FAQ – Filter Maintenance

 Swimming Pool Filters

How often should I run and clean my filter?

What is the purpose and how does it work?

What maintenance is required?


 

Water clarity depends mainly on three factors:

1. Proper chemical balance
2. Quality filtration
3. Adequate daily circulation

Your swimming pool water needs the combination of these three variables to stay crystal clear, algae free and ready for swimming enjoyment.

 

Dirty Filter
A dirty filter can have a dramatic effect on circulation. As water passes through the filter, millions of tiny particles cling to the filtration elements. Eventually, these accumulated particles make it difficult for water to pass through the filter. A dirty filter can reduce pump efficiency by up to 80 percent. In other words, circulating your water for 10 hours a day when the filter is dirty is the equivalent of circulating the water for 2 hours a day when the filter is clean. Many times, a homeowner will find their water is cloudy and greenish, even though the chemical levels are fine, and the pump is running for an adequate amount of time each day. A dirty or damaged filter is usually the source of the problem.

 

There are three main filter types. Below are the details on each type.

 

SAND FILTERS (Usually a round fiberglass or stainless steel tank)

How often should I run my Sand Filter?
Run filter system for approximately 1 hour for every 10 degrees of outside temperature:
Summer 8 to 12 hours per day, winter 4 or more hours per day.

(If pool looks cloudy, run filter until pool clears- then go back to your regular schedule)

 

How to Backwash a Sand Filter
Most filter manufacturers recommend backwashing after a clean filter has built up 5-10 PSI of pressure, as indicated on the pressure gauge. Sand filters usually need backwashing every 1 to 4 weeks. Over backwashing can lead to algae problems in the heat of the summer due to the loss of important chemicals. Avoid backwashing within 12 hours after your pool has been chemically serviced.

**Never move the backwash valve when the pump is running (this will break the parts inside the filter)

1. Turn off the pump
2. Turn the multi port or valve handle to the backwash position
3. If necessary, roll out your backwash hose or open valve on backwash line
4. Turn on the pump and run system for 1-3 minutes or until water in the sight glass or discharge hose turns clear
5. Turn off the pump
6. Place the valve handle in the filter position.
7. If necessary, redo the first steps, two to three times, this will shake up the sand and remove more dirt at each backwash cycle
8. Turn on the pump and open the air relief valve on the top of the filter to bleed all air from the system

 

Maintenance for a Sand Filter
Sand in the filter should be replaced or checked every 4 to 5 years. In painted pools, sand may need to be replaced annually. Please have the filter parts (i.e. laterals) checked for cracks or breaks any time the sand is removed, these parts are under the sand and can only be checked when the sand is removed.

The efficiency of the sand filter, as measured by the largest-sized particle that can pass through it without being caught, is 40-50 microns. (A micron is a millionth of a meter.)

 

CARTRIDGE FILTERS

How often should I run my Cartridge Filter?
Run filter system 1 hour for every 10 degrees of outside temperature:
Summer 8 to 15 hours per day, winter 4 to 10 hours per day

(If pool looks cloudy, run filter until pool clears- then go back to your regular schedule)

 

How to Clean a Cartridge Filter
Clean filter cartridges every 2-6 weeks on average, depending on dirt accumulation and filter pressure (Best if preformed the day before scheduled chemical service)

1. Turn off the pump
2. Remove top half of filter canister
3. Remove cartridge element(s) from canister
4. Spray cartridge elements until clean
5. Replace clean elements
6. Turn on the pump and open the air relief on the top of the filter to bleed all air from the system

 

Maintenance for a Cartridge Filter
Have cartridge elements checked every year for wear and tear.

Drawbacks for the cartridge filter include:

Most cartridge filters are for smaller pools and spas containing approximately 12,000 gallons of water or less. There is no mechanical method for backwashing these filters – it must be manually disassembled and hosed off. The cartridge elements need to be replaced as they become old and worn: about every 2 years, which can be expensive, depending on the size, style and brand of cartridge. Pools with cartridge filters tend to develop high dissolved solids levels (TDS) faster than sand or D.E. filters, because there is no water removal via backwashing.

 

DIATOMACEOUS EARTH FILTERS or D.E. FILTERS

How often should I run my D.E. Filter?
Run filter system 1 hour for every 10 degrees of outside temperature:
Summer 8 to 10 hours per day, winter 4 to 8 hours per day

(If pool looks cloudy, run filter until pool clears- then go back to your regular schedule)

 

How to Backwash a D.E. Filter
Most filter manufacturers recommend backwashing after a clean filter has built up 5-10 PSI of pressure as indicated on the pressure gauge. D.E. filters typically build up these pressure levels in approximately 1 to 3 months. Over backwashing can lead to algae problems in the heat of the summer due to the loss of important chemicals. Avoid backwashing within 12 hours after your pool has been chemically serviced.

**Never move the backwash valve when the pump is running (this will break the parts inside the filter)

1. Shut off the pump
2. Turn the multi port or valve handle to the backwash position
3. If necessary, roll out your backwash hose or open valve on backwash line
4. Turn on the pump and run system for 1-3 minutes or until water in the sight glass or discharge hose turns clear
5. Turn off the pump
6. Place the valve handle in the filter position.
7. If necessary, redo the first steps, two to three times, this will loosen up debris and remove more dirt at each backwash cycle
8. Place the multi port valve handle back in the filter position
9. Turn on the pump
10. Coat the filter grids with D.E. powder by adding the recommended amount through the skimmer.

FRESH D.E. MUST BE ADDED AFTER EACH BACKWASHING!

Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) filters use a powder called diatomaceous earth to strain out the small tiny particles that pass through the system. This product is very inexpensive and readily available at home and garden centers. Each time you backwash a D.E. filter, you will flush out both accumulated dirt and debris and spent D.E. from the filter canister. Failure to replace the canister with fresh D.E. can cause severe damage to the internal elements of the filter and will leave the filter virtually non-effective, since the earth is the primary filtering agent.

There is a simple formula to figure out how much D.E. should be added to your filter. First, determine the size of your filter. The square feet of filtration area inside the filter canister determine filter size. This number is found on a specifications plate on the front of the canister. (Most filters carry a filtration area of 36, 48, 60, or 72 square feet.) Using a one-pound coffee can, add one can of D.E. for every 5 square feet of filtration area. It’s OK to round off to the nearest multiple of 5; the filter won’t mind a little extra D.E. A 48 square foot filter requires 10 cans of D.E. A 36 square foot filter will function effectively on 7 cans of D.E.

 

Maintenance for a D.E. Filter
Even with regular backwashing, D.E. filters accumulate debris and it is a good idea to have your filter dismantled and cleaned at least once a year. This affords an opportunity to check internal elements for wear and tear, and to ensure that the filter is working at peak efficiency.

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