Sand, Cartridge & D.E. Pool Filter Systems

There are three types of filter systems in the Pool industry; Sand, Cartridge and diatomaceous earth (DE).  So, which one should you choose?  Does one system filter better than the others?  Is one less expensive and easier to maintain?  Let’s take a look.  Also, a few hints & tips to maintain your filter system for current owners!

Cartridge Filters:  Cartridges are made of a fabric (usually bonded polyester – like in our Pleatco replacement filters) that collect debris, from fine silt to larger debris like algae.   Cartridges do a wonderful job at collecting all types of debris, but are a little less attractive when you are looking at a filter for easy maintenance.  Cartridge filters need to be taken apart (usually weekly, or biweekly) to be cleaned & rinsed.  For current owners: Make sure you are replacing your cartridge filter at least every other season.  Fibers in the fabric break down over time, and do not filter as well as it should be.  Your filter should also be taken in during the winter (if you are in an area where it reaches freezing temperatures) to ensure no damage is done to your filter.  Also, make sure you are using an acidic filter cleaner once a season, mid-season to ensure proper filtration.

Sand Filters:  Sand Filters use a #20 Silica Sand, which collects small & large debris from silt to algae just like the cartridge filters.  But unlike Cartridges, sand is a little bit more appealing to those looking for easy maintenance.  To clean a sand filter (weekly or bi-weekly depending on environment & use of pool), you simply turn a handle to a position called “backwash” and the filter cleans itself out.  For current owners: There is such a thing as backwashing too  much!  Make sure you are only backwashing when your pressure is 8-10 psi above your starting filter pressure.  THE BIG ONE: Your filter sand should be changed at a minimum of every other season! Your filter sand hardens over time, and the water creates little channels in the sand.  This means your pool water is bypassing the sand and you are not getting the proper filtration.  It is also recommended to use an acidic sand filter cleaner at least once a season to break down any build-up in your filter.

DE Filters: Diatomaceous Earth Filters are becoming more uncommon in the swimming pool industry every year.  Out of all three filter systems, the DE filters slightly better than the others, but it comes at a cost.  The DE is also the top filter system in the maintenance category.  The DE Filters require a great amount of maintenance.  This is the main reason they are not showing up in the pool industry as much as they used to.  Our main goal is to make pool ownership as fun and as easy as it can possibly be….after all, isn’t that why you have a pool??

Please respond with any comments or questions you may have on our blog, email us at or give us a call at 1-866-736-0732!
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