May 6

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Clean Pool Filter

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There are many benefits of installing a swimming pool at your house or spa center, but you can only enjoy it to the fullest if you make sure that the water is completely clean.

If you’re a swimming pool owner, it’s essential to own a filter.

It’s a filter that collects debris that has accumulated in your swimming pool over time.

It will make sure that your water is clean and free from disease-causing germs.

A dirty pool could be a significant drawback for your swimming pool business.

Keep in mind that good pool care means that your filter must be thoroughly clean to enable it to perform its task adequately.

Spending time to clean it will enable the filtration system to function effectively.

This guide will give you some top tips on the different types of pool filters and how you can clean them.

Basics about Pool Filters

What is the essence of owning a pool filter?

A pool filter will help you in the following ways:

  • It helps clear the pool from dirt as well as insects
  • It also helps the water chemistry by distributing chemicals to fight microorganisms
  • By filtering your pool adequately, bathers and swimmers will be free from illnesses.

Types of pool filter

There are three types, namely: sand filters, cartridge filters, and diatomaceous earth (DE) filters.

They are manufactured to help combat bacteria, and algae brought about by leaves and dirt.

Let’s take a look at them.

Sand filters

These types of filters are trendy and offer the best quality option to clean a pool.

They can filter a large quantity of pool water in no time.

This helps render a proper filtration process and also helps disinfect the pool effectively.

Sand filters provide excellent filtration for a pool and require minimal maintenance.

It filters way better than a cartridge version.

Even if you don’t want to use sand, you can use a filter glass as another filtration medium for your pool.

Though sand filters require regular backwashing, they are worth a try.

Cartridge filter

These are used for pools with a cartridge filter installation.

A cartridge filter is mainly used for small pools with less maintenance.

Using them for larger pools requires frequent maintenance, which could be expensive, and we all know that everyone wants to save on costs.

They’re affordable and easy to install.

Diatomaceous earth filters

Otherwise called DE pool filters, diatomaceous earth offers the best cleaning process.

It is a porous powder, usually in a canister form.

It can filter out smaller particles, all thanks to its microscopic openings.

Techniques/Tips to improve

How often should you filter your pool?

If you’re using your pool quite often, it must be adequately filtered.

The amount of time taken to purify the reservoir depends on the filtration system installed.

The filtering capacity has to be taken into consideration before installation.

Additionally, the volume of the pool should also be considered before making any purchase.

Ensure that the pool water passes through the filtration system every 4 hours, and this must be done correctly.

Summer is fast approaching, and it is advisable to filter during that period at least 12hrs/day.

You can take 2-hr intervals and use that time to monitor the pool.

By doing this, you will preserve your chemicals and also have clear water.

How often should a pool filter be cleaned?

Both sand and DE filters can be cleaned through backwashing, but not cartridge filters, says Rick January.

In this cleaning process, the pool pump is run in reverse for a while.

It is highly recommended that a filter be cleaned in the following time frames:

  • Sand filters to be back washed every 1-4 weeks, followed by once a year cleaning.
  • For a cartridge filter, cleaning should be done every 2-6 weeks, while a deep cleaning once in a year is ideal.
  • Backwashing of a DE filter should be done every 1-3 months, while a deep cleaning is required at most twice a year.

Routine cleaning and maintenance of a pool filter depend on the type you have.

Notwithstanding, you should find the time to clean filters as soon as they fill up, to prevent clogging.

If your pool water is not clear as it is supposed to be, then your the filters need cleaning.

Rick January advises observing filters for any leaks or any common problems and not neglecting them.

All pools are not the same, so you may not know the number of times to backwash, says Bob Matey.

How to clean a sand pool filter

  • Start with backwashing it for at most 3-5 minutes to get rid of debris.
  • The pump has to be turned off to switch on the valve to filter.
  • Remove the pump top of the filter.
  • Pour sand filter cleaner inside the strainer, and put the top of the filter back.
  • Turn on the pump for up to 15 seconds. The time should be enough to transfer the cleaner from the pump to the filter.
  • Turn the pump off for about 8 hours or even overnight.
  • Once again, backwash the filter for about 3-5 minutes as it will help remove impurities like dirt and debris that might have clogged it.
  • Finally, turn on the filter system again.

How to clean cartridge filters?

A dirty cartridge will take longer to clean. Let’s take a look at the steps involved.

  • Make sure the pool’s pump and filter system are turned off.
  • Open the system and remove air and remember to turn the air relief valve so that excess air can escape from the system.
  • The filter-clamps which hold it together must be removed, and you can refer to the owner’s manual for guidance.
  • Remove the top.
  • Gently remove the cartridge filter and put it aside. Make sure there is no damage or tears.
  • The cartridge might need a replacement if there are tears, so cleaning it at this point will be ineffective.
  • Clean the cartridge using a spray nozzle on your garden hose.
  • While spraying down the cartridge, let the water get between the pleats and use a specialized cleaner if your cartridge is too dirty.
  • You can follow the manufacturer’s manual for guidelines on how to do it better.
  • Another method is to soak a dirty cartridge in a specialized cleaner overnight. You can use a 5-gallon bucket to put the cartridge in and make sure that the water and the cleaner mixture fully covers it.
  • Inspect the O-ring on the filter tank to ensure that it’s in good condition. If it is, then apply a lubricant to maintain it; if not, then it needs a replacement.
  • Rinse your cartridge thoroughly before returning it to the proper place.
  • After replacing the filter top, tighten the clamps.
  • Turn on the system and open the air relief valve to release excess air from the system and don’t shut the valve until you notice a steady stream of water spraying from it.
  • Inspect the system pressure gauge to make sure it’s in the normal range and that the filter is placed correctly.

How to clean a DE pool filter?

This cleaning method is a bit similar to the sand pool filter cleaning method.

It is quick, easy, and a bit safer.

  • Backwash the filter for at least 3-5 minutes, to remove debris.
  • Turn off your pump and open the air relief valve.
  • Open the drain plug to release water out of the filter tank.
  • The clamps holding the filter have to be removed. You can refer to the owner’s manual to do this successfully.
  • Open your filter tank before removing the filter manifold to enable you to remove all the grids.
  • Use your garden hose to rinse the tank.
  • To clean the manifold, use a spray nozzle on your garden hose and ensure that the grids are well flushed to get rid of debris.
  • If your manifold is too dirty, use a DE filter cleaner.

You can use the manufacturer’s manual and follow the instructions.

  • After that, you can also soak the manifold overnight in a muriatic solution.
  • Flush out debris and DE powder using a garden hose to rinse the filter grid.
  • Replace the grids in the filter tank.
  • Add DE powder to the filter.

Your DE manual will tell you the quantity of DE powder to add.

  • First, prime the pool pump before removing your strainer basket lid.
  • The basket must be filled with water and allowed to pass through the incoming line.
  • Inspect the O-ring and lubricate it.
  • After that, release excess air from the filter tank by opening the air relief valve.
  • Turn on your pool pump and close the air relief valve when you notice water coming out.
  • Mix the required quantity of DE powder with enough water.
  • Ensure that you get a thin, creamy solution and also ensure that the pump is open.
  • Pour the solution into the pool skimmer.
  • Allow the pump to run for about 30 minutes for even distribution over the filter grids.

Using muriatic acid to clean

This cleaning method is a bit similar to the DE pool filter cleaning method.

It is recommended for filters that are extremely dirty that a standard filter cleaner is not helping.

  • Backwash the filter for at least 3-5 minutes, to get rid of debris.
  • Turn off your pump and open the air relief valve.
  • Release the drain plug and allow water out of the filter tank.
  • The clamps holding the filter have to be removed.

You can refer to the owner’s manual to do this successfully.

  • Open your filter tank before removing the filter manifold to enable you to remove all the grids.
  • Use your garden hose to clean and rinse the tank.
  • To clean the manifold, use a spray nozzle on your garden hose.

Ensure that the grids are well flushed to get rid of debris.

  • This is when your safety goggles and acid-resistant gloves come into play, just put them on, and wear long sleeves.
  • Using clean water, dilute your muriatic acid in a 5-gallon bucket.

The directions for dilution are given in your manufacturer’s manual.

  • After placing the manifold, let the solution cover it, then soak overnight.
  • Flush out debris and DE powder using a garden hose to rinse the filter grid.
  • Replace the grids in the filter tank.
  • Add DE powder to the filter.

Your DE manual will tell you the quantity of DE powder to add.

  • Then, prime the pool pump before removing your strainer basket lid.
  • The basket must be filled with water and allowed to pass through the incoming line.
  • Inspect the O-ring and lubricate it.
  • After that, release excess air from the filter tank by opening the air relief valve.
  • Turn on your pool pump and close the air relief valve when you notice water coming out.
  • Mix the required quantity of DE powder with enough water.
  • Ensure that you get a thin, creamy solution and also ensure that the pump is open.
  • Pour the solution into the pool skimmer.
  • Allow the pump to run for about 30 minutes for even distribution over the filter grids.

Correcting common problems

Filtering a pool is a straightforward pool care process.

But people do encounter some common problems while at it.

Poor pool filtration can result in chlorine demand and higher costs of chemicals.

The following are possible filter problems, causes, and solutions.

  • Reduction in the flow of water through the filter

There is always a restriction in water flow if dirt clogs the filter media.

This will cause pressure to rise within the tank.

If the pressure has reached a certain level specified by the manufacturer, then it is time to backwash your sand or DE filter.

There are different ranges of pressure operations for filter types.

A typical range for high-standard sand filters could be about 10-15 pounds/sq-inch.

If you have that at the start of your filter cycle, then it is time for backwashing.

If you observe a gradual pressure increase during your filter cycle, it is normal.

But if the pressure increases consistently, then it requires cleaning or backwashing.

However, if there is an abnormal pressure rise, then check the filtration cleaning system.

  • Backwashing short cycle

Sometimes, short cycle types imply an uncontrolled flow rate through the filter.

This shows that the filter could be undersized, or the pump may be too powerful for the system.

Install a device that suits your filter.

Sometimes oily sand could cause backwashing in the short cycle.

It might not be easy to tell people to bathe with soap before entering the pool, but it could help solve the cleaning problem.

Improper filtering action: Inconsistent backwashing of a sand filter could result in mud balls growing on the top surface of the sand bed.

This could limit a pool’s filtering operation.

  • Low flow system rates

Specific equipment is used to evaluate a filter’s performance, and it is called a flow meter.

If your flow meter gives you a low reading, whereas your pressure gauge reading is on the high side, then there is an uneven flow.

This could be a result of an undersized piping system or pipe blockage.

The baskets must be cleaned if you experience a return flow drop as this usually happens if there is clogging in the skimmer basket.

  • Inability to keep the pool balanced

Have it at the back of your mind that maintaining your pool is good for the health and progress of your pool.

Try to adjust the level of pH, alkalinity, pool chlorine, and calcium hardness.

  • Oversized and undersized filter pumps

Note that an oversized pool sand filter pump can dismantle sand particles by allowing them to pass through the laterals.

A tiny filter may get overstressed and may be unable to filter the pool properly.

If you have a large swimming pool, it is ideal to get a big pump filter that will do the work correctly.

Smaller pump filters are always used for residential pools.

  • Damaged O-Rings

An O-Ring might be worn out if water penetrates your filter and goes back to the swimming pool.

If you notice this, then it needs a replacement.

Some pieces of equipment may be bad beyond repair, so it is essential to take note of that.

  • Filter leakage

Try to fix your sand filter properly to avoid any leaks.

Check your multiport valve, pump port lid, spider gasket, and all plumbing units frequently.

This can be averted if you always check the suction side.

Everything has to be properly fitted, and you should always check the tank for damage.

Analysis of Best Practices in the Industry

Update on the design and best practices of an intermittently operated slow sand filter.

An iSSF water filtration system overview (Design, Maintenance, and Operation)

  • This model has features that ensure effective operation.
  • The storage tank stores the filtered water while the filter tank filters the raw source water.
  • It has a reservoir tank that stores the source water.
  • Splash plates protect the biolayer from damage.
  • There is filtration sand, which removes pathogens and particles.
  • The wash valves can be opened for maintenance.
  • The gravel underdrain layer provides a low-resistance flow of water to the outlet pipe.
  • The coarse and separating layer prevents fine sand from plugging the underdrain pipe.
  • The iSSF design features accommodate different tank sizes and shapes.
  • Effectiveness, appropriateness, cost, and implementation determine whether iSSF is suitable for your school or project.
  • For operation and maintenance, use 100L as this keeps iSSF from drying out and also maintains a supply of oxygen and nutrients.
  • It also increases microbial removal (and more water) when operated continually.
  • Fill the source water reservoir at the end of the day so the filter can operate overnight and also flush sediment in the source water reservoir periodically.
  • For unprotected water and debris, use an inlet screen, and for liquid with high solids, a settling tank may be useful.

https://youtu.be/jqvctNaBGZI

Tools you can use

Below are the top tools/supplies needed to clean a cartridge pool filter.

  • Spray nozzle
  • Garden hose
  • Filter cleaner
  • Lubricant
  • 5-gallon bucket (optional)
  • Replacement O-Ring (optional)
  • Replacement filter cartridge (optional)
  • Owner’s manual, if needed.

Tools/supplies needed to clean a sand pool filter

  • Backwash hose
  • Sand filter cleaner
  • Owner’s manual if need be

Tools/supplies needed to clean a DE pool filter

  • Garden hose
  • Backwash hose
  • Lubricant
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Diatomaceous earth powder
  • DE filter cleaner
  • Muriatic acid (optional)
  • Safety goggles (when using muriatic acid)
  • Acid-resistant gloves (when using muriatic acid)
  • Owner’s manual if need be

FAQs

What is the best way to clean pool filters?

If your filter has calcium carbonate, algae, or other minerals coating, it is recommended that you soak the cartridge in a 1-part muriatic acid to a 20-part water solution until it bubbles and stops.

After that, rinse the cartridge until it is clean before reassembling.

Can I soak my pool filter in bleach?

Using bleach to soak your clothes removes stains, no doubt about that.

But that doesn’t mean that you have to dip your pool filter in bleach.

Even companies that sell pool chemicals will not advise you to do that.

Bleach can destroy the filtration fibers and can also reduce your filter life span.

Can you pressure wash pool filters?

It is not advisable to pressure wash cartridge pool filters.

You might see it as the best way to clean debris out of your filter, but the quality of the filter paper is not durable enough to withstand pressure washing.

How long do pool filters last?

Pool filter cartridges can work for at least 2,000 hours in a pump filter.

However, pool filters can be replaced at least every one to two years.

Usually, the filter cartridge is made of polyester material.

Any equipment will last as long as you handle it with care.

If you always enter the pool with deodorants, hair care products, and other chemicals, your pool filter will not last.

By checking the condition of the filter, you will know when to replace it.

Resources & Further Reading

https://news.poolandspa.com/the-basics-of-swimming-pool-filters/

https://www.swimuniversity.com/clean-pool-filter/

https://poolonomics.com/clean-pool-filter/

https://www.liquiduspools.com/pool-equipment/how-to-clean-pool-filter/

https://www.clean-pool-and-spa.com/pool-sand-filter-problems.html

https://doverpools.com/2012/06/13/your-go-to-guide-for-pool-filter-maintenance/

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