Proper pool maintenance is a must to keep your pool water sparkling and clean. One of the most important pieces of equipment to maintain is the filter. There are three basic types of filtration systems – Sand, Cartridge and DE. Whichever system you have, you will need to be sure to clean and care for your filter.
A sand filter tank is made of metal, concrete or fiberglass and contains a thick bed of special-grade sand. While filtering, dirty water from the pool comes in through the filter's inlet pipe, which leads to the water distribution head inside the tank. While gravity pulls the water down through the sand, tiny sand particles catch dirt and debris. At the bottom of the tank, the filtered water flows through the pick-up unit and out the outlet pipe.
If the water flow is slowed by dirt and debris, pressure gauges at the filter inlet and outlet give the pool owner an idea of the blockage level inside. If the inlet pipe has more pressure than the outlet pipe, there is collected debris in the sand. You will then need to baskwash the filter.
The coarseness of sand traps debris particles and over time, the sand will become smooth and round. This sand should be changed every five years. Contact a pool professional to change the sand or you can choose to do it yourself.
Swimming pool filter cartridges work by allowing water to pass through a very fine filter surface. This filter surface captures any impurities that attempt to pass through and hold them until you clean the filter cartridge or replace it.
Cartridge filters have more surface area than sand filters. This allows for fewer clogs and much easier maintenance. Cartridge filters also operate at a much lower pressure than sand. This causes less backpressure on the pump so you have a greater flow of water through the system.
This system is very easy to maintain and relatively inexpensive. Basic cartridge maintenance can be performed by simply rinsing off your cartridge with a garden hose or soaking them in detergent. However, the best way to ensure a clean and sparkling pool is to just simply replace them, which should be done every 3-5 years.
The DE pool filter differs from other types because of the filter media itself. In this case, the DE is the filter media. DE is an extremely fine powder that is produced by crushing the fossilized exoskeletons of diatoms. These ancient hard-shelled organisms were similar to algae, but the porous bone material makes an excellent filter when used in this way. The powdered skeletons coat a fabric-covered filter grid that keeps the DE itself from washing back into the pool.
Adding new DE is simple. It goes directly into the skimmer and the pump sucks the DE into place preparing it to do its job as more contaminants enter the water. You will be able to tell when there is enough DE in the system by watching the pressure gauge fall below 8 pounds or into the indicated safe zone on the pump. Backwashing and addition of new DE is required once or twice a year for residential pools.