Buying a pool is a huge decision most do not take lightly. Finding the right pool filter is a part of that decision. Thinking about the amount of maintenance you want to do, how often a replacement is needed, and more will affect the type of pool filter you choose. When choosing a filter, think about the type of pool you have. For example, how large is your pool, How often will it be used, and the size you have. Your pool needs may be different depending on the answers to these questions.
Before delving into the different types of pool filters, let’s talk about microns. A micron is a measure of length. In this instance, it is the measurement pool filters use to define the size of debris. For some comparison, the human hair can be anywhere from 30-120 microns. The most effective filter, DE, filters out 3-5 microns. It’s important to understand this terminology since it should be an important factor in your decision.
Sand filters are the oldest type of filter. The sand used in these filters isn’t just any sand. You cannot go to the beach, stock up on some sand, and use that. It uses a special type of sand, usually #20 silica. The filter is 75% sand and 25% free space. The water runs through the sand and filters back out to the pool. SImple. Backwashing is used to clean sand filters. Always refer back to your filter’s manufacturer instructions for proper use. The sand should only need to be replaced every 3-5 years. While sand filters are a great option for many, they also are the least effective type of filter. They filter out 20-30 microns. If you are looking for something that will filter out a large amount of debris, then a sand filter probably isn’t what you are looking for. If that isn’t a particular worry, then a sand filter should be an option. This is especially great since it is typically the cheapest of the three.
Cartridge filters are the most common filters especially for smaller pools. The filter has pleated polyester fabric that filters out around 10-20 microns. Surprisingly, brand new filters are not the most effective. The more debris it collects the more efficiently it works. Obviously, there is a point where replacing it is necessary, but debris can be a good thing, filtering more and more out as you go. Unlike sand filters, cartridge filters don’t require backwashing. The filter should be replaced at least once a year and the whole thing should be replaced every three years or so. The Cartridge filters are great for any type of pool, but like stated, it is especially popular for small pools. Essentially, you can’t go wrong with a cartridge filter.
DE stands for diatomaceous earth. This filter uses powdered sedimentary rock that is pasted to the filter, capturing debris. DE filters are the most effective, capturing 2-5 microns. Like sand filters, DE filters use backwashing to clean the filters. These filters should be replaced every five years, but with proper care can last much longer than that. For those of us who want the cleanest of the clean pools, DE filters are a perfect choice. The downside is that they often are the most expensive. But you do get one heck of a clean pool.
Deciding what filter to get can be confusing. There are so many factors to consider. Size of the pool, how often it is used, maintenance necessary, how many microns you want, and more. While there are different types of filters there is one thing that is true for all pools, you need a filter. Understanding how each one works and the benefits to each should be a part of your search. While it may seem daunting at first, the more research you do the clearer the choice will become.