to deep clean between the pleats. Put the cartridge back in the tank, replace the filter lid, open the valves, and turn the motor on. It is just that easy to keep your pool properly filtered. For more information on the Black Diamond System, click here.
If you have an in-ground pool, we recommend the Pentair Clean & Clear system. You get the efficiency of a high-end DE system, at a cost that is usually far less. It’s a great product from Pentair, one of the leading manufacturers and industry leaders in the world of pools.
A quality cartridge filter will minimize water and chemical loss by eliminating backwashing. That saves you work…and money.
The fun part of having a pool is swimming in clean, clear water.
You’ll have more fun and love your pool more when you have a great filtration system. Stop at Eastgate Pools & Spas for more information and see how you can have more fun with less work. And isn’t that what having a pool is all about?