Anybody who owns a pool knows that filters are key components of any filtration system. Few realize, however, the importance of maintaining a clean filter at all times. Within the next few minutes, we’re going to discuss the importance of regular cleaning and how to clean three types of filters: cartridge, sand and diatomaceous earth (DE) filters.
Water passes quite easily through a filter, with a pressure of 8 to 25 pounds per square inch depending on your plumbing setup and pool. As your filter performs, debris accumulates on it, causing pressure to rise over time. If the pressure rises above 25 percent, you should clean your filter to eliminate any debris it may contain. Failure to do so reduces the normal water flow and results in cloudy water, excessive damage to any pool equipment you may have, and drastically reduces water circulation.
How often you should clean your filter varies from pool to pool, depending on the size of the filter and the pool. Some people need to clean their filters and pools weekly while others can go entire seasons without cleaning theirs. It’s a good idea to clean your pool at least once every year, even if the pressure doesn’t go up. Here are the main ways to clean the three most common, yet different types of filters.
To clean a cartridge filter, first turn off the pump. If your filter is below water level, close the valves to ensure that your pool doesn’t drain when you open your filter. Before allowing water to drain out, open the air bleed valve at the top of your filter and the drain port at the bottom of your filter. Then, unscrew the knobs and remove the nut at the top of your filter to open the body of your filter.
As you open the body of your filter, ensure that you note the position of the knobs and the nut, to avoid any issues when reassembling your unit. Once you’ve opened the filter, rinse out the filter tank and get a garden hose with a nozzle. You will then start washing the carts aiming at a 45 degrees angle down on them, ensuring that you clean both the inside and the outside just as well.
When you’re done, reassemble your filter, open the valves you might have closed, close the drain port, turn on the pump and when water steadily runs out of the air bleed valve, close it. If the pressure gets back to normal, you’re set. But if it doesn’t, you should do some further cleaning.
Sand filters do have a push main valve or a multiport for washing the debris trapped by the sand. When you want to change the position on the main push valve, turn off the pump to prevent breaking anything on your unit. Ensure that the valve at the discharge line is turned on and the discharge hose is attached and directed to where you want to dispose the dirty water.
Once you’ve turned off the pump, place the lever to the backwash position and restart your pump. For a moment, the water will become clear, then get dirty and clear again. If the water gets clear again, turn off the pump.
If you have a multiport valve that has a rinse setting, switch it on to rinse as you run the pump for 15 seconds and do the backwash cycle again. Lastly, reposition your valve back to the normal filter position. Note that this process removes water from your pool, so watch the water level and never start the cleaning process if the water level is low.
Diatomaceous Earth Filter
They are two kinds of DE filters. One that uses a push or a multiport valve for washing. The cleaning process for this kind of diatomaceous earth filter is exactly the same as the cleaning process of a sand filter. The only difference is that during the cleaning process, diatomaceous earth is removed along with the dirt. Since not all the DE isn’t removed, you’ll need to add just about 80 percent of DE to the filter.
The other type of DE filter uses a handle on top of your filter to bump the internal assembly, removing the DE and the dirt off your filter. At the same time, the pressure of your filter is being reduced. To wash a bump DE filter, switch off the pump, open the air valve at the top of your filter and then close it. Now, bump your filter 5 times, put on the pump again and check if the pressure per square inch has dropped more than two per square inch. Once you’ve finished doing this there will be no need to add DE to your filter again.