Better Protect Your Pool Surface With the Right Filter System: Sand, Cartridge, or D.E.

posted by Christine Silverman in

Filtering Pool Water

Having a high-quality filtering system to keep your pool water clean doesn’t only benefit those diving in. It can also help your pool surface stay looking as good as new longer. Take a look at the different types of filters you can choose from to help you find the right fit for your backyard pool!

What Do Pool Filters Do?
Pool filters are an essential component of your pool’s cleaning system. They help keep water free of substances that can be harmful both to swimmers and your pool surface. A typical pool cleaning system is made up of a pump, skimmer, and filter. The pump’s job is to pull water through the skimmer and into the filter where it is cleaned of dirt, debris, and bacteria. The system then pumps the clean water back into the pool.

Pool owners can customize and set schedules to control when the pump turns on and off, though most pool care experts recommend your pool’s system run for at least eight hours a day to prevent stagnant water and achieve a thorough clean. Without the presence of a proper filter system, harmful materials can build up in your pool and wreak havoc on your pool liner or surface.

Types of Pool Filters
A big part of ensuring the health of your pool is choosing the right filter for your needs. There are three main types of filters you can purchase for your pool: cartridge, sand, and D.E.

Sand
Sand filters are some of the cheapest and most compact filter systems available. They require chemical cleaning once a year and must be backwashed regularly to keep them running efficiently. Cloudy water is the most common indication it is time to clean your sand filter.

Additionally, pool owners must replace the sand in their filters every 5-8 years on average—for pools exposed to more dirt and debris, you may need to replace the sand more often. It’s important to note that backwashing a saltwater pool through a sand filter can strip the water of its salt. Consequently, most pool experts recommend avoiding using a sand filter for saltwater pools.

Cartridge
In addition to being easier to operate in many cases, cartridge filters are also typically much more effective in removing dirt and debris from a pool than sand filters. They also require less involved maintenance than sand counterparts and can be easily cleaned by simply removing the cartridge. However, they are a pricier option and often require professional maintenance—when maintenance is needed—to avoid costly damages.

The higher cost of a cartridge filter can be offset over time by the system’s lower operating costs. Sand filters use high pump pressure to clean the pool and, therefore, more energy. Cartridge filters’ use of low pressure not only reduces energy costs, but it can also help the unit last much longer. It is recommended that pool owners replace filter cartridges every year or two. However, it’s important to note that regular exposure to harsh chemicals like suntan lotion, hairspray, and other cosmetics may shorten the life of your cartridge filter.

Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.)
The most recent innovation in pool filters is diatomaceous earth (D.E.). In a D.E. filter, silica, or the fossilized remains of algae-like organisms comprising sedimentary rock, sifts out dirt and grime from water. The natural white powdery substance is far more effective at filtering out contaminants than with either sand or cartridge filters. This is largely attributed to the characteristics of the materials that comprise D.E.

Microscopic examination has shown the presence of spongy organisms called Tamminen in D.E., which explains the substance’s ability to absorb even the most microscopic grime for a far cleaner result. D.E. filters are able to remove much smaller particles than sand or cartridge filters, leaving your pool cleaner. These filters are also compact and effective, and many pool care experts regard them as the best option for ensuring clean water and preserving your pool surface.

D.E. systems do, however, require regular maintenance. Monthly cleaning will help ensure your filter is working at optimal capacity. You can choose to either backwash the filter, as with a sand filter, or manually clean your D.E. system, similar to a cartridge filter. Your D.E. grid can last up to 15 years, but the powder itself must be replaced every time you clean the system—monthly powder replacement is recommended.

If you are unsure which option is best for you, consider speaking to a reputable pool care specialist about your needs.

Maintaining a clean pool both helps to protect the people enjoying a day splashing around and extend the life of your backyard resort! Are you on the hunt for a beautiful new pool surface to round out your pool design? Explore Pebble Technology International’s® (PTI) extensive catalog of unique finishes to find the perfect look for your pool renovation!