I am doing an analysis of filters and am seeking feedback from the members on Cartridge Filters. Specifics such as if you use them, your business location (city,state)  and what your overall opinions (real or perceived) and performance observations of them are. Even if you have never installed one, a response as to why you do not use them would also be most helpful. The study has to do with water conservation and increasing swimming pool pump efficiencies and is not manufacturer related. Thanks for your input.

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  • Not a big fan of cartridges, but our business is in the SouthWest.  Sand filters are easier to deal with here.  We don't have many regulations with waste water.  From a maintenance aspect Cartridge Filters are harder to deal with.  We have a mixture of Sand and Cartridge filters on our routes with Sand being the preferred.  If its and indoor setting Cartridge would be the preferred choice for me.  On an outdoor system I would go with sand.  Cartridges in our area have to be cleaned out once every 3-6 months on an outdoor system.  Sand Filters last forever, if maintained properly.  Sand needs changed about every 5 years and it would be a good idea to replace the lateral assembly while you are in there.  Spider gaskets and multi-port valves need to be maintained as well, 90% of the time, multi-port valve is the point of failure with the Sand filter system

  • We recommend cartridge filters to all our customers unless they specifically ask for something else (and then we'll give them our opinion again).

  • Different areas require different techniques. This includes everything from balancing chems used to filter selections. I know many pools that benefit from the very small amount of dilution from a backwash. Helps to keep TDS, CYA, Hardness and others from climbing too high. The problem I see far too often is 30gpm-40gpm sand filters married to 75gpm and larger pumps. In other words, too many sand filters are undersized. Filter slower and your clarity will improve and the backwash frequency and volume will decrease. Properly sized its difficult to beat sand in many areas.

  •  You all need to face the fact that sand and DE filters are the LEADED GAS of the pool industry. It does not matter how good they work, how easy they they are or are not to clean they will be gone due to environmental issues. Waisted water, dumped chemicals, clogged sewer pipes (DE soil in central sewer) they will be banded. Centrifuge systems will not get the lighter than water fines so Cartridge filters will win. Get yourself an Aqua Comb cartridge filter cleaning device and you will have no issues with cleaning cartridge filtration systems. Cartridge filtration systems are easy to install and with the Aqua Comb can be fully cleaned in a few minutes using less than 5 gallons of water!

    • No prizes for guessing what you sell then (wink)  Have your cartrige filters got microban treated filters? Regarding sand (actually AFM glass) I wouldn't use sand or DE either but a balance tank to collect the backwash water which could be used for watering the garden or flushing the toilet etc so nothing is wasted

      • I am not sure that the average homeowner in the suburbs wants a 200 galloon storage tank for backwashing in the back yard. I also would not want that water near my plants. Did you know that if you inhale DE soil it can tear up your lungs! The clorine may dissapate in time but many of the other chemicals used will still remain and would not be good for plant life. My neighbor back flushes his sand filter into his yard and he has a large kill zone in the grass. The rest goes down into the ground water for someone else down stream to pick-up in their well system. And yes (wink) the biggest complaint of cartridge systems is the cleaning process that I have solved and over 3,000 Pool Techs apprciate the time saved!

        • Now Mark that is the question, I agree it takes more water to flush out a DE filter than others and yes I know DE is bad for lungs which is why I would never use it (other methods are just as good) but water harvesting for rain water is becoming the norm in Europe so a little education on saving water isn't a bad thing long term and I am sure a 100 gallon tank would do just as well.

          Now the other chemicals, a little bit of copper perhaps 0.8ppm is about twice what is allowed in bottled drinking water so not really toxic although there are plans in Europe to outlaw it's use in pools as they have done with borates.  A small amount of aluminium from floc, again the amount is tiny. Cyanuric acid is made from urea so it will be broken down by bacteria in the soil.  Of course what's killing your neighbors grass may be salt but from experience you would be backwashing very frequently and on the same spot to really have an effect. 

          I had customers who backwashed their pool at shock chlorine level on to a field and it slowed the crop development for 2 weeks in an area around the pipe but then the crops (wheat) recovered and developed as normal.  As I mentioned before the water could also be used for flushing toilets rather than wasted, people are begining to use rainwater harvesting for that in Europe as mains water is getting more expensive.


          I think Rick summed it up very well, right up to the last sentence about sand being hard to beat but that is the part we will debate for the future.

  • Is that good filtration or bad eyesight? LoL
    • Hey John,


      you had me laughing outloud at that.   I am a crazy purist when it comes to that stuff.   (we also install home theaters, so I am kind of a videophile too and crazy picky.)    I would be willing to deal with the hassles of DE because I want the pool to sparkle.   I honestly thought I'd be adding a little cellulose to the cartridge filter to take the filter level down closer to de...but after 2 months of testing, I didn't need to.  Even at night, the water is sparkling.

      the sta rite filter really does an amazing job.    

      tony c.





  • i did a test on my 41,000 gallon pool this year.  I opened it on march 4 and closed it on december 9.   I am using a sta rite 500sf cartridge filter (the same one we use on all of our customer's pools.)

    I went the entire season without a cleaning and my psi only increased by 5.    I switched from a DE filter and I couldn't see the difference, but I sure saved alot of hassles!

    tony c



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