How Often Should You Clean Your Pool Filter?

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Pools require regular maintenance, and that includes the pool filter. How often you need to clean your filter depends on your filter type.

Today, we’re talking about each type of filter, how often you need to clean it, and how to clean it.

*While we do go into detail regarding the process for cleaning each type of filter, we highly recommend having a pool professional take care of it for you. The actual cleaning may seem rather easy but filters can be very dangerous. Due to the pressure that builds up inside them, they must be taken apart carefully to avoid serious injuries. 

Sand Filter

Sand filters are the most common pool filters used. A sand filter uses silica sand to filter the pool water. This gritty sand traps dirt and debris as the water flows through and then pumps clean water back into the pool.

How to Clean Your Sand Filter

Your sand filter will need to be backwashed about once a week. You will know that the filter needs to be cleaned when the pressure gauge reads 8-10 PSI or when the water becomes cloudy.

To backwash, turn off the pump and attach your pool hose to the sand filter. Switch the valve handle to backwash and turn the pump back on. Let the water go through the hose for 5 minutes or until the water runs clear.

Once the water is running clear, turn the pump off and switch the valve handle to rinse. Turn the pump on again and allow it to run on this setting for a few minutes. Once complete, turn the pump off one more time to return the valve handle to the filter setting before turning it back on.

Your sand filter will need to be chemically cleaned once or twice a year, and the sand should be replaced once every three to five years.

Cartridge Filter

This pool filter uses one or multiple cotton cartridges to filter the pool water. Dirt and debris will become trapped between the folds in the cartridge, and clean water is returned to the pool. This type of filter is typically the easiest to clean and maintain.

How to Clean Your Cartridge Filter

Start the cleaning process by turning off the pool pump. Open the air valve and disconnect the filter. Remove the top of the filter and take the cartridges out. Use this time to check the cartridges to ensure they’re still in good condition.

Use a hose to spray the cartridges and rinse any dirt and debris trapped between the folds. Replace each cartridge and the filter lid before turning the pump back on and closing the air valve.

If your cartridge filter is very dirty, you can use a cleaning solution and soak the cartridge in a mixture that’s been diluted with water. Make sure you rinse the cartridges before putting them back into the filter.

A cartridge filter should be replaced every three to five years.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Filter

Diatomaceous Earth filters, or DE filters, are similar to sand filters in that water is pushed through the DE, where the dirt and debris will become trapped, and clean water is sent back into the pool. This filter uses a grid covered in DE to filter the water.

How to Clean Your DE Filter

A DE filter should be cleaned about once a month. Like the sand filter, you will know when to clean the filter when the pressure gauge reaches 8-10 PSI or when the water is murky.

To clean your DE filter, you can backwash it the same way you would backwash a sand filter. Once the backwashing is complete, you will need to replenish the DE in the filter since the backwashing process clears away a majority of the media.

About every three months, the DE filter will need to be disassembled so the grid can be cleaned. To do so, turn off the pump and open up the air relief valve on the pump. Take out the drain plug and let the water drain from the tank completely.

Afterward, remove the grid and hose them off to remove all of the DE. You can use this time to check the grid for rips or tears and rinse the tank.

Put the grid back into the filter and allow water inside the tank. Once it has some water, place the lid back on and tighten it. After cleaning the grid, you need to add more DE to the filter.

The grid inside this filter should be replaced about every five years.

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