A Beginner’s Guide to How Pool Filters Work and How to Maintain Them

Swimming pool owners must keep an eye on many things. You need to balance your water chemistry, vacuum and scrub the pool regularly, keep the pool deck clean, and more. You must also pay attention to your pool filter.

If you’re new to owning a swimming pool, though, it can be challenging to understand how a pool filter works and how to maintain it. The good news is that it is not all that complicated.

What Is a Pool Filter?

A pool filter serves the same purpose as your car’s air filter. It traps dirt and debris and prevents them from spreading through the system. Pool filters come in many different shapes, sizes, and configurations, as well, including:

  • Single cartridge filters
  • Multiple cartridge filters
  • Sand filters
  • Diatomaceous earth (DE) filters

How Does a Pool Filter Work?

All filters, whether DE, sand, or cartridge, perform a similar task in a similar way. The pool pump sucks water up from the pool, moves it through the pump itself, then through the filter media, before it is sent back to the pool to start the process over again. Dirt, debris, insects, and other particulates are trapped by the filter before being sent back to the pool.

How to Maintain Pool Filters

Pool filter maintenance is critical. You should check your filter weekly during peak usage season and rinse or backwash regularly. Cartridge-style filters will need to be rinsed, while sand and DE filters will need to be backwashed. Both sand and DE filters will need deeper cleanings once or twice per year, but cartridge filters usually just need to be rinsed, and then replaced annually.

During regular maintenance, you will want to rinse your cartridge filter until it is clean. This will require getting in between the filter’s fins and even rinsing inside the filter, as well. For filters that need to be backwashed, you simply adjust the lever on the filtration system to “backwash” and allow the pump to run for about two minutes. The sight glass will eventually become clear, and you can turn the settings back to normal.

With the right pool filter and an understanding of basic maintenance, there is no reason that being a new pool owner should be difficult.

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