Proper Filtration: The Heart of Your Pool's Water Clarity
When we consider the different aspects of keeping our pool water sparkling and crystal clear throughout the summer, one of the most often over-looked aspects to water clarity maintenance is filter cleaning.
When a pool's filter is not working up to capacity, its water will obviously suffer, with cloudiness and algae being the end results.
This article will discuss the two main types of filters used by our customers and the proper cleaning for each medium.
Sand is probably the most popular filter medium throughout the state of Virginia. Although sand is not the most effective type of filter for water clarity, it still works very well in most cases, especially under proper care.
What many customers don't realize is that it is a good idea to replace the sand in your filter every 1–3 years. I recommend once every year for those using Baquacil. This is because Baquacil tends to coagulate waste while it sanitizes. This quality causes the sand in the filter to "gum up" quickly, rendering the sand less and less effective over time.
This is also why it is recommended that Baquacil users soak their sand in a filter cleaner twice a season so as to break down any coagulation or clumps that have formed within the filter.
For chlorine and salt users, changing your sand every 3 years will usually suffice, considering chlorine's stellar ability to oxidize and remove waste.
When replacing your sand, there are a few steps to remember.
- Drain water from tank and remove filter head.
- Scoop or "Shop-vac" out the old sand. (This can be a little time consuming.)
- Fill The tank up to the half-way point with water
- Add pool filter sand (not just any sand) to the tank. (Try not to let sand get into the center tube of the tank.) The proper amount to add is usually listed on the tank's front side.
- Re-attach the filter head and then backwash the water for 30 seconds.
- Return filtration to "filter" mode and make sure there are no leaks.
Cartridge filters are becoming more and more prominent throughout the country. What makes these filters so appealing to pool owners is that they act as a better filter medium than sand (as in, they catch smaller particles) and there is no need to backwash.
The main maintenance required on a cartridge filter is a cleaning typically done with a pressurized garden hose. This process takes somewhere between 5–10 minutes.
I have found that most pool owners need to clean their cartridges off once every 4–6 weeks, although this number can vary depending on a number of factors.
Another type of cartridge cleaning is done with an actual chemical soaking of the cartridge. This chemical can be purchased at your local pool store and is usually added to a bucket of water and the filter is allowed to soak in this bucket over a 24-hour period. The process is especially necessary when a pool has had algae, and the algae has become embedded in the filter's pleats. Not completely killing this algae will just lead to more in the future.
Most cartridge filters should be replaced once every 1–2 years and typically cost $75–$125.
Editor's note: This blog article was originally published in March 2009 and has been updated and revamped for accuracy and appearance.