Swimming Pool Filtration Basics - Cartridge Filters vs Sand Filters

Benefits of a Cartridge pool filter system

A cartridge filter, when sized properly to the gallons of water in the pool, requires the least amount of regular maintenance. Many homeowners clean their cartridge filter out every 2-4 weeks depending on pool usage and backyard debris.

  • There is no need to backwash water out of your pool to clean a cartridge filter. This saves on water consumption and keeps your backyard area clean from dirty water.
  • To clean a cartridge, simply remove it from the filter housing by taking the lid off the filter, and spray the round cartridge off with your garden hose. For a deep clean, submerge it into a bucket of filter cleaner designed specifically for cleaning filter cartridges. Blue Wave Filter Clean is the perfect cleaner for this application. This powerful cleaner and degreaser removes the oils, grease and debris that clog your pool filter in just 24 hours.
  • A cartridge filter cleans down to the smallest micron of dirt. Example; a grain of table salt is 90 microns big and a cartridge filtration system will filter as small as 7 microns giving excellent water quality that is crystal clear.
  • Understanding your environment is important. If you live in the country with a dirt road that is close or have well water with a lot of minerals like iron, you may find that a cartridge filter can work so well that it diminishes the maintenance of the cartridge. Heavier loads of debris, like dirt in the air from a dirt road or a field, or minerals in the water have a tendency to cause the filter to collect debris faster and need cleaning more often.
  • Most cartridge systems can be paired with a two speed pump, which offers a low and high speed. When running the pool pump on the low speed setting it draws 4-6 amps of electricity. This is a very economical way to operate your pool by saving you electricity. A cartridge filter has a large square area of paper or polyester media requiring less power to push water through the filter system.

Benefits of a sand pool filter system

A sand filtration system can be a less expensive system to purchase, very fast and easy to clean, and provide a long-lasting clean water environment for many years.

  • To clean a sand filter system you must backwash water from the pool through the filter tank and out into the yard or storm drain. The way this is accomplished is by turning a valve on the top of the filter system to the Backwash setting.
  • The sand that is inside the filter should be replaced every 2 years. Disposing of the old sand can be complicated if you have nowhere to safely dispose of it. Filter sand is made of crushed quartz and is jagged on the edges. Filter sand is not something you mix into the kids sandbox or play area.
  • Sand filter systems will clean as small as 20-30 microns of debris. A sand filter does not clean as efficiently as a cartridge filter system which allows microscopic debris to bypass the dirt roads, fields, well water, etc.
  • Sand systems typically come with a one speed pump which draws 12-14 amps. Filtering with a sand system will run an average higher cost per month than a cartridge system. A larger debris tolerance passing through the filter system makes this perfect for heavy debris loads ie. Dirt roads, fields, and well water.

Cartridge filters and sand filters are both very good filtration systems for your pool. The key to enjoying your swimming pool is found in choosing which one is best for your backyard environment.