When to change or clean a cartridge filter can be a confusing question for pool owners sometimes because the cartridge is sitting inside the canister and it is out-of-site, out-of-mind. If the pool water is cloudy it is easy to throw in a bag of shock or water clarifier, but after a while, that doesn’t work so well and the pool just doesn’t look clean. But since cloudy water can come from quite a few sources you could try some other options, like checking pH, because high pH can make the water cloudy, but so can dirty filters. So, you really should check and clean your filters often, especially in the summer when the pool is getting a lot of use.
Proper filtration is an integral part of keeping your pool looking crystal clear, and if you have a cartridge filter system, that means you need to clean out the cartridge. Below is a general list of how to know when to clean your filter, and how to clean it.
- When the pressure gauge on your filter tank reaches 10 p.s.i. above the pressure recorded when a new cartridge is installed, or when there is a noticeable decrease in the pressure coming from your return jets, it is time to clean your cartridge. So, this number of p.s.i. is different for each pool!
- Remove the cartridge from the filter canister and dislodge loose debris by directing a stream of water from a garden hose between each pleat. Be very careful with high-pressure car wash wands, and don’t use a stiff brush to clean your cartridge. These abrasive methods may damage the filter media; remember the filter media is basically a paper that will break down under the extreme pressure of a power washer.
- Soak the cartridge in a commercially prepared cartridge cleaner to remove oils or other organics. Use Clear View Filter Aid and soak the filter overnight with one part solution to four parts water. You can reuse the solution if you can find a lid for the bucket that you soak the filter in. This will really help loosen up the grime and filth in the filter.
- Rinse the cartridge thoroughly with clean fresh water. Before you return it to the tank, let the cartridge dry completely, this will let the filter media shrink back down to its original size and capture smaller particles, giving you better filtration. This is why it is a good reason to never throw away your old filters because you can swap them into the pool while you are cleaning your current cartridge, allowing you the day or so you need to soak and let them dry.
- Secure the tank lid and restart your filtration system according to your manufacturer’s instructions.
- Follow your filter equipment manufacturer’s instructions when removing or reinstalling your filter cartridge. Always exercise extreme care when handling bleach or any other chemicals.
- Don’t acid wash your filter cartridge.
- If the pressure keeps going up after you have cleaned them, or they rip or tear, it is time to replace them. Generally, you should get at least a year out of a cartridge filter and then you should replace them. Sometimes you can get some extra life out of them, but it really depends on how well they were maintained.
Tropical Pools and Bullfrog Spas can order almost any cartridge, just let us know the make and model that you are looking for and we can help you out. We stock Jandy, Pentair, Bullfrog, and Hot Springs cartridges in the store.