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There are lots of options available on the market these days but before we divulge into that information, we would like to walk you through the kinds of filtration systems and what kinds of filters they use.
i) Filter Cartridges basically trap debris as water passes through the filter and are designed to run with less pressure than a sand filter system, putting less strain on the pump and giving improved water flow. Filter cartridges are affordable and low maintenance filters that only need to be cleaned once or twice a season which is simply done by rinsing them with a garden hose.
ii) Sand Filters work by passing water through a bed of sand which filters out debris, channeling clean water back to the pool through the drain tubes on the bottom of the filter. Sand Filters are least effective methods for filtering pool water since fine particles of debris are not filtered out. Also as the filter becomes plugged with debris, more pressure is required to push the water through the sand, which reduces the filter's ability to clean. Sand filters are also quite difficult to clean and require "back washing", which means that the flow of pool water is reversed, and this needs to be repeated every few weeks.
iii) Diatomaceous Earth Filters can filter out particles as small as 5 microns but they need more pressure than cartridge filters thus affecting their ability to filter efficiently. DE Filters use fossilized exoskeletons of diatoms that are coated on the filter grid to remove debris and filterable area of a Diatomaceous earth filter is somewhere between 30 to 60 square feet. Like sand filters, DE filters also require backwashing followed by a "recharge" of DE powder to maintain the operation.
There are several signs that let you know when it is time to change your filter cartridge. First of all when you notice that the filter cleanings are becoming more and more frequent, it may be a good idea at that time to change the filter cartridge. Secondly when you see that the water flow has dropped and the filter cartridge has a high differential pressure, it is time to change the filter. And if there happens to be a rip or center core collapses, you will want to replace your cartridge right away.
First thing is to read and follow the manufacturer's cleaning instructions for element cleaning. Always use a soft brush for the cleaning, maintain a proper chemical balance in your pool, and alternate between two sets of filters to enhance the effectiveness of your filter cartridge.
Some helpful tips include keeping track of the filter canister pressure and cleaning the filter when there is a rise of about 8 PSI, and for Baquacil users it is a good idea to clean the filter cartridge using Baqua Clean before using any other cartridge cleaner.
Spa cartridge cleaning and efficiency is dependent upon the use-heavily used spas need a cartridge replacement sooner than the spas that are sparingly used.
i) Follow the manufacturer's instructions for removing the filter cartridge from its housing.
ii) Wash all the pleats with a garden hose using a straight-flow nozzle spraying from top to bottom at a 45 degree angle.
iii) Continue until all pleats are debris-free.
iv) If there are lots of contaminants present in the pool or spa like suntan lotions, perspiration or other oils, you may want to first soak the element for at least one hour-preferably overnight-in a commercial filter cleaner, or in one cup TSP (tri sodium phosphate) mixed into 5 gallons of water, or in one cup of dishwasher detergent mixed into five gallons of water.
v) You can also soak the cartridge in a mixture of one part muriatic acid to twenty parts water until the bubbling stops to help remove any algae, calcium carbonate, iron, and other minerals that may have coated the element.
vi) Rinse with water to remove oils and cleaning solutions from the cartridge.
vii) When thoroughly clean, put the cartridge back in the housing.
You can tell it is time to clean the cartridge when the pressure of the filter canister rises by 8 PSI, or the flow of water visibly decreases.
i) Follow the manufacturer's guidelines to safely remove the cartridge from the filter housing. Pressures wash the inside and outside of the housing, and between the filter pleats using a garden hose. It is easier to remove fine particles of debris from the pleats when the filter is dry, so gently clean pleats with a soft bristle brush or blow out the cartridge using compressed air.
ii) Heavily soiled filters like the ones plugged with oils, algae and suntan lotions will need more TLC than just rinsing. For eliminating algae, soak the filter in a commercial filter cleaning solution for at least one hour, preferably overnight. Then use the garden hose to pressure wash the pleated element thoroughly before reassembling the filter.
iii) If the filter is plugged with calcium and mineral buildup, soak the filter in a muriatic acid solution of 1 part muriatic acid to 20 parts water; then simply rinse the filter with water.
iv) Put the cartridge back in the housing.
v) It is also helpful to keep a second Pleatco filter set on hand to swap during cleanings-that way you can continue to filter your pool while having sufficient time to clean your cartridge without any rush. Plus, when you allow the cartridge to dry completely, it kills the bacteria harboring between the fibers.