Guest post by Gary Bowers
Are you cleaning your swimming pool cartridge filter every week or two? Do you seem to be fighting a constant battle to keep your pool water balanced and clean? As a pool owner, I have found the most time consuming task in pool maintenance is cleaning the filter. On average, I clean my cartridge filter every two weeks. I spend about 15-20 minutes doing this task. It’s rather simple to do: turn off the pump, open up the filter, remove the cartridge, rinse thoroughly with a garden hose, replace the cartridge, close up the filter and turn on the pump. However, I just prefer to spend my time enjoying the pool rather than maintaining it.
An easy solution to improving your pool filtration capabilities without having to do a timely and costly upgrade to your filter equipment is to simply use a higher filtering replacement cartridge. Pool filter cartridges have three main characteristics: 1) filter size (outside diameter and length), 2) pleat count or square feet (amount of filtration fabric), and 3) fabric weight (typically 3 ounce or 4 ounce). Together, these 3 characteristics tell you the quality of filtration the cartridge will provide.
All Filters are NOT Create Equal
Just because two filter cartridges are the same size does NOT mean they provide the same filtration for your pool. Filters are nothing more than a piece of filter fabric that your pool water gets pushed through to trap debris. Experts have found that to optimize the filtration process, pleating the fabric traps more debris. Additionally, the more filter fabric you have the more filter surface area you have to catch debris.
Consider two cartridges both with the same filter dimensions, but with different square feet of filter fabric. Initially, one would think that when looking at two cartridges of the same size that they both provide the same filtration. However, from above you learned that filters of the same size can have a different amount of filter fabric content. This is represented by the square feet or pleat count. A higher pleat count or higher square feet indicate a higher ability to filter your pool water. This translates into less frequent cartridge cleaning and an improved capability of keeping your water clean. More filter fabric means that it can trap more debris before the build up of trapped debris requires cleaning.
The filter fabric weight can also impact the quality of filtration. When you purchase a brand new filter unit from most any manufacturer, the filter cartridge included is almost always made of 4 ounce filter fabric. However, when it is time to get a replacement cartridge, most all of the pool filter cartridge manufacturers offer replacement cartridges with either a 3 ounce or 4 ounce filter fabric. And similar to the concept above where more filter fabric square feet or pleat count results in higher filtration, the same can be said here with a heavier filter fabric providing higher filtration.
Simply said, the more filter fabric, the more filtration. Whether the fabric is higher in length or higher in weight results in higher filtration. Typically, the cost of the filter also is based on the filtration ability. So you can expect to see variances in pricing of a filter of a specific size. Check the pleat count or square feet as well as the fabric weight when making your purchase.
Find Your Filter Cartridge Options
So, to improve your filtration and increase the time between filter cleanings you can purchase a replacement filter cartridge with more filter fabric than your current cartridge. I have found that a great place to find filter cartridge information regardless of the manufacturer of your current cartridge is to use the Unicel Filter Finder. You can search for your existing filter cartridge here by manufacturer and/or dimensions and you can see if there are variations available for your particular filter size.
Swimming Pool Tips like this can ensure you have a well maintained pool, while helping you maximize the time you have to enjoy your pool.
Gary Bowers is the founder of All Pool Filters 4 Less, a website offering quality pool supplies, fast shipping, and friendly customer service. You can find a wide variety of replacement pool filters, pool pump motors, filter parts, pool toys, and more.