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Swimming Pool Cartridge Filters
Cartridge filters are the simplest filters to clean and operate. Pool cartridge filters can filter out impurities as small as 5 to 10 microns in size. Anything below about 35 microns is invisible to the naked eye. Cartridge filters require minimal maintenance. Typically you can remove your cartridge and clean it with just a garden hose. There are also filter element cleaning products available such as cartridge cleaning chemicals as well as hose attachments like the filter flosser to assist you in cleaning between the pleats. Cartridges should last you multiple seasons but cartridge life span depends on the bather load, how well you take care of it and how well you maintain your pool chemicals.
Diatomaceous Earth Pool Filters
DE Filters can filter out dirt as small as 3 to 5 microns. This means that a DE filter gives you the best water quality of the three filter types. DE powder is used to coat a set of grids within the tank. The water is pumped through the grids, cleansing the water of debris and impurities. DE powder is made out of ground fossilized plankton skeletons. Most DE pool filters are cleaned by backwashing. This means reversing the flow of water through the filter to dislodge contaminates and flush them from the filter media. This results in some water loss. Also, DE powder must be added to the skimmer after backwashing or cleaning to recoat the grids. Grids must also be replaced when they break or wear out.
Swimming Pool Sand Filters
Sand filters work by filtering your water through a bed of silica sand which removes impurities in your pool water. These filters are usually shaped like a globe. Sand filters remove the least amount of impurities. They only filter down to particles as small as 20 to 25 microns. Sand filters are efficient enough to keep most pools clean, but they do not clean down to the tiniest particles as a cartridge or the most effective DE filters do. To keep a sand filter working you must clean it as often as once a week. You can clean it by simply backwashing the filter, which means you reverse the flow of the water so that it dislodges debris trapped in your sand bed and flushes them from your filter. The down side of this system is that backwashing wastes a significant amount of water that must then be replaced in your pool.