Which Filtration System is Right For You?

Written by alaglaspools

December 16, 2019

Recently we talked about exciting trends in pool chemicals and sanitization systems
While keeping your pool sanitized and free from harmful germs and bacteria, chemicals are only one half of that process. The other half is quality filtration.

Think of your filtration system as kidneys for your pool because it’s that important! Your kidneys keep your body healthy by removing the harmful stuff from your bloodstream. Pool filters perform the same function for your pool.

As with pool chemicals, filters can be purchased from online sources, big-box stores and other local stores. And, again, buyer beware as these non-professional sources may sell a cheaper quality to go along with the lower price. Purchasing from a pool retailer ensures you have the best quality, correct size for your system and expert advice when or if you need it.

There are 3 basic types of filters for your pool: pleated polyester cartridges, sand or diatomaceous earth.  Let’s do a quick comparison!

Pleated Polyester Cartridges – these are composed of a plastic cylinder surrounded by a pleated polyester material and plastic caps on either end. The pleated filter cartridges do a great job of filtering out debris and organisms as small as 10 microns. With regular cleaning and care, these filters can be used for a couple of pool seasons.

  • Pros: Can filter organisms down to 10 microns, works well with most pool systems, found in every pool retail location.
  • Cons: Medium price range, more work than sand filters, best for smaller pool sizes, thorough cleaning twice/year, replace every 2 to 3 years.

Sand Filters – these are systems where water is pumped through a tank filled with sand. Three types of sand are used in filters: Silica, Zeosand or Filterglass. Silica sand is the most popular and filters particles down to 20 microns. Zeosand and Filterglass will filter particles down to 5 microns. As the sand filters over time, pressure will increase in the tank and you will need to backwash debris from the filter by reversing the flow and flushing the system.

  • Pros: Generally, the lowest cost of all the filtration systems, relatively easy maintenance, long lasting (3 – 5 years), efficiency can be increased by using additives.
  • Cons: unless using additives silica, while cheapest, is the least effective of filtration types, backwashing uses a lot of water, efficiency decreases as pressure builds.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Filters – these systems filter the smallest particles, up to 5 microns. However, they are the most expensive and most labor-intensive of the three filtration systems. Tanks are filled with grids of a fine powder made from crushing fossilized remains of small organisms called diatoms. This finely crushed powder is also used in cosmetics and toothpastes. DE filters must be cleaned and backwashed when the pressure inside the tank builds indicating the filter is clogging. Check with your local utility company for regulations on flushing the DE residue into the sewer system.

  • Pros: filter particles as small as 5 microns, can be cleaned and DE powder can be added to increase longevity of the filter.
  • Cons: pricey, yearly cleaning is a process, will need complete replacing every 3 – 5 years, may be regulated by local ordinances, use a mask when handling.

To determine which type of filtration system is the right one for you, contact your local pool pro. Ask questions about the initial installation costs, maintenance and replacement costs and how much time you want to invest into maintaining the system. They will be able to recommend which type and brand will be most effective for you.

As always, we wish you a safe and enjoyable pool season!

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