It’s still a bit chilly in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan, making it a bit impossible to take a jump into your swimming pool. The time isn’t that far away, though! One of the items you should be thinking about for your pool is the filter you use. The choice is largely up to you, the pool owner. Here’s a comparison of in-ground swimming pool filters offered at Hawaiian Pool Builders.

Maintaining a clean pool is one of the most important parts of pool ownership. In order to do so, it’s essential to have a filter for your pool. No one wants to swim in a dirty pool with dirt and debris everywhere. Swimming pool filters are a great way to rid your pool of all that unwanted material floating around.

Deciding what type of filter is best for you and your pool can be a bit confusing. To help you through the process, we put together a comparison guide for swimming pool filters to give you a better understanding of all their similarities and differences. There is not a “bad” type of swimming pool filter, but some filters are more efficient than others.

Sand, DE (diatomaceous earth) and cartridge are the three different types. Each type has its pros and cons, but, when used properly all three will do an excellent job of keeping your water sparkly clear and free of all but the smallest particles.Swimming Pool Filters

All three are used in series with your main pool pump, allowing the water to pass through the filter media before re-entering the pool. The media traps dust, dirt, oils, hair, and other small particles and removes them from water the water column.

Sand filters: Sand is by far the easiest to maintain, but its filtering ability is the lowest – down to about 30 microns. This can be particularly evident if your pool is lit at night. Filter aids, such as DE powder, or cellulose fiber, however, can help improve the sand’s filtering ability. Cleaning a sand filter is easy. When the pressure reaches the level outlined in your owner’s manual, simply backwash the filter to remove the trapped dirt and debris. Back-washing is about a ten-minute process. Sand does occasionally need a more thorough cleaning than back-washing alone can do. They are easy to use, and simple to operate. About once a year, you should open the filter, stick a garden hose in the sand and turn it on. Let the water flush out all the crud that has collected until the overflow is clear. You may have to carefully break up the sand with something if it’s clumped together. If there is evidence of scale build-up, then an acidic sand cleaner may be in order. Sand filters are generally the most compact and affordable option to filter an in-ground swimming pool as the sand can last from three to five years. They do need to be sized according to your pool pump.

DE filters: Diatomaceous earth is made up of fossilized diatoms (porous, sponge like microscopic organism) and can filter down into the range of 3-5 microns. This can allow you to run the pump less, or use fewer chemicals, clean up adverse water conditions fast - or avoid them altogether. If you do night swimming in a lit pool, you might want to invest in one since this is where the water clarity really does show up. DE, however, requires a little more care than a sand filter does. There are two basic kinds of DE filters; the bump and the backwash. The theory behind the bump type is that when the filter gets dirty, you ‘bump’ the dirty DE off the grids so it can mix with the dirt and then re-coat the grids with dirty DE. The other type is the backwash type and while it can be backwashed, we recommend breaking it down for a cleaning on a regular basis. When you simply backwash the filter, you cannot be sure of how much DE you remove; thereby not being sure how much to put back in. DE pool filters are available in 4 grid styles. DE grids are the elements inside the tank which are coated with DE powder. Grids are not the filter, but serve as the 'holder' for the DE powder, which does the filtering of the water. These Grid Styles are 'Finger', 'Curved', 'Straight' and 'Cartridge'.

Cartridge filters: There is no back-washing with a cartridge filter, so your water balance tends to stay put, which is a plus if you use a saltwater generator. Their filtering ability approaches DE in particle size, filtering out as low as 10 microns. Cartridges do wear out, and need to be replaced every few years. They also help cut energy costs by utilizing lower pump presser, with lower wear and tear on your pool pump. Proper cleaning is not hard, but it can be messy. Cleaning takes about half an hour. You’ll have to remove the lid, pull out the cartridges and wash between the pleats individually. When purchasing a new cartridge filter, bigger is always better. If your pool pump is over 1.5 HP, we recommend choosing a cartridge filter. They are more versatile than sand, and generally have a higher max flow rate; and will end up saving your money in upkeep costs and savings to your pump.

Once you have chosen the right type of filter for your pool, it is important to get it sized properly. It must be sized to match the pump which in turn must match the circulation needs of the pool. If the filter is undersized, it will fill up quickly and can be damaged by the force of the pump. If the filter is undersized, it may not backwash well.

Deciding on a swimming pool filter depends on your lifestyle and pool usage. Sand filters aren’t as efficient as DE or cartridge filters, but, they are a lot easier to maintain. If you prefer a clearer pool without minding the extra maintenance, then you would want to look at either a cartridge or DE filter.

If you don’t care how clear your water is and just want something easy, you’re going to want to look at a sand filter. Any type of filter you chose is going to be a compromise of the filters efficiency and the level of difficulty with its maintenance. Eventually, pool filter parts will need to be replaced regardless of what type of filter you have.

At Hawaiian Pool Builders, we are proud to offer Pentair filters to our customers. You can call and make an appointment, or stop by the showroom to discuss your options with one of our professionals to help you decide what is right for you.  

Category: Pool Advice