We know you love splashing around in your pool, but do you ever stop to think about what keeps your pool water looking crystal clear? That’s right – it’s your trusty ole pool filter cartridge!
Today, we’re diving headfirst into the world of pool filter maintenance, and we promise to make it as fun and informative… well, as exciting as anything when you insert the word cartridge into it. So, grab your poolside drink and let’s embark on the ultimate guide to cleaning your pool filter cartridge.
Why Is It Important to Clean the Pool Filter Cartridge?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of cleaning and replacing your pool filter cartridge, let’s talk about why it’s crucial in the first place.
Think of your pool filter as the bouncer at your local pub on a Friday night. It’s tasked with keeping out the undesirable elements – dirt, leaves, bugs, and even microscopic particles that you can’t see with the naked eye.
A clogged filter can’t do its job effectively, leading to cloudy water, reduced water circulation, and potential damage to your pool equipment. In other words, a clean filter means a cleaner, healthier pool and less stress on your pool pump and other components.
It’s the unsung hero of your pool maintenance routine.
How Often Pool Filter Cartridge Should Be Cleaned
So, how often should you give your pool filter cartridge some TLC? Well, that depends on a few factors, including the size of your pool, how often it’s used, and the surrounding environment. As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to clean your filter cartridge every 4-6 weeks during the swimming season.
If you have sand filters, you should clean them even more frequently. Sand filters are known for their ability to filter large volumes of water quickly, making them an efficient choice for larger pools. However, they are less efficient at filtering small particles than other types of filters. Sand filters typically have a filtration rating of around 20–40 microns, meaning they can only remove particles of that size or larger. Smaller particles not trapped by the sand stay in your pool water.
If your pool gets heavy use, or if you’re in an area with lots of trees and debris, you might need to clean it more frequently. Keep an eye on your pool’s water quality and water pressure as indicators – a sudden drop in water flow can be a sign that it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get cleaning.
After dealing with a heavy algae bloom, no matter what your filter is, sand filter or cartridge, you will need to thoroughly clean the filter afterwards. After the chemicals have killed off all of the algae, there’s one place where they will end up, your filter.
Clean your filter after a Pool Party. This is self-explanatory. Having lots of people in the pool means that your filter has to work overtime to remove all of the dead skin cells, body oils, and other debris that might have been deposited into your pool.
After a heavy rainstorm or when unusual amounts of leaves have found their way into your pool, give it a good manual vacuuming and clean the filter afterwards. Even though you think you may have gotten all of the visible debris from your pool, the ones that are invisible to the naked eye are the ones clogging up your filter cartridge.
How to Clean Your Pool Filter Cartridge
Now, let’s get down and dirty – cleaning your pool filter cartridge. Here’s a step-by-step guide that will have your filter cartridge looking and performing like new.
Step 1: Turn Off the Pool Pump
Safety first. Before you start, make sure the pool pump is turned off to prevent any accidents, and make sure to close off any valves unless you want to start with a massive slap of water.
Step 2: Release Pressure
Release the pressure inside the filter tank by opening the air relief valve on top. This will make it easier to remove the cartridge.
Step 3: Remove the Cartridge
Unscrew the clamp or release the locking mechanism that secures the filter tank lid. Carefully lift the lid and pull out the cartridge.
Step 4: Rinse
Use a garden hose with a high-pressure nozzle to rinse off loose debris from the cartridge. Start at the top and work your way down, ensuring that you get between each pleat.
Step 5: Soak and Scrub
This step is optional, depending on the state of your filter (and your willingness to fiddle around some more). Fill a large plastic container or a clean large tub with water and a filter cleaner solution. Submerge the cartridge and let it soak for a few hours or as recommended by the cleaner’s instructions. After soaking, use a soft brush to gently scrub between the pleats, paying extra attention to any stubborn spots.
Step 6: Rinse Again
Once you’ve given it a good scrubbing, rinse the cartridge thoroughly with clean water. Be sure to remove all traces of the cleaning solution.
Step 7: Inspect
Take a close look at the cartridge. If you notice any tears, cracks, or signs of wear and tear, it might be time to consider replacing it (more on that in the next section).
Step 8: Reassemble
Place the clean and inspected cartridge back into the filter tank, secure the lid, and tighten the clamp or locking mechanism. Secure the air relief valve on top.
Step 9: Turn On the Pool Pump
With everything back in place, turn on the pool pump, and let it run for a few minutes to ensure proper circulation and to check for any leaks.
If this still sounds a bit confusing or you’re just a better visual learner, check out this video by our very own Marcus, and watch his instructions on how to remove and clean your cartridge pool filter.
When to Replace a Cartridge
As much as we’d like our pool filter cartridges to last forever, they do have a lifespan. While there is no ‘set time’ to replace your pool filter cartridge, you should consider replacing it every 1-2 years. Again, this will depend on a range of factors, how well used your pool is, the volume of debris, etc.
Over time, the filter material can break down, and the pleats can become stretched or damaged. Here are some signs that it might be time to bid farewell to your trusty cartridge.
1. Visible Damage
If you notice visible tears, cracks, or fraying on the cartridge material, it’s time to replace it. Damaged cartridges can’t effectively filter out debris.
2. Reduced Water Flow
If you’ve cleaned the cartridge but still notice a significant drop in water flow or pressure, it could be a sign that it’s time for a replacement.
3. Frequent Clogging
If you find yourself cleaning the cartridge more and more frequently because it’s getting clogged, it’s a good indication that it’s reaching the end of its useful life.
4. Frequent Chemical Imbalances
If you’re struggling to maintain the right chemical balance in your pool, it could be due to an inefficient filter cartridge that can’t capture contaminants effectively. You guessed it, it’s time to replace it.
How to Replace a Cartridge
Replacing a pool filter cartridge is a straightforward process. Here’s how you can do it:
Step 1: Turn Off the Pool Pump
Always start by turning off the pool pump to ensure your safety.
Step 2: Release Pressure
Open the air relief valve to release pressure from the filter tank.
Step 3: Remove the Old Cartridge
Just like when you clean the cartridge, unscrew the clamp or release the locking mechanism on the filter tank lid. Carefully lift the lid and remove the old cartridge.
Step 4: Insert the New Cartridge
Place the new cartridge into the filter tank, ensuring it’s properly seated and aligned.
Step 5: Secure the Lid
Put the filter tank lid back in place and secure it with the clamp or locking mechanism.
Step 6: Turn On the Pool Pump
Finally, turn on the pool pump and check for any leaks or irregularities in water flow.
Keep Your Pool Filter Happy and Healthy
Maintaining your pool filter cartridge doesn’t have to be a chore. With regular cleaning and timely replacements, you’ll keep your pool water sparkling, your equipment happy, and your pool parties legendary.
Remember, a well-maintained filter cartridge is the unsung hero of your pool, silently working to keep your water clean and inviting.
So, grab your cleaning supplies, show your filter some love, and get ready for a season of splashing fun in your crystal-clear pool.
For any pool filter cartridge needs or questions, don’t hesitate to contact our expert team. We’re here to ensure your pool stays picture-perfect all season long.